Fourth of July Week Events


by staff, 06/18/2013

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Not sure how to spend your Fourth of July holiday? We've got a few ideas. The days surrounding Independence Day are packed with music, dancing, tours, exhibits, food, and, of course, those iconic Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks and the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. Best of all? A handful of these events are free or pay-what-you-wish. Read on for our picks and get ready to celebrate.

Wednesday, July 3
Midsummer Night Swing: Urban Guerilla Orchestra at Damrosch Park 
Midsummer Night Swing has been hosting outdoor dance parties for 25 years. Take lessons and then test your new moves to the soulful rhythms of Philadelphia's Urban Guerilla Orchestra. Move your feet to the energetic rhythms of these singers and musicians that have collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry. Take to the dance floor beginning at 6pm. At 6:30, Lawrence Bradford will lead a Hand Dance lesson and at 7:30 and 9pm, it's hour-long sessions of music and dance. For more information, visit

Thursday, July 4
International African Arts Festival at Commodore Barry Park 
This yearly festival of African culture brings four days of concerts, dance showcases, fashion shows, discussions and more. The 42nd-annual celebration also has plenty of entertainment for kids, including storytelling, clowns and more. This year's theme is Ndunga or "Justifier/Justice from the Congo." The event takes place rain or shine from July 4 to July 7 in Commodore Barry Park, located on Navy Street, between Park and Flushing Avenues in Brooklyn. For more information, visit

Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island 
With a combination of steely grit, limber swallowing abilities and highly expandable stomachs, contestants in the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest take on competitors to the delight of screaming fans. A select group of skilled eaters convene near the boardwalk, eating Nathan's dogs for 10 minutes straight. Don't miss this year's competition, which continues a tradition established in 1916. For more information, visit

Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks at Hudson River Park
America's biggest birthday bash is the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks. This year, the fireworks take place once again over the Hudson River, with approximately 40,000 shells launching from four barges between West 24th and West 40th Streets. The inspiring display—accompanied by music—is a festive way to celebrate our nation's independence. Millions tune in on TV, but you can be there in person. For more information, visit

Hot Jazz/Cool Garden at Louis Armstrong House Museum
July 4 marks jazz legend Louis Armstrong's birthday and each year, his former home hosts a musical celebration. Beginning at 2pm, catch a set by Bria's Hot Five with Bria Skonberg out in the garden. Concertgoers will also be treated to free red beans and rice and sweet tea during performances, plus a slice of birthday cake to celebrate the museum's namesake musician. Later in the summer, see Jon-Erik Kellso & the EarRegulars on July 20 and Peter & Will Anderson Sextet on August 17. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

TriBattery Pops 4th of July Performance in Wagner Park 
Drop by Wagner Park for an Independence Day tradition. This volunteer band, conducted by Tom Goodkind, will play a show against the backdrop of Lady Liberty and the New York Harbor. Expect an eclectic performance; this talented group has covered everything from "1812 Overture" to "Smells Like Teen Spirit." For more information, visit

Revolutionary War New York Nighttime Walking Tour at Fraunces Tavern Museum 
Every year in the very early morning of July 4 (3–7am), walkers set out on a history-packed trip through Lower Manhattan. Discover the stories behind heroes of the Revolutionary War from guide James S. Kaplan and arrive at Trinity Church just in time to see the sun come up. Tickets must be purchased in advance. For more information and for tickets, visit

Friday, July 5
First Fridays at The Noguchi Museum 
Spend a few hours in Long Island City at this institution dedicated to the sculpture work of Isamu Noguchi. Admission is pay-what-you-wish during regular museum hours on the first Friday of every month and free from 5 to 8pm. In addition to artwork discussions, the Architecture and Design Film Festival will screen short selections beginning at 7pm. For more information, visit

First Fridays! Music + Bronx Seaside Trolley at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum 
The first Friday of every month is cause for celebration at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum. The museum and its grounds will be open to visitors from 5:30 to 8:30pm and feature live music from singer and piano player Mark Anthony Reid who will be serenading visitors with jazz, gospel, classical and more. Programming also coincides with free rides aboard the Bronx Seaside Trolley, traveling from the Pelham Bay Park subway station to Bartow-Pell Mansion and City Island. Reservations are recommended. For more information, visit

Saturday, July 6
Summer Programming at Governors Island 
Every summer weekend is a great time to visit Governors Island, a 172-acre expanse in the middle of New York's harbor. Activities include exhibits for children and adults, a futuristic miniature golf course, walking and bike tours and an interactive, performance-based installation by Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects that mimics the actions of the human heart. There's also plenty of food and drink to keep everyone fueled throughout the day. For more information, visit

