Guide to a NYC Summer on the Cheap

Summer time! Here are some ideas for fun and exciting things to do that are FREE or relatively inexpensive. I’ll be gone for most of July, so you’ll have to make sure to have enough fun for the both of us! (Plus, I would kill for a video of Built to Spill playing the Siren Fest…I’m just saying)


Central Park Summer Stage hosts a HUGE line up of bands and performers all summer long. Some key shows, Cat Power and The Pretenders. For details, go HERE

Celebrate Brooklyn! Offers many bands, films and performances for free or for a suggested donation of $3.00, Blonde Redhead played TONIGHT! And Saturday, June27th is a FREE show from Dr.Dog. Animal Collective, and MGMT are not to be missed. For info: http://www.briconline.org/celebrate/schedule.asp

The Siren Music Festival at Coney Island…go for a swim, grab a Nathan’s Famous and watch a full day of bands for free. Built to Spill is the headliner. Saturday, July 18th

Virgin Music Festival is FREE this year…but you have to get yourself to Baltimore. Merriweather Post Pavilion. FREE. http://www.virginmobilefestival.com/#/home/

All Points West will be incredible this year… The Beastie Boys, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs!, and Vampire Weekend. http://www.apwfestival.com/

South Street Seaport Music Festival with such noted line-up highlights as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. http://www.seaportmusicfestival.com.

McCarren Park Pool. I thought this was finished last year, but check it out at mccarrenpark.com for details.

River to River. This year the stand out artist is one of my personal favorites; Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes will play with his Mystic Valley Band along with Jenny Lewis and Arlo Guthrie. Check out http://www.rivertorivernyc.com for details.

All you have to do is wait on line early in the morning and you’ll get tickets to see a play in Central Park FOR FREE. There is also a virtual line at the Public Theater website…much easier than getting up at 6:00AM. This year’s performances begin with Anne Hathaway starring in Twelfth Night.

Take the ferry to Governor’s Island, where there are free bikes rentals on Fridays, free art exhibitions, take a picnic lunch and watch some free shows, for info and the line-up, go to http://www.govisland.com/Visit_the_Island/default.asp One concert at the island I know of for sure: June 21, Sunday: Make Music New York presents Punk Island, 11 AM to 5 PM a “one-day experiment that transforms the stately island into a punk rockers’ paradise” (NY Times). With Reagan Youth, Blanks 77, and dozens more.


Summer in New York City means that once again you can enjoy a variety of movies beneath the stars in New York City. Each of these film festivals offers visitors and New Yorkers a chance to watch a movie, as well as enjoy some of New York City’s best outdoor scenery — from skylines to parks.

Bryant Park Summer 2009 Free Film Series
Enjoy classic films under the stars from June through August at the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival. It’s always a great scene — lots of New Yorkers picnicking and enjoying summer in the city — followed by classic films including highlights such as Close Encounters of the Third King, Harold and Maude and The Sting.

Central Park Film Festival
From August 18-22, 2009 enjoy five nights of films under the stars in Central Park. This is the 7th year for this film festival, which will feature films with the theme “Be Cool” – five films that feature actors or actresses who epitomize “cool”.

River To River Festival’s “Movie Nights on the Elevated Acre”. Featuring free outdoor screenings of classic NYC films from July 6 to 27. Film include West Side Story, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Seven Year Itch, and The Sweet Smell of Success. For more info: http://www.rivertorivernyc.com/

RiverFlicks 2009
Every Wednesday and Friday in July and August, enjoy free movies under the stars. Movies begin at dusk (approximately 8-8:30 p.m.) and there is even free popcorn available (beverages and other snacks are for sale).

Summer on the Hudson: Movies Under the Stars
Free movies are being shown in Riverside Park South on Wednesday evenings in July and August. Films in the 2009 series will be shown on Pier 1 in Riverside Park.

