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Weekend Hot List: Fireworks, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, More

Don’t miss out! picks the five best things to do in New York City each and every day. Read on for the weekend’s best events (July 4-6), from Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island to the International African Arts Festival in Commodore Barry Park.


Macy's 4th of July Fireworks (Photo: Joseph Bylund/Flickr CC)

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks (Photo: Joseph Bylund/Flickr CC)

1. SCIENCE: Spiders Alive! at the American Museum of Natural History on July 4-6

Despite being misunderstood by haters the world over, spiders are some of the most amazing creatures around. Learn all about our eight-legged friends at this comprehensive new exhibition curated by Dr. Norman Platnick. You’ll get an overview on the spider’s lifecycle, defense mechanisms and role in the “web” of life, which, spoiler alert, is an important one. And of course, the main event is 20 different species of live spiders you can observe in action, from the Western black widow to the Goliath bird eater.

DETAILS: 10am-5:45pm; $19.25 (get tickets!); Central Park West at 79th St.

2. MUSIC: Marshstepper, P.O.I., Jerome, Rosemary Arp and Outmode at Palisades on July 4

If you’d rather have your mind blown in a basement than eat a burger at a BBQ (or maybe have time to do both… it’s not like they’re mutually exclusive!), check out the extreme stylings of techno/noise project Marshstepper at this late-night party presented by Ascetic House, Ad Hoc and No-Tech. With a show involving masks, strobes and brutal live electronics, the Arizona-based band answers the question “what’s more intense than punk and metal?” After the bands, No-Tech DJs Ciarra Black and Jr. Nelson spin dark, dancey tunes for your nocturnal pleasure. With the also worthwhile Person Of Interest, Jerome, Rosemary Arp and Outmode.

DETAILS: 9pm; $10; 906 Broadway, Brooklyn; Marshstepper

3. FIREWORKS: Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks on July 4

Hooray, it’s time for the fireworks! Since 1976, Macy’s has been sponsoring a spectacular firework show for people all over the city to enjoy. In addition to 50,000 pounds of explosives, there will be performances from the Zac Brown Band and Enrique Iglesias to Ariana Grande (which are only viewable on TV). This year, they’re returning to the East River, which makes the best viewing spots downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront. Don’t act like you’re not stoked.

DETAILS: 9pm; free; East River;

4. MUSIC: Kidz in America July 4th Party at Rockaway Beach Surf Club on July 4

We must admit we are partial to the Rockaway Beach Surf Club; it’s got killer drinks and tasty food, and today it’s also got the delightfully weird rapper Zebra Katz, who is proud to be queer in multiple senses of the word. In addition to him, there will be water guns, fireworks, a piñata, BBQ, free gelato and performances from Sunshine Gun Club, Kilin and Nuraxi. DJ Dirtyfinger and friends promise to “make that booty pop like a firework.”

DETAILS: 2pm; free; 302 Beach 87th St., Queens;

5. FOOD: Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4

Competitive eating: It’s a thing people do! Celebrate red-blooded American gluttony at this annual mash-up of our national eating disorder and a Japanese game show that takes place — where else — but Coney Island. Will anyone be able to beat out defending champion Joey Chestnut for $40,000 in prize money? We don’t know, but we recommend riding the Cyclone afterwards… you know, to settle your stomach.

DETAILS: 10am-1pm; free; Surf Ave. and Stillwell Ave., Brooklyn;

6. BURLESQUE: Rockabilly Night Market at SRB Brooklyn on July 4

Celebrate your Independence Day with a healthy dose of nostalgia for some mythical American past full of muscle cars, tattoos and Bettie Page! To help get your American dreams going, Dances of Vice has set up a night market complete with live bands, photo booth, vintage and craft wares, a car show and, of course, burlesque from rockabilly queens Bettina May and Raquel Reed. No money for beer? No problem! There’s a PBR open bar from 5pm-6pm.

DETAILS: 5pm; $10-$15; 177 2nd Ave., Brooklyn;

7. ART: Marcel Duchamp at Gagosian Gallery on July 4-5

Since he stuck a urinal in a gallery and called it art (and actually, before that), Marcel Duchamp’s name has been synonymous with the irreverent Dada movement. With his “readymade” sculptures, Duchamp challenged pre-existing notions of artist as divinely inspired creator. See some of Duchamp’s most famous works at the Gagosian Gallery’s summer exhibition. Are the works still challenging today? It’s an open-ended question to ponder.

