When the warm weather arrives, New Yorkers venture outdoors to indulge in the pleasure of their green spaces. Many cultural festivals coincide with spending time in the fresh air, often in some of New York’s most iconic settings.
Many visitors are aware of the fabulous Shakespeare in the Park performances (where Shakespeare plays are experienced for free under the stars in Central Park), but there are many more options for a dose of culture this summer. Immerse yourself in the arts with these three top cultural events spread throughout June and July.
Through July 13
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, a Midsummer Night Swing is a series of events designed to get people dancing. Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center is transformed into an open-air ballroom where you can sign up for your first salsa or swing lesson, or simply admire the music and dance performances. Musicians such as the Spanish Harlem Orchestra will provide the soundtrack while international dance experts in tango, salsa, and more will lead the lessons.
Through July 14
More than 150 events at 28 sites will lead you to incredible places throughout lower Manhattan in the River to River (R2R) Festival. This celebration of art extends to venues such as the Seaport Museum, 100 Wall Street, the New York City Police Museum and many more, with each location hosting events spanning a wide range of artistic categories, including dance, theater, film, music, poetry and spoken word. Examine the installation of Fluid: Construct, depicting the interplay between water and the city and the complicated debates the relationship engenders given the effect of Hurricane Sandy; watch artists improvise with projections set to music in The Joshua Light Show; and more. Over 30 days, this section of lower Manhattan displays the dynamic arts community found within.
July 6 to 28
For the daring and inventive on stage, check out the theater, music, and opera offered in the Lincoln Center Festival. These events allow you to escape the heat in some of Lincoln Center’s best-known performance spaces, including Avery Fisher Hall. Influences from around the globe have been gathered for this festival, founded with the intention of presenting audiences with new and exciting cultural entertainment they won’t find elsewhere in the city. This year, work from more than 50 countries will be represented at the festival, including The Blind, an a cappella opera by Russian-born Lera Auerbach, performances by Sinead O’Connor and the Mongolian folk music of Hanggai Band.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Yatarola