COOL THINGS TO DO
Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks; Various locations
The famous fireworks can be seen from any point in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens with an unobstructed view of the sky above the East River. Pro tip: Choose a spot at least five hours before sundown, bring friends, a picnic basket and a blanket, and take turns using the bathroom.
Tour de Queens Bike Ride; Astoria Park
This casually paced 20-mile bike ride will begin and end in Astoria Park, with a rest stop in picturesque Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.
Freddy’s 2nd Annual Doggy Fashion Show; Freddy’s Bar
Brooklyn's Fifth Avenue will be closed to cars and open to dogs. Dog owners will walk their pups down the runway to compete for the coveted Xena trophy—last year's winner was adorable bulldog Lola, who wore formfitting pink spandex accessorized with a skull-and-crossbones bandana.
Waterfight NYC; Central Park's The Great Lawn
This is a serious water fight—no water balloons allowed here. Bring your big super soakers to this battle. There will be a water supply provided, but it is recommended that you bring five bottles in your backpack.
Harlem Week: A Great Day in Harlem; Harlem
This daylong family-oriented event has an expected attendance of more than 40,000 people and includes an outdoor festival, fashion show, picnic and concerts, in addition to arts, crafts, food, vendors and exhibitions.
AWESOME THINGS TO SEE
Magic Mike XXL; Opens in theaters
Gird your loins: Matthew McConaughey may be AWOL, but Channing Tatum and the rest of the Kings of Tampa are back for one last ride in this exuberant sequel to the best movie ever made about male strippers.
DruidShakespeare: The History Plays; Gerald W. Lynch Theater
Ireland’s estimable Druid Theatre Company returns to Lincoln Center Festival to present all four plays of Shakespeare’s Henriad in rep, tracking the English throne from the fall of Richard II to the rise of Henry V.
July 7–Aug 16
Penn & Teller on Broadway; Marquis Theatre
It’s been almost 25 years since the great magic-comedy team last brought their deconstructive illusionism to the Great White Way. Now they’re back with more shocking awesomeness.
Starts July 13
Hamilton; Richard Rodgers Theatre
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s epic hip-hop biomusical moves to Broadway after an extraordinary run at the Public Theater. See it and understand what all the fuss is about—if you can score tickets.
Trainwreck; Opens in theaters
All hail our new queen: Television’s Amy Schumer becomes a bona fide movie star in this creatively crude rom-com (that she also wrote) about a hard-living Manhattan woman who meets a new man (Bill Hader) and starts to consider if monogamy is really the nightmare it’s cracked up to be.
The Look of Silence; Opens in theaters
Joshua Oppenheimer follows up—and surpasses—the monumentally devastating The Act of Killing with another essential doc about the Indonesian genocide, this one shifting the focus from the perpetrators to the survivors.
Listen to Me Marlon; Opens in theaters
It’s still unclear how Stevan Riley got his hands on the hundreds of hours of personal audiotapes that Marlon Brando recorded over the course of his remarkable life, but he’s certainly made great use of them, cutting together such an intimate portrait of American cinema’s most iconic actor that it often feels like an autobiography.
Kafka on the Shore; David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center)
Two stories, one about Franz Kafka and the other about a retired cat-finder on a road trip, intertwine in a strikingly strange new work at Lincoln Center Festival, adapted from Haruki Murakami’s 2002 novel and directed by Japan’s Yukio Ninagawa.
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation; Opens in theaters
At this point, a new Mission: Impossible movie is just a blockbuster excuse for Tom Cruise to publicly cheat death. In Ghost Protocol, he scaled the world’s tallest building, and in Rogue Nation, he holds his breath underwater for six minutes and hangs on to the wing of an airplane as it takes off. Obviously unmissable.
Through Aug 8
Ice Factory Festival 2015; New Ohio Theatre
A different experimental-theater troupe takes the New Ohio every week in one of New York's best-curated festivals. Offerings include pieces by Blessed Unrest, the Assembly and Glass Bandits, plus a version of The Bacchae set on karaoke night at a sports bar.
TASTY PLACES TO EAT
Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest; Nathan’s Famous
Head to Coney Island to watch the world’s most infamous stomach-expanding, frank-inhaling spectacle.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Takedown; The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
Cool off with homemade scoops from 15 amateur local cooks at this frosty smackdown, judged by the crews from Ample Hills and CoolHaus.
