New York City may be one of the most expensive places to live in the country, but its boroughs are teeming with free cultural and neighborhood events — especially during the summer months. Here are our top picks for the first weekend of August.
We Are Brooklyn: A Community Block Party
Ingersoll Community Center, 177 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn
August 4; 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
As part of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, a family-friendly block party will be hosted on Saturday outside the Ingersoll Community Center. In addition to live music performed by a host of local favorites, including DJ FlyTy, the festivities include art-making workshops, a community paint day, a bike tour and Afro-Haitian dance. The event is free with an RSVP.
Out of Doors: Heritage Sunday Dance Party
Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center, Manhattan
August 5; 5 p.m.
DJ Rekha, who rose to local prominence through the Basement Bhangra parties, will be holding down the DJ booth while attendees are encouraged to dance around the Revson Fountain. The event is presented in association with the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and the Center for Art, Tradition and Cultural Heritage.
Brooklyn Bridge to the E. 72nd St. entrance to Central Park
August 4; 7 a.m.-1 p.m.
The 11th annual Summer Streets celebration kicks off this Saturday, clearing seven miles of roadway along the east side of Manhattan for pedestrians and activities. The event list is seemingly endless, although we’re partial to the arts and cultural events clustered between East 51st and 52nd Streets.
Brooklyn Museum First Saturday
200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn
August 4; 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
This weekend, the Brooklyn Museum is inviting the community to celebrate Caribbean culture. Free activities include movement workshops led by choreographer Jessica Phoenix, as well as poetry readings by Caribbean-identified poets Rico Frederick, Erica Mapp and Camille Rankine. For those who are artistically inclined, there is also a “drink and draw” session in which attendees have the opportunity to sketch from live models.
Great Jazz on the Great Hill
Great Hill in Central Park, Manhattan (enter at W. 106th St. and Central Park West)
August 4; 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
Grab a picnic basket and head to the Great Hill in Central Park for a celebration of jazz and swing dancing. Enjoy live performances from Jimmy Heath and his 16 piece big band, R&B vocalist Alyson Williams and Winard Harper & Friends. The 11th annual event, which is sponsored by the Central Park Conservancy, is dependent upon good weather. An RSVP is recommended.
Top Image: Summer Streets Celebration; Courtesy of New York City Department of Transportation