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51 amazing things to do in NYC in August

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Things to do

DMC US Finals DJ Battle: DJ Total Eclipse Highline Ballroom; Aug 5 at 7pm; tickets start at $63
Watch 12 DJs throw down for the title of USA Champion at the most prestigious turntable competition in the world. Each competitor has the chance to perform a 6-minute set before the panel of experts chooses the best of the best. 

New York Renaissance Faire; Aug 5; $12–$23
Get medieval on your weekend. Now in its 40th year, the immersive Elizabethan re-creation delivers jousting knights, fairies, pirates and more, as hundreds of actors take you back to the days of yore. The festival’s food offering includes steak on a stake, funnel cake and plenty of ale. Don’t forget your cloak. 600 Rt 17A, Tuxedo Park NY.  

Madonnathon Brooklyn Bowl; Aug 12; $15–$18
Make sure you stretch at home before this 14th annual celebration of the Material Girl, and dress yourself up in your favorite Madge-inspired look (lace is always in season!) to win high-camp prizes and attract your lucky star on the dance floor. Performers include Amber Martin, Brian Charles Rooney, Lane Moore, Shannon Conley, Anna Copa Cabanna, Queen V, Daryl Glenn, Michael T and Sophia Ramos; Cathy Cervenka are Rupert Noffs are the hosts.

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival Flushing-Meadows Corona Park; Aug 12 + 13; free
Travel to beautiful Hong Kong without ever leaving the city thanks to this annual event at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, now in it’s 26th year. Around 180 teams gather at the lake to race on long boats while paddling to the beat of their boat’s drummer at this culture fest inspired by Chinese tradition. On land, you can join in on the fun with music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations and food-court vendors selling Asian cuisine like steamed dumplings, pork-belly buns and frozen delights such as Sno Biz shaved ice.  

ELEMENTS by BangOn! NYC Location TBA; Aug 12 + 13; $55–$260
Five stages featuring electronic music acts, 3D projections, food trucks, vendors, death-defying aerialists, circus performers and a giant inflatable slide: Yeah, BangOn!NYC goes all out for this annual bash. Get pumped for DJs such as Griz, The Knocks, The Golden Pony, Motum and plenty more. This mind-blowing music and arts festival is not one to be missed, so grab your tickets and keep your eyes peeled for the secret NYC waterfront location announcement.

The Subway Series: New York Mets vs. New York Yankees Citi Field and Yankee Stadium; Aug 14–17; tickets start at $32
“Root, root, root for the home team” takes on another meaning when the Mets and Yankees face off at the annual Subway Series. Whether you bleed Yankee blue, don the orange for every Mets game or you’re just here for the peanuts and beer, it’s sure to be a good time.  

Play NYC Terminal 5; Aug 19 and 20; tickets start at $25
Gamers and programmers alike won’t want to miss the city’s first ever dedicated gaming convention. Demo new games from Avalanche Studios, Bomb Shelter Games and other studios and listen to talks with industry insiders at the two-day event.

Jazz Age Lawn Party Governors Island; Aug 26 + 27; $55–$5,000
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 by Lejay Liqueur and local Bootlegger 21 New York, and none of the back-alley hooch of the day. Food vendors will be on hand to keep your Lindy Hop hoppin’ during incredible daylong jazz performances from Philadelphia’s prized Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society, as well as singer-songwriter Queen Esther. Sure to mesmerize is the ultimate 1920s ensemble band Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra, led by the party’s host, crooner-conductor Arenella. As the tunes blast, partake in dance lessons from instructors and perfect your fox-trot. 

Museum of Interesting Things Secret Speakeasy The Lofts at Prince; Aug 27 at 6pm; $10 Every month, the roving Museum of Interesting Things throws a speakeasy-style exhibition in a New York loft. August’s theme is Back to the Futurist, and the museum will show off items from the past that look like they could be from the future. Partygoers can sip drinks while dancing to vintage music on vinyl and examining unique historic artifacts and oddities. 

U.S. Open Flushing Meadows–Corona Park; Aug 28–Sept 10; tickets start at $26
Fun fact: The U.S. Open is New York’s most attended sporting event. Watch the likes of Andy Murray, Roger Federer and other tennis superstars battle it out at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Though hardcore fans will likely have their eyes glued to the match, avid celeb-watchers might also spot A-listers like Oprah, Karlie Kloss and Leonardo DiCaprio in the stands.   


Comedy at Stonewall The Stonewall Inn; Aug 5; $5, at the door $10 plus two-drink minimum
The always delightful Chrissie Mayr and darling Oscar Aydin host this monthly showcase of dope queer and queer-appealing comics at the historic Stonewall. August's edition features Claudia Cogan, Tanael Joachim, Nicky Paris, Abby Rosenquist and Keenan Steiner. 

