Gothamist Guide To July: 20 Essential Summer Events

<br/><br/>Welcome, dear readers, to the best days of summer: July. July is the <a href="">Bill Murray</a> of months: irreverent of all that's passed, unfazed by what's to come, and perfectly content to revel in its own unique pleasures. July has it all! Patriotic explosions, star-lit live music, and zany ballpark antics are only some of the seasonably sublime events taking place in the next few weeks. <a href="">Run around, scrape your knees, get dirty! Climb trees, hop fences, get into trouble for crying out loud!</a> Here's your handy guide to what's happening in New York City this month.

(jamie nyc/Flickr)

<br/><br/>Once again Central Park has opened up the Harlem Meer for <strong><a href="">legal catch-and-release fishing all summer long</a></strong>. Bring along a valid ID and you'll be able to use one of the park's fishing poles and take advantage of free corn kernel bait. The gear's available on the Meer's northern shore at the Charles A. Dana Center. According to the <a href="">Central Park Conservancy's website</a>, the Meer's waters are home to largemouth bass, pumpkinseed and bluegill sunfish, carp, and chain pickerel.<br/><br/>While it's well-known that sunfish fillets can make for a delicious summer meal, it has to be reasserted that the fishing at Harlem Meer is catch-and-release <em>only</em>. Also, barbed hooks, lead sinkers, and overhead casting rods aren't allowed (<a href="">sorry, Tucker Carlson</a>). More serious fisherpeople may want to take their rods and reels elsewhere, but for anyone looking for a way to while away a few riverside hours Huck Finn-style or teach a kid the joy of fishing, there's no better free, legal option in all the boroughs. <br/><br/><em>Now-Mid-October, Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-2 p.m. // <a href="">Harlem Meer in Central Park</a> // Free</em>

L.A. Nolan's flickr

<br/><br/><a href="">Mayor DeBlasio has made nice with Macy's,</a> and at long last we'll again be enjoying <strong>Independence Day fireworks over the East River</strong>. Outer borough residents and Manhattanites alike will be able to savor the dramatic light show thanks to salvos of fireworks set off from both river barges near the Manhattan bridge as well as on land just below the Brooklyn Bridge. Macy's has crafted a <a href="">handy graphic</a> of ideal sites from which to <strike>get covered in magnesium smoke</strike> watch the spectacle. There's really nothing like watching the sky light up on Independence Day in NYC. The first firework flies at 9 p.m.<br/><br/><em>Friday, July 4th, 9 p.m. // East River between the Brookyln and Manhattan Bridges // <a href="">Free</a></em>

2007 fireworks display via Barry Yanowitz's Flickr

<br/><br/>Make time this month to visit the <strong><a href="">New York Historical Society's Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans exhibit</a></strong>, which opens July 4th and runs through mid-October. 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of Bemelmans's original book about the precocious Catholic-schooled Parisian girl, and the NYHS exhibit features original sketches, paintings, and written manuscripts that Bemelmans, a lifelong New York resident, used in his creation of his stories. Commissioned photographs and the artist's own paintbox are also a part of the 90+ items included in the exhibit.<br/><br/>On the exhibit's July 4th opening the museum will be throwing a <a href="×tamp=1404482400&amp;hour=1404511200&amp;date=Fri%2C+July+4th%2C+2014+|+10%3A00+am+-+6%3A00+pm">Family Day</a> with free kids' admission to story times, art projects, and a meet-and-greet with Madeline herself. Tickets to a special <a href="×tamp=1406142000&amp;hour=1406149200&amp;date=Wed%2C+July+23rd%2C+2014+|+3%3A00+pm+-+5%3A00+pm">July 23rd Tea Party</a> are also available (and going fast!).<br/><br/><em>Begins Friday, July 4th at 10 a.m. // <a href="">New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West</a> // <a href=";txobjid=1b87ef14-b89d-4a5c-803f-79124cc2bcd8">Museum admission $6 (kids)-$14 (adults)</a></em>

