Happy Birthday, USA! This weekend really starts on Friday, since many businesses will observe the July 4 holiday a day early. Whoo-hoo! A three-day weekend! Here’s what to do to celebrate. By Jessica Allen.
The 14th annual New York Asian Film Festival opened last week, bringing a slew of cool films and a slate of special guests. Among the 50+ films scheduled to be screened are genre and popular movies like The President’s Last Bang, with a focus on five programs, including New Cinema from Japan and Myung Films: Pioneers and Women Behind the Camera in Korean Film. Awards will be given out to Aaron Kwok, Ringo Lam, and others. Friday, June 26, through Saturday, July 11, tickets required, see schedule for details.
For the 44th year in a row, the International African Arts Festival arrives in Downtown Brooklyn, with the goal of “preserving and honoring our heritage.” Scheduled performers and events include concerts by the likes of Living Colour, Kaissa, and Talib Kweli, a children’s activity zone, a chess tournament, a hair show and barber competition, a crafts marketplace, a youth talent show, and a parade. Rain or shine. Thursday, July 2, through Sunday, July 5, 10 am to 9 pm, $5 at the gate.
Head to Governors Island on Friday for the funkiest, most fun pre-July 4 celebration around. The Funk N’ Cue festival features George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. So that’s the funk part of the name, but what about the cue? Never fear: the food includes pulled pork, BBQ chicken, spicy Italian sausage, a BBQ burger with bacon, hot dogs, grilled Mexican corn, and fresh watermelon. Friday, July 3, 5 pm to 12 am, $35, tickets required.
Celebrate Independence Day at the South Street Seaport! Festivities begin at 1 pm, with concerts on two separate stages, and continue until the Macy’s Fireworks go boom at about 9:20 pm. Scheduled performers include Hot Peas ’N Butter, The Liza Colby Sound, and Jesse Lenat. You’ll also be able to check out the Festival of Tall Ships, including the most authentic Tall Ship replica of the past 150 years, the Hermoine-Lafayette. Saturday, July 4, activities begin at 1 pm, see schedule for details.
The fireworks display to end all fireworks displays, the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks is truly terrific. This year, fireworks will be set off from barges on the East River in Midtown and in Brooklyn (see the map for details). Our picks for the best spots to enjoy this spectacular spectacle are Brooklyn Bridge Park, along FDR Drive, South Street Seaport, and, of course, your couch while watching the whole thing on TV. Saturday, July 4, 9:20 pm, free.