Movies with a View: Brooklyn Bridge Park Summer Film Series
This free series features films and music on Thursdays from July 8 – August 27, 2009. You can bring a low chair if you like, but there are also chairs for rent, as well as concessions. Pre-movie music begins at 6 and the movies begin at sunset.

Rooftop Films
This eclectic series runs from May through September and includes everything from independently produced animation to documentary films about New Yorkers. Screenings feature music at 8 p.m., followed by a series of short films beginning at 9 p.m. Tickets are $9. The good news is that, even if it rains, the movies will be shown at an indoor space in the same location.

Celebrate Brooklyn Movies & Music Series
This series of movies feature soundtracks performed live by a variety of musical acts. Free performances take place at the Prospect Park Bandshell, but a $3 donation is suggested.



• Forbes Magazine Galleries
Admission is always free to this interesting museum featuring collectibles such as toy soldiers, Monopoly games and more.
62 Fifth Avenue (at 12th Street)
(212) 206-5548

• Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology
Admission to the museum displaying articles from the permanent collection, as well as changing exhibits on fashion, is always free.
Seventh Avenue at 27 Street
Phone: (212) 217-5970

• National Museum of the American Indian
Admission to the the sixteenth museum in the Smithsonian Institution is always free.
1 Bowling Green, George Gustave Heye Center
Phone: (212) 668-6624

• Goethe Institut
Weekdays you can experience German language and culture exhibits for free at the Goethe Institut, which is conveniently located across from the Met.
1014 Fifth Ave
Phone: (212) 439-8700

• Sony Wonder Technology Lab
Admission is always free to this entertainment and technology museum located in Midtown.
Sony Plaza Public Arcade at 56th Street and Madison Avenue
Phone: (212) 833-5414
Museums With Suggested Admission
In order to make museums affordable for all, these museums have “suggested” admissions. That means you can pay the amount of admission that you can afford and still enjoy access to the museum.

• Metropolitan Museum of Art
Although they raised the “suggested” admission to $20, you can pay what you can afford to see one of the greatest art museums in New York City.
Address: 1000 Fifth Avenue
Phone: (212) 535-7710

• American Museum of Natural History
The “suggested” admission at the American Museum of Natural History is $15, you can make whatever contribution you see as appropriate to enter the museum (though you’ll have to pay full price for planetarium shows, etc.).
Address: Central Park West at West 79th Street
Phone: (212) 769-5000

Tuesday Deals

• Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Free admission on Tuesdays (Admission is free every weekday from mid-November through February)
1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 623-7200

• Staten Island Museum
Admission is free on Tuesdays from 12 to 2 p.m.
75 Stuyvesant Place, Staten Island, NY
Phone: (718) 483-7114

Wednesday Deals

• Bronx Zoo
Admission by donation all day on Wednesday
1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY
Phone: (718) 367-1010

• New York Botanical Garden
Free admission (covers grounds only) on Wednesdays
Bronx River Parkway and Fordham Road, Bronx, NY
Phone: (718) 817-8700

Thursday Deals

• American Craft Museum
Pay What You Wish from 6 – 8 p.m. to see the decorative and functional pieces showcased here.
40 W 53rd St
Phone: (212) 956-3535

• Children’s Museum of the Arts
Free fun for the kids–from 4 – 6 p.m. you can pay what you wish on Thursdays.
182 Lafayette Street
Phone: (212) 274-0986

• Museum of Arts and Design
Pay What You Wish from 6 – 9 p.m.
2 Columbus Circle
Phone: (212) 299-7777

Friday Deals

• American Folk Art Museum
Free Admission on Fridays from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
45 West 53rd Street
Phone: (212) 265-1040

• Asia Society and Museum
Free Admission on Fridays from 6-9 p.m.
725 Park Ave. at 70th St.
Phone: (212) 288-6400

• Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Free admission for Seniors on Fridays
1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 623-7200

