CITYSIGHTS NY BLOG
The best things this summer are free, particularly when it comes to NYC's summer concerts. Starting each year in May and running through August, you can hear live music of all kinds across the city without spending a dime. Whether it's a classy night outdoors with the Philharmonic, indie rock on the Manhattan waterfront or world music at SummerStage, NYC’s 2015 Summer Concerts in New York City are sure to please music lovers of all tastes.
Central Park SummerStage Concerts
The Central Park SummerStage in an outdoor venue at Rumsey Playfield that hosts numerous music, spoken word and dance events each summer. Many of the events are free. Others require advance tickets and serve as charitable affairs for the Central Park SummerStage series.
Rumsey Playfield is located off Fifth Avenue on East 72nd Street. The closest subway is the 6 train; just take the 68th Street exit. You can easily enter the park on Fifth Avenue and 69th Street. Entrance to the concert area begins 90 minutes before the entertainment begins on weekends, and one hour before it starts for weeknight shows.
New York Philharmonic in the Parks
A favorite New York City summer concert series for visitors and locals is the New York Philharmonic in the Parks. This year, from June 17 to 23 the Philharmonic will present free outdoor concerts in in the following areas:
• Cunningham Park in Queens
• Prospect Park in Brooklyn
• Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx
• Central Park
These shows offer the chance to hear outstanding classical music. More importantly, it's an excuse to meet up with friends and enjoy food, drinks and a free evening out with the New York Philharmonic providing the backdrop. Plan your seating location because the audience takes the performance more seriously up close to the band shell.
Concerts begin at 8:00 p.m. so if you want to get close to the band shell, you should plan to arrive at least two hours early or more. However, depending on your group’s size and if you're less particular, you can arrive up any time even right up until the show begins.
The Great Lawn is positioned directly in the middle of the park, from 79th to 85th Streets. You can find the band shell in the northern part of Great Lawn. To arrive by subway, catch the 4, 5 or 6 train to 86th Street. Head three blocks west to 5th Avenue and enter the park at the entrance between 85th and 86th Streets. Follow the winding pathway and the crowds. Another option is to take the A, B or C train to 81st Street and enter the park right on 81st Street. Follow the excitement to the Great Lawn.
If you want to plan a Monday evening movie night in NYC this summer, make your way to Bryant Park for the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. Bryant Park is the summer destination for movie fanatics in NYC. Each week a different movie is showing on the lawn. With plenty of lawn seating and nearby street fair food carts, it’s an evening out that won’t break the bank. Join thousands of movie-loving visitors and locals as they pack Bryant Park for this bona fide NYC tradition. This year’s movie line-up presents another awesome season of exceptional outdoor cinema.
Summer Film Festival
Outside free film screenings are just one of the joys of NYC summers, and the Bryant Park setting is especially fun. Each year, HBO teams up with Bank of America and other partnerships, including the Bryant Park Corporation, to present free movies at sunset. Summer Mondays begin mid-June and run through mid-August. The lawn opens at 5:00 p.m. and the films start about 30 minutes after sunset. While the movies start at dusk, folks start streaming in when the park's dense, green lawn opens. Many people just head over straight from the office in their work clothes, with their blankets and takeout food in tow. Follow their lead and arrive early because the lawn tends to get quite crowded by sundown. This year get ready for exciting movies favorites, including Ghostbusters, Footloose and Back to the Future.
Available Food Choices
You can pack your own food or snacks, but all packages, bags and backpacks are subject to search. If you want to take advantage of on-site food options, you have plenty of choices such as:
• Bryant Park Grill & Café
• ‘Wichcraft Food Kiosks
• Southwest Porch
• Hester Street Fair food vendors
Bring a blanket and arrive early! Over 4,000 park chairs are set up, and are on a first come, first served basis. Bringing your own chairs, tables, tarps, plastic sheets or bags are not permitted.
How to Find Movies in Bryant Park
You can easily find Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan behind the New York Public Library between Fifth and Sixth Avenue and 40th and 42nd Streets. Just take the M, F, D or B train to the 42nd Street and Bryant Park exit, or take the 7 Train to 5th Avenue. Free bicycle parking is available in the park at 41st Street and 6th Avenue.
If you are looking for something fun to do in NYC, movies in Bryant Park will keep you occupied all summer long. Whether it’s family movies, classics, comedies, sing-a-longs or horror flicks, there's something for everyone!
