It’s back to school season and summer is starting to wind down but there’s no deficit of things to do in New York City. This week, watch opera for free, pamper your pooch, uncover the gritty side of Times Square, party like it’s the 1920s and find more ways to connect with the city with our Untapped picks:

Friday, August 23rd

Enjoy the Harlem Jazz and Music Festival at MIST Harlem as part of Harlem Week which runs until August 31st. There will be performances by Frank Lacy and Harlem Late Night Jazz, Inc (HLNJ) and the evening will be hosted by C. Kelly Wright. Harlem Week started as a one-day tribute to the culturally rich neighborhood forty-five years ago and has turned into a month-long with over 100 events. This year’s theme is Our Local History Creates a Global Impact.

Saturday, August 24th

Discover all 26 pieces of a site specific art installation scattered throughout the abandoned hospital complex on Ellis Island. On this behind-the-scenes, Unframed JR tour of the abandoned site, visitors will see the entire installation of life-sized historical photographs put up by the world renowned artist. Each guests will even get to bring home a framable print!
“Unframed Ellis Island” by JR, a guided tour of the exhibition inside Ellis Island’s Abandoned Hospital

Check out the 20th Annual Blues BBQ Festival at Hudson River Park’s Pier 97 to hear performances by the Rolling Stones’ touring saxophonist Karl Denson and other celebrated blues musicians at the day-long festival all the way until 9:00pm. There will be food available for purchase from renowned New York City BBQ joints such as Blue Smoke, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Butcher Bar and Mighty Quinn along with seasonal brews from Sixpoint.

Photograph by Richard Termine

Catch a free outdoor screening of opera at The Metropolitan Opera’s annual Summer HD Festival. Presenting on a large screen in Lincoln Center Plaza, the series features ten performances from the company’s acclaimed Live in HD series of movie theater transmissions, including performances from the 2018–19 season as well as some of the most popular transmissions from past years. The series runs from this Saturday through Monday, September 2, 2019 (Labor Day).

Party like it’s the 1920s at the 14th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island. The fanfare will include performances by Michael Arenella and hi Dreamland Orchestra, The Dream Land Follies, the dance troupe Roddy Caravella and the Canarsie Wobblers and more. You can take a charleston dance lesson, look at vintage cars, see an old-time magic show, play carnival games, and take part in a host of other prohibition-era activities.

Sunday, August 25th

Uncover the remnants of gritty old Times Square, from former porn houses and smut shops to peep shows and grind-houses, on Untapped Cities’ expert led tour. Travel back in time to the days of the Deuce and the Minnesota Strip when this area of New York City was a red light district. Along with seeing the debauched places of the past, you will also learn about famous figures like the “King of Peeps” and the “Sultan of Smut.”

Gritty Old Times Square

Enjoy one of the last remaining Sundays of summer with a walking tour through Central Park. Uncover the secrets of this green space in the heart of New York City, like the forbidden love story behind one of its most iconic sculptures, or the scandalous origins of the zoo!

Secrets of Central Park Walking Tour

Photograph by Jeff Richman

Commemorate the 243rd anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, the first battle of the American Revolution to be waged after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, with a day of living history at Green-Wood Cemetery. The day kicks off with a trolley tour of the cemetery’s Revolutionary War-related sites, followed by re-enactment demonstrations of revolutionary weaponry and tactics. The afternoon will see a parade from the Main Gate to Battle Hill with The Regimental Band of the United States Merchant Marine Academy and a Commemoration Ceremony atop Battle Hill, the highest natural point in Brooklyn which overlooks the New York Harbor. All events, except the trolley tour, are free and open to the public.

After the official celebrations at Green-Wood, continues the Battle of Brooklyn theme by watching a production of an obscure British play, The Battle of Brooklyn, A Farce of Two Acts. The play was a piece of propaganda written after the British victory in the 1776 battle which pokes fun at the American revolutionary cause. Local historian David Yeats will present an abridged version of the play at the Backroom in Backroom at Freddy’s at 3:00pm after Greenwood Cemetery’s official anniversary commemoration. The play is free and open to the public!

Monday, August 26th

Watch the first rounds of the US Open at Billie Jean King Stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. This two week tennis tournament has been played at the stadium for over forty years. Catch some of the sport’s biggest names at this annual end of summer competition.

It’s National Dog Day! Spoil your furry friend with an evening out at one of the sixteen restaurants participating in Dog Restaurant Week such as  Boulton & WattBar BrunoThe Wilson, and La Contente Oeste (the West Village location) and Grey Lady.

Wednesday, August 28th

Attend a talk presented by the New-York Historical Society at the Bryant Park Reading Room. Kindred Wayfarers: William Cullen Bryant and Walt Whitman, will explore the life, work and friendship of the two celebrated, 19th-century poets. The panel will feature poets and scholars from the Friends of Cedarmere, the historic estate of William Cullen Bryant, the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, and other institutions. The talk is free and open to the public inside Bryant Park.

Thursday, August 29th

Dance into Labor Day weekend at the annual New York International Salsa Congress. This five-day event featured live band concerts, dance showcases, instructional workshops, and non-stop social dancing in Times Square. New Yorkers and participants from all over the world come to take part in this celebration celebration of Latin dance, music and culture.

Check out our full list of behind the scenes tours!