95 Days of Summer: How to spend June and July

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Looks much more fun than watching Netflix all summer. Image via Flickr user gigi_nyc

Put on your jorts, slather yourself in sunblock and cue the Ella Fitzgerald; it’s summer time, kid, and the living is easy. We-e-ll, okay, that’s not entirely true. Summer can be as expensive as any other season, unless you know how to pace yourself. After all, you’ve gota whole 94 days (plus one bonus day we’ve determined the calendar gave us) to enjoy the warmth and the good feelings that come from being outdoors Between co-workers, a significant other, social gatherings and me-time, you might find yourself a little overwhelmed.

Not to fear. Through vigorous research at the Brokelyn offices, we’ve gathered not one, not two, not 39, but 95 things to do—one for each day of summer. They range between the splurge-worthy and the completely free, so you don’t have to shell out every day to make memories. Use this guide as a go-to for how to spend your summer daze, and keep your bank account flush. First up, we’ve got June and July. So strap on your summer shoes (which might just be your shoes) and get ready to get out there.

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Everyone at the Mermaid Parade must roll with a posse. Image via Flickr user Pretty Kate Machine

Saturday, June 20
Technically the first day of summer is June 21. But we’re annexing June 20 in this instance, since today is the nation’s biggest art parade, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. How could you not, when it means thousands of people walking through the streets of Coney Island in elaborate costumes and on floats. Gather a group, dress to shock and roll up next to your fellow rainbow wing-clad, blue paint-covered sea fanatics. Just don’t go wandering off if you hear siren songs; The Odyssey tells us that’s not such a good idea.

Sunday, June 21
Second day of summer! How about you visit Staten Island? You scoff, sure, but it’s not just any Staten Island. Today, SI has been taken over by punks! Punk Island is a free all-day music festival where you can see such bands as Cookie Deficiency, Princess Tiny and The Meats, The Sex Zombies and Wombat in Combat. FREE, just like the ferry to get you there. So bring plenty of water, buy some merch, and let your inner punk roar.

Monday, June 22
Four writers enter! Four writers also leave, but not without having their work judged by professionals. Literary Death Match will be taking place at The Bell House. For just a measly $10, you can witness dreams of literary glory get crushed, lightly criticized or even lauded. Four writers get seven minutes each to sell the judges on their work. Then out of the four, two are chosen for a Death Match. It’s the only Literary Death Match taking place in Brooklyn this summer, so for the bookworms out there, this is your chance to show your friends you have a functioning social life, too!

Tuesday, June 23
One of the most important skills in anyone’s social repertoire is the ability to dance. Dancing makes you instantly more attractive to the people you’re trying to seduce, and can also impress the people who are trying to seduce you but secretly think you can’t dance. In short, learn to dance. Where? Why, at the Lincoln Center Midsummer Night Swing, of course. Dance lessons, live music and even some BBQ afterwards.

Wednesday, June 24
You’re never too old to double-dutch. Jump to a beat with with Double Dutch Empire in Brooklyn Bridge Park. This event is for people 15 and up—so while you might end up facing off against some flashy high-schoolers, you certainly won’t be upstaged by anyone below knee-level.

Thursday, June 25
Visiting a cemetery at night is the best way to get spooked (and even have fun doing it). And if you’ve never visited the Greenwood Cemetery before, it’s going to be especially well-haunted this summer. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of “Alice in Wonderland,” the cemetery handpicked visual artists to turn the cemetery into a modern version of Wonderland called Dark Wonderland, ooooh. So take a step through the looking glass; we guarantee you’ll sleep with one eye open afterwards.

Friday, June 26
The Anthology Film Festival is hosting the 15th Annual Bicycle Film Festival, which was founded in 2001 by Brendt Barbur after getting hit by a car while on his bicycle. And hey, we can all agree that people should stop doing that. Barbur wanted to turn the incident into something positive. So he curates this festival mixing together film, music and art to celebrate the two-wheeled commute we know and love.

Saturday, June 27
Well, this is it: The Trash Bar’s final night. It may not be seen the way CBGB or Death By Audio were, but you should still say goodbye to this beloved Williamsburg bar, because you know it won’t be replaced by anything near as dirty, weird or fun. They’ll be opening their doors at 1, and they’ve got a full night of music planned for their way out the door. While it be chaos? Obviously, and it will be great.

