Picnics in the park, music festivals and outdoor theater are just a few of the many NYC events in June New Yorkers can look forward to. Get pumped for summer during these highlights, which include throwing on your rainbow duds and attending NYC’s Gay Pride events, or heading to one of the best New York beaches (and boardwalks) for the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Music lovers will have plenty to do with major summer concerts including the Governors Ball Music Festival.
RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar
Featured events in June 2017
Hot 97 Summer Jam is NYC hip-hop, okay? Yes, it’s held in New Jersey, but this annual highlight of concerts and summer music festivals is as accurate a survey as you’re likely to find of what’s soundtracking Gotham right now—or will be very soon. Sponsored by local rap-radio standard-bearer Hot 97, Summer Jam 2017 includes some of the biggest names in hip-hop and has featured some of the genre’s most iconic names at the peak of their fame.
The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is one of NYC’s freakiest, most iconic events. Each year, thousands of spectators flock to Surf Avenue, Coney Island’s main drag, to watch King Neptune and Queen Mermaid lead a procession of beglittered semi-nude marchers in costumes through the neighborhood.
Governors Ball occupies a unique place in the NYC summer concerts landscape. SummerStage blankets all five boroughs with a mix of well-curated niche acts; Celebrate Brooklyn! carries out a similarly eclectic mission from its Prospect Park home base. And Northside corners the North Brooklyn indie market—or what’s left of it. The Ball, on the other hand, is the closest thing we have to Coachella, the city’s only bona fide big-tent pop fest. The annual Randalls Island event is the one local fest where you can catch hip-hop chart toppers, tastemaker-approved buzz bands, left-field pop heroes and, yes, dance-commanding EDM overlords.
Judging by the hype surrounding Go Topless Day, the recently-departed Smallest Penis in Brooklyn Pageant and those half-naked ladies in Times Square, it’s safe to assume that New Yorkers are pretty cool with nudity. That’s why the World Naked Bike Ride hosts a bare-all ride in NYC every year, which brings awareness to the harmful pollution of motor vehicles (and rude, reckless drivers who tailgate bikers).
Every summer, the Public Theater produces a beloved NYC democratic tradition and one of the best free things to do in NYC: Shakespeare in the Park, presented at the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park. There’s nothing quite like hearing the Bard’s immortal words performed outside in New York, with a backdrop of natural splendor and the Belvedere Castle looming in the background like the world’s most impressive set decoration.
Jazz Age Lawn Party is an essential annual summer stop for revelers looking to dance in the open air and find great things to do outside. Governors Island is the perfect venue to leave the 21st century behind for the delights of the Prohibition-era (including “speakeasy” summer drinks). Dress the part with festive, period-appropriate attire, and come ready to dance at the Jazz Age Lawn Party.
Free NYC events in June 2017
Jeffrey Emerson, Jill Weiner and Brian Moran host this weekly night of stellar stand-up featuring a diverse range of comedians, including known names like Matteo Lane and Farah Brook and newcomers like Menuhin Hart and Melissa Diaz. The April 3 edition features Megan Walsh, Colin Lewis, Ja-Ron Young and Haley Sacks.
At this massive grub hub, there’s only one rule: Come hungry. The Brooklyn Flea spin-off draws more than 10,000 visitors per day with a slew of 75 to 100 incredible food vendors. Our pro tip? Make sure you peruse the lineup before you go—those mouthwatering scents and the bevy of choices can make you dizzy (and the dense crowds can make you hangry).
This Lower East Side flea, now in it's eighth season, hosts one of the best collections of vendors in Manhattan, with more upstarts joining the fray each week. Standouts from recent years and who have gotten their start at the fair include include Macaron Parlour, Petee’s Pie Company, Melt Bakery, La New Yorkina, Arancini Bros and Cheeky Sandwich.
This city tradition feels fresh every spring when artists following in the footsteps of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning set up shop in the park. Hundreds of exhibitors, from NYU students to artists who remember the Village as a creative enclave, display their paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry and woodcraft.
One and One hosts this local talent showcase every Friday, with Phil Stamato, Daniel Raderstrong and Fume Abe wrangling acts from across town to headline the bill. Past guests have included Myq Kaplan, Shane Torres and Aparna Nancherla. After the show, performers get the weekend started by joining the audience for a lively afterparty. This week features Brooklyn fan-favorites Alingon Mitra, Anna Drezen, Sonia Denis and Nick Vatterott.
Get down at an old-school honky-tonk at Johnny Utah’s every Wednesday night, featuring covers and new music from the charming country performer Ben O’Connor. To make the night more interesting, try your hand at the mechanical bull, or order dangerous drinks like the Dixie Tea and Texas Mule. Plus, sample the bar’s beloved baby back ribs.
