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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Sarah Ackerman

20 brilliant things to do in NYC this week

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Mon 4

Fourth of July at South Street Seaport Seaport Studios; 1pm; free
For the second year in a row, the South Street Seaport becomes the city’s portal into all things patriotic during its two-day Festival of Independence. Check out a selection of fashions and other wares curated by the all–American-made market Northern Grade while chowing down on a blend of culinary delights from Smorgasburg vendors. Vice’s Noisey handles the live tunes, featuring music from New York synth purveyors Porches, dream-pop band Wild Nothing, soul singer Lee Fields & the Expressions and one of the city’s favorite and hardest-working DJs, Jonathan Toubin. And, oh yeah, you also get a perfect vantage point if you stay late to watch the display over the harbor during the Macy’s fireworks show on Monday 4. Just make sure you arrive by midafternoon—the official light show begins at 9:25pm—as the pier will be packed.

Get Summered at Riis Park Beach Bazaar Jacob Riis Park Beach; noon; free
The folks behind Brooklyn Night Bazaar are back at the people’s beach, a.k.a. Jacob Riis Park, with their annual summer-long market and concert series. The historic boardwalk is filled with tasty outposts of food vendors like Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, Ed & Bev’s diner and Ample Hills Creamery, while the beach is your place for sunbathing, ocean frolicking and live music. For the special Fourth of July Get Summered edition, ’70s-style rock & roll outfit the House on Cliff and genre-defying blues, electronic and trip-hop singer Raycee Jones perform live while Dirty Boogie, Edward Askew and Big Vic deejay.

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest Nathan’s Famous; noon; free
What’s more of an American celebration than overeating? Overeating hot dogs. For sport. On friggin’ TV. The world’s best-known competitive snack-down, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, is back at Coney Island for its 44th year. Thousands gather to watch as the most talented gluttons prove just how many of America’s finest delicacy they can swallow (and keep down) in 10 minutes. In an upset, last year Matt Stonie stole the championship from famed competitor Joey Chestnut by consuming 62 hot dogs. Will Stonie keep his title or will Chestnut return to his former record-setting 69-dog glory days of 2013?

Bryant Park Summer Film Festival Bryant Park; 5pm; free
The Bryant Park Summer Film Festival celebrates 24 years of America, and maybe more importantly, depending on your penchant for cheesy ’80s cinema, 30 years ofTop Gun. Pump your fist in the air as a young Tom Cruise plays Maverick, a cocky Navy fighter pilot with a need for speed, who sets out on the bold mission to bed his flight instructor (Kelly McGillis) and beat jerk pilot Iceman (Val Kilmer) in homoerotic beach volleyball. There’s some military stuff too, but you’re probably just in it for the killer ’80s soundtrack and, be honest, that sex scene.

Weekly Ping-Pong Tournament Salvation Taco; 6pm; free
Burn off the grimness of your Monday workday at this weekly Ping-Pong showdown, in which you can josh around the table or compete for special prizes from Salvation Taco. Between crushing sets, dig into dinner treats like spicy pork & beef meatballs with Manchego and beer battered fish tacos. 

Tue 5

Fly, You Fools! Peoples Improv Theater; 8pm; $20
The irreverent goons behind Hold On To Your Butts and the director of the Harry Potter parody show Puffs present this "shot-for-shot" reenactment of the gloriously dramatic The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Expect wigs to fly as this four-person crew plays the roles of a nine-man cohort of misfits, a sentient astral eye and an elfin princess with hilarious dedication.

Mexrrissey: Mexico goes Morrisey Rough Trade NYC; 7pm; free
Since the ’80s, Morrissey and the Smiths have enjoyed an enduring folk legacy in Mexico. The seven-piece band Mexrrissey reimagines Morrissey ballads with Spanish lyrics, strings, horn and traditional Mexican sounds. We dare you not to tear up during “Cada Día Es Domingo,” Mexrrissey’s magnificent cover of “Everyday Is Like Sunday,” when it rocks its cover album No Manchester at a stirring Rough Trade NYC show. 