DETAILS: 10am-6pm; free; 980 Madison Ave.;

8. FESTIVAL: International African Arts Festival at Commodore Barry Park on July 4-6

For 43 years running, the International African Arts Festival has brought the diverse arts, crafts, cuisine, dance, and music of Africa to Brooklyn’s cultural landscape. Originally begun as a fundraiser for a school in Bed-Stuy, the fest has since grown to attract an estimated 75,000 attendees from all over the place. This year’s highlights include Akua Allrich and Awo Sangho, “the golden voice of Mali.” There will also be a fashion show, a chess tournament and a children’s area.

DETAILS: 10am-9pm; free; Park Ave. and Flushing Ave., Brooklyn;

9. THEATER: The Other Mozart at HERE Arts Center on July 5-6

Did you know that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had an equally talented sister named Maria Anna whose story was largely lost to history because of her sex? Ugh, right? Polish writer/actress Silvia Milo gives “the other Mozart” her due in this original play about the musical lady. Via costumes, scents, music and actual letters, Milo honors the life of this remarkable woman, who performed throughout Europe but was never allowed to reach her full potential. Directed by Isaac Byrne.

DETAILS: various times; $30; 145 6th Ave.;

10. FESTIVAL: Pier Party at South Street Seaport on July 3-5

If wholesome family fun is what you crave, you’ll want to check out South Street Seaport’s three-day-long Pier Party, which features live music, children’s events, movies and, of course, a front-row seat to the Macy’s firework display. Performers include the Hungry March Band, Sam Barnes Bluegrass Review and Twin Fork featuring Chris Carraba of Dashboard Confessional fame(!)

DETAILS: South Street Seaport; free; southstreetseaport

11. FASHION: Get ‘Saturdate’ Ready with Tim Gunn at Walgreens Times Square on July 5

Got a hot Tinder date to go on? Get a free makeover at this beauty event presided over by the one and only Tim Gunn. Using only the cheapest of drug store beauty products, a team of professionals will help you “make it work” to get that fresh and sexy look. You might want to apply a coat of shellac over it, though, as this is an afternoon event and dates generally happen at night, and it is hot out. Related: How much do you think Walgreens had to pay Mr. Gunn to do this?

DETAILS: 10am-4pm (no makeovers 12pm-1pm); free; 1471 Broadway; Saturdate with Tim Gunn

12. COMEDY: North Coast: Hip Hop Improv at PIT on July 5

“Hip hop” and “improv comedy” are not generally two words you see together… which is silly, because what is freestyling but a form of improv? See New York’s premier (only?) hip hop improv comedy team rock the mic at this weekly event. What crazy rhymes will they spit this time? Nobody knows, not even them.

DETAILS: 8pm; $10; 123 E. 24th St.;


The Color Run in Brooklyn (Photo: Ajdeprimo/Flickr CC)

The Color Run in Brooklyn (Photo: Ajdeprimo/Flickr CC)

13. SPORTS: The Color Run 2014 at Aviator Sports and Events Center on July 5-6

Are you ready for the happiest 5K on the planet? This weekend, a bunch of crazies are getting up bright and early to run a non-race around Floyd Bennett Field as they are doused in colored powder. Because why wouldn’t they? After the run, there’s an afterparty complete with music, dancing and yet more colored powder. Benefits the Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation.

DETAILS: 9am; $55; 3159 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn;

14. FOOD: Smorgasburg on July 5-6

If the standard 4th of July fare is not enough for you (you decadent foodie), head on down to this annoyingly named (but delicious enough to make up for it) outdoor food fair for a taste of what artisanal Brookyln has to offer. From the ramen burgers of Ramen Burger to the succulent seitan of Monk’s Meats, there’s something for all palates and diets. Unless you are on a diet from spending money on food you’re going to eat standing up, in which case, we can’t help you.

DETAILS: 11am-6pm; free; East River State Park (Saturdays) and Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5 (Sundays);

15. SPORTS: 7th Annual Tour de Queens on July 6

Are you ready for an extremely sweaty bike tour of some of the prettier parts of Queens? For seven years running, the Tour de Queens has brought hundreds of riders together for a family friendly ride through various neighborhoods. This year’s ride starts in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home of the iconic Unisphere sculpture. It then continues through Flushing, East Flushing, Murray Hill, Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Beechurst and Whitestone with a rest stop in Little Bay Park. You can do it!

DETAILS: 9am-12:30pm; $15-$20; meet-up point in Corona Park;

Want even more fun? Check out 15 Things to Do in July50 Free Things to Do This Summer and 10 NYC Summer Music Festivals You Shouldn’t Miss.

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