Father’s Day weekend is one of the best times to visit New York City. Winter weather is officially long gone and the city is alive and bustling with many different activities and festivals. Whether it’s your first trip to the Big Apple with dad or the two of you are regular visitors, there are several fun and unique ways to enjoy the city this summer, including guided brunch cruises and dinner cruises. Sometimes the best way to get acquainted, or reacquainted, with NYC attractions is to enjoy a sightseeing tour. While the old standbys are always there, today there are many different custom and themed tours available for visitors and residents alike. Why not treat dad to something relaxing and different this Father’s Day?
Get Acquainted With a Sightseeing Tour
If it’s your first time exploring New York, one of the easiest ways to get familiar with the iconic landmarks and architecture of the city is to take a guided tour on land. You’ll get up close and personal with famous sites like:
• Times Square
• Central Park
• Brooklyn Bridge
• Empire State Building
• Chrysler Building
• Flatiron Building
• World Trade Center
• Much more.
This is just the beginning of what you can see on a land-based tour of New York.
Enjoy Brunch on a Boat Tour
Once you’re feeling more familiar with the Big Apple, why not take in the beauty of the skyline and landmarks in a whole new way? Brunch cruises are a fantastic way to enjoy NYC attractions with dad this Father’s Day. You’ll enjoy a world-class meal while you sail along the Hudson River and surrounding bay. This a great way to see the places you can’t appreciate from mainland, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
See the City Lights at Night With a Dinner Cruise
There’s something about New York at night. One of the best ways to enjoy the city skyline is at twilight, when the sun is setting and the city lights are twinkling. You and your dad will love one of the city’s many dinner cruises, which allows you to see NYC attractions at night while you enjoy fine cuisine and drinks.
Customize Your Cruise
Brunch cruises and dinner cruises depart at many different times throughout the day. You can plan your trip based on what you want to see and what kind of entertainment you want to enjoy aboard the boat. Durations and routes vary, so you can pick the best option for you and your dad. Whether you want to enjoy an outstanding meal, live music, or simply take in NYC attractions with dad this Father’s Day, you can’t miss one of the city’s great sightseeing tours.
There’s hardly any better time to be in New York City than the month of June, especially on father’s day weekend. Summer is in full swing, the city is alive with myriad different activities, and the surrounding bay and Hudson River are finally warm enough for a boat tour. Whether you and your dad are sailing aficionados or you’re simply looking for a fun and unique way to experience the Big Apple this summer, look no further than a sightseeing cruise with dad.
Why Take a Sailing Tour of NYC
It can sometimes be difficult to take in the majesty of New York City on foot or by taxi, especially when traffic is at its heaviest. Skyscrapers may not seem as impressive when you’re navigating a tangled urban jungle of towering buildings that all start to look the same. That’s why one of the best ways to appreciate the skyline and splendor of New York is by boat. You and your dad will be able to take in a complete view of the Big Apple and enjoy a fresh view and new appreciation for the city’s many famous buildings and landmarks. There’s just something about being on the open water that makes any sightseeing trip that much more adventurous and fun.
What You’ll See on a Sailing Tour of the Big Apple
From historic monuments to world-renowned architecture, you’ll be able to see it all on a sightseeing boat tour with dad this father’s day. While different cruise lines offer many different routes and options, most give you the ability to see all of the quintessential New York highlights. These include:
• The Statue of Liberty
• Brooklyn Bridge
• Empire State Building
• Chrysler Building
• World Trade Center
• Times Square
• Much more of the iconic New York City skyline.
That’s just the beginning! There are several options for specialized tours and routes depending on what you and your dad want to see on your boating tour of New York.
Customized Fun Awaits
If you and your dad like to get off the beaten path, there are many custom or themed boat tours available. You can take a sailing trip in conjunction with brunch, happy hour, or dinner. You can also choose the time of day and tour duration, with some cruise lines offering daylight, sunset, and night tours. Certain voyages also offer beer, wine, and even whiskey tastings. Others feature live entertainment by musicians or a DJ. It all depends on what you and dad are looking for! If you’re looking for a fun way to enjoy NYC this summer with dad, don’t miss a beautiful boat tour of the Big Apple.
If you’re looking for a fun and unusual way to ring in the summer or winter solstice in New York City, you’ll find much to be excited about at the semi-annual Make Music New York street festival. Held one the 21st of June and December every year, this street music festival is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. You won’t be just a bystander listening to live music; you’ll also be participating. Bring an open mind and sense of adventure to enjoy New York City’s hippest celebration of music and creativity.
