Public Summer Events in New York City
written by Keumjae Park, Local Arrangements Committee Chair
(Accessibility varies by site. Please consult each location’s website.)
Summer Streets 2019 (August 3, 10, 17)
On the first three weeks in August, nearly seven miles of street are open to people and many activities take place. Held between 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, Summer Streets extends from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park along Park Avenue and connecting streets, with easy access from all points in New York City. Activities at Summer Streets are free of charge, and designed for people of all ages and ability levels to share the streets.
Coney Island Friday Night Fireworks (August 9)
Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk have been the quintessential summer experience for New Yorkers for generations. There are fireworks at display on Friday nights during July and August. Time: 9:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Location: Between West 10th Street and West 15th Street (in Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk). This is a free event.
Harlem Week 2019 (July 28-August 24)
Harlem week celebrates its 45th year in 2019. Over 100 events between July 28 and August 24 showcase Harlem’s rich history and culture. Harlem week celebrates African, African-American, Caribbean, Hispanic and European history, culture, arts, entertainment, and religion.
Shakespeare in the Park (End of May through August)
Shakespeare in the Park is a free program offered by The Public Theatre. Beloved Shakespeare plays are presented at the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park from end of May through end of August.
The Intrepid Museum Summer Movie Series
You can watch movies free of charge at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum during the summer.
Free Events at Flushing Town Hall
Located on Northern Boulevard, Flushing NY, Flushing Town Hall is a landmark building that is now used for space for arts, performances, and educational programs. It holds free events throughout the year. Flushing is the home to diverse immigrant communities including a large Chinese and Korean communities. Reachable from Manhattan by #7 train.
City Parks’ Summer Stage 2019 (May-October)
Summer Stage is New York City’s outdoor performing arts festival, taking place in Central Park and in over a dozen neighborhood parks around the city. The program features music from around the world as well as New York City’s diverse communities, “from indie to Afrobeat, Latin trap to soul, reggae to contemporary dance, fado to EDM, and everything in between.” Many performances are free event, and others need tickets. Website: https://cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage/
Bryant Park Events and Activities (Year-round)
Bryant Park is an oasis in midtown Manhattan. It is adjacent to the New York Public Library on 42nd Street, only 0.4 mile from the SSSP conference hotel. A 7-minute walk from the Roosevelt hotel (between 40th and 42nd Street, and between 5th and 6th Avenue), the park hosts many free activities and events, including Broadway Hits in Bryant Park performances on Thursdays in July and August. Check Bryant Park’s calendar of events as the conference date gets near.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors Free Performance Program
Lincoln Center offers free outdoor performances of music and dance in diverse genres. For future updates, please check the Lincoln Center website. http://www.lincolncenter.org/out-of-doors
New York Restaurant Week (July 22-August 16)
Not a free event, but some members may be interested. Twice a year, during NY Restaurant Week, hundreds of participating restaurants offer prix-fixe meals for $26 (two-course lunch) and $42 (three-course dinner) during weekdays. Check updates as July approaches. Website: https://www.nycgo.com/restaurant-week?cid=em_et_RW_EBLAST_072213
Public Event Information Site
Events12.com provides useful information and an event calendar for free and ticketed events in New York City. Some of the events/performances in August include Performing Arts of India, Jazz in Central Park, “Warm Up” Dance performances at MoMA PS1 (in Queens), and Battery Dance Festival at Robert F. Wagner Junior Park in Lower Manhattan. For the calendar, see the website: https://www.events12.com/newyork/august/.
Social Justice Themed Tours in Manhattan and Brooklyn
Social Justice Tours is a non-profit organization which offers social justice themed walking tours on gentrification, environmental justice, and reproductive freedom. Tour dates are limited to a few times a month. Dates and topics can be found at the website. They offer a group tour entitled "Reproductive Freedom in Lower Manhattan" on August 10th, 2019. Interested members should directly contact them for information including accessibility information: https://socialjusticetours.com/current-tours
Lesser Known Museums and Exhibitions
Museum of New York City
The museum’s exhibition illuminates the great city’s history, from a Dutch colonial village to the 21 Century’s global hub and financial power. Notable exhibitions this year include:
- New York City at Its Core
- Activist New York
In addition to the exhibition, there are online resources featuring several archived exhibitions about New York’s activism. Link to the online material can be found at this website. https://www.mcny.org/exhibition/activist-new-york
- PRIDE: Photographs of Stonewall and Beyond by photographer Fred W. McDarrah (Opening on June 6) https://www.mcny.org/exhibition/pride
- City of Workers, City of Struggle: How Labor Movements Changed New York (Opening on May 1, 2019) https://www.mcny.org/exhibitions
The New York Historical Society Museum and Library 2019 Exhibitions (170 Central Park West and 77th St.)
