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The best NYC events in August 2021

Plan your month with the best NYC events in August 2021 including rooftop openings, outdoor tours and public art exhibits

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Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Get ready to use our NYC events in August calendar as your guide for ending the summer with a bang! Now that we’re stuck at home a lot while NYC slowly reopens, now’s the time to take advantage of New York beaches and pools before they close for swimming next month. There are many more things to do outside this month, like enjoying incredible rooftops, going to the botanical garden and trying out fun social distanced mini-lawns, too. And use August as your last change to take advantage of all the outdoor movies at Parklife and more. This is the last full-month of summer—make it count!

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar

Featured NYC events in August 2021

  • Music
  • Music

The Rooftop at Pier 17's Summer Concert Series has announced its return with a must-see slate of performers, including Kesha, Rise Against, Machine Gun Kelly, Jason Mraz, Rufus Wainwright, Simple Plan, New Found Glory and others. This year, there will be a "Heineken Green Zone" from Pier 17 Founding Partner Heineken, that'll give ticketholders a reserved viewing area right in front of the stage with access to dedicated concessions. Other Pier 17 Founding Partners—Chase, Lincoln and Pepsi—will also have activations throughout the season on The Rooftop at Pier 17 and throughout the Seaport. Of course, the Seaport District is home to some of the best restaurants and bars, so before or after you see a show, you can imbibe and enjoy a good dinner at places like Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s seafood restaurant, The Fulton; David Chang’s Momofuku Ssäm Bar; Helene Henderson’s Malibu Farm; and this summer's newest additions, Andrew Carmellini's Italian chophouse Carne Mare and NoHo Hospitality's Mister Dips.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Back for its seventh year, the outdoor pool at Roosevelt island is also ready to welcome those eager for a cool down. Framed by the Midtown Manhattan skyline, the ‘Pop-Up Pool Party’ art installation lives at Manhattan Park, an 8.5-acre, 880-residence luxury waterfront rental community. Manhattan Park partnered with Corcoran New Development and designers K&Co and Pliskin Architecture to create the whimsical, publicly accessible project. Brooklyn-based artist Melissa Dadourian created this year’s mural. Dadourian typically works in textile media, painting and sculpture. Over four-and-a-half days and using 36 gallons of paint, Dadourian created a geometric pattern to transform the pool deck into an encapsulating wonderland of color. 

 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Your favorite Pixar characters are coming to Battery Park's Pier A this August as part of a Pixar-themed mini-golf course pop-up! Starting August 1, Pixar Putt will be set up at the park with 18 fun and interactive holes inspired by the stories, characters, and icons from some of Disney and Pixar's most beloved films including Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Coco, A Bug's Life, Wall-E, and Inside Out. There will also be adult-only sessions available—Pixar Putt After Dark will take place on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 10pm for those Pixar/Disney fans 18 and older.

 

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  • Music
  • Music

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett will come together “one last time,” the musicians announced on social media this morning. The pop star and jazz legend revealed they will perform together at the iconic Radio City Music Hall this fall—but only for two nights. The event is set to be a special night for everyone involved. Taking place on August 3 and 5, the concerts are intended to be a celebration of Bennett’s 95th birthday, which also lands on the 3rd. “It's been too long! Ready for live music again?” Bennett wrote on his Twitter page when announcing the concerts. Tickets will be available exclusively to Citibank cardmembers beginning July 21st at 10am local time on Citientertainment.com and July 22nd at 10am local time on Livenation.com

  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife

Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St.), home to endless indie concerts, drag queen bingo nights and more events since 2008, will reopen on August 28 with an exciting lineup booked through next winter! The venue will reopen on Saturday, August 28 with two events. The first, with doors opening at 6 p.m, will be the Rhythm Revue Retro Soul Dance Party With Felix Hernandez, open to guests 18 and older. Tickets start at $20 and yes, there will be dancing. Following the big reopening on the main stage, an emo night party will open its doors at 11 p.m., complete with a DJ and many eccentric black outfits, we're expecting. That event is 21 and older, and tickets start at $12. 

