Summer in New York City is jam-packed with events every day of the week, in all five boroughs, with something for everyone. Classic family-friendly events like the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks, Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, Night at the Museums and Summer Streets return, along with music favorites like Governors Ball, SummerStage, Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival and the free New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks. Performances of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as part of the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, are sure to be hot-ticket events, along with the US Open Tennis Championship and the Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series. Some of the most exciting museum exhibitions this season include This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal at the Morgan, Eloise at the Museum at New-York Historical Society and Frank Lloyd Wright at 150 at MoMA.
If you can get past the silly name, this one-day event provides a place to secure some great gifts. From 11am to 6pm, browse the wares of more than 30 independent vendors, who will be selling items such as jewelry, stationery, clothing, artwork and beauty products. In addition, there will be dance lessons, an animal adoption van and a crafting table. The event is free and open to all and benefits the Museum School in Chelsea. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
The LOL Movie Series screens free, female-driven comedies on a lot adjacent to the East River. Before the movies start, there will be bands playing and comedians from the Upright Citizens Brigade doing sets to warm-up the crowd. Some free wine and beer will be available for early arrivals, and you can purchase more beverages and snacks from a variety of food trucks. Doors open at 7:45pm with films set to start at 9pm.
July 12: Clueless (1995)
July 19: Pitch Perfect (2012)
July 26: When Harry Met Sally (1989)
August 2: Pretty In Pink (1986)
August 9: My Blind Brother (2016)
More than 10,000 people descend on Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park in Lower Manhattan for the annual Battery Dance Festival—now in its 35th year. Free outdoor performances take place from 6:30 to 9:30pm, including original works from professional and emerging dancers and choreographers. In past years, American choreographers like Paul Taylor and Elizabeth Streb have showcased their works with international dance companies from around the world. This year, enjoy performances from Jennifer Muller / The Works, FJK Dance, Amy Marshall Dance Company and 20 other local companies. For more information on the lineup and a ticketed closing night event August 20 at Pace University, visit batterydance.org.
Travel back in time on Governors Island, where Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra will lead you in a day filled with 1920s music, dancing, a motorcar exhibition, pie (making, not eating) contest and carnival games for kids. A word of advice: practice your Charleston. For tickets and more information, visit jazzagelawnparty.com.
Now in its 58th year, this outdoor art exhibition in Brooklyn highlights the works of local African-American artists like Violet Chandler, Otto Neals and Emmett Wigglesworth—all of whom have been showing their works at this event since it launched in 1958—along with newcomers like Haywood Williams, Melvin Isaac and Brenda Mattingly. The six-day event is weekends only and is free and open to the public, with works hung along the fence of Robert Fulton Park. Attendees will also be treated to DJ’s and musical performances that accompany the art. For more details, visit fultonartfair.net.
Two pop titans are hitting the road, playing their own songs and swapping a few along the way, much like Sting and Paul Simon did a couple of years back. It’s fun to imagine the juxtapositions (“Red Rain”/”Shadows in the Rain”?), what an equal trade might be (“Solsbury Hill” for “Fields of Gold”?) and what might make for an absurd duet (“Russians"? "Big Time"?).
This new summer movie series in Lower Manhattan takes place Thursday nights on the plaza at 28 Liberty Street. Sponosed by the Downtown Alliance and Fosun International, these free flicks feature free popcorn along with a selection of local food vendors as well.
July 28: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
August 4: Spaceballs (1987)
August 11: The Goonies (1985)
August 18: Jurassic Park (1993)
August 25: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The International Center of Photography opens its new Bowery location with this exhibition, which explores how photography is responsible for "breaking and resetting the boundaries of social and personal privacy." Artists like Andy Warhol, Natalie Bookchin, Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin will have their works displayed, which feature real-time imaging and videos that will illustrate how privacy manifests in our current society, and the way that self-identity is determined through public exposure. For more information, visit icp.org.
The Cooper Hewitt presents this exhibition of nearly 65 drawings and prints from the 16th and 17th centuries that feature elements of nature transformed into ethereal and sometimes eerie creations. Some of the works are a mere few inches in size but include incredible attention to detail, with creatures wrapped in tapestries or encased in stained glass, plus a number of other interpretations. All objects were pulled from the museum’s permanent collection and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library. For more information, visit cooperhewitt.org.
Combining the silver screen with the Great White Way, the United Palace Theatre presents a screening of the 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof, with a mini-concert courtesy of musicians from the Tony-nominated Broadway revival of the same name. Performers include the celebrated violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, who has received rave reviews since the show’s premiere. For information and tickets to the concert and screening, visit unitedpalace.org.
Queens has long been impressively, inspiringly diverse; so, too, is the literary community of the borough, which is in the midst of a cultural renaissance. With that in mind, the inaugural Queens Book Festival will offer an array of panels, children’s story time readings, a vast book market and a wide range of activities suited to families and folks of every age. The event—which hopes to address literacy rates among the youngest Queens residents—is open to the entire community. Note: This event takes place at Kaufman Astoria Studios. For more information, visit queensbookfestival.nyc.