Music events in June 2017
The bratty, likably bombastic British synth-popsters of the 1975 come from Manchester (the birthplace of the Smiths, the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays) and are somewhat of a big deal in their homeland, and increasingly in the States as well: The band's sophomore album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, topped the charts in both countries upon its release last year.
Yearly rumors of a Ween reunion have popped up like clockwork since 2011 when the impish cult-favorites retired the act due to singer Aaron "Gene Ween" Freeman's struggles with substance abuse and onstage meltdown in Vancouver. But 2016 marked the year those rumors came true. For the band's sizable fan base, every Ween concert is a holy event. The Pennsylvanian institution's ability to project its virtuosic talent onto virtually any genre and goofily make it its own is worth the price of admission, even if you haven't drunk the Kool-Aid.
This wildly popular string band offers sweet, earthy, surprisingly rock & rolly songs—and plucky covers—that encompass classic soul, R&B and pop motifs, but it's singer Rachael Price's gorgeous, rich voice that will stop you in your tracks. The Boston outfit performs behind a new LP, Side Pony.
As folk-punk duo Girlpool, high school friends Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker weave complex vocal interplay—unison shouts along with lilting harmonies—above spare guitar melodies. The spare arrangement leaves every note exposed—a fitting framework for the radically vulnerable lyrics found on 2015's excellent release, Before the World Was Big.
Connecticut's positively cathartic Sorority Noise writes mature lyrical exorcisms of addiction and depression that skyrocket into scream-along choruses and make key changes sound somehow oh-so-punk-rock, rather than Bon Jovi-cringeworthy.
Though this indie institution has undergone fundamental transformations in recent years, there's no mistaking the essential Shins-iness of the band's latest Heartworms: Once again we find James Mercer pondering life’s big questions in long-lined vocal melodies floating over jangly, detailed guitar-pop arrangements. Here the Portland, OR, indie-rock faves open the summer season with a Celebrate Brooklyn! benefit show.
Highly buzzed self-proclaimed "genre-queer" outfit PWR BTTM, the duo of Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, doles out crunchy power chords and high-powered heartsickness. The band recently finished a new album; expect to hear from it when the twosome takes the big stage at Webster Hall.
Arts events in June 2017
View over 100 works made by creators outside of the artistic community, including inventive self-taught sculptors in New York City and illustrators who found their passion in prisons and psychiatric hospitals. Explore the inner lives of unknown artists through works made in private and often discovered after the artists' passing, with pieces like Steve Ashby's Rocking Bed Cunnilingus Whirligig and Henry Darger's watercolor At Sunbeam Creak/At Wickey Lansinia.
As one of the giants of 20th-century photography, Irving Penn (1917–2009) was known for his fashion photography, portraits and still lifes. His stunning large format, black-and-white images of models and celebrities helped to define the look of midcentury America. This retrospective mounted on the occasion of Penn’s 100th birthday features some 200 examples of his work, which remains as indelible now as when he first began to create it more than 60 years ago.
An international roster of woman artists who worked under a male-dominated midcentury milieu get a turn in the spotlight. Joan Mitchell, Lee Bontecou and Louise Bourgeois are some of the figures celebrated here.
It’s been actually three years since the last Whitney Biennial. Since then, the museum has moved into its current MePa home, making this edition of the show the first to take advantage of the building’s considerable increase in space over the Whitney’s previous digs. As usual, the show is an eclectic affair which collects some 63 artist in a subjective snapshot of contemporary American art.
The Brooklyn Museum’s look at Georgia O’Keeffe, the artist famed for painting desert landscapes and barely disguised vaginas (which, she vociferously denied doing), takes a different tack by examining the artist’s carefully constructed image as a throughly modern, independent woman and style icon. The show presents components that played a part in crafting her persona, including artworks, photographs and examples of her wardrobe.
The writings of cultural critic Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) has had a tremendous impact on postwar and contemporary art. This is especially true of his seminal essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," which, while written in 1936, was hugely influential in shaping the course of Postmodernism. This show gathers a group of artist to reflect on The Arcades Project, the Benjamin magnum opus that never was. The book was cobbled together posthumously out of notes he'd kept on a subject that fascinated him: The proto-shopping malls of 19th- and early 20-century Paris known as arcades. Essentially shopping streets enclosed by glass roofs, the arcades represented the first expressions of mass-consumer culture and the observations Benjamin made about them represented the first stab at deconstructing the connection between mass-produced goods and the efforts to stimulate an appetite for them.
Simone Leigh, A particularly elaborate imba yokubikira, or kitchen house, stands locked up while its owners live in diaspora
A little corner of Zimbabwe has landed in Marcus Garvey Park in the form of three imbas, or kitchen huts native to the region. As welcoming as they appear, these huts, created in collaboration with architect Maxwell Mutanda, are actually closed forms that can’t be entered. According to the artist, they’re meant to celebrate the “expansiveness of the African diaspora,” while also evoking the “experience of living outside the place considered home.”