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  • Art
  • Art

At first glance, cars might seem like mundane, carbon-emitting fixtures of contemporary life across much of the world. They’re woven into the fabric of American life — many towns and cities are nearly impossible to traverse without a vehicle. But as much as we take cars for granted, these marvels of machinery and human ingenuity emerged through some complicated socio-political and economic conditions. Featuring vintage cars from the earliest years of automobiles, Automania unpacks the complex relationship, and dependence, between us and cars. The two-part exhibition consists of galleries on view from July 4 through January 2, 2022, and a total of nine vintage cars dotting the museum’s first floor and Sculpture Garden until October 10. The exhibition pulls its name from a 1964 Oscar-nominated cartoon by the British animation team Halas and Batchelor (most famous for their adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm). There are plenty of gems on display for true autophiles, including a 1973 Citroën DS sedan, an Airstream Bambi trailer and a rugged, fifties-era Jeep Truck. If you’re more into the historical aspect of cars, vintage film reels, commercials, and posters from Ford and General Motors are part of the show. Paired with various traffic signage from across the world, the show expertly tracks how cars become easier and cheaper to produce, their footprint on society increased astronomically. 

  • Theater
  • Theater & Performance

Broadway is famous for providing maximalist fantasies viewers can easily lose themselves in. The hair! The dancing! The singing! One crucial, but often underappreciated, bedrock of any knockout production will soon be the focus of a new Times Square exhibition: the fabulous costumes. The large-scale offering will feature the original costumes from a number of Broadway hits, past and present, including Moulin Rouge!, The Lion King, Wicked, and Chicago. A few costumes from smash television shows and films will be in the mix, too, including pieces from Saturday Night Live and the upcoming James Bond film No Time to DieShowstoppers! Spectacular Costumes From Stage and Screen is set to open August 5 and run through September 26. The unique attraction, displaying over 100 designs, will feature a 20,000-square-foot immersive set within the heart of Times Square at 234 West 42nd Street. The show aims to not only provide visitors with a behind-the-scenes stage and screen experience but also play a major role in New York’s ongoing revitalization. Visitors can expect to see costumes from some of the best Broadway shows from recent years. The confirmed displays include outfits from A Soldier’s Play, Aladdin, Chicago, Come From Away, The Cher Show, Dear Evan Hansen, Frozen, Golden Child, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Lion King, Moulin Rouge!, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Phantom of the Opera, Six and Wicked.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) is heading to New York with five flights, August 21 through September 19, where you can experience weightlessness just like an astronaut (or now, Virgin's Richard Branson). Apparently, ZERO-G is the only FAA-approved opportunity in the U.S. where you can experience true weightlessness without actually going to space. Each flight reaches up to 32,000 feet in the air, where you feel the pull of 1.8 Gs.

Is it because we're already a bunch of space cadets after a long 18 months? Or is it that all the space fun seems to be happening on the west coast? Either way, it's coming to Westhampton on August 21, NYC (Newark) on September 12, 13 and 18, and to Rochester on September 19. Each flight includes a padded zero-gravity playroom, where you can fly the length of an airplane cabin, pour water in the air and watch the droplets hover, release a handful of M&M's and chase them down, and enjoy "10-times more hang-time than the world’s best basketball player." The only downside to partial space flight is that it's a bit pricey at $7,500 per person, but it includes an entire program—breakfast, flight training, 15 periods of weightlessness, a ZERO-G flight suit, ZERO-G merchandise, a Regravitation Lunch Celebration, certificate of weightless completion and photos and video of your time at ZERO-G.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

In news that feels very on-trend for Summer 2021, a hard seltzer festival called Seltzerland is coming to Brooklyn this August. Originally slated for May 2020, Seltzerland's pivot to a post-vax Brooklyn will be better than we ever could have anticipated come August 7 at Brooklyn Expo Center. Already, similar events have taken place outdoors in Chicago, Austin and Minneapolis, setting the stage for an epic hard seltzer celebration in New York. Envisioned by Cannonball Productions, this festival curates tastings of the best hard seltzers out there: from iconic national brands to beloved local companies including White Claw, Mike's Hard Lemonade Seltzer, Vizzy, Playamar (Jose Cuervo Seltzer), Basic and Coors Seltzer. Brunch will also be provided by Hormel, in addition to other munchies. Plenty of hard seltzer swag is promised. 

