10 Things To Do This Fourth Of July Weekend

By Lizzie Byrne

Happy Almost-Fourth of July! With the holiday falling on a Wednesday this year, you’ve found yourself facing either a super-weekend, a mini-vacation, or a mid-week ellipsis. In any event, you’re welcome to spend the next 24 hours doing the Hollywood cleanse or searching out those favorite bikini bottoms instead of fretting over logistics, because here’s the plan:

1) Photoville
(Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 3 uplands, DUMBO, Through 7/1)
Photoville is a collection of photo exhibitions (within freight containers) collectively housed in Brooklyn Bridge Park. If you head over there this weekend, you’ll also have an opportunity to participate in one of the many talks and workshops (through July 1). Exhibitions span from the awesomely weird (Sigrid Viir’s award winning objects and naked people) to enlighteningly disturbing (Sim Chi Yin’s profiles of Beijing migrant workers living and working underground) and jealousy inciting (Phoot Camp 2012—a bunch of photographers at summer camp…can we go?!). Be prepared to feel charmed, naive, and inspired by the beauty around us. If you have a pup, bring him, as there’s a drool-worthy dog park. Learn more: http://photovillenyc.org/

2) Discover Outdoors: Diamond Mountain Hike
(Saturday 7/30 at Fort Greene; ongoing at different locations)

Discover Outdoors does pretty much all the work, leaving you with the fun. They’ll drive you to Harriman Park from the designated pickup spot (this Saturday, meet at the Starbucks at Atlantic Terminal), leading you through the woods (Don’t know how to read trailblazes? You will soon.) and then, at the end of the day, drop you back off, tired, sun-smooched, and happy. Sign up at www.discoveroutdoors.com

3) BAM Cinemafest
(Through 7/1 – Fort Greene)

Help celebrate the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 150th anniversary at the last weekend of BAM Cinemafest. Movies this year include favorites from Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, and SXSW. For times and locations, visit www.bam.org.

4) Phone Home at Brooklyn Bridge Park movies
(Thursday, 7/5, at 6 p.m. – DUMBO)

Summer Thursday Brooklyn movies begin at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 this Thursday, July 5, with a showing of “The Extra Terrestrial” a.k.a. E.T.! This one is a classic family favorite and obviously a good test to see if any date is worth his or her salt. http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/events/calendar/syfy-movies-with-view

5) Lobstah! With Red Hook Lobster Pound and Sixpoint Brewery
(Sunday, July 1; Ongoing – Red Hook)
Nothing says 4th of July quite like fresh lobster. Catch some claws at the Red Hook Lobster Pound’s traditional home in Red Hook or follow the truck around town on twitter @redhooklobster. Also, they’ll be cruising (literally) from South Street Seaport on Sunday, July 1 with Sixpoint Brewery, which sounds like a recipe for deliciousness.

6) Get your Sea Legs poolside
(Ongoing – Multiple Neighborhoods)

It’s time for a dip in the pool with chips, dip and an ice-cold drink waiting back under your umbrella! In case you haven’t noticed, several public pools opened this week – hello, McCarren Pool, Bushwick Pool, Red Hook Pool!). So slip on the Speedos, bikinis and sarongs, slather on the sunscreen, and check out your pool options at: http://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/pools

7) Volunteer
(Ongoing, 253 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg)

Help a critter by volunteering at a Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (BARC) animal shelter. They don’t require that you do a training session beforehand, but be sure to call ahead to make sure they don’t already have a group of volunteers so you can maximize your time with Fido/Fifi. See the schedule at http://www.barcshelter.org/givetobarc/volunteer and call 718-485-7489.

8) Go Kayaking
Kayaking is a great way to build upper body strength without looking like the Hulk. So give your running legs a rest, and catch some sun with a river breeze on the side. The Red Hook Boaters offer free kayaking all summer long – learn more and check the schedule here: http://www.redhookboaters.org/rhb_calendar.html  

9) Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Contest
(Wednesday 7/4 beginning at 11:30AM)
Join us at the Nathan’s FAMOUS Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island (at the corner of Surf and Stillwell) or just live stream it on ESPN for an Independence Day-themed party at home with the A/C on. Learn more here: http://nathansfamous.com/

10) 41st Annual International African Arts Festival
(6/30 to 7/4 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., at Commodore Barry Park at Navy Street between Park and Flushing Avenues)
This family friendly festival features musical performances, demonstrations, face-painting and a vibrant marketplace to shop and explore between swimming, traveling and eating. http://iaafestival.org/

BONUS: Fireworks and more
(Everywhere, Ongoing)

Between the BBQ and the bikinis It’s altogether too easy to forget what the 4th of July is really about… so take a moment to thank and think about our forefathers and brave military men, rock some red, white, and blue apparel, find a spot to see the fireworks, and enjoy life, laughter and love in the greatest city in America.

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