Joe Lovano Quartet Village Vanguard; 8:30pm, 10:30pm; $30 plus one-drink minimum
Joe Lovano, a contemporary saxophone master with an impressively broad array of skills and interests, shows off his bandleading and arranging chops with his four-piece group, presenting exuberant, hard-swinging versions of bebop favorites.

Punderdome 3000 Littlefield; 8pm; $8, at the door $10
Jo Firestone and her Rodney Dangerfield impersonator father, Fred, host this beloved competition, in which the first 18 individuals or duos to sign up at the door attempt to pun-up each other's spontaneously produced word-play. Winners are determined by a "human clap-o-meter" and go home with a kitchen appliance.

Wed 6

Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater; 7:30pm; $15–$35
It’s an NYC rite of passage to watch hopeful performers rub the Tree of Hope and give their all to make Top Dog status. Whether the acts dazzle the crowd or are literally swept offstage by C.P. Lacey, they’re guaranteed to produce an unforgettable show. This season’s series of dance, music, comedy and performance showdowns builds up to November’s finals, at which one Super Top Dog wins $10,000 and eternal glory. Be good or begone. 

The Sound of Music Sing-a-long Hudson Park; 8:30pm; free
The hills are alive! Belt out tunes such as “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi” with Julie Andrews and the von Trapps at this sing-along viewing at Hudson Yards Park. If twirling around and reciting word-for-word lyrics leaves you famished, you can grab some yummy treats from nearby food trucks and return to 1938 Austria. 

Quicksand + Converge House of Vans; 7pm; free
Local post-hardcore faves Quicksand summed up everything positive about so-called alternative rock with their near-perfect 1993 LP Slip, a record that brilliantly combined underground edginess with major-label sheen. The fact that local shows in past years have sold out pretty much instantaneously should tell you something about how well Slip and its ’95 follow-up, Manic Compression, have aged.

APF Grad Show: Freak Machine Annoyance Theatre; 9:30pm; $5
Graduates from the Annoyance Theatre's AP5 class present a night of freakishly funny improv.

Cicadas: Bushwick’s Free Comedy Night House of Yes; 8pm; free
Jermaine Fowler (BoJack Horseman), Josh Rabinowitz (Broad City) and Kevin Barnett (Broad City, The Eric Andre Show) host this bi-monthly freebie featuring stand-up and sketch comedy, plus surprise musical guests.

Harriet Littlefield; 8pm; $10–$12
This edition of Farah Brook and Blair Socci's popular comedy show boasts a stellar lineup, including Ilana Glazer, Judah Friedlander, Gary Gulman and Kate Berlant. A portion of the ticket sales goes to the Newtown Action Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to helping communities affected by gun violence.

Thu 7

The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series Clove Lakes Park; 7pm; free
If you haven’t been to the opera, you owe yourself the experience of seeing some of the world’s finest belt it out onstage. Check out some of the Met’s most powerful vocalists.

Rock! Away! Riis Park Beach Bazaar; 5pm; free
Head to the historic boardwalk at Jacob Riis Park for this weekly beach fete featuring live music, DJs, shopping and tasty eats from food vendors like Ample Hills and Fletcher’s BBQ. 

Summer Nights at the Staten Island Museum; 7:30pm; $15–$25
Every Thursday night, the Staten Island Museum invites you to try your hand at a different series of activities, from viewing "4D" movies, jarring pickles, writing calligraphy and more. This weekly adventure gives you a chance to meet new people without standing still in a bar. 

A Night of Thrill-Via The Creek and the Cave; 7pm; free
Finally, a thrilling round of trivia, during which quiz master and host Marvin Lattimore spits out the questions everyone knows—or, at least, everyone should know! Three contestants are chosen at random to rack their brains for knowledge on topics like rap, video games and soda brands, while guest comedians—think Adam Thomas (Carolines) and Kevin Gootee (Comics Watching Comics) join in with their own quirky questions.

Sisters of Comedy Carolines on Broadway; 9:30pm; $22
Produced by Nairobi-born Agunda Okeyo, this stand-up showcase features (almost) exclusively funny women of color. This month's installment includes Chloe Hilliard, Aminah Imani, Sydnee Washington, Janelle James, Pat Brown and Judah Friedlander (we did say “almost”). 

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