Madeline at the Paris Flower Market. TM and © Ludwig Bemelmans, LLC via NYHS

<br/><br/>For the last 127 years the <strong><a href="">Giglio Feast at Our Lady of Mount Carmel</a></strong> has brought traditional <em>Nolani</em> Italian food, music, games, and ceremony to Williamsburg's northside. This year's festivities begin on Wednesday the 9th and continue until the 20th. The days and nights of parades, rides, and Italian revelry all center around the Feast Day on Wednesday the 16th, during which 125 men will parade an <a href="">80-foot tall, three-ton <em>giglio</em> statue</a> about the Williamsburg night. Every evening will feature live music, specialty foods, and children's games.<br/><br/>More than just a family-friendly rager, the 12-day celebration centers around the conversion of the <a href="">5th Century bishop Paulinus</a>, who presided over the southern Italian city of Nola. Paulinus, according to legend, willingly took the place of an Italian child bound for slavery in North Africa and later won the respect of his Turkish masters, along with his freedom. The feast will feature dozens of Catholic masses in multiple languages and is the city's second-largest Italian festival after Little Italy's celebration of San Gennaro. A 2002 film, <em><a href="">Heaven Touches Brooklyn in July</a></em>, takes a long look at the festival.<br/><br/><em>Wednesday, July 9th-Sunday July 20th at 6 p.m. // <a href="">Our Lady of Mount Carmel</a>, 275 North 8th Street, Brooklyn // <a href="">Free</a> </em>

The 2013 Our Lady of Mount Carmel & San Paolino di Nola Feast, via Foto Bocch's flickr

<br/><br/><a href="">Andrew Bird</a> is a musical genius. Yes, the G-word is overused, but it's the only one I'm left with after exhausting all other superlatives to describe a guy who can create songs as exquisite as this:<br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="480" src="//" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/>Bird, a sublimely gifted multi-instrumentalist who leans heavily on violin, hollow body electric guitar, and exultant whistling, recently went through one of his regular periods of reinvention, setting aside his long-running touring band and recording <a href="!/226929">an album of songs by The Handsome Family</a>, a country-rock act now widely known for the song that kicks off <em>True Detective.</em> Bird is currently touring with a (mostly) new backup band, playing a mix of his own material and Handsome Family cuts.<br/><br/> His sound is sumptuous as ever, even if it rocks a little less hard, and at a recent performance in Williamsburg, Bird confessed to a rapt audience that he'd come to feel a sense of ownership over the Handsome Family material. Happily, he still retains full ownership over his own songs, and you can immerse yourself in both at <strong><a href="">this free show in Central Park</a></strong>. <em>(John Del Signore)</em><br/><br/><em>Tuesday, July 8th, 7 p.m. // <a href="">Central Park Summerstage</a> // <a href="">Free</a> </em>

via Emmastory's flickr

<br/><br/>Hudson River Park's free <a href="">RiverRocks concert series</a> brings whimsical indie rockers <strong><a href="">Wild Beasts and Mutual Benefit to the stage on July 10th</a></strong>. Wild Beasts, a delicate electronic group headed by Hayden Thorpe’s stunning falsetto, released their most recent album, "Present Tense," to much acclaim; Mutual Benefit, lead by the ethereal Jordan Lee, had their debut "Love’s Crushing Diamond" decisively dubbed "Best New Music" by Pitchfork. Come prepared to kick back and maybe shed a few cathartic tears. The show is rain or shine. <em>(Jeva Lange)</em><br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/><em>Thursday July 10th, 6 p.m. // <a href="">Pier 84 in the Maritime Entertainment District</a> // Free</em>

Jenn Young's flickr

<br/><br/>Sometimes called the "Godfather of Surrealism," Luis Buñuel's films have haunted the dreams and nightmares of moviegoers since the 1930s. His classics and rarities will once again reach the big screen when the first half of the <strong><a href="">massive Luis Buñuel retrospective at BAMcinématek</a></strong> begins on July 11th. The exhaustive series includes everything from Buñuel's groundbreaking surrealist short "<a href="">Un Chien Andalou</a>" to his <a href="">rarely</a> <a href="">screened</a> <a href="">Mexican</a> <a href="">films</a> from the '40s and '50s.<br/><br/> Also included is <em><a href="">Viridiana</a></em>, Buñuel's controversial masterpiece that visually recalls Da Vinci's <em>Last Supper</em> but with drunken beggars instead of disciples. Over 20 of the films are going to be projected on 35mm prints, an opportunity so good that it’s tempting to head to BAMcinématek for the month and simply never go home. <em>(Jeva Lange)</em><br/><br/><em>July 11th-31st // <a href="">BAMcinématek</a> // <a href="">Tickets $14</a></em>