- Stonewall 50 at New York Historical Society (May 24-September 22)
The New York Historical Society organizes two new exhibitions and a special installation to commemorate 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Letting Loose and Fighting Back: LGBTQ Nightlife. By the Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and a special graphic installation, Say It Loud, Out and Proud: Fifty Years of Pride. https://www.nyhistory.org/exhibitions/stonewall-50-new-york-historical-society
- Revolutionary Summer Outdoor Exhibit (June 4-September 22)
Historical displays and programming to celebrate the American Revolutionary War at the New York Historical Society. https://www.nyhistory.org/exhibitions/revolutionary-summer
- LIFE’s Women (June 8-October 6)
Only six women photographers worked at the iconic LIFE magazine between 1930s and 1970s. This exhibit features more than 80 images showcasing the extraordinary work created by the six pioneering women. https://www.nyhistory.org/exhibitions/life%E2%80%99s-women
- Center for Women’s History
Check out the Center for Women’s History which features year-round installations and exhibitions celebrating women of diverse race, class, and sexuality, who shaped the culture and history of the United States. https://www.nyhistory.org/womens-history/exhibitions
Brooklyn Museum and The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
The museum’s collection includes European arts, Asian arts, Islamic arts, and Egyptian arts. The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art on the 4th floor is a 8,300 square feet space dedicated to the history of feminist arts, including a gallery dedicated to Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party (1974-79). https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/collections/22
The National Museum of the American Indian–New York
Located in the southern tip of Manhattan, the New York branch of the National Museum of the American Indian explores the diversity of the Native people of the Americas. The museum offersexhibitions, research, education and performing art programs. https://americanindian.si.edu/visit/newyork/
The Tenement Museum
The museum tells the story of immigrant communities of early 20th Century and is a great place to reflect upon New York City’s rich immigrant history. The museum offers walking tours of Lower East side neighborhood and the “Meet the Residents” tour performed by costumed interpreters. http://www.tenement.org/
African Burial Ground National Monument
Uncovered in 1991, the African Burial Ground is the nation’s earliest and largest African burial site. The Visitor Center exhibitions illustrate the history of New Amsterdam and the lives of enslaved and free African laborers who built the city. There is an outside memorial monument to commemorate the sacred ground. https://www.nps.gov/afbg/index.htm
Please go to Optional Walking Tours link, https://www.sssp1.org/index.cfm/m/764/Optional_One-Day_Workshops/, if you are interested in joining our walking tour.
Boroughs outside Manhattan
DUMBO stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. This former industrial area is now home to galleries, shops, and restaurants and one of the most visited spots in Brooklyn. The area includes 85-acre water front Brooklyn Bridge Park and the popular Jane’s Carousel. On Sundays in summer, the Brooklyn Flea market is set up in the area. Brooklyn Bridge Park and neighborhood information. https://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/park
The Bushwick Collective, Brooklyn
The Bushwick Collective is an outdoor gallery of murals, graffiti, and street arts, anchored at the intersection of Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn. A New York Time article about the area: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/nyregion/a-son-of-bushwick-turns-the-neighborhood-into-a-gallery-for-street-art.html
Long Island City and Astoria, Queens
Across the East River from Manhattan, Long Island City and in Astoria are home to several art museums, including the Noguchi Museum (https://www.noguchi.org/museum/history), Socrates Sculpture Park (http://socratessculpturepark.org/visit/directions-and-hours/), Sculpture Center (http://www.sculpture-center.org/), MoMA PS1 (https://momaps1.org/), and Museum of the Moving Image (http://www.movingimage.us/).
The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx
Established in 1891, this 250-acre garden is an urban oasis and a leading institution in plant research and conservation. Located in the Bronx, NYBG can be reached by Metro North Harlem Line from the Grand Central Station and by Subway lines B, D, or 4. https://www.nybg.org/visit/
Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx
Woodlawn Cemetery is a National Historic Landmark and an active non-sectarian cemetery. It is known for its architecture and sculptures, and known as the resting place of many historic figures, including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Celia Cruz, Madam C.J. Walker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, Fiorello LaGuardia, J. C. Penney, and Augustus Julliard. Woodlawn Conservancy offers a guided tour of the cemetery on the second Sunday of each month (August 11, 2-4pm). Metro North Harlem Line from the Grand Central Station and by Subway line 4.