Sunday, June 28
There’s something just soooo New York about hanging on out a stoop all day. But don’t be a stoop kid, go out and visit other stoops. Specifically, those involved in the STooPS Festival in Bed-Stuy. For one day, residents of Bed-Stuy will donate their stoops to visual artists, musicians, dancers and performers showcasing their talents to anyone who walks by. It’s FREE, and it’s for everybody. Go and see something cool, and meet your neighbors!

Monday, June 29
Trekkies weren’t the only ones affected by the death of  Leonard Nimoy earlier this year. We all felt just a little bit lower that day. So to celebrate his life and his impact on popular culture, Symphony Space will be hosting a free tribute to the man who was Spock, by screening select episodes of the classic Star Trek TV series at their theater on the Upper West Side.

Tuesday, June 30
Comic Book Club is a live comedy/talk show for graphic novel enthusiasts. Costs $5. Not only can you listen to comedians talk to industry professionals about the latest comics—along with the occasional musical act—but you can also get your hands on free comics. Also up for grabs at the show, a $25 dollar gift card to Midtown Comics so you can stock up on comics for your summer reading time.

Wednesday, July 1
Bingo isn’t just for grandparents living in homes. It can be fun, and Videology in Williamsburg is proof as they are hosting a bingo competition, with the theme of the game revolving around formerly cancelled now on Netflix TV series “Arrested Development.” Win free beers and frozen bananas while you play in the nude (nobody will actually be nude, we promise).

Thursday, July 2
Did you know that the Bronx Museum is free 24/7, 365. If you’ve never been, or even if it’s one of your favorite spots in the city, head over and check out their newest exhibit ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York. The exhibit showcases the Puerto Rican radical group that challenged local politics and shaped the identity of urban Latinos in both Chicago and New York City in the 1960’s.

Friday, July 3
Walking tours. Nothing like a good walking tour to get the blood flowing. What makes Boroughs of The Dead so special is that they go into detail about the dark and macabre histories of old New York. While the fireworks are being set up for America’s birthday eve, go and learn about the Forgotten Mysteries of Lower Manhattan! Watch out for clowns, as always.


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America! Fireworks! BBQ! Image via Flickr user Diana Robinson

Saturday, July 4
‘Murrica Day! The Macy’s 4th of July Celebration will take place on the East River again this year. So head on over there, or just find a nice rooftop where you can watch the fireworks. Add on some friends, some beer and some BBQ, and ring in the 4th of July in style.

Sunday, July 5
Hungover from partying all night? Tough titties, because today you’re going to see live theater for free in Harlem. Over at Marcus Garvey Park, The Classical Theater of Harlem will be performing an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” set between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Monday, July 6
Still hungover, huh? It’s the Monday after the 4th of July, so we get it. Maybe a quiet night at home, curled up with a good book, would be the better option. Thankfully for you, we’ve got some great recommendations from some independent bookshops around Brooklyn. Visit one of ’em and pick up a page-turner to while away your night of recovery! Beats waiting for the book on Amazon, that’s for sure.

Tuesday, July 7
It’s high time we mention an outdoor movie, since those things are taking over the city this summer. Sexual identity, race and gender politics are all brought to the forefront in director Clive Barker’s “Tangerine,” which he shot entirely on an iPhone 5s. The film follows a transgender prostitute living in California.

Wednesday, July 8
Used to be that the biggest inter-borough battle was Jay-Z’s: “Who’s the best, MC, Biggie, Jay-Z or Nas?” Huh. Wonder if he ever would have thought that people would be arguing with the same fervor about which borough has the best craft beer? Well, that debate will be heard in Craft Beer Jam – Five Borough Beer Battle, where you can taste beers from around the city (unlabeled) and vote for the best brewery in the city.