Dixon Place’s annual HOT! Festival celebrates 25 years of bringing LGBTQ arts and culture to the City, including disciplines such as dance, music, theater, visual arts, performance art, circus arts, literature and “homoeroticism for the whole family.” This year’s events include the literary reading series A Tribe Called Butch, the multimedia dance known as Trophy, a play called Double Penny and comedian Reno holding court in Dixon Place’s bar-lounge. For more information and a full schedule of shows, visit dixonplace.org.
Celebrate Italian culture, heritage, food and Williamsburg neighborhood pride at this six-day festival that is just slightly smaller than Manhattan’s San Gennaro, but 40 years its senior. The festival is dedicated to St. Paulinus and features parades, live entertainment, vendors selling Italian specialties, games, gifts, children’s rides and entertainment. A highlight is the lifting of a 65-foot-tall tower (with a statue of St. Paulinus on the top) by more than 100 local parishioners on Giglio Sunday, July 10. For information on the complete schedule of events, visit olmcfeast.com.
Now in its 12th year, this festival returns with performances from Nas, Talib Kweli, Fabolous and others—along with panel discussions, exhibitions, an awards show and a block party. The events take place around the borough, with the concert on the final night held at Brooklyn Bridge Park. For more info, visit bkhiphopfestival.com.
Storyteller, aerobics instructor and rabbi Daniel Brenner leads this show where “the 1880s meets the 1980s.” Kids ages 5 and up along with their families will love this interactive performance, where participation is encouraged and entertainment abounds. Brenner—who started performing in the 1980s alongside the late Chris Farley and has since created a number of successful shows—will get you moving and shvitzing, as you burn off some energy and have a grand time at this free performance. For more information, visit govisland.com.
Governors Island’s daily hours will be extended for one day only this summer for a rare opportunity to see the sunrise and sunset along the harbor with the Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines and the Statue of Liberty as backdrops—all from the vantage point of the Hills, its newly opened park. From 5am to 9pm, visitors can take advantage of activities like biking or viewing some of the current art and history exhibitions being offered. Ferry rides to and from Manhattan are free all day. For more information, visit govisland.com.
Drawn exclusively from its own collection, the Whitney is exhibiting more than 200 works of portraiture that illustrate how this art form has changed from the early 1900s to the present day. The exhibition presents work from renowned artists alongside lesser-known ones to show how many different ways an individual can be represented through art—and in turn how we view and observe others. For more information, visit whitney.org.
Ninety years ago, Louis Armstrong got his name on a record label for the first time ever. The groundbreaking recording “Heebie Jeebies” by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five, released in 1926, set the tone for the jazz legend’s storied career. Visit the Louis Armstrong House Museum to look back at how Satchmo became one of the most famous jazz musicians of the 20th century through this exhibition of artifacts from his first years with the band. For more information, visit louisarmstronghouse.org.
Twelve modern dance companies will perform four free Friday evening shows in Bryant Park this summer as part of the Bryant Park Presents series. Performances take place from 6 to 8pm and feature emerging and established artists specializing in a variety of modern dance styles. Participants include LaneCoArts, 277 Dance Project, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, BARE Dance Company and Black Boys Dance Too. For more information, visit bryantpark.org.
Artists from around the world perform at music, dance and spoken-word events—including world, US and New York City premieres—and it’s all free. The program opens with NPR Music’s Turning the Tables Live, featuring selections from their list of the 150 greatest albums by women. Other highlights include a performance by the Paul Taylor Dance Company; a double dutch competition; a set by Dionne Warwick; and a screening of The Big Lebowski.
From its ancient structures to its futuristic fashions, Italy has long been a destination for globetrotters—a place where sightseeing feels like time traveling through the evolution of modern society. For those who can’t make the trip (time and money both being what they are), this digital arts installation brings the country’s marvels to New York City. Viewers are surrounded by a 360-degree video screen of Italy’s most famed landmarks, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, to the crumbling but grandiose Colosseum, to the sleek catwalks of Fashion Week in Milan. Originally unveiled at the WorldExpo 2015, the display uses aerial images captured by some 200 drones deployed throughout the European country. For more information, visit panoramaitaly.org.
The New York Asian Film Festival enters its 15th year this summer, screening everything from mainstream blockbusters and art-house eccentricities to genre and cult classics. The festival shows some of the biggest films from many Asian countries, bringing a number of them to American audiences for the first time. Screenings take place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and SVA Theatre. The lineup includes Erik Matti's religious crime drama Honor Thy Father, the exorcist thriller The Priest, E J-yong’s The Bacchus Lady, and Mario Cornejo’s surfing film Apocalypse Child. For more information, visit subwaycinema.com.