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What to Do in New York This July: Shakespeare in the Park & Generation Women

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Fireworks over the river in NYC.
Photo by A. Strakey/Flickr

Fireworks over the river in NYC.

The best of what to do in and around New York this month.

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Summer is in full swing, so it’s time to take advantage of the weather with outdoor theater, music, cruises, and sports. Whether it’s Shakespeare in the Park or an alfresco pop concert with Regina Spektor, the New York summer is calling.

AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.

July 1 - 23 | Art
“Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern”
If you haven’t yet seen Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern at the Brooklyn Museum, time is running out. The celebrated exhibit looks not only at the seminal artist’s work, but also at the persona that she carefully crafted. Items of clothing and photographs of her homes (by the likes of Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, and Andy Warhol) are displayed alongside her work, thus showing a more complete picture of her life and art.
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn | $16 (suggested donation) | website

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July 4 | Independence Day
Dinner Cruise
Finding a good spot to watch the Fourth of July fireworks usually means showing up hours early or making friends with someone who has a good rooftop. Get around that by taking to the water with a dinner cruise that will give you the best seats in town. A number of companies offer a fireworks package, but if you feel like making the night extra special, check out Bateaux’s Independence Day Fireworks Dinner Cruise. The price is a little steeper than some others, but includes a sit-down, plated dinner with options like seared togarashi tuna and braised beef short ribs, as well as an open bar for the duration of the cruise and a dance floor with tunes from a live band.
5:00 PM - 11:00 PM | Departs from Chelsea Piers, New York | From $450 | website

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July 8 | Cultural festival
Arab American & North African Cultural Street Festival
When you’re in New York, you don’t need to travel far to experience the world. For a trip to the Middle East by way of NoHo, stop by the 15th annual Arab American and North African Cultural Street Festival. Listen to live music from North Africa, the Gulf, and the Levant; get a henna tattoo; shop; and sample food from the region. There will be a kids’ booth for the younger participants and a hookah café for adults.
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM | Great Jones St. btw. Broadway and Lafayette St., New York | Free | website

July 10 - 23 | Performing arts
Fresh Fruit Festival
For the 15th year running, the Fresh Fruit Festival highlights the work of LGBT artists by showcasing their works of theater, performance art, poetry, comedy, spoken word, music, dance, and visual art. Buy individual tickets or, for a fuller experience, get a package at a discounted rate. From operatic musicals like La Maupin to comedic yet insightful plays like All Mixed Up, and from the cabaret stylings of Cacophony Daniels to a dark, one-woman musical comedy, the performances are sure to entertain and inspire.
The WILD Project, 195 E. Third St., New York | From $18 | website

July 11 - August 13 | Theater
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Waiting in line for free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park is a New York summertime rite of passage. If you missed Julius Caesar, never fear—A Midsummer Night’s Dream will run through August 13 and is sure to be as memorable as its other productions. While lining up in Central Park starting at dawn is the traditional way to acquire tickets, there are also a lottery of a limited number of tickets at The Public Theater each performance day, distribution across the boroughs on specific days, and a digital lottery for every performance. Alternatively, a $500 donation will reserve you a spot without the guesswork.
8:00 PM | Delacorte Theater, 81 Central Park West, New York | Free | website

Shakespeare in the Park

July 12 | Performing arts
Generation Women
As part of this new monthly storytelling series, five notable women will read an original piece loosely tied to a common theme. Of these women (the cast changes each month), one is in her 20s, her 30s, her 40s, her 50s, and her 60s or older, thus presenting a cross-generational experience. The theme of the inaugural set in June was “My first time saying no,” while July’s theme is “What I learned about my mother.”
7:30 PM | Wythe Hotel, Screening Room, 80 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn | $25 | website

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July 16 |
Tim & Eric Awesome Tour
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the cult favorite comedic TV show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are going on tour. Catch their New York appearance at Town Hall to relive the sketch comedy show off the small screen. The duo will perform old and new material in their signature surreal, multimedia style.
7:30 PM | The Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St., New York | From $40.50 | website

July 27 | Music
Regina Spektor
Outdoor concerts in Central Park are among the many things that make summer in the city great. Be sure to catch pop darling Regina Spektor, who will be releasing her seventh album in September. Hear old favorites and maybe even some previews of new songs as you groove to her captivating vocals in the summer air. Proceeds from this concert support Summerstage, which puts on free concerts throughout the summer.
7:00 PM | Summerstage, Central Park, New York | $55 | website

July 31 | Literature
Books Beneath the Bridge
This annual literature series takes place on the Granite Prospect steps in Brooklyn Bridge Park, overlooking the East River. Each evening is curated by a different local, independent bookstore and offers a reading, Q&A, and book signing. In this session from WORD bookstore, Lisa Ko will read from her novel The Leavers, which won the 2016 PEN/Bellweather Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. She will be joined by Rakesh Satyal, the Lambda Award–winning author of Blue Boy, who will read from his most recent novel, No One Can Pronounce My Name.
7:00 PM | Granite Prospect, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn | Free | website

August 28 - September 11 | Book ahead: Sports
U.S. Open
The biggest week in tennis is coming up with the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. Although last-minute tickets are often available, for the best seats you should plan ahead so you can get close to the action. It’s going to be an exciting Open, providing a chance to see tennis all-stars like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal—who have both been having amazing seasons—as well as up-and-comers like Jelena Ostapenko.
Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens | From $60 | 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.

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