Thursday, July 9
IOHO, The Japan Society doesn’t get much respect. We’re here to help set the record straight: they’re way cool! As part of their Japan Cuts film series, the Japan Society is screening director Yu Irie’s latest film Hibi Rock: The Afro and the Pop Star. It’s about a homeless, broke musician who performs naked at rock clubs around Japan. That is, after getting smashed in the head by a violent woman who is herself a huge pop star. Now keep a straight face and tell us you don’t want to see this.

Friday, July 10
The Brooklyn Museum (suggested admission, yay) opens their highly anticipated exhibit on sneaker culture. The Rise of Sneaker Culture will showcase 150 different pairs of sneakers, some of them being the most iconic in sports and pop culture history. From Air Jordans to Run DMC’s favorite Adidas shelltops, you can get a glimpse of urban culture over the past 30 years at this exhibit.


This isn't Summer Jam, we're positive you'll get in. Image via Flickr user Simon Abrams
This isn’t Summer Jam, we’re positive you’ll get in. Image via Flickr user Simon Abrams

Saturday, July 11
The 11th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival will take over DUMBO, with Chicago legend Common headlining. Not to be outdone, Queens natives Mobb Depp will also be feature on the card, along with Brooklyn natives Skyzoo, Torae and Hip Hop legend Ralph McDaniels.

Sunday, July 12
Whenever the temperature goes beyond 80 degrees (and in July it will), nothing beats having yourself a nice, cold cone of ice cream to lower that body temperature. What’s better than having ice cream on a hot
summer’s day? How about UNLIMITED ICE CREAM! At the Brooklyn Ice Cream Takedown, you can enjoy ice cream from ice cream makers from all over Brooklyn. Don’t worry you’ll sweat off all that ice cream by the end of the month.

Monday, July 13
You know, it’s Monday, probably a beautiful day. Why don’t you grab someone special and walk The High Line during the sun set. Everyone will be at work or home, so the crowds will be almost non existent.

Tuesday, July 14
We are all in the middle of swimsuit season. All those months of working out and not eating anything fun has worked out for you. However, we need a cheat day; a day where we can just pig out and eat things all things deep fried. We recommend you hit up Chip Shop where they have a fry anything policy. Test the limits of their policy by bringing the most unique food options not on the menu.

Wednesday, July 15
Celebrate 30 years of Central Park SummerStage by attending NPR’s and WNYC’s “Ask Me Another” Live. The questions will all be SummerStage related, with attendees having the chance to be put in the hot seat and try to answer the questions and solve the puzzles delivered by host Ophira Eisenberg.


Not shown: The hundreds of men carrying this giant statue. Image via Flickr user Michael Tapp
Not shown: The hundreds of men carrying this giant statue. Image via Flickr user Michael Tapp

Thursday, July 16
The Carrying of the Giglio
is a Williamsburg tradition that stretches back to 1903. For 11 days, North 8th and Havemeyer are shut down in order for food and game vendors, musicians, and the lifting of an 82ft tall statue will be set up to entertain the community. It’s Italian Williamsburg biggest summer event, so you should catch it on it’s second to last day.

Friday, July 17
A Guardians of The Galaxy screening, that is educational. The Columbia Astronomy Public Outreach will not only screen the film, but provide a lecture discussing the science in the film, separating fiction from reality.

Saturday, July 18
Baseball is in full swing during the summer. But, who wants to pay top dollar to see millionaires not live up to their paycheck? When you can go see the Brooklyn Cyclones play the Vermont Lake Monsters. You’ll see players who actually want to impress you, and not have to deal with bleacher creatures. Get there earlier in the day to enjoy the beach, some rides and the Smorgasburg outpost.

Sunday, July 19
The Rubin Museum Block Party is a good time to learn about Himalayan culture. Activities include making prayer beads, masks, origami and more. There will be performances and a costume contest (which you can enter). All this while eating Himalayan style food and ice cream.

Monday, July 20
The month is almost over and have you gotten in the pool once? Yes, it’s Monday, but because it’s Monday you have a much better chance of hitting the pop up pool at Brooklyn Bridge Park. You only get 45 minutes to swim in a pool with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge so with everyone at work, you can get an early morning swim with less of a chance of waiting hours for a wristband.


