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40 fantastic things to do in NYC in June

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Dynamite things to do 

Jazz Age Lawn Party Governors Island; Jun 11, 12; 11am; various prices
Slap on your spats and practice the Charleston because the Jazz Age Lawn party is returning to Governor’s Island. Sip on Prohibition-era cocktails like a classic St-Germain with mineral water and a twist or a glass of bubbly and none of the back-alley hooch of the day. Food vendors will be on hand to keep your Lindy Hop hoppin’.

Bushwick Collective Block Party Troutman St; Jun 4; 11am; free
Brooklyn's first-rate outdoor art crew stages another street takeover, armed with food trucks and live bands to celebrate Bushwick’s happening' scene. Watch the graffiti masters paint in real time, followed by an all-star musical lineup including a performance by rapper Jadakiss. 

Rose Garden Weekend New York Botanical Garden; Jun 4, 5; 11am; free–$25
Take a moment to stop and smell the roses at the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden before snapping a bazillion photos of the enchanting green space in full-bloom. This two-day outdoor fest features live music and refreshments, plus a series of plant care demos, garden tours and rose plant giveaways, in case you want to become an expert rosarian. 

Brooklyn Makers Market Williamsburgh Savings Bank; Jun 18, Jun 19; 11am; free
Get inspired at this bazaar showcasing the work of craftspeople across Brooklyn. Among the American-made goods that you can gawk at (and potentially purchase), you'll find crafts, furniture, knits and more. There will also be some finger-licking grub to fuel your shopping endeavors.  

Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco Lakeside at Prospect Park; Jun 3, 10, 17, 24; 7:30pm; $18
Have you ever wanted to dress up like a character from Xanadu, The Great Gatsby, or the "Thriller" video and then go dance in a park with a lot of other like-minded people? Join the insanity at Lola Star's Dreamland Roller Disco, where you'll need to unleash your inner Rollerblade vixen to keep up with the crowd and the week's theme. A DJ will be blasting gems from the disco era to present day all night long, making the LeFrak Center at Prospect Park’s Lakeside the coolest roller rink this side of 1978.

Major movie and theater premieres 

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The Lonely Island troupe has given us so much short-form euphoria over the years (SNL’s “Dick in a Box,” “Jack Sparrow,” etc.) that we’re willing to try them out at feature length—and pretend that 2007’s Hot Rod never happened. Andy Samberg plays a rapper-ex-boy-band-leader on the decline; the cast is thick with comedy genius. Opens June 3.

The Conjuring 2
The first one was a rare beast: a horrorblockbuster of old-school craft that was legitimately terrifying. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return as spirit-busting couple the Warrens, along with visionary helmer James Wan, so expect cool chills on a hot night. Opens June 10. 

Finding Dory
It’s been 13 years seen Finding Nemo charmed the world (and at least 13 hours since a thankful babysitter fired up the Blu-ray for the millionth time). No one’s exactly clamoring for a sequel, yet more often than not, the mighty Pixar knows what it’s doing. Opens June 17. 

The Shallows
A wild new trailer has turned us around on this one. Now we’re stoked for some dumb fun, as stranded surfer Blake Lively does battle with a great white shark. Lest we forget the first blockbuster of all time (Jaws), this is the kind of movie summer was made for. Opens June 24.

Todd Solondz continues his career-long plunge into the dark side of human nature with this fierce, sneakily profound tale about a Dachshund and the neurotics who care for it (not always well). It's Solondz's sharpest commentary on human mortality and regret to date. Opens June 24.

Hilarious comedy shows 

John Early: Literally Me The Bell House; Jun 2, 3; 8:30pm; $15, at the door $20
The eerily self-aware, brutally acerbic John Early hits the Bell House with his latest dark comedy show, in which audience members assist the comic in picking his new headshot. After appearing on Netflix's The CharactersBroad City and more, Early is bigger—and more insane—than ever. 

Legion of Skanks The Creek and the Cave; Jun 1, 8, 15; 9pm; free
The trio of Big Jay Oakerson, Luis J. Gomez and Dave Smith gets together each week to do stand-up and record an episode of its raw and unapologetic podcast, Legion of Skanks.If you're ready to experience the "most offensive podcast on earth," then head to the Creek and the Cave for some hilarious mortification. 

Good Catch Musical Improv, Peoples Improv Theater; Jun 13; 9pm; $5
Witness musical improv greatness (or calamity) as a wildly creative group of comics creates and performs a complete musical on the spot, based on your suggestions. May's MGM theme promises tapping, tuxedos and plenty of romance, but there's always a chance that the show will go completely off the rails. Either way, it's likely to be win/win. 

Lady Bits, Peoples Improv Theater; Jun 3; 7pm; $15
With Planned Parenthood under constant threat and women's sexuality still stigmatized in the media, some of the city's sharpest women comics are striking back. This stand-up show celebrates naughty parts and even commits to their health, with portions of the proceeds benefitting Planned Parenthood.

