Ain’t this city grand? In the span of two days, you can see a play off-off-off Broadway, watch dragon boats race, clap along with gospel greats, go under Park Avenue, and try masa in many manifestations. Read on for details about our picks for the best in eating, drinking, and merrymaking this weekend, and have a great time, whatever you do. By Jessica Allen.
The largest multi-arts festival in North America, showcasing new work by emerging playwrights and performers, begins on Friday. The New York International Fringe Festival features more than 1200 shows from more than 200 companies. Several major theatrical performances got their start at the Fringe, including Matt & Ben, a satirical play about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck that helped launch the career of Mindy Kaling. Friday, August 8 through Sunday, August 24, see schedule for details, tickets required.
Inspired by car-free, pedestrian-only events in Bogotá and Paris, New York City began Summer Streets a few years ago. This Saturday, and again on August 16, you can stroll, bike, amble, and/or run without a care for street lights or vehicle traffic for roughly seven miles along Park Avenue. Stop off along the way to frolic with your four-footed furry friend at PAWS and Play Dog Park, to hop on a free bike rental, to attend a cooking demonstration, or to visit a sound installation beneath the avenue, among other activities. Saturday, August 9, 7 am to 1 pm, free.
In China, the Dragon Boat Festival (also known as the Duanwu or Double Fifth Festival), has a long and complex history and purpose. Learn more by attending the local version, held annually in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens. The big draw might be the actual dragon boat races, but you’ll also be able to hear live music, see martial arts demonstrations from Shaolin Masters and students, and attend circus and comedic performances. Saturday, August 9, and Sunday, August 10, 10:30 am to 4 pm, rain or shine, free.
When was the last time you celebrated corn? Can’t remember? Never fear: Masafest 2014 will let you honor, revere, and taste one of summer’s greatest productions while frolicking along the seashore at Rockaway Beach. You can nosh on “corn-inspired street food” from such vendors as Taco Santo, Rockaway Taco, Cosme NYC, and Caracas Arepa Bar, or watch tortilla-making demonstrations from Hot Bread Kitchen. The afternoon culminates in a Masafest Feast (a $125 ticket is required). Saturday, August 9, 11 am to 4 pm, free.
SummerStage, the city’s largest free performing arts festival, seeks to “enrich the lives of New Yorkers” by exposing them to emerging, contemporary, and traditional artists in an array of genres, from dance to music to drama to literature. On Saturday, you’ll be treated to song stylings from such famous pop, R&B, and gospel performers as Tasha Cobbs, VaShawn Mitchell, Smokie Norful, and Pastor Charles Jenkins. You don’t need to have faith to know it’ll be fun. Saturday, August 9, 3 to 7 pm, free.