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Touch without fear of scary museum guards. Image via Flickr user Shinya Suzuki

Tuesday, July 21
Museums can be quite pricey. Also because of rules, and because some of the works are priceless you can’t really touch the art in fear of getting in trouble and/or banned from a museum for life. In Jeppe Hein’s public art project at Brooklyn Bridge Park, “Please Touch The Art,” you are actually encouraged to interact with the installations Hein has left around the park. You can sit, climb, touch, and experience these colorful, and interactive works of public art all summer. We recommend the “Appearing Rooms”

Wednesday, July 22
Lincoln Center is one of the best cultural institutions the city has to offer, it’s also very expensive. However, with Lincoln Center Out Doors, you can see the best of Lincoln Center, outside, for free. Music and dance performances, along with spoken word poetry will be showcased. So show your spouse that you’re cultured and not just into seeing blockbusters and wrestling.

Thursday, July 23
Brooklyn is known as a place to get good coffee and artisanal you name it. What we are not known for, is our tacos. I know some of you are shocked that people think Brooklyn doesn’t have the city’s taco game on lock; especially your friends from Cali who complain that our Mexican style food is inferior to theirs. Well, to show them up and rep your hood, stuff their mouths with the best tacos in Brooklyn. We have guides in both Sunset Park and Bushwick.

Friday, July 24
Sure, there are a lot of free summer movies going on around Brooklyn, but instead of seeing “Ghostbusters” in a park for the fourth summer in a row, you can head to the (air-conditioned) Nitehawk Cinemato view a midnight screening of Q: The Winged Serpent. The plot? A NYC cop has to deal with a serial killer and a winged serpent grabbing the city’s rooftop sunbathers. Be cautious the next time you attend a rooftop party or just laugh while you drink at this one-star classic.

Saturday, July 25
The New York Poetry Festival is a two day event where the very public and very private poets all over the city are encouraged to convene in Governors Island to celebrate all things poetry. The free event is in its fifth year and will feature readings from poets of all ages reading their work and for poets to meet others who share their passion.

Sunday, July 26
Greenpoint is more than just a place to get great donuts. The neighborhood that is home to the once dreaded, now more tolerable G train also has a great art scene that not many people really talk about. Fine art, experimental art, workshops, screenings, even lectures to teach you the art of bookmaking are all available to you. We got a few suggestions for places to visit, so after you grab a donut, you can see some art far from Chelsea and the crowds that fill up The High Line every weekend.

Monday, July 27
Speaking of The High Line, when it isn’t filled with tourists wanting to take a picture every third step, it’s still a pretty great way to spend an afternoon. Because of the summer months, The High Line is open an extra hour. So get a bench and watch the sun set over the water and see the stars start appearing in the night sky.

Tuesday, July 28
With summer comes the fact that if you aren’t on the ball when it comes to your laundry, you will quickily run out of fresh smelling clothes to go out in. You could be responsible and do your laundry, but it’s summer! Who has time to be responsible. To make sure you aren’t wearing two day old sweaty shirts, you can hit up Brooklyn’s many vintage shops. From well known shops like Beacon’s Closet to lesser known places like Seven Wonders Vintage, we have a guide of places around Brooklyn, so you can find your new favorite pair of shoes or late summer dress.

Wednesday, July 29
It’s the middle of the week, you’re restless and you just want to get out and about, not just hit up another bar or film screening. Well, you can get your urban explorer fix with XPLORE New York City. You can join as a one man army and try to conquer the scavenger hunt on your own, or you can grab three of your friends and make a team. Be elaborate, give your team and members cool names and finally go beyond Lower Manhattan and explore the city.

Thursday, July 30
Cartoons are not just for kids. Thankfully, the Music Hall of Williamsburg agrees as they are hosting Animation Block Party.The festival is a celebration of all things animation with screenings of professional, student and independent animation films, along with live talks, games, musical performances and the chance to meet your fellow animation nerds.

Friday, July 31
Not everyone these days has some sort of super expensive game system in their living rooms. We still love playing games, but there like $60 bucks and you rather spend it on alcohol, like a real adult. So to have yourself a few drinks, plus relive the good old days when you could assert your video game dominance in person, you can head to Barcade and play classic arcade titles like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, WWF Superstars, Metal Slug, Joust and more.

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