Trump Lear Under St. Marks; Aug 5 + Aug 12; 2pm; $20
You may know David Carl from his portrayal of Gary Busey in his standout one-man comedy show, David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet. The actor is at it again, this time embodying another erratic, at times unintelligible character: Donald Trump. In this show, Carl plays a man named Carl David (try to keep up), who makes it big by depicting Trump performing a solo show of King Lear. Count on an upsettingly uncanny performance from this virtuoso.

Punderdome 3000 Littlefield; Aug 8; $8–$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 wordplay. Winners are determined by the Human Clap-O-Meter and go home with a Mystery Box prize. Get ready to laugh—and groan.

Cole Escola: Help! I’m Stuck Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; 9:30pm; $15
Some stars are made to shine over New York, and in the case of the Cole Escola, the disturbingly talented character incubator was meant to rule downtown. Witness the Difficult People star as he unleashes new and beloved characters like "Oh, Jeremiah" and broken-down cabaret legend Maven Crawford in this demented solo show.

Maria Bamford The Bell House; Aug 17; $30
The Bammer is a tumult of cheery weirdness, winning hearts with a childlike whisper as she presents her idiosyncratic vision of the world. She drops comedic bits—unexpected impressions, goony faces, far-flung metaphors—like bread crumbs, keeping the audience intrigued regardless of how bizarre things seem. She joins the very funny Jackie Kashian for two back-to-back sets of joyous delirium. 


Big Gay Roller Skate Lakeside at Prospect Park; Aug 3; $20, at the door $25
Skate to the sounds of Xanadu and Beyoncé at this joyous dudes’ night on the rink. Enjoy a full menu and cocktails, jams from DJ William Francis and totally insane drag performances on wheels by Terra Hyman and Chelsea Piers. Be sure to serve your rhinestoned wrestling unitard look for this week’s GLOW theme, inspired by the new Netflix series. Capes are welcome.  

Alaska & Jeremey: On Golden Girls Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café; Aug 3–Aug 13; $25, VIP $50
Ultimate all-star Alaska Thunderfuck and her best bro Jeremy Keller honor TV's greatest bastion of kindness, love and friendship, The Golden Girls, at this live musical show. They'll cover songs from the series—including Bea Arthur's outsized "What'll I Do?" and the legendary theme song. Check your lighters at the door; there's going to be a lot of flammable fabric on one stage. 

The Late Late Show at Hardware Bar; Aug 6–Aug 27; free
Marti Gould Cummings—one of the sharpest drag MCs in town—reigns supreme over this weekly getdown at Hardware, featuring guest diva performers, drink specials and beats from DJ Kiki Darling. 

Isaac Oliver Won’t Stand for This Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; Aug 17; $20, plus $12 minimum
If David Sedaris and Fran Lebowitz had a baby who wrote about subways, theater patrons and blow jobs, he might be a lot like Isaac Oliver. The hilarious and poignant comic essayist is also a deft deliverer of his own work; at Joe's Pub he shares new work as well as pieces from his compulsively readable debut collection, Intimacy Idiot.

Flame Con 2017 New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge; noon; $25, weekend pass $35
Genre, fantasy, sci-fi, gaming and comic book fans of all types shut down Brooklyn for a week of LGBTQ-oriented fan culture. Over two days, engage in smashing panels, meet LGBTQ artists and writers, and, of course, show off your raddest gender-bent cosplay.  

Dungeons & Drag Kings Talon; Aug 31; $10–$15
Anja Keister and Lee Valone host this mad monthly night of gender-bending, kink and geek ecstasy at Talon. Witness inventive drag from Valone and JJ Sparks and gagworthy burlesque from Ms. Suki E, Trinity Starlight and Qualms Galore. As if the performances weren't enough, the wild night includes a demonstration in shibari—Japanese bondage—followed by drunk geek trivia.

Food and drink

Battle of the Burger Pier 26; August 10; $53.74
Time Out New York’s mammoth Battle of the Burger is an annual to-do: 20 of the city’s best patty-and-bun concoctions served up for your sampling pleasure. Sip on complimentary Budweiser suds as you rate the burgers and help us crown the best in town, and enjoy live top 40 tunes from Go Go Gadget and DJ Jeronimo.

