101 things to do in the summer in New York City 2012

Our picks for the best events and things to do in the summer in NYC. Make a checklist, keep track on our Facebook app... just get outside and get started.

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  • 51. Stay cool with hot jazz outdoors at the Louis Armstrong House Museum

  • Photograph: Angel Ceballos

    52. Rub elbows with indie-rockers at the Northside Festival

    Pictured: Crystal Stilts

  • 53. Commune with carnivores at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party

     

     

  • Photograph: Alexandra Stonehill (Universe, 2009)

    54. Watch movies on the Elevated Acre

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    55. Explore City Island

  • 56. Get out on the water

  • 57. Get crabs in Red Hook

    Pictured: Brooklyn Crab (under construction)

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    58. See the one-of-its-kind Giglio Sunday

  • Photograph: Muema / BounceFM.com

    59. Set sail for party land

    Pictured: 718 Sessions Boat Party

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    60. Take a dip in the big blue ocean with the Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers

51. Stay cool with hot jazz outdoors at the Louis Armstrong House Museum

51

Stay cool with hot jazz outdoors

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Perhaps you need an extra reason to travel to Corona, Queens, to check out the Louis Armstrong House Museum, where Satchmo lived from 1943 until his death in 1971. How about a Hot Jazz/Cool Garden party in Armstrong’s Japanese-inspired garden with a live band and swing dancing? The monthly parties begin in June with the trad jazz stylings of the Hot Sardines. While you’re there, make sure to take a docent-led tour (included in the ticket price, $15) of the historic house. Can’t spring for admission? Then attend the free annual block party (Aug 16 at 7pm), sponsored by Jazzmobile, to see multi–Grammy Award winner Arturo Sandoval blow his trumpet.

  1. 34-56 107th St, (between 34th and 37th Aves)
More info
52
Crystal Stilts

Rub elbows with indie rockers at the Northside Festival

  • Critics choice

More than 350 bands are expected to descend upon Williamsburg for this year’s Northside Festival, which feature a plethora of indie-rock showcases. We’re pretty jazzed to catch a bill with Velvet Underground–nodding hometown heroes Crystal Stilts; Wymond Miles of pleasing San Fran rockers the Fresh & Onlys; and Var, a new side project of punishing Danish punk band Iceage (Glasslands Gallery; popgunbooking.com; June 17 at 8:30pm; $12). This year’s lineup also throws a few welcome curveballs, such as the perpetually pissed one-liner comic Neil Hamburger (Knitting Factory; June 17 at 9pm, doors 8pm; $14, advance $12) and Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA performing his classic hip-hop LP Liquid Swords (Music Hall of Williamsburg; June 14 at 8:30pm, 11:30pm; sold out). • Visit northsidefestival.com for a complete schedule.

  1. June 14–21
53

Commune with carnivores at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Meat lovers can make their annual pilgrimage to Madison Square Park for this gut-busting ’cuefest. Some of the nation’s top pit masters—including chefs from local spots like Hill Country, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Blue Smoke—will be manning the flames, dispatching grub for $8 a plate. Cough up $125 for a FastP-pass to skip the lines; otherwise expect a lengthy wait for your ribs. In between plates of meat, listen to live bluegrass tunes and check out the free seminars and cooking demos. • bigapplebbq.org.

  1. 23rd St to 26th St, (between Fifth Ave and Madison Ave)
More info
54

Watch movies on the Elevated Acre

  • Free

For this year’s Movie Nights on the Elevated Acre, the River to River series teams up with Tribeca Film to screen three of the company’s recent acquisitions—Stella Days (June 18), Collaborator (June 25) and Side by Side (July 9). Don’t miss the latter; the documentary about Hollywood’s switch from film to digital formats was one of our ten favorite movies at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Show up early to nab a spot on the lawn and catch a short film before the screening.

  1. 55 Water St, (off of Old Slip)
More info
55
City Island

Explore City Island

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Spend the day in a sleepy seaside destination without leaving NYC. The Bronx’s City Island is just a short public-transit trek away (take the 6 train to the end of the line and then hop on the BX29 bus to City Island) and offers fresh seafood and a salty breeze. Stroll along City Island Avenue, the mile-and-a-half-long main drag, stopping to check out the quirky antique shops along the way. You’ll find the Lobster Box (34 City Island Ave at Belden St, Bronx; 718-885-1952, lobsterboxrestaurant.com), a family-owned restaurant with Long Island Sound views, near the southern tip. Take a seat at the clam bar and sample seafood-shack fare like a lobster roll ($16) or a crab-cake sandwich ($16). If you have room for dessert, head up the street and partake in a few scoops from Lickety Split (295 City Island Ave between Fordham and Hawkins Sts, Bronx; 718-885-9654, licketyspliticecream.biz). Don’t leave without perusing the City Island Historical Society and Nautical Museum and, if you’re a movie buff, ask locals to point you to the beautiful old home known as the Queen Anne, which was seen in both The Royal Tenenbaums and Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