French Restaurant Week; Various locations
Take in some joie de vivre at this all-Gallic restaurant showcase, featuring dining deals at 40 bistros and brasseries around NYC.
July 20–Aug 14
NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2015; Various locations
A whopping 360 eateries across New York are participating in this warm-weather edition of the three-week-long discount-dining festival.
Good Beer; Hudson Mercantile
Good Beer Month comes to a close with an all-you-can-drink spread featuring suds from KelSo, Allagash and Sixpoint.
ASTONISHING DANCE PERFORMANCES
June 23–July 11
Midsummer Night Swing; Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center's beloved live-music, social-dance event has become one of summer's great pleasures in the city. Who needs to stay cool when you're listening to the world's best big bands, all trying their darnedest to get you up and dancing?
July 6–Aug 1
MOMIX: Alchemia; The Joyce Theater
Moses Pendleton's ensemble are the superstars of the dance-pop constellation, so if you've got a friend who "isn't into dance," this athletic, stunt-prone group will be able to sway even that cynical soul.
Vision 20 Dance; Judson Church
The long-lived festival contains several worthy events, but on July 12, the seminal Urban Bush Women perform; you'll rarely have a chance to be so close to these legendary artists.
National Ballet of China; David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center
The startling spectacle of both works coming in this year's tour (The Peony Pavilion and The Red Detachment of Women) will sell out quickly, so you'll want to get your tickets the moment your eyes see this paragraph.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors: Dorrance Dance; Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center
There are several lovely pieces on the roster for Lincoln Center Out of Doors, but this may be the cream of the crop: the astounding musician Toshi Reagon collaborating with the tap group Dorrance Dance as both pay unique tribute to the blues.
FANTASTIC SHOWS TO SEE
July 18–Sept 27
“Folk Art and American Modernism”; American Folk Art Museum
Stylistic borrowings from outsider art have become something of a vogue among contemporary painters, but self-taught artists have long exerted a pull on trained artists, especially in the United States.
July 10–Oct 4
“FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds”; Brooklyn Museum
These two Brooklyn artists collaborating under the all-caps name of FAILE have jumped from plastering walls around Williamsburg to exhibiting in galleries and museums. Their work consists of dense collages of pop-cultural imagery and includes installations.
July 10–Oct 4
“The Rise of Sneaker Culture”; Brooklyn Museum
Like blue jeans, sneakers have become ubiquitous, must-have accessory around the globe. The Brooklyn Museum retraces the history of kicks, from their early 20th-century roots in basketball and track and field to the present.
Through Aug 7
“James ‘Son Ford’ Thomas: The Devil and His Blues”; 80WSE
The work of self-taught artist and blues musician James ‘Son Ford’ Thomas was both literally and metaphorically wrested from this landscape of the Mississippi Delta.
Through Aug 7
Roger Brown, “Virtual Still Life”; Maccarone
A member of the Chicago Imagist school, Brown’s eccentric, genre-defying style combines Art Deco, Pop Art, Outsider Art and comic books. His punchy colors and flashy graphics depict city scenes and landscapes as repeating motifs that are at once flat and shaded with airbrush like effects. His themes frequently touch on the monotonous quality of modern life. This show present a series of canvases from the 1990s abutted by shelves lined with thrift-store ceramics.
CONCERTS TO GO CRAZY AT
July 10, 11
Taylor Swift; MetLife Stadium
After a rocky back-and-forth with Apple, T-Swift has finally agreed to stream her 2014 LP, 1989—just in time for you to learn all the words before the country-gone-pop megastar plays two huge stadium shows.
July 15, 16
Foo Fighters; Citi Field
If anyone told Dave Grohl to break a leg before his June 12 show in Gothenburg, Sweden, he took them at their word. (In case you haven't heard, that actually happened.) Here's hoping the alt-rock Renaissance man will be back at full strength by the time the Foos drop by the home of the Mets.
July 18, 19, 22, 23, 26, 27, 30, 31
U2; Madison Square Garden
Last year was a rocky one for U2, what with the band's free-album iTunes flap and Bono's scary bike crash in Central Park. If a run of eight gig MSG gigs is any indication, though, those setbacks didn't impact the Irish rockers' draw in the slightest.