<br/><br/>If you're one of those mavericks who <a href="">still reads bound piles of paper for pleasure and entertainment</a>, then <strong>Brooklyn Bridge Park's "<a href="">Books Beneath the Bridge</a></strong>" series might pique your interest. Each evening of readings is hosted by a different <a href="">independent bookstore</a> in the city, including Greenlight, Powerhouse Arena, Community Bookstore, WORD Brooklyn and Bookcourt. Freebird Bookstore will be kicking the season off on July 7th with Elizabeth Mitchell talking about her new book, <em>Liberty's Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty</em>. Other notable evenings include Greenlight's July 14th hosting of a poetry salon, and July 28th, when Community Bookstore brings in the <a href="">Morbid Anatomy Museum</a>for a special reading. <em>(Jeva Lange)</em><br/><br/><em>Series begins Monday, July 7th at 7 p.m. // Granite Prospect Steps // <a href="">Free</a></em>

Etienne Frossard via Brooklyn Bridge Park's Instagram

<br/><br/>Any beer-lover knows their top three favorite craft beers off the top of their head. Especially here in New York, where craft breweries have been steadily popping up all over the city for the last couple decades, it's important to know your favorite local brew: there's Brooklyn Brewery, Six Point, Kelso, Bronx Brewery, and Coney Island Brewing Co., to name a few.<br/><br/> To celebrate the wide world of American craft breweries, head to MCU Park in Coney Island for <strong><a href="">Coney Island On Tap</a></strong>, New York's premier craft beer showcase. On-hand will be a taste of over 100 styles from nearly 60 of America's best craft breweries. A full list of the participating breweries is available <a href="">here</a>. The list even includes Woodchuck Hard Cider for the gluten-free or those averse to beer, and will of course feature a bevy of food vendors and live music. <br/><br/><em>Saturday, July 12th 1 p.m.-4 p.m. // <a href="">MCU Park, Brooklyn</a> // <a href="">Tickets $40-50</a> </em>

Coney Island On Tap Facebook

<a href="">Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival Facebook</a>

<br/><br/>Join two former local taggers in conversation at the City Museum of New York's <strong><a href="">Graffiti (R)evolution: Graphic Design and Fine Art</a></strong> on Wednesday, July 9th. Founding Def Jam Recordings creative director Cey Adams and collage artist Greg Lamarche will be digging into the history of graffiti art and its growth from illicit urban revolt into a contemporary global art form that <a href="">sells for over $600k</a>. Lamarche and Adams will also dish on their own paths from the aerosol spray can to the bright design studio and provide some extra-personal context to the street art speech. Before you attend, you might want to read resident street art fanatic Jake Dobkin's <a href="">Ask A Native New Yorker response</a> to the question of graffiti's artistic merits. That should get you primed.<br/><br/><em>Wednesday, July 9th, 6:30 p.m. // <a href="">City Museum of New York</a> // <a href=";pid=208151&amp;eid=1067035&amp;evd=7/9/2014&amp;evt=18%3A30%3A00&amp;pvt=mcny">Tickets $12-16</a></em>

Spanish Harlem graffiti via Atomische's flickr

<br/><br/>The Drilling Company's <strong><a href="">Shakespeare the the Parking Lot</a></strong> series brings the Bard's best works to a municipal lot on the Lower East Side for productions that are always free and often fantastic. July will see the opening of <em>Twelfth Night</em>, one of Shakespeare's best comedies. Characters such as Sebastian, Olivia, and Malvolio are reinterpreted by Director Hamilton Clancy to match familiar NYC archetypes: lost tourists, delightful deadbeats, Euro-tech tycoons, and, just as <em>Night</em>'s plot demands, a cross-dressing drag queen.<br/><br/>This might very well be your last chance to catch Shakespeare in the Parking Lot—at least in its current location. The one-acre lot is set to be developed by the <a href="">mixed-use Essex Crossing project</a> soon.<br/><br/><em>Thursdays-Saturdays, July 10th-26th, 8 p.m. // Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets, Manhattan // <a href="">Free</a> </em>