Target First Saturday: "Remixing the American Story" at Brooklyn Museum 
The art continues after hours at the Brooklyn Museum's first Saturday celebration. This month's theme for the free event is "Remixing the American Story." It all begins at 4:30pm when brass ensemble Hungry March Band takes the stage to kick off a full night of music, dance, artist discussions, gallery talks, art projects and more. A few of the event's not-to-miss offerings include animated short film screenings and a poetry slam in conjunction with the Nuyorican Poets Café. Some programming requires (complimentary) tickets, which can be picked up from the museum's visitor center. For more information, visit

Hester Street Fair
This Lower East Side market is overflowing with vintage finds, artisan creations and delicious food. Located at the corner of Hester and Essex Streets, the Hester Street Fair pays homage to the historic pushcart market that was held here many years ago. A rotating selection of local vendors sell everything from lobster rolls and cheesecake to jewelry and clothing. The fair is open every Saturday from 10am to 6pm through October 26. For more information, visit

Warm Up at MoMA PS1 
Long Island City's longest-running dance party brings an afternoon of DJs and musical performances to the MoMA PS1 courtyard. On July 6, it's The Martinez Brothers and Cuttin' Headz, followed by a set from DJ Kim Ann Foxman, DJ Qu and Strength Music and finally Anthony Naples and The Trilogy Tapes. The popular event runs through September 7 and consistently offers up some of the music industry's best and brightest. For more information, visit

Sunday, July 7
Hudson River Park WILD! at Hudson River Park, Pier 40 
New York City's wildlife isn't confined to its zoos. Follow a naturalist on a hike ranging from one-and-a-half to two miles along the edge of the Hudson River. Environmentalists of all ages will discover the plants and flowers that call Hudson River Park home and might even catch a glimpse of some of the 85 bird species that have been spotted in the area. Bring a camera to snap photos of gardens, butterflies, dragonflies and more. Meet at the Christopher Street Fountain (north of Pier 40) at 9am. For more information, visit

Summergarden: Juilliard Concert 1: New Music for Mixed Ensembles at The Museum of Modern Art 
The Summergarden concert series at The Museum of Modern Art begins with a soothing performance of classical music by members of the New Juilliard Ensemble (from The Juilliard School). At the first of this two-part series, the ensemble, led by artistic director Joel Sachs, will perform new compositions in the museum's sculpture garden. Be sure to arrive before the doors open at 7pm, as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit

Monday, July 8
Books Beneath the Bridge in Brooklyn Bridge Park 
Books Beneath the Bridge is an outdoor summer reading series stationed under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Curated by local, independent bookstores, each program includes an intimate reading, Q&A and a book signing with the featured author or authors. On July 8, Freebird Books chooses the night's lineup. Readings take place on Monday evenings at 7pm on the Granite Prospect steps in Brooklyn Bridge Park. For more information, visit

Story Pirates at Hudson River Park, Pier 25 
Join this troupe of singers, dancers and improvisational masters for a kid-friendly show on the waterfront. Every performance is different, since audience members provide ideas for what happens on stage. The result is something completely unexpected and full of energy. Story Pirates events at Hudson River Park are free, so just drop by the Pier 25 comfort station at 6:30pm to be a part of the show. For more information, visit

Tuesday, July 9
Alastair Moock and Friends at Madison Square Park 
On Tuesday and Thursday mornings throughout the summer, families can start the day with a complimentary outdoor show at Madison Square Park, part of the Mad. Sq. Kids concert series. On July 9, catch a show by Alastair Moock and Friends. The Boston-based singer has coined such kid-friendly songs as "Spaghetti in My Shoe," "A Cow Says Moo" and "Ladybugs' Picnic." The show begins at 10:30am. For more info, visit

New York Classical Theatre Presents The Tempest in Battery Park 
Through August 4, New York Classical Theater stages Shakespeare's The Tempest. The free show is set in the Victorian era during the Industrial Revolution and is presented in a way that brings the audience closer to the onstage action. Battery Park's show is only one of the ways to see Shakespeare around NYC. For even more performances, check out our citywide roundup. For more information, visit

related venues/(9)

  1. 1
    Damrosch Park
    West 62nd Street bet. Columbus and Amsterdam Aves.
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023
  2. 2
    Commodore Barry Park
    Nassau Street (bet. Navy St. and N. Elliot Place)
    Brooklyn – Fort Greene
    NY 11201
  3. 3
    Coney Island
    Surf Avenue
    Brooklyn – Coney Island
    NY 11224
  1. 4
    Louis Armstrong House Museum
    34-56 107th St.
    Queens – Corona
    NY 11368
  2. 5
    Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park
    Battery and 1st Places
    Manhattan – Battery Park City
    NY 10280
  3. 6
    Fraunces Tavern Museum
    54 Pearl St.
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004
  1. 7
    The Noguchi Museum
    9 - 01 33rd Rd. @ Vernon Blvd.
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11106
  2. 8
    Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
    895 Shore Rd.
    Bronx – Pelham Bay
    NY 10464
  3. 9
    Governors Island
    New York Harbor
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004

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