• Bronx Museum of the Arts
This contemporary art museum is open late on Fridays (from 11 – 8 p.m.), so visitors can explore the exhibits for a voluntary contribution of $5 for adults, and $3 for students and seniors.
1040 Grand Concourse at 165th Street, Bronx, NY
Phone: (718) 681-6000

• International Center for Photography
Admission to the frequently changing exhibitions is available with your voluntary contribution on Fridays from 5-8 p.m.
1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd St.
Phone: (212) 857-0000

• The Morgan Library
Admission is free on Fridays from 7-9 p.m.
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
Phone: (212) 685-0008

• Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Free Admission on Target Fridays from 4 – 8 p.m.
11 West 53 Street
Phone: (212) 708-9400

• Museum of the Moving Image
Free to gallery Fridays from 4 – 8 p.m. (does not include film screenings)
35 Avenue at 36 Street in Astoria, NY
Phone: (718) 784-0077

• New York Historical Society
Free admission Fridays, 6-8 p.m. courtesy of American Express Company.
170 Central Park West between 76th & 77th Street
Phone: (212) 873-3400

• Whitney Museum of American Art
Pay what you wish on Fridays from 6 – 9 p.m.
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
Phone: (212) 570-3676

Saturday Deals

• Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Free admission from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturdays
1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 623-7200

• First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum of Art
Evening admission (5-11 p.m.) on the first Saturday of every month is free. Includes most exhibits, music and movie screenings.
200 Eastern Pkwy Brooklyn, NY 11238-6052
Phone: (718) 638-5000

• Guggenheim Museum
Pay what you wish on Saturdays from 5:15 – 7:45 p.m. (last ticket issued at 7:15)
1071 5th Avenue at 89th Street
Phone: (212) 423-3500

• The Jewish Museum
Free admission on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5:45.
1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street (between Fifth and Madison)
Phone: (212) 423-3200

• New York Botanical Garden
Free admission to the grounds from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturdays
Bronx River Parkway and Fordham Road, Bronx, NY
Phone: (718) 817-8700

Sunday Museum Admission Discounts
• The Frick Collection
On Sundays, pay what you wish from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
1 East 70th Street
Phone: (212) 288-0700

• Museum of the City of New York
Free admission on Sundays between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St
Phone: (212) 534-1672


Take the Staten Island Ferry FOR FREE and hop on a bus to SOUTH BEACH, there’s a boardwalk and restaurants and a nice groomed sandy beach.

Take the A Train to FAR ROCKAWAY BEACH, watch the surfers, go into town and eat at a great pizzeria or restaurant.

Take the B or the Q to BRIGHTON BEACH or to CONEY ISLAND, walk the boardwalk, go to the amusement park, have some street pirogis! Yum!

Go to FIRE ISLAND for the day. Take the LIRR and save with a getaway package!


Take the IKEA Shuttle to the Red Hook Ball Fields and enjoy vendor foods from central and south America and Mexico, walk to Steve’s Key Lime and get a swingle…key lime ice cream frozen, dipped in chocolate, on a stick!

Get thee to Bushwick…Explore the galleries and art spaces, eat at Roberta’s, Potion, or any number of taquerias.

Fort Greene Rules! Go to the Fort Greene Park and see the Memorial to the Martyrs of Revolutionary War Prison Ships, go to Tilly’s for a coffee, to the FIVE SPOT for some soul food and music, or go to the BAM for a movie or performance and eat at 67 Burger, Pequena, Havana Outpost, or the Smoke Joint..yum!

Green Point/Williamsburg! Go to the Nassau stop and eat some great homestyle Polish food at Pyza, walk to the Disco Pharmacy, eat at Lokal, or just take a bus or the L train to Lorimer to McCarren Park and play or watch dodge ball, soft ball, four square, or soccer.

Of Course, there’s the SLOPE and the HEIGHTS and the FULTON FERRY LANDING… if you have additional suggestions, please post them!

Leo Deresa

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Starbucks Whole Bean Coffee

One Comment