Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn’

Free Activities In the City!

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

written by Adam Davis

It might be tempting to stay in the office or the apartment during the hottest months, but New York City offers plenty of free summer activities that don’t involve huddling by the air conditioner.  And what better time is there to relax, meet new people, and enjoy some arts and culture?

The best part of summer is Summerstage, a performing arts festival that includes dancers, singers, and even poets and novelists.  This year Summerstage is expanding to include performances in parks throughout New York City, thus making these can’t-miss shows available to people in all five boroughs.  During its 25 years, Summerstage has hosted over 1,700 notable artists and writers, including David Bowie, M.I.A., Toni Morrison, and Joni Mitchell.  This summer’s lineup consists of 91 free shows, including artists such as Dan Deacon, White Rabbits, and Public Enemy, along with a four-night concert featuring the alternative rock band Pavement.  See for specific dates and times of various shows.

If you appreciate classical music, you have to check out the New York Philharmonic, or the “Big Five.”  They are the oldest orchestra in America by almost four decades and had their record-setting 14,000th concert in 2004.  During the summer, the “Big Five” perform for free at parks in all the boroughs, but most often at the Great Lawn in Central Park.  All shows begin at 8 p.m. and are followed by fireworks.  Check out for a full schedule.

On the other hand, if Sting, Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5 and Lady Gaga are more your taste, the Today Show summer concert series offers a chance to see them for free, if you are willing to get up early enough.  The concerts are hosted at Rockefeller Center at 7 a.m. on Friday mornings, but you have to get there up to two hours earlier (depending on the popularity of the performer) to ensure you get in.  For more info, go to and click on “Concert Series.

For those who look forward to summer blockbusters, Bryant Park’s Summer Film Festival shows movies—albeit classic ones—every Monday night. The lawn opens at 5 p.m. for blankets and picnicking and the films begin at dusk, usually between 8 and 9 p.m., but make sure to get there early in order to secure a good spot and enjoy some classic animated shorts. Some films scheduled to appear on the 20-foot screen this summer are Goldfinger, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Rosemary’s Baby.  To get a complete list of films and dates, visit and click on “Summer Film Festival.”

Another interesting thing to check out is the Brooklyn Flea Market, which moves outside during the summer. The flea market has recently expanded from its original venue in Fort Greene to include a second location at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The Brooklyn Bridge Flea Market features over 100 vendors, with antiques, jewelry, and local artwork galore. If you get hungry while browsing, feel free to sample some of the unique local foods like McClure’s Pickles, Early Bird Granola, or fresh lobster rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound. The Brooklyn Bridge Flea starts June 14th and takes place every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  To see the latest finds, check

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The Northside Festival

Monday, June 7th, 2010

Along with barbecues, beach parties, and baseball games, summer brings along with it an enormous heaping of music festivals. Later on this week in Tennessee, music acts like Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder, and Jay-Z will be playing at Bonnaroo. In July, the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago is boasting Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem, and Pavement as headliners. Come August, also in Chicago, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, as well as The Strokes will play what will probably be amazing sets at the gargantuan Lollapalooza. I, personally, would love to pack up and hit up all of these festivals, and more, if not for the fact that I just recently overdrew from my bank account. I simply cannot afford it.

So what is a guy with a current balance of -$2.58 supposed to do? Thankfully, The L Magazine has my back. From June 24 – 27 Brooklyn will be graced with the Northside Festival. In its second year, the festival is dedicated to independent musicians and filmmakers who have a history within the borough. The lineup, which is as eclectic as Brooklyn itself, is featuring some relatively prominent acts such as Islands and Wavves, but the main drawing point is the multitude of lesser-known acts, which are sure to find some new fans at the festival.

I’m mainly looking forward to seeing one of my favorite bands of all time, Les Savy Fav, play yet another hilariously raucous set filled with catchy post-punk riffs and costume changes. Yes, costume changes. Also playing is Titus Andronicus, whose latest album, The Monitor, is so good that I cannot stop listening to it or recommending it to everyone for the past two months since I’ve heard it.

Unlike those other festivals I mentioned, tickets to the Northside Festival aren’t offensively ridiculous. If you’re over 21, $50 can get you a badge which will get you into all of the shows playing as a part of the festival on a first-come/first-serve basis. These badges will also net you some sweet discounts with local food and drink sellers. If you’re not over 21, or you don’t want to go to every show, you can pick and choose and buy individual tickets at the different venues. Ticket prices range from $10 to $18. I think even I can manage that.

Thanks, Brooklyn. You’ve shown me, yet again, that even though I could go somewhere else, why should I?

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