 

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  • Movies
  • Movies

Bryant Park Movie Nights is a New York summer tradition. Unfortunately, last year the city had to go without the popular series—for obvious reasons. Thankfully, the series is back this year. The comeback lineup will kickoff with a screening of Clueless on August 23. The '90s comedy classic was selected by New York Magazine subscribers in an online vote. There will also be an inaugural “Broadway to Film'' series, which will feature special appearances from talent involved in current productions of popular Broadway plays that have equally popular movie adaptations and/or movie sources. A number of the productions are set to return to Broadway this fall, so the series is aimed at raising awareness and excitement for Broadway’s highly anticipated reopening. Films included in the first-of-its-kind series includes Moulin Rouge! on Tuesday, September 14, Phantom of the Opera on Monday, September 27, and Mrs. Doubtfire on Tuesday, September 28.  Contemporary classics will also be shown throughout the summer. While we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out this summer’s full lineup, selected in collaboration with New York Magazine’s entertainment site Vulture, past films have included Little Miss Sunshine, Goodfellas, Dirty Dancing, and Top Gun

 

  • Movies
  • Movies

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy announced the spring and summer lineup for activities in the park today with over 500 events planned from April 23 to September 25.

Included in the lineup were the titles for this year’s popular Movies with a View series, which shows free films on the waterfront with gorgeous views of Downtown Manhattan.

The 17th season of the series will have shorts curated by BAMcinematek, DJs from Brooklyn Radio to kick off each night and bike valets (fancy!) provided by Transportation Alternatives.

Check out the lineup of films for this summer below!

July 7: Singin’ in the Rain | PG

July 14: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle | R

July 21: Purple Rain | R

July 28: It Happened One Night | NR

August 4: American Graffiti | PG

August 11: Selma | R

August 18: A League of Their Own | PG

August 25: Public Vote

 

Photographer: Etienne Frossard

 

 

 

 

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Putting Green, an 18-hole course on a 15,000-square-foot tiered deck on the North Williamsburg riverfront has finally opened at the former Con Edison site that now belongs to developer Two Trees. The course aims to serve two purposes—one, to provide a fun time to New Yorkers, and two, to teach them about climate change, green and blue infrastructure, animal habitats, energy, and emissions. Each hole offers up a different scene—hole 1 is "Down the drain," showing how litter and debris get washed down storm drains and into waterways. Hole 2, "Whale Fall Feast," shows what happens when a whale dies and sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Hole 15, is "The Big Oyster" by you guessed it, the Billion Oyster Project. Other holes feature polar bears, a windmill, a cow, and a depiction of sea-level rise. 

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Lovers of ethnic foods, rejoice: New York's renowned Queens Night Market is back, running every Saturday through October 30. As usual, vendors of all sorts will take over Flushing Meadows Corona Park, serving everything from Indian tandoori kebabs to Bengali fuska, Hong Kongese soy sauce noodles and Puerto Rican papas rellenos. There will still be a $5-$6 price cap on food orders, to make sure you get to eat all that's available without breaking your wallet, plus beer and wine on offer for purchase. In terms of music, you can expect live gigs to capture your attention as well. 

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Because backyards are hard to come by in NYC, The Rooftop at Pier 17 is providing mini-lawns for the summer once again with The Greens. The popular Seaport District rooftop's 28, 14-foot-by-14-foot mini lawns are back with cabana-style lounge chairs, umbrellas, Yeti Coolers, USB ports and more that you can reserve this summer for up to eight people. Each mini lawn is like having your own little slice of suburbia with room to stretch out without worrying about being too close to others and lawn games you can rent out at a larger gaming court like bocce ball, cornhole and giant Jenga. The difference? There will be a 32-foot-wide LED screen to watch sports and movies on and incredible food and drink options by R17 that you can get delivered right to your mini-lawn: slow-roasted cauliflower birra tacos; a Maine lobster roll; a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich; spicy tuna maki sushi roll; campfire s'mores; Popbar popsicles; and drinks like frozen jalapeno-watermelon margaritas. You'll be able to order through your phone via a menu that pops up when you scan a QR code. And yes, there's free WiFi!