56
Go kayaking from the Downtown Boathouse

Get out on the water

  • Critics choice
  • Free

While you’d probably never consider swimming in the moat surrounding Manhattan, you can still indulge in some aquatic activity with a kayaking excursion on the Hudson. Head to one of the Downtown Boathouse’s three locations on the island’s West Side for free weekend river outings (Pier 40; Pier 96; West Side Hwy at 72nd St; downtownboathouse.org; Sat, Sun, holidays 9am–6pm from all locations, plus Mon–Fri 5–7pm at Pier 96 weather permitting; free; through mid-October). Free paddling is also available courtesy of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse (Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park; bbpboathouse.org; Sat 10:30am–4:30pm, select Thu 5:30–7:30pm; free; June 9–Sept 15), which has added extra after-work dates on select Thursdays and will be unveiling a new floating dock later in the summer that should cut down on wait times, which were often more than an hour last summer. If you find yourself in Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, opt for the free 20-minute sessions in Hallet’s Cove, presented in conjunction with the Long Island City Boathouse (select Sat, Sun 1–5pm, tide and weather permitting; 718-228-9214, licboathouse.org; May 27—Oct 7).

  1. Various locations
57
Brooklyn Crab under construction

Get crabs in Red Hook

  • Critics choice

The owners of Alma, one of our top ten outdoor restaurants, are opening new seafood joint Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook this summer that’s shaping up to be a glorious place to spend a balmy evening. Chow down on plates of crab, lobster, mussels, clams and oysters while watching the sun set behind the New York Harbor from the patio or roof deck. Take a break from the gorging by playing 18 holes of minigolf, or taking a turn on one of three bocce or two cornhole courts. The seafood shack will also run a free first-come, first-served shuttle from the Carroll Street subway stop (Mon–Thu, Sun 6–10pm; Fri, Sat 6–11pm; every 20 minutes), and there are bike racks provided for two-wheelers. The Crab hopes to open before mid-June; visit brooklyncrab.com for updates.  (718-643-2722). Mon–Thu, Sun 4–10pm; Fri, Sat 4–11pm.

  1. 24 Reed St between Conover and Van Brunt Sts, Red Hook, Brooklyn
58

See the one-of-its-kind Giglio Sunday

Every July since 1903, the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has hosted one of Williamsburg’s more unusual festivals. Around 100 men, known as paranzas, lift a four-ton, 65-foot aluminum tower (the giglio) covered in papier-mâché flowers onto their shoulders and parade it along Havemeyer Street to meet another gaggle of paranzas carrying an equally cumbersome boat topped with a band, a singer and an effigy of Saint Paulinus. All this fanfare is to celebrate Paulinus, who is said to have liberated child slaves in ancient Southern Italy. The kooky pageantry, known as the Dance of the Giglio, is followed by a street fair encompassing three blocks (Havemeyer St between North 7th and North 9th Sts) with Italian treats from sausages to zeppoles, games for children and carnival rides.

  1. 275 North 8th St, (at Havemeyer St)
More info
59
718 Sessions Boat Party

Set sail for party land

Pull on your dancing shoes and sea legs for our two top boat parties this summer. The monthly soulful-house and classics tea party 718 Sessions takes to the waves for its annual Gay Pride cruise (June 24), with veteran DJ Danny Krivit at the helm. Later in the season, two of the city’s premier party-tossing crews—Let’s Play House and Global Frequencies—team up to host Scotland’s sachem of slo-mo disco, Graeme “The Revenge” Clark (Aug 11).

  1. Various venues
60

Take a dip in the big blue ocean

  • Free

Join the Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers (CIBBOWS) for a dip in the Atlantic every Saturday and Sunday morning during lifeguard season (Memorial Day through Labor Day). You can swim as far as you like along the shoreline with the group of roughly 50 participants, some of whom are using the sessions to train for an English Channel crossing. • cibbows.org

  1. Meet at Grimaldo’s Chair, Brighton 4th St at the boardwalk
More info


Users say

17 comments
shore excursions in Tallinn
shore excursions in Tallinn

russia is so close,you can even see it from alaska. so does anybody from there(siberia?) ever just cross over?

Justin bieber
Justin bieber

This is so great I love summer and all my fans

Ravyjutty
Ravyjutty

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Brad
Brad

Thanks for the summertime things to do list!! Remember everyone, this summer, you could also adopt a cat in need of a forever home. http://manhattancats.com

Ann
Ann

Appreciate the listing of activities, regardless of my beliefs about his opinions, I found the Glenn Beck comment "bring your rotten tomatos in case Glenn Beck comes" to be distasteful. Do we not respect opinions that differ from our own, or at very least, respect one another enough to not threaten them from being allowed in a public area with their family?

shine
shine

I enjoy this article a lot, however, the 20th is missed. Could you please add? Thanks.

Jonathan Shannon, deputy editor, Time Out New York
Jonathan Shannon, deputy editor, Time Out New York

Hi everyone, thanks for your comments. Hope you're enjoying the list. @Jane: The app just launched, there's a link at the top of the first page. Apologies for the delay, hope you like it! @Allie: There isn't a way to download the list as a calendar, but I like your thinking. We'll see what's possible for fall. @Steve: The series is called Rooftop Films, we've added that rather important detail. @Marco: You are very welcome.

Jane
Jane

i can't seem to find the app. did it actually launch?

The RIDE
The RIDE

#102: Jump on the Fazzino RIDE for a tour of New York like you have never seen it before!

Allie
Allie

Is there an easy way to download this whole list into Calendar? That would be incredible.

Steve
Steve

What is the name of the film series mentioned in number 30?

marco
marco

Thanks New York!!