This week in New York, cool off with a massive water fight in Central Park, find your muse at the New York Poetry Festival, catch an astronaut-inspired art exhibit before it’s gone, or engage in some friendly competition as the Mets face the Yankees in the Subway Series. Or to get away from it all, flee to the remote Cherry Springs State Park, where you'll find the best stargazing on the Eastern Seaboard.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
July 30 | Water fight
What better way to cool off on a hot summer’s day than with a water fight? Well, this annual event takes that idea to the extreme: Imagine a few thousand strangers meeting in Central Park to drench each other with water guns, super soakers, buckets, and whatever else you can think of (although the event's organizers adamantly advise against water balloons at the request of the Parks Department). The result is a very wet and fun afternoon. So come prepared (consider packing a change of clothes in a tightly tied plastic bag) and let loose.
2–5 p.m. | Central Park, the Great Lawn, New York | Free | website
July 30 to 31 | Poetry
New York Poetry Festival
With events as far ranging as a Poetry Brothel to a Children’s Festival, it’s safe to say that the annual New York Poetry Festival on Governors Island has something for everyone. Hosted by the Poetry Society of New York, this year’s headliners include poets Jericho Brown, Camille Rankine, and Matthew Yeager, and there will be readings by dozens of other influential and emerging poets. There will also be an open mic, art installations—including by The Typewriter Project—a Brooklyn Beer & Wine Garden, and food trucks.
11 a.m.–5 p.m. | Governors Island, New York | Free (register ahead here) | website
July 30–31 | Escape the city
Cherry Springs State Park
It can be hard to see a star in New York City, let alone stargaze. For a weekend getaway with a glimpse into the natural night sky, head to Cherry Springs State Park in northern Pennsylvania. The park itself is only 82 acres but is surrounded by the 262,000-acre Susquehannock State Forest, so it’s about as remote as you can get in this area—making it one of the best places for stargazing on the East Coast. Beyond honing your amateur astronomy skills, there are also 85 miles of hiking trails and camping. If you choose to explore the rest of Potter County, you’ll find plenty of farms, cute shops and “trading posts,” and attractive cafés and creameries.
Through July 31 | Art
We All Love Your Life
London-based artist George Henry Longly likes to think of astronauts as the first reality stars. For his first U.S. solo exhibition, Longly was inspired by the 1976 book A House in Space, by Henry S. F. Cooper, which documents the daily lives of astronauts aboard the first NASA space station in the 1970s. The artist has transformed Red Bull Studios New York into a space station living environment; visitors can interact with it to get a better understanding of what life is like for a human in outer space. The multimedia exhibit also includes a film.
12–7 p.m. Wed.–Sun. | Red Bull Studios New York, 220 W. 18th St., New York | Free | website
August 1–4 | Baseball
There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to keep things interesting. For the ultimate local competition, head to Citi Field for another round of the annual Subway Series between the Yankees and the Mets. The longtime rivals will play the first two nights at Citi Field and the second two at Yankee Stadium, so you can choose where to cheer on your team. Only time will tell who will take home the title (last year it was the Yankees).
7 p.m. | Locations vary | From $50 | website
A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.