  • Things to do
  • City Life

One of Lower Manhattan’s prime waterfront spaces is taking on a brand-new, warm-weather identity just in time for summer. Brookfield Place is gearing up to unveil “The Bungalow,” a new outdoor space with food, entertainment and more located in its Upper Plaza. (The same location that hosts one of the city’s best, under-the-radar ice skating rinks in the winter.) The new, beachy oasis is inspired by vacation retreats found in Montauk without, you know, having to suffer through the prolonged L.I.R.R. trip to get there. The palm-strewn pop-up will offer food and drink options, arts programming and plenty of waterfront drinks. Upon entering, you’ll be able to grab a specialty cocktail from the Tartinery Shack and bites from Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar, Olive’s, Umami Burger and more. In addition to on-site bocce courts and waterfront views, guests will be able to enjoy regular live music and DJs to really emphasize that out-of-town feel.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

The Bronx Night Market, a pillar of the city's festival and dining scene, is back. In even better news, the destination is now official open for the season, set to feature around 20 food vendors each Saturday from NOON to 7pm through November. Although the culinary festival ended up being the only open-air market to operate in New York in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic, the organizers had to deal with a slew of new restrictions, a shortened season and the uncertainty that has plagued the entire world throughout this past year. And yet, things are looking up: the 2021 calendar is set to become the market's longest to date and will include community-oriented programs seeking to support local businesses, in addition to the gastronomical offerings that the event is known for. Among the rotating lineup of vendors are San Antonio's Wood Fired Pizza, Downeast Lobstah, La Braza, Osicala NYC, Sechebel Catering Co. and Sweet and Salty Empanads. Dessert-wise, visitors can indulge in Island Love Cake's aged-rum cakes, Dre's Water Ice and Ice Cream Southern-style treats and baked goods from Sweet Obsessions, among others.

 

  • Things to do
  • Midtown West

Immersive art exhibit Arcadia Earth has reopened after being closed due to the pandemic, and it looks better than ever! The exhibit aims to inspire visitors artistically and ethically, as it uses 15 rooms to spotlight the environmental challenges that our planet is facing (such as overfishing, food waste, and climate change). This exhibit will not only leave visitors in awe, but it will help support Oceanic Global, an organization devoted to raising awareness around our aquatic ecosystems. In addition, a tree will also be planted for every ticket sold, making it a perfect gift for your eco-conscious friends!

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

BRIC's Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival returns on July 31 to the Prospect Park Bandshell with shows continuing through September 18, and we couldn't be more excited to take in live music with friends and strangers. The lineup spans the gamut: Ari Lennox; Skip Marley; Mr. Eazi; Trombone Shorty with his notorious brass funk band Orleans Avenue; Junglepussy; Ladama, Tiga Jean-Baptiste and a set by DJ Ali Coleman for a family-friendly daytime performance; Lido Pimienta; Brooklynite Yaeji, KeiyaA and Nappy Nina; KAMAUU; Gary “Nesta” Pines; Ivy Sole; Tygapaw; Rita Indiana; The Attacca Quartet and Ellis Ludwig-Leone San Fermin; Son Little and Yendry. Buffy Sainte Marie is teaming up with Naia Kete for a special evening dedicated to highlighting the impact of climate change and Vijay Iyer, Joel Ross, Melanie Charles and Mahogany Browne are performing together for an evening in remembrance of the impact of COVID-19 on the jazz community. 

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Restaurants and bars are popping up everywhere these days, from greenhouses to closed off streets to hidden backyards. Now New York can add a restaurant aboard what was once the world’s smallest aircraft carrier to the list. The Baylander Steel Beach, a Navy ship used during the Vietnam War, is now stationed at the West Harlem Piers in Upper Manhattan off 125th Street. There’s a 4,000-square-foot outdoor deck where you can order lobster rolls, burgers and drinks. A lower level part of the restaurant is still closed while indoor dining is prohibited in New York. While it’s not as massive as the Intrepid—at 125 feet long, it’s nowhere near the 820 feet or so of the more iconic ship—the Baylander was used to train helicopter pilots who needed to learn how to land on a boat. According to the ship’s website, it moved around after the Vietnam War and the Trenk Family Foundation purchased it in 2012.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