Tap + Cork Restoration Plaza; August 12; $31.74-$36.87
This outdoor beer and wine festival in Bed-Stuy grows each year: this August, Restoration Plaza will fill with vendors offering pours of more than 45 craft beers and artisanal wines. Admission gets you 15 drink tickets, each good for a three-ounce sample of the suds and vinos on offer. Local food trucks will provide noshes, and DJs will be on hand to spin tunes.

Blues BBQ Festival
Pier 97; August 19; free
Returning for its 18th year, this blockbuster late-summer event on the Hudson River reunites two natural partners: barbecue and blues music. Catch the riverside breeze as you chow down on plates from NYC’s premier BBQ restaurants, including Dinosaur BBQ, Mighty Quinn’s and pig beach, all while treating your ears to live tunes from The Campbell Brothers, Eric Gales and other blues-and-roots artists.

From Sprinkles to Sundaes: The Evolution of Ice Cream in America MOFAD; August 31; $25
Indulge your summer sweet tooth at this Museum of Food and Drink event, where James Beard award-nominated food writer and pastry chef Stella Parks will share stories of New York’s bygone ice cream saloons and demo a giant batch of toffee. Saveur digital editor and ice cream savant Max Falkowitz will join in the fun, which includes a sundae party replete with Parks-crafted ice cream toppings and suds provided by Brooklyn Brewery.

End of Summer Shuck Off Governors Island; August 26; free
Squeeze a few more moments out of summer with some fresh air and briny seafood at Governors Island’s Nolan Park. The Billion Oyster Project presents this fun shucking competition—and of course, you get to eat the farm-raised mollusks, too. Enjoy DJ-spun tunes and interactive activities, as well.


The Dark Tower
It’s one of the longest-gestating projects in Hollywood: a big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s fantasy series set in a magical land inspired by the Old West. The books are not exactly masterpieces, but if this film can tame King’s scattershot imagination, it might be something special. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey costar. Opens August 4

The Glass Castle
The Oscar drumbeat starts earlier and earlier these days, and this drama is bound to be a player. Brie Larson brings to life journalist Jeannette Walls’s memoir about a feisty young dreamer marked by her upbringing in an offbeat family of instability. The real draw here—a huge one—is Woody Harrelson as Walls’s alcoholic father: a performance of tremendous heart and range. Opens Aug 1. 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard
After Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds has become Hollywood go-to guy for nonstop action wisecrackery. And Samuel L. Jackson? He’s been perfecting that shtick for years. Paired together in a semibuddy movie (see title), the two of them blow up many a European freeway on their way to the kind of empty-headed warm-weather entertainment that summers were made for. Opens Aug 18

Logan Lucky
It’s a big deal when gifted filmmaker Steven Soderbergh decides to break his self-imposed “retirement” to make a new movie. It’s an even bigger one when he decides to do it with a heist movie—this was, after all, the director who figured out a way to remake Ocean’s 11. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver play criminal brothers who hold up a North Carolina NASCAR race. Opens Aug 18

Death Note
We’ll go to the mat for director Adam Wingard, whose You’re Next and The Guest made him a major new voice in horror. (As for his ballsy reboot of The Blair Witch Project? We think it’s underrated.) Here, Wingard does his spin on the classic set-up of The Monkey’s Paw, by way of a Japanese manga: If your name gets inscribed in a supernatural notebook, you die. Opens Aug 25


Fleet Foxes at Prospect Park Bandshell; Aug 1, 2; $50–$55
The wildly popular indie folk band released its first album in six years, The Crack-Up, and is back in Brooklyn for a set of benefit concerts.  

A$AP Ferg + Venus X + Southside + Nef the Pharaoh + Dave + DJ Diamond Kuts at MoMA PS1; Aug 5; $18–$22
Harlem rapper and “Hood Pope” A$AP Ferg dishes out his no-frills trap at MoMA PS1 for the museum’s 20th Warm Up season.

Afropunk at Commodore Barry Park; Aug 26–27; $45, $75 two-day passes
For one weekend every summer Brooklyn plays hosts to this multicultural extravaganza that features big-name music acts including Anderson Paak, Gary Clark, Jr. and SZA.

Kendrick Lamar + YG + D.R.A.M. at Prudential Center; Aug 25; $79.50–$545
K-Dot hits town behind his phenomenal fourth LP, DAMN, which features guest spots from the likes of Rihanna and U2 and, of course, absolutely searing lyrical insight from the MC himself.

Lady Gaga at Citi Field; Aug 28–Aug 29; $113–$995
The self-proclaimed queen of art pop supports last year's country-tinged Joanne with ecstatic dancing, power-house singing (and sing-alongs) and plenty of fireworks, literally.


