As we enter the dog days of summer, there is no slow down of exciting summer activities to take part in in New York City. This weekend, celebrate Bastille Day with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, learn about urban planning, attend a Victorian circus is a cemetery and more! Check out our Untapped Picks for things to do this week:

Friday, July 12th

It’s happening again, Manhattanhenge. On Friday evening as the sun sets it will perfectly align with Manhattan’s street grid. If you want to brave the crowds to catch a view of this celestial coincidence, which happens only a few times a year, the NYC Parks department recommends heading to these spots: 57th Street, 42nd Street, 34th Street, 23rd Street, 14th Street, Tudor City Overpass, Manhattan or Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City, Queens. You should face west towards the sunset and the further east you are the better the view will be.

Meet and learn from urban planning and place-making experts from the Project for Public Spaces at the Village Alliance’s Creativity Cubed event. This free event for children and adults in Astor Place will explore how these disciplines can create thriving communities and successful urban centers. Visitors can put their own ideas into practice at interactive activities like “We Built This City” where you can construct a city using a wide variety of art materials and experts will pick the most artistic and well-designed.

Celebrate Bastille Day weekend with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy’s free outdoor festival Films on the GreenThis evening, the film Aya Of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie will be screened at Tompkins Square Park. Adapted from a graphic novel, the film tells the story of young Aya and her friends, living in Abidjan, who see their lives going awry when one of them gets pregnant. Films on the Green is free and open to all!

This weekend, starting on Thursday, July 11th and running through July 14th, The Cultural Services of the French Embassy is also hosting the launch of Fly Away with Books, a four-day festival that aims to (re)introduce children of all backgrounds to the unique pleasures of reading. In venues throughout New York City from Inwood to Dumbo, renowned French illustrators and authors will conduct playful and imaginative workshops geared towards children four to ten years old. The festival free!

Saturday, July 13th

Photograph by Ian Douglas, Courtesy of the Waterfront Alliance

Celebrate the diversity of New York City’s waterfront at the City of Water Day FestivalHeadquartered in the Seaport District of Manhattan, at Piers 16 and 17 from 10:00AM to 4:00PM, the festival will offer tons of ways for visitors to get to, on, in water. There will be more than sixty maritime-related booths and free activities, including children’s stories, theater performances, giveaways, and more. Visitors will get to learn about the work of the many organizations that connect New Yorkers to our waterfront, work towards resiliency, and protect and preserve our resources. There are also more than fifty community events taking place throughout all five boroughs like free kayak outings and beach cleanups. Untapped Cities will have a booth at the festival, so come say hello!

Dive into the depths of New York City’s subterranean subway system on Untapped Cities’ Secrets from Below: Underground Tour. Starting above the birthplace of the network at City Hall Park you will use the subway as your personal time machine as you weave through stations past and present, uncovering the stories of the system’s more than 100 years of history. Hear about the comically short route of the mythical Pneumatic Transit System, discover the remnants of Union Station as you learn about a hidden art installation thousands of riders walk by everyday, and ride through the famous decommissioned City Hall Station.

Underground Tour of the NYC Subway

Wind down with a free concert at On Stage at Kingsborough’s 2019 Hot Summer Nights concert festival. The festival, which takes place under the stars every Saturday in July, features a wide range of music from New Orleans blues to French Gypsy Jazz. This Saturday, hear Fantine and The French Horn Collective perform an eclectic mix of French Gypsy Jazz, Hot Swing, and tunes from around the globe!

Sunday, July 14th

Discover tales of sunken ships in the Hudson and East Rivers, get to know infamous sea captains of old, and stop by former cruise line offices, a custom house, and giant docked ships that connect the modern city to the glory days of the Port of New York on Untapped Cities’ Maritime History Tour of Lower Manhattan. Led by an expert guide, guests will uncover fascinating stories of the sea while discovering the physical remnants of the city’s maritime past.

Tour of NYC’s Maritime History

Photograph Courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy

Hear the forbidden love story that inspired Central Park’s most famous statue, learn about the massive civic project that transformed a wasteland into an urban pleasure ground, and discover the curious origins of the Central Park Zoo on Untapped Cities’ Secrets of Central Park walking tour. On an afternoon stroll through this famous park, our expert guide will show you a side of Central Park you never knew!

Secrets of Central Park Walking Tour

Peruse a “collection of collections” at the 14th Annual Collectors’ Night presented by The City Reliquary in collaboration with Atlas Obscura. This year, collectors and archivists with a variety of artifacts to share will showcase their treasures in rapid fire show-and-tells at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Since it’s Bastille Day, featured presenter and native of France Laetitia Barbier of the Morbid Anatomy Museum will show some guillotine models from her personal collection.

Tuesday, July 16th

Photograph Courtesy of the Village Community Boathouse

Get out on the water at the Village Community Boathouse Community Rowing SessionsEvery Tuesday at 5:30PM guests can set out in a traditional Whitehall gig, a 19th-century-designed wooden rowboat, captained by an experienced New York Harbor coxswain (steersman). The sail allows you to see the city from a whole new perspective on the water. These community sessions are free and open to all. No rowing experience or reservations are required.

Thursday, July 18th

Explore the past, present and future of urban renewal in the Lower East Side with artist, urban scholar, and curator Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani. On a guided walkthrough of her new photo exhibition inside the Cuchifritos/Artists Alliance Gallery at the new Essex Street Market and a walking tour of the surrounding area, guests will learn about the contested history of the site of the new Essex Crossing development. The new development sits on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, a site cleared in the 1960s and 1970s which resulted in the loss of home for thousands of residents. You can join this free experience if you are an Untapped Cities Insider! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special events all year long!

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