Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Guide

Lately I have been attending a great many free events in NYC. No place really does it like New York in the summer time. There are endless really fun, really free things going on nearly any night of the week. And they couldn’t have come along too soon.

NYC is the kind of city that gets on your nerves from time to time. Sometimes it is just too expensive and too crowded. Sometimes it makes you want to move away where everything isn’t dirty and people aren’t swarming everything. And then, it goes and does something fabulous like these AWESOME free summer activities, and lures you back in again. All plans of moving are forgotten, and the love affair begins anew.

I received a copy of the Vanity Fair guide to summer.  It is a good start to events and awesome places to go all over the city, but it is not exhaustive. I suggest checking the websites of common venues listed to find out more info that didn’t make the cut, and stopping by the South Street Seaport to pick up a guide of the river to river music festivals going on. There were so many things listed inside that I had to make a google calendar to capture everything I want to do, just so I don’t miss anything important. I am not messing around with my summer fun.

So far without shelling out any dough, I have seen:
-Maxwell perform 3 sets (sound check, warm up, actual show for Today)—This kind of changed my life it was so great
-The Macy’s fireworks display –If you think it looks fantastic on TV, it is simply amazing in person
-Annie Hall screened outdoors on Pier 1 of the Brooklyn Bridge Park –The city just redid this park, and it is brand spanking new. The grass is plush, the view of Manhattan is perfect.
-The Roots and Talib Kweli in Prospect Park as part of Celebrate Brooklyn (this was a $3 donation, but totally worth it!!)

These events haven’t just been mediocre. I have had nothing short of a FANTASTIC time at all of the things listed above. Maxwell performed for much longer than televised, and I was within 15 feet of him the entire time. I shudder to think what tickets that close must have cost at Madison Square Garden. I viewed the fireworks from a blanket on a grassy area that I had been picnicking on all day long (with cocktails), and waited only a half hour until everyone dispersed. Annie Hall was crowded, but we arrived around 7 (movie starting at 9), and managed to snag a spot right up front. They had dj’s playing until the movie started, food vendors, and a very relaxed policy towards drinking wine in public. The Roots and Talib Kweli were just wonderful. They are really two performers who are even better live than on CD-out of control good. I couldn’t stop marveling that it was free the entire time I was there. The concert went on for about 4 hours straight with a couple brief bouts of dj’ed music in between. I could not believe how long they performed for, while dancing around the stage. It was incredible.

Put simply, when NYC does something, it does it right, and almost makes up for how hot and gross it is during the summer. I plan to try to attend as many of these summer events as I can.

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