Here Are The 5 Best NYC Things To Do In July
Summer really started out right this past June, which may have been the busiest month for fun, mostly free events, and festivities that I can ever remember. And there's no slowing down in July! Well, maybe a little–we do need some days off, too, with nothing more pressing to do than lounge around and laugh and read in the sun–but still, a quick look at all the things going on in July tells me that soon there will be no such thing as a slow season in this city. Anyway, in addition to all of the ongoing art exhibitions, both public and in museums, as well the scads of free movie and concert series, here's a highly subjective list of the 5 Best NYC Events in July..
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot (July 9th – August 15th)
Construction on their traditional venue–an actual, working municipal parking lot on the Lower East Side–forced the great Shakespeare in the Parking Lot to relocate for this, their 20th season. And though the Drilling Company's new outdoor digs behind the Clemente on Norfolk Street are much more sheltered from those street interruptions that were part of the series's charm, both the choice of the plays the summer (first As You Like, then Macbeth) and past performances (ranging from engaging and creative to near-stellar) make this something I'm certainly going to try and see. Plus it's free! Not sure of the seating situation at the Clemente, but if it's anything like the old spot, you want to get there early to snag one of the chairs, as sitting on the asphalt for two hours or so is far more than I can ask of these old bones. As You Like It will be performed on Thursdays through Saturday, July 9 to 26, at 8:00 p.m. Macbeth can be seen from July 30 to August 15, also on Thursday through Saturday nights.
4Knots Festival (July 11th)
This can get a little crowded–and standing way at the back isn't ideal, sound- and sight-line-wise–but the annual day of sunshine and sweet tunes known as 4Knots will once again turn your Saturday into a party. Now in a new venue, at Pier 84 in Hudson River Park, the spiritual and literal heir to the legendary Siren Fest, which was held out on Coney Island in the mid-aughts, the Village Voice-organized and sponsored 4Knots Music Festival 2015 boasts a terrific line-up of well-established and emerging indie bands. The headliner this year is Super Furry Animals, who will follow the likes of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Screaming Females, and Mikal Cronin. A well-curated food court (Dos Toros, Luzzo's pizza, Gelato Ti Amo) and plenty of adult beverages complete the scene. Sadly, even the non-VIPs have to pay this year, so we'll see if that, and the new venue on the Hudson, change the usually-fun and chill vibe of festivals past.
Bastille Day Celebrations (July 12th)
Celebrate the storming of the Bastille in 1790 and the French Revolution that followed by day-drinking, playing (or cheering on) pétanque, and eating rich, saucy food as if it's your last meal before going to the guillotine at one of two big Bastille Day parties in the city. In Manhattan, large crowds take over 60th Street between Fifth and Lexington Avenues for a family-friendly affair featuring chocolate and champagne tastings, activities for kids, and performances by Can-Can dancers and the great Hungry March Band. Or head to Smith Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, for Bar Tabac's elaborate and usually pretty raucous fete, where you'll find a dozen or so pétanque sand courts (more than 72 teams compete!), loud live music, enormous amounts of food and drink, and tons of good-looking people having a blast.
City of Water Day (July 18th)
It's really been only in the past decade or so the New York City has re-(re- re-)-discovered its amazing waterfront, with the development of, for example, the East River Esplanade, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Hudson River Park. It's appropriate, then, that this year's City of Water Day, organized by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, should be the biggest, most far-reaching celebration yet. There will be lots of activities on Governors Island, including a zany-sounding Cardboard Kayak Race, and all of the boat houses and kayak launches on both the Hudson and East Rivers will be loaded with crews, but the real excitement for me are all the free boat tours launching from locations all around town (and across the Hudson, in Hoboken). Specifics on the free boat tours haven't been announced yet, but last year the group apparently shipped out more than 5,400 landlubbers on 35 separate tours.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors (July 22nd – August 9th)
It's been a remarkable 43 years now that the impeccably-curated Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival has packed the plaza with outdoor entertainment, from musical, spoken word, and dance performances to movies and special kid-friendly events. Forty three years, and all for free! That makes this the longest-running festival of its kind in the country and, as has lately been the case, the 2015 line up is jam-packed with all sorts of cultural pleasures. To even list highlights is a bit ridiculous when there's this much talent involved, but the opening night features the Muscle Shoals All-Stars, and Gaby Moreno, Randy Newman, Lil Buck, Judy Collins, the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Lyle Lovett (and many more!) all make appearances until the festival ends on August 9.