Rock Steady Crew 38th Anniversary Concert; Central Park SummerStage Mainstage
There's so-called old-school hip-hop, and then there's a gig like this, pairing a nearly 40-year-old B-boy crew with Brooklyn rap royalty Whodini and Big Daddy Kane.
Big K.R.I.T. + Angel Haze Celebrate Brooklyn!; Prospect Park Bandshell
Mississippi's Big K.R.I.T. puts Brooklyn into a Dirty South frame of mind, with an opening assist from Virginia's edgy Angel Haze.
INTERESTING AUTHOR EVENTS
The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek with Seth Rudetsky; Barnes & Noble, Upper East Side
Sirius/XM On Broadway radio host Seth Rudetsky will do a reading, performance and book signing of his new book, The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek.
Female Trouble: A Celebration of The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak; Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
Enjoy a night of readings and stories for the launch of Waclawiak's second novel.
July 25–July 26
NYC Poetry Festival; Various locations
This annual festival will feature headline poets Nick Flynn, Patricia Spears Jones, David Matlin and Fran Quinn reading at 3pm on July 25 on Governor's Island, accessible by a free ferry that leaves both from Manhattan and Brooklyn. The events will take place rain or shine, from 11am to 6pm each day.
COMEDY SHOWS TO CHECK OUT
July 6–July 27
Hold Onto Your Butts; People’s Improv Theater
With Jurassic World still tearing up theaters, experience the original in a whole new way with this painfully funny comedy show that reenacts Jurassic Park scene-by-scene, with just two people.
July 9–July 12
Ron Funches; Carolines on Broadway
Adorable and hilarious in equal measure, Ron Funches—who has appeared on Conan, Bob’s Burgers, Drunk History and more—is in town for six headlining shows.
The Roast of Big Jay Oakerson; The Creek and the Cave
Not in the mood for adorable? Try this. The foul-mouthed crowd work master will be roasted in filthy style by Bonnie McFarlane, Ari shaffir, Mike Vecchione and others.
July 24–July 25
Whitney Cummings; Gotham Comedy Club
Her sitcom work—Whitney and 2 Broke Girls—may not be too memorable, but her vitriolic stand-up sure is. Prepare to learn some hard truths…
July 31–Aug 2
Godfrey; Gotham Comedy Club
The long-time club comic has finally started to get the recognition he deserves of late, with appearances on both 30 Rock and Louie. See him do his thing at the end of the month.
WONDERFUL LGBT EVENTS
Dirty Looks: “On Location”; Various venues
Every day this month, you can check out queer experimental films at bars, theaters, clubs and other wide-ranging venues.
July 7–Aug 7
The HOT Festival; Dixon Place
Dixon Place hosts dance, theater, comedy and more at this annual festival of LGBT performance.
Courtney Act; Gramercy Theatre
The Aussie drag sensation celebrates the release of her new EP, Kaleidoscope.
Ginger Minj; Crossdresser for Christ; The Laurie Beechman Theatre
RuPaul’s Drag Race cast-off Ginger Minj gets sacrilegious in her solo comedy show.
Alaska: The Gayest Show You’ve Ever Seen; The Laurie Beechman Theatre
The brilliant comedy queen comes to NYC hot on the heels of her surprising hit album, Anus.
ACE PLACES TO SHOP
Darling: Sip & Shop event; Darling
For only $25, drink unlimited champagne and grapefruit beer while snacking on hors d'oeuvres, and shop up to 15 percent off merchandise at one of the cutest shops in Manhattan. Oh, and you'll receive a $50 gift certificate, too.
Rachel Zoe sample sale; Chelsea Market
Attention, Chelsea Market shoppers: This stylist turned fashion designer is offering discounts that are truly “bananas.” Check out women’s items up to 65 percent off original prices.
Fjällräven sample sale; Showroom
Guys, it’s never too early to stock up on outerwear, and you should probably nab some from this Swedish brand while popular styles are up to 40 percent off.
Gap x Big Gay Ice Cream; Gap
This denim chain is showing its colors in honor of Pride Week by creating three custom shirts with Big Gay Ice cream. Nab a rainbow tee on the weekend to score a free ice cream sandwich.
Shoe Market Fourth of July sale; Shoe Market
We look forward to this shoe emporium’s Fourth of July sale every year because the entire store is buy-one-get-one-half-off!