About the Make Music New York Street Festival
While the Big Apple is no stranger to street festivals during the summer, the Make Music New York event has left its mark on the city. Originally started in 2006, the festival has been called the “largest music event ever to grace [NYC].” The event is truly unique, combining over 1,000 free concerts in different public spaces across the five boroughs of New York. These public spaces have traditionally included:
• Many others.
It all happens for just one day either on the summer or winter solstice. While the festival is unique to New York, it takes place in conjunction with similar events in over 700 cities around the world. When you come to the Make Music New York festival, you’re taking part in a truly global celebration of music. It all goes down between the hours of 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on the summer solstice; don’t miss it!
What You’ll See and Hear
Because the event features more than 1,000 live acts, you can expect to see and hear just about every musical genre on the planet. There truly is something for everyone, regardless of your age, background, or musical preferences. Some of the prominent genres you can expect to experience live include:
• Hip hop
• Punk rock
• Much more.
The Make Music New York festival isn’t limited professional bands or record label artists. The daylong event has been known to include everyone from high school bands to unsigned acts and high profile artists alike.
About the Make Music New York Organization
Make Music New York is a non-profit organization that got its start and original inspiration from the Paris-based Fête de la Musique event. The festival is now an international phenomenon that seeks to make music a participatory experience simultaneously in upwards of 726 different cities around the world. If you’re looking for something fun, different, and interactive to do in New York City this summer or winter, come take part in the world’s biggest celebration of music.
Those who love teaching and practicing dance are in for a treat this summer when NYC Dance Week once again descends on the city. Designed to recognize and showcase the diversity of dance across New York, the 10-day celebration features workshops, free classes and showcase opportunities for up-and-coming dance organizations and thousands of enthusiasts in an effort to increase exposure for the art form in the area.
This year’s Dance Week celebration runs from June 18 – 27, 2015, and starts with a Kick-Off Party featuring DJ Tasha Blank’s The Get-Down Dance Party. Following the high-energy party featuring great music and lively dance opportunities, the festivities to follow offer 10 days of free classes taught by industry notables and other innovators of dance in its various forms. Held at an array of different venues through New York City, NYC Dance Week connects the creative community while granting access to an array of inventive and complimentary dance lessons and symposiums. With an ultimate goal of helping dancers achieve optimum health and wellness through the art form, the annual event gives thousands of New York City dancers a chance to learn from the best without breaking the bank.
Thousands of dance enthusiasts make NYC Dance Week one of the most unforgettable cultural celebrations of the year. Virtually all forms of dance are covered and taught throughout the week and a half of free classes, including, but not limited to, jazz, ballet, swing, hip-hop and Latin dance styles. Additional attention is often given to other forms of artistic movement, such as yoga, pilates and aerial acrobatics. Additionally, dozens of top dance studios take part in the event each year in an attempt to raise overall awareness of the various dance opportunities that exist in the city and the health and emotional benefits of engaging in each.
Numerous volunteer opportunities abound for those who want to get involved in NYC Dance Week, whether with or without prior dance experience. Experts in social media, event production, photography and videography, among other areas, all play a key role in the successful production of the event.
In addition to giving event-goers the opportunity to try dance in its many forms, NYC Dance Week offers an assortment of academic opportunities instructing participants on everything from physical fitness to proper dance injury prevention. Educational symposiums vary by year, but are intended to offer an array of useful information to help dancers become healthier, more productive and more knowledgeable about their chosen passion.
Plentiful Opportunities to Explore One of the World’s Most Popular Art Forms
Those interested in experimenting with new dance styles, exploring area dances studios or connecting with dance instructors from across the community will find many opportunities for doing all three throughout NYC Dance Week.
A few days ago I found myself aimlessly shopping and was mildly surprised by the rather large assortment of flowered headbands and cropped fringe tops. That is, until I saw the giant signs posted throughout the store: “Festival Wear”. As one who has personally been to music festivals I have to say they are a great time; a great, expensive time. As a New Yorker the nearest musical festival would seemingly be Governor’s Ball, which is now over. But oh, how wrong I have been. There is a music festival right here that is largely free (yes FREE) in Brooklyn. Celebrate Brooklyn! is here and it’s definitely worth celebrating.