The Twelfth Night cast via Jonathan Slaff/The Drilling Company

<br/><br/>Moscow's world-renowned <strong><a href="">Bolshoi Ballet will perform at the Lincoln Center Festival</a></strong> this month, fitting three full-length ballets and one opera into a two-week run. The chance to experience the Yuri Grigorovich classics <em>Swan Lake</em> and <em>Spartacus</em> performed by a world class company is one that absolutely no one should pass up, but two-day performance runs of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's opera <em>The Tsar's Bride</em> and Alexei Fadeyechev's reinterpretation of <em>Don Quixote</em> should be taken advantage of as well. Tickets are going <em>very</em> quickly, and with some of the best dancers on Earth performing such a timeless repertoire, to miss the Bolshoi would be out of step indeed.<br/><br/><em>Saturday, July 12th-Sunday July 27th, 2 p.m. (matinees) and 8 p.m. // <a href="">David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center</a> // <a href="">Tickets $40-120</a> </em>

via Damir Yusupov-Bolshoi Theatre/Lincoln Center Festival facebook

<br/><br/>Andrew Bird is a genius but Simon Green is a master. The British-raised, NYC-based composer and DJ has been releasing fantastic groove-oriented music for nearly 15 years under the moniker <a href="">Bonobo</a>. His sound melds sampled loops and live instrumentation in a way that morphs the genres of electronica, trip-hop, and downtempo jazz into a style that's lovelier than pretty much anything you've ever heard. Part <a href=";feature=kp">'60s spy film soundtrack</a>, part <a href="">22nd century party music</a>, Bonobo is sweet ambrosia for groove-starved ears. What's more, Green is currently touring with a giant band of ace musicians and will be performing the music of <strong><a href="">Bonobo live at Central Park's Summerstage on July 13th</a></strong>, for free along with <a href="">Cibo Matto</a>. <br/><br/>Bonobo's last full-band date in NYC nearly blew the ceiling off of Terminal 5 back in October. The songs are rivers of strings and soulful vocals that flow in and out of one another atop a bedrock of neck-snapping beats. Taking it all in beneath a Central Park sunset might induce more serotonin than your nervous system can handle. You'd have to be crazy to miss this.<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/><em>Sunday, July 13th, Doors at 5 p.m., Music at 6 p.m. //<a href=""> Central Park Summerstage</a> // <a href="">Free</a></em>

Simon Green aka Bonobo via Dan Medhurst/Facebook

<br/><br/>Grab your berets and break out the Gauloises. The <a href="">original Bastille Day</a> was a bloody and hostile takeover, but the celebration of French National Day has since grown into a delicious day-long party. This year's July 13th <strong><a href="">Bastille Day celebration on 60th Street</a></strong> will feature plenty of <em>crepes</em> and <em>fromage</em> along with a massive raffle drawing for prizes that include an 8-day trip to France and free French language courses. If a one day fete just isn't enough, <a href="">Bastille Week</a> events will bring real and faux-Frenchies alike out for a special <a href="">restaurant week</a> and a <a href="">high-class ball</a>. One can never have enough Burgandy and Bordeaux, and the <a href="">Parisians sure know how to party</a>.<br/><br/><em>Sunday, July 13th, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. // East 60th Street between Lexington and 5th Avenue // <a href="">Free</a></em>

via Damien Derouene's flickr

<br/><br/>Tapas, <a href="">Anthony Bourdain reminds us</a>, aren't merely small bites at some fusion hipster bar. Originally slices of bread or meat that Spanish sherry-drinkers would use to cover their wine glasses between sips, eating the tapas of today can be one of the most varied and rewarding dining experiences you'll ever have. Local favorites <a href="">Toro</a> and Basque-tinged newcomer <a href="">Huertas</a> dish up the goods year-round, but mid-July also marks the return of <strong><a href="">Tapas Trail: New York's Walk of Spain</a></strong>. <br/><br/>From the 14th to the 21st a <em>manojo</em> of eateries across Manhattan and Brooklyn will offer special tapas and wine for only $10 a pop. The entire event is meant to recreate the quintessential Spanish experience of wandering by foot from bar to bar, indulging in food and wine until you can hardly tell a fork from a futbol. The list of participating restaurants includes <a href="">100 Montaditos</a>, <a href="">Andanada</a>, <a href="">Cafe Riazor</a>, <a href="">La Paella</a>, <a href="">Solera</a>, and many more.<br/><br/><em>Monday, July 14th-Monday July 21st; evenings // <a href="">Manhattan and Brooklyn</a> // <a href="">$10 each</a></em>

