How to Spend July 4th Weekend In Brooklyn

Whether or not the sun is shining, there’s plenty to do in Brooklyn the next few days.

How to Spend July 4th Weekend In Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Image: Alexa Hoyer/NYC Parks)

After several days of relentless heat in New York City, the weather forecast for July 4th weekend looks mostly cool and rainy. But whether or not the sun is shining, there’s plenty to do in Brooklyn the next few days. Here are a few suggestions.

Friday 7/2

Enjoy a live music happy hour in DUMBO. The DUMBO BID has organized a packed calendar of events, including live music every Friday evening. Jan Bell of the Brooklyn Americana Music Festival curates a Happy Hour Concert Series: this week, she’s tapped The Maybelles, a trio who describe themselves as “up-tempo soulful country.” Elsewhere in the neighborhood, the Gentleman Brawlers is an Afrobeat-influenced, indie dance band will play an unplugged set on Washington Street. Both concerts run from 5:00pm-7:00pm in DUMBO. Admission is free.

(For more musical happenings across Brooklyn this weekend, check out this round-up by Bklyner’s Piotr Orlov.)

Learn to double-dutch with the best of ‘em at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Coach Kizzy Samuel-Parsons will offer participants a socially-distanced jump rope class that teaches the fundamentals of street-style and competitive jump rope. Bring your A-game. 6:00pm, Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park near the ping-pong tables. Free, advanced registration required; limited to 45 participants.

Dance the night away at the Dreamland Roller Disco. Brooklyn’s premier roller disco experience is back, hosted once again by the indomitable emcee Lola Star. The “themed, dress up, immersive roller skating experience” takes place every Friday through October, and features DJs spinning tunes with a different theme every week—this Friday’s focus is “Taylor Swift vs. Justin Bieber.” There’s also a red carpet for photos, so put on your retro best. 7:00pm, LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park. $24 admission, ages 21 and up.

Saturday 7/3

Become one with nature on a meditation hike in Prospect Park. Urban Park Rangers will lead a stroll through Brooklyn’s backyard designed to immerse participants in tranquility. They’ll visit the park’s quieter areas and allow attendees to “disconnect from stress and clear their mind.” 10:00am, beginning at the Audubon Center at the Boathouse in Prospect Park. Free.

Check out Haitian jazz at Cafe Erzulie. Celebrate the resurgence of live, local music at Cafe Erzulie, a Haitian cafe-bar planted at the border of Bed-Stuy and Bushwick. On Saturday, grab a cocktail like the Dantor's Punch or Summer Sorrel and check out veteran Haitian expat musicians like saxophonist Buyu Ambroise and guitarist Eddy Bourjolly do their thing. Doors open at 5:00pm. Cafe Erzulie, 894 Broadway. Tickets $15-20.

Immerse and challenge yourself with participatory theater with What to Send Up When It Goes Down at BAM. Aleshea Harris’ acclaimed work, previously showcased at Manhattan’s ART/New York, is “a play, a ritual, and a home-going celebration that bears witness to the physical and spiritual deaths of Black people as a result of racist violence.” The dynamic production, now at BAM, consists of several sections, including a lobby installation, a participatory workshop, a scripted play and an epilogue. 3:00pm and 7:00pm; additional performances next week. BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Place. Tickets start at $25.

Reimagine Dolly Parton classics at the Bell House. Doll Parts, a group of artists who joined forces to celebrate the Tennessee country icon, bring their creative takes on Dolly Parton classics to the Bell House in Gowanus. But don’t get it confused: Doll Parts, the event description says, “is not some hipster-ish exercise in irony, but an earthy and talented quartet of true artists.” Bandmates Maggie Robinson Katz, Julia Sirna-Frest, and Shane Chapman Rather “pay full homage to the country and bluegrass roots” of Parton hits. Doors open at 7:00pm. The Bell House, 149 7th Street. Tickets $20.

Sunday 7/4

Revel at the tenacity of the human spirit at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. The annual Coney Island Classic will take place at Maimonides Park (formerly known as MCU Park), after switching to a virtual format last year. Joey Chestnut, otherwise known as the Glizzy Gladiator, is hoping to win his 14th men’s title in 15 years. On the women’s side, it’s a toss up: Miki Sudo, who has won for the past seven straight years, is sitting out the contest, because she’s expecting her first child later this month. Instead, she’ll be in the ESPN booth providing commentary. 11:00am at 1904 Surf Avenue (Maimonides Park) in Coney Island, free with advanced registration.

Celebrate two Independence Days at the Lefferts Historic House. Join the Prospect Park Alliance for family-friendly programming celebrating America’s independence from England in 1776 and the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans in New York in 1827. Kids can make themselves a plumed hat to wear while signing their own "John Hancock" on a copy of the Declaration of Independence. 1:00pm-4:00pm at the Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park.

Blow your mind and terrify your dog by catching a fireworks display. You’ve got options on both ends of the borough: Macy’s July 4th Fireworks are back in the East River after a pandemic-induced pause last year. Things kick off shortly after 8:00pm on Sunday. The barges will be stationed closest to Williamsburg and Greenpoint, and nearby waterfront parks like WNYC Transmitter Park, Domino Park, and Marsha P. Johnson State Park will offer views of the display, but expect crowds. And be aware that the show will not be visible from Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

If you prefer Brooklyn’s southern shores, head to Coney Island for the first of a revived weekly fireworks show produced by the Alliance for Coney Island. The show begins at 10:00pm on the Boardwalk between West 10th and West 23rd Streets.

All Weekend

Get lost in the lights at the Light Leaks art installation at City Point, another disco-inspired offering launching this weekend. Artists Kyle McDonald and Jonas Jongejan have transformed a storefront in the mall into a world of seemingly infinite patterns created by millions of lights and a gigantic cluster of glistening disco balls. July 2nd-31st at 445 Albee Square West. $10 tickets.

Find crafts and collectibles at the Artists & Fleas market at Industry City, a rotating collection of creators, makers and vintage collectors that gather every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer. The pop-up market’s organizers look to showcase independent brands and local entrepreneurs in a place where “shoppers & creators come together to discover and be discovered.” Saturdays and Sundays, 12:00pm–6:00pm at Industry City, 233 37th Street Courtyard 1/2. Entry is free.

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