First of all did I mention most of it was FREE? Well it’s free, and I know that’s every New Yorker’s favorite number. The majority of the concerts will be at no cost, first come first serve. Bring your blankets and your comfy shoes as you enjoy professional dancers, artists, and singers perform at the Bandshell. It is important to note that while many events are free, some are ticketed.
Ok, great it’s a festival in Brooklyn but what is it and who is paying for it? Celebrate Brooklyn! is organized by a not-for-profit called Brooklyn Information and Culture (BRIC) that has been heavily involved in the establishment of the festival. BRIC and Celebrate Brooklyn! are far more than your average summer concert series. Both the festival and organizations behind it are acting to showcase just what Brooklyn has to offer. As a former Queens and current Manhattan dweller, I personally can’t wait to be partying in Prospect Park and everyone who can, should be joining me.
The lineup includes the grand dame of Funk herself Chaka Kahn on June 3rd and later acts such as Interpol and Esperanza Spalding. So what could be the problem? New Yorkers are busy. Between work, friends, drinking, and more work how is anyone supposed to go enjoy any of the excitement being offered? Well not to worry, busy bees! The entire Celebrate Brooklyn! event lasts until August 12th, where Willie Nelson will be performing a ticketed benefit concert. Yes, THE Willie Nelson.
Jamming out to Willie or any other of the array of musicians is far from the only inclination for potential festival-goers. Multiple dance companies and artists have banded together to create some truly spectacular shows. And you don’t need thick glasses, plaid shirts, a cup of coffee, and an apartment in Williamsburg to enjoy the spectacles. These are all-inclusive and universally interesting events. Celebrate Brooklyn! celebrates Brooklyn, not a select group of people. From traditional Brazilian dance pieces to the blaring fun of “I’m Every Woman” echoing through the streets, there is something for everyone. Which is what New York is all about isn’t it?
So you feel like going to Coachella but don’t have over $300 for tickets alone? Want to go rock out with body paint at Bonnaroo but can’t quite figure out how to get to Manchester, Tennessee (trust me it’s a trip)? Festivals have become as much a fad as the flower headbands that are inherently associated with them. Well we are lucky. Not only do we get to live in New York, but we have our own festival; one that does not cost hundreds of dollars or require a plane ticket. Best part? Celebrate Brooklyn! at Prospect Park is all summer long and adheres to any and all tastes. So take advantage, support the community, and show some love for Brooklyn! The links to the official website are included below, for your convenience and reading enjoyment. Or simply visit bricartsmedia.org and browse to your heart’s desire.
Whether your family is from Puerto Rico, you want to feel connected to a vibrant Latin American community in New York, or are simply looking for something fun and cultural to do in Manhattan this summer, be sure to check out the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade on the second Sunday in June. This year’s event is the 58th anniversary of the annual ceremonies and is set to be the biggest parade yet with over 100,000 expected to march.
About the Parade
Today, the Puerto Rican Parade is an annual recognition and celebration of the 4 million people of Puerto Rican heritage who now live in the United States. The original parade took place in 1958 in Spanish Harlem, or El Barrio, out of the necessity to create a public voice for Puerto Ricans living in New York. The parade now serves to demonstrate cultural pride while promoting several important initiatives in the Puerto Rican community in NYC including:
• Community engagement
• Cultural awareness
While the Puerto Rican Parade has serious roots in activism, today the event is fun-filled, light-hearted, and has something for everyone. You don’t have to be Puerto Rican to appreciate this grand event. In fact, the annual parade is now considered an essential part of summer in New York.
The Puerto Rican Parade takes place ever year along iconic Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on the second Sunday in June. This year’s event will occur on June 14 from 11am – 5pm and will march from 44th Street to 79th Street. There is no cost to attend. Plan to arrive early if you want prime viewing spots, as the parade has been known to attract well over three million spectators in years past. Note that bleacher seating in the review stand is not available to the public, as these seats are reserved for special honorees and sponsors.
What to Expect
This year’s parade is set to be the greatest and most memorable one yet! The whole family will enjoy watching the parade’s many floats and exhibits. All will be decked out in pride for Puerto Rico. Expect to see and experience:
• Puerto Rican music
• Latin dance
• The Queen of the Puerto Rican Parade
• Hundreds of vibrant and decorated floats
• Much more.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what’s in store at this year’s parade. You can’t miss it!