via Tapas Trail NYC's Instagram

<br/><br/>Le Grand Fooding has built up a hearty reputation for bringing can't-miss food events to the streets of NYC, and now they're taking the party out to the seashore with <strong><a href="">Le Grand Fooding Beach Club</a></strong> the weekend of the 11th-13th. Each day will include a 3-course picnic meal anchored by cornmeal crostini sopes brought in from from <a href="">Rockaway Taco</a> along with other delectables like red chilaquiles, grilled veal breast, and cereal milk pudding from Momofuku. DJs will (of course) be on hand, with Cibo Matto and LCD Soundsystem's Nancy Whang spinning throughout the weekend. <br/><br/>Considering that the <a href="">many bars and restaurants of the Rockaways</a> already offer great eats for famished beach-goers, the LGF event is a perfect fit. Added bonus: ten percent of every meal ticket will be donated to the <a href="">Graybeards charity</a> to benefit rebuilding in the Rockaways post-Sandy.<br/><br/><em>Friday-Sunday, July 11th-13th, 12 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. // 97-01 Shorefront Parkway, Rockaway Beach // <a href="">Tickets $40</a></em>

Le Fooding Facebook

<br/><br/>When it's not busy <a href="">being a spaceship</a> or <a href="">hosting a massive slide</a>, The New Museum can throw a damn good party. This year's <strong><a href="">New Museum Block Party</a></strong> goes down on the 19th in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. The party is a decidedly family-friendly affair, with interactive projects and entertainment aimed at both toddlers and teens, plus a tour of the museum's new <a href="">Here and Elsewhere </a> exhibit. Kids will be able to play memory games with images from the museum's archives and boogie to the beatboxing of <a href="">Lumberob</a>.<br/><br/><em>Saturday, July 19th, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. // Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Chrystie Street between Delancey and Broome // <a href="">Free</a></em>

New Museum Website

<br/><br/>We'd be remiss not to include at least one baseball game on a summer to-do list, and on the 26th the Brooklyn Cyclones are doing something extra-special. That Saturday night is, yes, <strong><a href="">Elvis Presley Night at at MCU Park</a></strong>, when the Cyclones will take on the Vermont Lake Monsters and hand out "The King" bobbleheads to fans in attendance. That weekend has also been declared "Halloween in July" by the team, so you can expect plenty of jumpsuit-clad Elvis impersonators to Take Care of Baseball in a Flash.<br/><br/>The entire promotion should make for an idyllic July night of funky get-ups and scrappy minor league baseball (the Cyclones are a part of the Mets' farm system), and post-game fireworks are scheduled immediately following the final inning, because America.<br/><br/><em>Saturday, July 26th. 6 p.m. // <a href="">MCU Park, Brooklyn</a> // <a href=";pid=7623083">Tickets $10-16</a></em>

Brooklyn Cyclones Facebook

<br/><br/><strong><a href="">New York City Restaurant Week</a></strong> continues to deconstruct the definition of "week," stretching this year from Monday the 21st to August 15th. Thankfully, the original mission—to make the city's best dining rooms more accessible to the masses—has endured. At places like <a href="">Nobu</a>, <a href="">Benchmark</a>, and <a href="">Red Rooster</a> you'll be able to snag a 3-course dinner or lunch for $38 and $25, respectively. The full list of participating spots, which reads like a who's-who of New York dining (minus only the swankiest of places) can be found <a href="">here</a>. Most restaurants use the week as an opportunity to win over new clientele and offer specialty plates and cocktails that wouldn't otherwise be found on their menu, so we recommend saving up in order to splurge.<br/><br/><em>Monday July 21st-August 15th; lunch and dinner // All over NYC // <a href="">$25-38</a></em>

Nobu New York's Facebook