Lucky at Dixon Place; Aug 1–16; $22–$25
A pratfall-prone young man in the big city tries to find his footing in this full-length work of acrobatic slapstick, conceived and directed by Henry Evans and Tommy McCarthy for Atlas Circus Company.

Prince of Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre; Aug 3–Oct 22; $89–$165
This retrospective revue celebrates the peerless Broadway director and producer Harold Prince through numbers from such storied productions as West Side StoryFiddler on the RoofCabaretEvitaCompanyFollies and Sweeney Todd.

For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday at Playwrights Horizons; Aug 18–Oct 1; $59–$99
Sarah Ruhl's latest play, directed by Les Waters, concerns middle-aged siblings gathered for the death of their elderly father. The steely Kathleen Chalfant plays the eldest child, who once upon a time played Peter Pan onstage. 

Fucking A at Pershing Square Signature Center; Aug 22–Oct 1; $30
An abortionist tries to secure the freedom of her imprisoned son in Suzan-Lori Parks's 2000 play, a wild Jacobean parable that features Weimar-style songs and snatches of an invented language. Jo Bonney directs the Signature revival.

On the Shore of the Wide World at Atlantic Theater Company; Aug 23–Oct 8; $66.50–$86.50
An English family tries to regroup after a course-changing event in this domestic drama by Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). The Atlantic's Neil Pepe directs the New York premiere.


Lincoln Center Out of Doors at Lincoln Center; through Aug 13; free
Don't miss your chance to see major artists in shows devoted to Bollywood musicals, Eastern European and Central Asian folk music and dance, and West African and West Indian carnival culture.

Battery Dance Festival at Robert F. Wagner Park (and the Schimmel Center at Pace University); Aug 13–19; free
The 36th edition of this free annual celebration welcomes artists from across the United States as well as Spain, Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, Botswana and Belgium, performing outdoors in front of the sparkling New York Harbor.

Olga Pericet at  Repertorio Español; Aug 16–Sept 3; $35–$100
Flamenco dancer and choreographer Pericet returns to Repertorio with an evening of Spanish dance, joined by guitarist Antonia Jiménez and singers Manuel Lago and Miguel Lavi.

Beach Sessions at Beach 86 St; Aug 19, 26; free
Rockaway Beach's outdoor dance festival returns with free, sandy offerings by artists including Jodi Melnick, Jon Kinzel and Madeline Hollander, plus and anonymous work about pop iconography called Fun Young God.

Drive East Festival at Dixon Place; Aug 21–27; $15–$50
Navatman presents this weeklong festival of South Asian performing art, which includes a variety of classical Indian dance as well as concerts by noted musicians.


“Richard Gerstl” Neue Galerie New York; through Sept 25, $20, seniors $15, students and educators with valid ID $10. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, children under 12 not admitted. First Friday of each month 6–8pm free
A small oeuvre (only 90 pieces in all) and an early death may account for why early-20th-century Austrian Expressionist Richard Gerstl (1883-1908) is not as well known as his contemporaries Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. This show, the artist first museum retrospective in the United States, showcases his groundbreaking style with 55 examples of his portraits and landscapes. 

“Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium” Whitney Museum of American Art; through Oct 1, $22; seniors, students $18; 18 and under free
A Brazilian artist who pioneered interactive art during the 1970s, Hélio Oiticica, spent his formative years in New York, starting out as geometric abstractionist whose paintings evolved into sensually immersive three-dimensional installations that relied on viewer participation. This is the first U.S. retrospective of his work.

“Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose + Croix in Paris, 1892–1897” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; through Oct 4, $25, seniors (65+) and students with valid ID $18, children under 12 free. Sat 5:45–7:45pm pay what you wish. $25, seniors and students with ID $18, members and children under 12 accompanied by an adult free
With its dreamlike and visionary imagery, Symbolism is often cited as being a precursor to Surrealism. But while the Surrealists trafficked in the temporal and psychological discordances of modern life, Symbolists latched onto mythological and mystical subject matter from the past. This exhibition looks back at a series of Symbolist salons that were organized between 1892 and 1897 by Joséphin Péladan, an author, critic and Rosicrucian whose own fascination with mysticism informed his shows.

“Calder: Hypermobility” Whitney Museum of American Art; through Oct 16, $22; seniors, students $18, 18 and under free
The important role sound and movement played in the sculpture of American Modern master Alexander Calder is given the spotlight in this roundup of the artist’s kinetic objects.

“Talking Pictures: Camera-Phone Conversations Between Artists” Metropolitan Museum of Art; through Dec 17, suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free
This exhibit features the results from 12 pairs of artists sending still images and brief videos to one another in a game of visual ping-pong.

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