Picnics in the park, music festivals and outdoor theater? Time Out New York has rounded up some awesome NYC events in June. Get pumped for summer during these highlights, which include throwing on your rainbow duds to taking part in NYC’s Gay Pride events, or head 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 for 2017
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. This week, catch Kevin Sean, Brian Park, Catherine Cohen, Hannah Boone, May Wilkerson, David Angelo and Cat Zini.
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 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.
This Lower East Side flea hosts one of the best collections of food vendors in Manhattan, with more upstarts joining the fray each week. Standouts from recent years include Adirondack Creamery, an upstate outfit that makes ice cream using local dairy, and Wonder City Coffee & Donut Bar stand—a spin-off of the Brindle Room’s morning java service.
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.
Music events in June 2017
Woody Allen has always been a better clarinetist than he'd care to admit, which means that his weekly hit with a hot-jazz band isn't just some superstar vanity trip. Cheap, though, it's no.
When R&B singer Abel Tesfaye released his debut mixtape, House of Balloons, in 2011, he did so hidden behind the Weeknd moniker: faceless and nameless, with no pictures, concerts or interviews. Since then, he's made the leap from mystery-cloaked DIY buzz magnet to Grammy-winning superstar, and deservedly so—in recent years, Tesfaye's revitalized his drugged out psychosexual fantasy with '80s funk basslines and a glossy pop shimmer. The heartbreaker dropped off last fall’s Meadows Festival due to a conflicting appearance on SNL. Fortunately, he’s making it up to us with a few stadium-size stopovers, so you have no excuse to miss the Toronto singer-producer pushing R&B to ever lusher, edgier extremes.
The Irish rockers headline these stadium dates to revisit The Joshua Tree, playing the album in full for its 30th anniversary. While it seems that every other rock institution has mined its back catalog nearly to death, this is the first time Bono & Co. head out on such a directly retrospective trip. They're still at work on the forthcoming Songs of Experience—the followup to 2014's tepid Songs of Innocence—so enjoy this brief look back.
Over their three decades and counting, Cave & co. have lost none of their fire and drama playing live. What's more, the band's new album, Skeleton Tree, demonstrates that Cave's writing has only intensified its profoundly haunting qualities. Bathed in grief and world-shattering loss, the album was written in the aftermath of the passing of the singer's 15-year old son.
Part cabaret, part piano bar and part social set, Cast Party offers a chance to hear rising and established talents step up to the microphone (backed by the slap and tickle of Steve Doyle on bass and Billy Stritch at the ivories, plus the bang of Daniel Glass on drums). The waggish Caruso presides as host.
Icelandic band Sigur Rós maintains a seemingly unpiercable facade beyond its remote native land—blame it on the combo's brainy, loose dreamscapes, which turned unexpectedly turbulent and aggressive on its most recent effort, Kveikur. The group pared down in recent years to a trio after the departure of keyboardist Kjartan "Kjarri" Sveinsson, but you can expect the trim lineup to craft an enormously expansive, otherwordly experience nonetheless.
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.
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.
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.
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 raw and the cooked is ongoing theme in the work of this year’s recipient of the fashion brand’s annual $100,000 arts award. Anicka Yi’s sculptural installations explore the boundary between biology and technology, often employing such unorthodox materials as tempura fried flowers, peta-dish grown molds and funguses to create futuristic forms that resemble lab experiments gone wrong.
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.
Lygia Pape (1927–2004) was a seminal figure in Brazil’s postwar art scene, a participant in the Concrete and Neo-Concrete movements of the ’50s and ’60s whose work evolved from geometrically abstract paintings and sculptures to videos and installations that engaged social issues—including satirical jabs at the military government that ruled the country between 1964 and 1985. This show is Pape’s first retrospective in the United States.
Associated with the Pictures Generation, Lawler was also one of the authors of Institutional Critique, a Conceptualist genre that made museums and other constituents of the art establishment the subject of a deconstructive inquiry. In Lawler’s case, that entailed photos of other artist’s works hanging in museums, storage rooms and the home of collectors. Elegant and cooly composed, Lawler’s images demystified the art object by showing how it lives as a commodity and piece of decor. MoMA surveys her career, which spans nearly 40 years.
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.”