Nerd is the New Black Q.E.D.; Jun 4; 7:30pm; $5
Fast-witted comic Charles McBee brings his glorious sense of self-deprecation to this solid showcase night. Get to the show early to catch happy hour, but be sure not to get too tipsy, or you may miss McBee's mile-a-minute jokes.

Awesome live music and concerts 

Northside Festival various locations; June 9–12; $85 music badge
This weeklong Williamsburg event takes place showcase-style across a number of venues around Brooklyn with some film screenings and talks thrown into the mix as well. Along with the expected big-name indie rock talent—Wolf Parade reunites after half a decade apart and Conor Oberst showcases tunes outside of his Bright Eyes moniker—the fest also features a diverse selection of other genres: from subterranean bass music (Lotic) to ambient folk (Grouper).

Tame Impala + Dungen Prospect Park Bandshell; June 14, 15; $49.50
Jump back into another season of Celebrate Brooklyn with Kevin Parker's anthemic psych-rock project Tame Impala. Last year's Currents found critical acclaim as it exchanged speaker-busting guitar fuzz for silky synthesizers, restructuring Parker's kaleidoscopic maximalism into a more refined melancholy.

Disclosure + Anderson Paak + Mobb Deep + Dusky + Justin Jay Forest Hills Tennis Stadium; June 18; $39.50–$69.50
Over the course of their meteoric rise, brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence bridged the worlds of mainstream EDM and underground club with their retro garage-infused deep house. The guys take over Forest Hills for a stadium blowout dance party replete with the duo's signature mix of pop structures, hooky vocals and old school bass lines.

Kamasi Washington Central Park Summerstage; June 18; free
Jazz saxist Kamasi Washington might not craft painstakingly produced hip-hop beats like his Brainfeeder labelmates, but his work retains the same intensely exploratory spirit. He turns up at the Summerstage series to showcase the tunes off his massively ambitious Brainfeeder debut, The Epic, which makes for an extravagant live show with its orchestral arrangements and odyssean structure.

Governors Ball Randall's Island Park; June 3–5; $105 single day, festival pass $350
Randall's Island plays host to a sixth year of the city's biggest music fest event (well, the guys at Panorama might have a bone to pick with that statement). This year's star-studded lineup features Kanye, The Strokes and The Killers alongside a slew of hot up n' comers including Southern alt-rocker Courtney Barnett and noisy shoegaze crew Nothing.

Marvelous theater performances 

An Act of God Booth Theatre; Jun 1–30; various times; $79–$149
Sean Hayes channels the Supreme Being for this remount of David Javerbaum’s smart and very funny look at Hell, sin, redemption and other light summer fare.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City Lucille Lortel Theatre; Jun 1–30; various times; $49-$99
Bearing the longest title we’ve seen in a long time, Halley Feiffer’s latest black comedy stars Beth Behrs of TV’s Two Broke Girls. If anyone can wring laughs from cancer, maybe Feiffer can.

The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois Atlantic Stage 2; Jun 1–19; various times; $51.50–$61.50
A mentally ill man living alone in Kentucky gets a surprise visit from two teenage girls, who proceed to turn his life upside down. Writer-director Adam Rapp returns to the Atlantic Theater Company.

Shining City Irish Repertory Theatre; Jun 1–30; various times; $70
Matthew Broderick helps the Irish Repertory Theatre christen their renovated space with a revival of Conor McPherson’s ghostly psychodrama. Don’t let anyone give away the ending!

The Taming of the Shrew Delacorte Theater; Jun 1–26; 8pm; free
An all-female ensemble takes on Shakespeare’s not-so-PC tale of a willful woman brought to heel by a jolly, domineering suitor. Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!) directs for Shakespeare in the Park.

Can't-miss LGBT events 

White Elephant Burlesque Rockbar; Jun 6, 13, 20, 27; 7pm; $5
Viktor Devonne’s weekly downtown affair gets saucy and sexy with a rotating roster of the burlesque boys and girls of NYC. With insane themes that range from geeky to gory, this act promises a bizarre, high-energy and totally titillating night. 

PrideFest Various locations; Jun 26; 11am; free
You know those street fairs that pop up around the city whenever the weather is nice? The ones everyone pretends to hate, but secretly can't resist walking into? Pridefest is one of those—but with way more sequins. In addition to enjoying the usual street-fair fare—tube socks, hilarious T-shirts, greasy treats—you can pick up information about public health, collect swag from corporate sponsors, and mingle with a crowd full of Pride revelers and shell-shocked Village residents. After things wrap up, you can work off that street food at the Dance on the Pier.

New York City Dyke March, Bryant Park; 5pm; free
This annual event to raise awareness about women's and trans rights isn't exactly the glittery spectacle you'll get at tomorrow's Pride March, but it's still one of Pride Week's most essential events. BYO signs and banners, and keep in mind that the Dyke March doesn't have a permit—it's a protest, not a parade—so be prepared for possible interference from the fuzz. The march itself is open to all dykes and self-identified women. All other supporters are encouraged to cheer from the sidelines.