As entertainment has yet to be given the green light to reopen, there are many nightlife staples New Yorkers miss. But one beloved and inclusive venue, Nowadays, is abiding by the current standards and bringing back its sprawling backyard to the public. For the uninitiated, Nowadays is like a massive backyard barbecue. It’s tough to beat hanging out in the 16,000-square-foot space with string lights, picnic tables, and massive birch and honey locus trees above (the most shade you’ll find for miles in industrial Ridgewood). This summer, while its live music programming is halted, you and your friends can still head to the summery haven by reservation and a $5 cover (groups up to 10 and families with kids are welcome). At the all-outdoor urban oasis bar you’ll find craft beer, cocktails, natural wine, and non-alcoholic drinks like mate and kombucha. And as for food, its backyard food truck run by Diner by Izakaya will be open with bites including wagyu hamburgers, pork katsu sandwiches, fish & chips, and snacks for a bevy of diets, like a vegan tempeh and lotus root sandwich (with gluten-free buns available), shishito peppers, an edamame and cucumber salad.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Olmsted's Summer Camp is back with its lush backyard vibes, dishes featuring fresh produce, gorgeous flowers, wine and cocktails. From Wednesday to Sunday, beginning at 5pm, the covered outdoor blooming backyard garden will be serving limited-edition, seasonal dishes like soft shell crab with grilled ramps, pickled aji dulce and fancy ranch; spring onion "onion rings”; mint & pea spätzle; seven radish som tum salad; and heirloom tomato schnitzel; alongside chef-owner Greg Baxtrom’s take on summer classics, like a corn dog with cherry ketchup and corn pudding mustard; and hot duck pastrami with red cabbage sauerkraut on housemade rye. Popular dishes will return, of course, including the Kale and crab rangoon with sweet & sour chili sauce and the vibrant carrot crepe with littleneck clams and sunflower seeds, but there will be a bigger dessert menu that features a strawberry & rhubarb baked Alaska; froyo with whipped lavender and honey; and Olmsted’s amazing s’mores with oversized homemade marshmallows and Hershey’s chocolate.

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  • Art
  • Art

Iconic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has officially taken over the New York Botanical Garden with her whimsical pumpkins and flower sculptures. Not to mention, one of her popular infinity rooms. Her landmark exhibition, "KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature," finally opens on Saturday after a year-long postponement due to the pandemic. Kusama's work is on glorious display all across the garden in four different experiences on its landscape, in and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building. Visitors will come across her sculptures and installations almost randomly, like you might happen upon a beautiful flower in nature. Her work makes you stop in your tracks and connect with it. 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Have you ever considered boating down the Gowanus Canal? Yeah, that Gowanus Canal. Famed for its “black mayonnaise,” the waterway nicknamed lavender lake seems like an unlikely destination for such an expedition, and admittedly, the idea sounds as crazy as swimming there, but people have done it. (In fact, they’ve have done both.) If you’re so inclined, however, we’ve got good news: Untapped New York is now offering canoe tours of the canal. Sponsored in concert with The Gowanus Dredgers, a volunteer group dedicated to providing access to and education about the canal since 1999, the excursion is described as a “a secret, one of a kind, personal sunset cruise,” which will set sail for two excursions on August 13 and August 18 at 7pm. You’ll be outfitted with life vests that have been sanitized and isolated for at least 72 hours before use, and wearing masks and other social distancing measures will be required. A tour guide will narrate your journey, offering tidbits on Gowanus history and landmarks of interest. With the federal EPA now it the midst of a massive clean-up of the canal, it’s only a matter of time before its gritty industrial charms fade from memory. So, if you want to catch the Gowanus in all of its toxic glory, a canoe is waiting for you. Tickets are $35 for the one-and-a-half hour tour, and you can book them here. 

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

The Empire State Building has reopened its 86th-floor outdoor observation deck to visitors at dawn with a new package called "Sunrise with Starbucks." For $114.98, you can get an unobstructed view of the sunrise with a small group of 50 guests, a complimentary Starbucks coffee and a limited-edition 90th Anniversary tote bag. You'll also get access to the ESB's exhibits that opened just before the pandemic, including its history, the people who built it, its opening day, and "Kong," a room that recreates the 1933 film King Kong with his giant hands coming through the windows. Tickets, which are for most Saturday mornings each month, are available here.

 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

New York is already rising to steamy temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s—but luckily, NYC pools are opening up in a few weeks for New Yorkers to cool off with a swim. Mayor Bill de Blasio officially announced that 15 NYC public pools will reopen across the five boroughs by August 1.

The ope pools include: Bronx: Crotona Park, Mullaly Park, Haffen Park Brooklyn: Sunset, Betsy Head Park, Kosciuszko Manhattan: Hamilton Fish Park, Jackie Robinson Park, Wagner, Marcus Garvey Park Queens: Astoria Park, Liberty, Fisher Staten Island and more.

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