If you wish to participate by marching or joining a float, you can get involved by contacting the National Puerto Rican Day Parade Organization. Otherwise, simply bring your friends and family to Fifth Avenue on the second Sunday in June to enjoy and support the annual Puerto Rican Parade.
Whether you have roots in Ireland or are simply looking for something fun and unique to do in NYC, you can’t miss the Irish Festival in Staten Island this summer. Fun for all ages, this year’s fair brings together an ensemble of Irish music, dance, food, and more. The event is particularly important this year, as it commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Irish Civil War and honors those who gave their lives during battle. It’s sure to be an epic celebration, so don’t miss it!
About the Staten Island Irish Festival
It’s no secret that the Irish love community, and that’s what the Irish Festival in Staten Island is all about. For the past 17 years, some 5000 people have turned out annually for the ceremonies, and that number has grown exponentially in recent years. You’ll find your very own slice of Ireland in Staten Island this summer, complete with all of the food, music, and craic that will make you feel like you’re walking down the streets of Dublin.
This year’s Irish Festival takes place on June 13th and 14th from 12 – 7:30pm at the Staten Island Boys Football League grounds on Travis Avenue and South Avenue. Admission is $12 for general and children under the age of 12 may attend for free. Pre-sale tickets are available at various outlets for $8. Bring cash if you wish to purchase tickets at the gate. Free parking is available onsite at the Staten Island Boys Little League. If that lot becomes full, there is additional parking in a nearby overflow lots with a free shuttle service to and from the front gates of the festival.
What to Expect
There is truly fun for the whole family at this year’s Irish Festival! No matter how old you are, you’ll love experiencing a taste of Irish music, dance, food, and culture. Some of the great activities planned for this year’s event include:
• Irish dancing lessons
• Bagpipe and drums music
• Land of Leprechauns play area for kids
• Tinker’s Shopping Village
• Live traditional and modern Irish music
• Much more.
Entertainment will also be on hand for little ones including face painting, games, and story time.
Get Involved at This Exciting Festival
If you want to enjoy a deeper experience and get involved with the Staten Island Irish Festival, there are many great volunteer opportunities available. Whether you want to help out or simply attend as a visitor, you can’t miss all of the excitement that’s in store at this year’s Staten Island Irish Festival.
If you are looking for a fun and unique thing to do in NYC this summer, be sure to check out all of the excitement and entertainment at the Lower East Side Festival known as DayLife. With several different events throughout the warmer months, DayLife has become known as the one of the best summer kickoff parties in the Lower East Side. In June, the festival will return with a special event called Lower EAT Side that features the neighborhood’s finest foods, fashion, music, and more.
About the Lower East Side Festival
The goal of next month’s Lower East Side Festival is to showcase the neighborhood’s vibrant entrepreneurial scene. It brings together chefs, fashion designers, and other artisans who help to make the area what it is today. DayLife is about much more than delicious food and great music, however. It’s also where New York past meets New York present. The festival is full of modern and hip activities that breathe fresh life and community into the historic neighborhood. Consider the Lower East Side your very own urban backyard all summer long!
All DayLife events including the Lower EAT Side festival take place every summer between Delancey Street and East Houston Street. This year’s Lower EAT Side event takes place on Sunday, June 14 from 12 – 5pm. All festivals are free of charge and feature a full range of entertainment, typically including live music, art demos, fine foods, and much more. Some of the food vendors that will be at this summer’s festivals include:
• Mimi and Coco
• Heartbeet Juicery
• Pies N Thighs
• Moscow 57
• Melt Bakery
• The Meatball Shop
• Goodfellas Brick Over Pizza
• Georgia’s BBG
• Tache Chocolates
• A Casa Fox
• La Newyorkina
• Insomnia Cookies
• An Artistic Taste
• Many more.
These are just some of the great, local vendors ready to serve up delicious bites all summer along at the Lower East Side Festival.
The Big Apple isn’t just for the young and hip anymore! The Lower East Side Festival is family friendly and has something fun in store for everyone. No matter what age you are, you’ll love getting in on all the action at this year’s DayLife festivals. Some of the activities you can expect to see include:
• Giant Jenga games
• Hula hooping contests
• Matchmaking services
• Fitness tests and challenges
• Guided yoga lessons
• Much more.
If you’re looking for a fun and different thing to do in NYC with friends and family this summer, don’t miss the Lower East Side Festival and all of the action that it has in store.