The Pride Kickoff Rally, Hudson River Park, Pier 26; Jun 24; 7pm; free
Before the glittery spectacle of the LGBT Pride March and the rest of the Gay Pride Weekend festivities, get pumped up…with a glittery spectacle! This official Gay Pride Weekend opening event started as a "gay power" demonstration with 500 protestors in Washington Square Park a month after the 1969 Stonewall riots, considered the dawn of the modern gay-rights movement. Since then the rally has jumped locations all over town, including incarnations in Central Park and East River Park. Big-name performers often take the stage—Lady Gaga performed in 2013—while local politicians, comedians, and other members of the LGBT community offer both serious and silly takes on Pride themes. For newcomers and longtime Pride celebrants alike, the Pride Kickoff Rally serves as both a party starter and a reminder that it's not all about partying.

Tease Hudson River Park, Pier 26; Jun 25; 3pm; $25–$75
Going down after the Dyke March, this annual women's dance, formerly known as Rapture on the River, is an alternative to the boy-heavy Dance on the Pier. This rowdy party features sets by DJs Samantha Ronson and Toni K, a flock of sexy dancers and a sweaty crowd filled with ladies who don't have to worry about work in the morning. 

Delicious food and drink opportunities 

LUCKYRICE New York Feast Industry City; Jun 2; $88 GA, $150 VIP
Hosted by Talde chef Dale Talde, this night market-style grand tasting includes plates from some of New York’s top new Asian restaurants—steamed pork-and-sesame dumplings from Lucky Bee, braised oxtail buns from Jue Lan Club and pig’s-ear tonkatsu kimbap from Insa—as well as New York favorite, like RedFarm and Maharlika.

Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas Museum at Eldridge St; Jun 19; free
The foremost cultures of the Lower East Side—Jewish, Chinese and Puerto Rican—converge at this annual food festival and block party, complete with the titular snacks, folk art demos, mah jong matches and live music (Chinese opera, klezmer).

Pour the Core Brooklyn Expo Center; Jun 11; $45 advanced, $65 at door
Kick off summer with cider and food-truck grub at this second annual apple-focused fest, featuring more than 75 styles of cider made by 40 producers, including local glugs (Big Apple Hard Cider, Original Sin), domestic brands (Angry Orchard, Woodchuck) and international varieties from Spain, England and beyond.  

New York City Bourbon Bash Various locations; Jun 18; $65
June 18th is National Bourbon Day—there’s no better way to celebrate the boozy holiday thanby sipping eight of Kentucky’s best bourbons (Knob Creek, Bulleit, Four Roses Single Barrel) at eight whiskey-loving New York bars, including the Copper Still and Parkside Lounge.

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party Madison Square Park; Jun 11–12; free
Founded by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group in 2002, the annual open-air meat-athon is back for a two-day feast of low-and-slow ’cue from some of America’s most celebrated pitmasters, including local experts like John Stage (Dinosaur Bar-B-Que), Charles Grund Jr. (Hill country) and Billy Durney (Hometown BBQ).

Spectacular art shows 

"Martin Creed: The Back Door” Park Avenue Armory; June 8–Aug 7; $15
The Brit bad-boy artist known for Conceptualist pranks takes over the Park Avenue Armory’s massive Wade Thompson Drill Hall as well as other parts of the building to create his largest installation to date.

"Stuart Davis: In Full Swing” Whitney Museum of American Art; June 10–Sept 25; $22; seniors, students $18; 18 and under free 
One of the most important figures of American art, Stuart Davis’s brightly colored, jazz-inspired paintings anticipated Pop Art. References to street signage, cigarette packaging and other artifacts of popular cultural appeared frequently in his work, which captured the spirit, energy and chaos of life in the first half of the 20th century. 

“Tony Oursler: Imponderable MoMA; June 18–Jan 8; $25, seniors $18, students $14, children under 16 free. For discounts, order tickets in advance at Fri 4–8pm free. Film tickets free with museum admission; screenings-only admission $12, seniors $10, students $8, children under 16 free. 
Spooky yet humorous, this immersive, feature-length video phantasmagoria dives into the artist’s fascination with stage magic, spirit photography, pseudoscience, telekinesis and other manifestations of the paranormal.

Cornelia Parker, Transisitonal Object (PyschoBarn) The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Apr 19–Oct 31; Suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free
The Bates residence from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho haunts The Met’s rooftop garden with this 30-foot high facsimile by British artist and Turner Prize nominee Cornelia Parker.  Built of wood salvaged from a barn in upstate New York, the piece brings a touch of The Addams Family to Manhattan’s skyline.

Mr., “Sunset in My Heart” Lehmann Maupin; June 23–Aug 12; free
Innocence is belied by erotic undercurrents is the theme of this Japanese artist’s anime-inspired paintings, which features scenes of young boys and girls following the conventions of otaku, Japan’s pop-subculture of sexualized cuteness with. 

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