Summer of Black Joy: New York City Edition

Here are some free and affordable events and adventures we’re looking forward to this #Summer16. New York City gets a bad rap for being expensive, we can assure you that there's fun to be had on a budget. Check it out below! CULTURE: Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an urban botanic garden2472352312_7221dff020 located in the heart of Prospect Heights. With over 30 different gardens, it’s the perfect place to spend a day outdoors, connecting with the world of plants - a nice contrast to the surrounding bustling city. Price: $12 Adult, Free on Tuesdays (all day) & Saturdays from 10am-noon

This summer, Shayne Dark, known for making complex sculptures made of tree branches, limbs, trunks, and roots, will be in residence at the Botanic Garden from July 13-29. You can visit and watch as he creates a new, large-scale installation using locally sourced materials.

Nearby, you'll find the Brooklyn Museum which does a great job at presenting art rich in heritage and varied world cultures including ancient Egyptian masterpieces, African and contemporary art. Their exhibitions and programs span from traditional works to the most important cultural artists of today. Not to mention, aside from their monthly free First Fridays - which are always a beautiful sea of melanin - there is a bevy of culture-rich events that regularly take place throughout the museum.

Price: $16 Suggested Adult, Free on the first Saturday of every month *Art and Garden Tickets are available to visit the Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum on the same day - $23 for an adult. Take a break from the mainland and visit New York Poetry Festival at Governors Island, Colonel's Row. Relax outside and enjoy a weekend of artistry and summer sun. The Poetry Society of New York hosts the 6th annual poetry festival featuring readings by different local poets, series, publications and collective. Date: July 30-31, 11am-5pm Price: Free

Going into its third consecutive year, the Bushwick Music Festival continues to be a grassroots advocate of independent music and emerging local talents. In addition to the sounds of the newest hot artists of the scene, this year will feature over 50 visual artists’ works - on display and for sale. Bushwick Music Festival @ Maria Hernandez Park Date: August 6, 12-8pm Price: Free

Fresh off her mixtape, But U Cain’t Use My Phone, Erykah Badu will be laying her #BlackMagic down in Coney Island with an outdoor concert at The Amphitheater. There’s a good chance you can spend the evening enjoying the boardwalk festivities and still catch wind of tunes while taking in the ocean. Date: August 6, 8pm Price: $45-$325 BRIC is the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn - facilitating a diverse breath of work by artists and media-makers. The BRIC is known for the unique cultural experiences they present while encouraging individual expression within local communities. They even offer free classes covering an array of arts and media topics and skills. BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! @ Prospect Park Bandshell Price: Free with some exceptions Look out for: Camille A. Brown & Dancers BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play / Brandee Younger on July 21st at 7:30 p.m.

Summertime events to keep the good vibes going through September! Free concerts, block parties and outdoor movie screenings are just the start of how much there is to do this summer. There’s also the BAM R&B Festival, BEAT Festival, and the Brooklyn Book Fest.

At venues like the Commons, Willoughby Plaza, and Albee Square you can enjoy a good mix of pleasures and summer fun. Be sure to catch their Midsummer Groove Alley Party on July 29th.

Take a look at what they have lined up for Summer 16. 106.7 LITE FM’s Broadway in Bryant Park Days: Thursdays, 12:30pm Price: Free

106.7 LITE FM brings hit Broadway musicals to Bryant Park for some outdoor lunch entertainment. Every Thursday from now to August 11th, soak in some noontime sun while you discover Broadway’s newest shows and remember some returning classics.

Hosted by LITE FM’s on-air personalities, it’s guaranteed to be a pleasant break from the office! The July 14th Broadway in Bryant Park event will include performances by the casts of Chicago, The Fantastiks, Motown and Finding Neverland.

Find out which Broadway casts will be in Bryant Park this summer! Bastienne Schmidt: Typology of Women @ Ricco/Maresca Gallery Date: July 21, 6-8pm Opening Reception - On display through August 19 Price: Free

Award-winning mixed media artist and photographer Bastienne Schmidt brings her latest publication to Chelsea. “Typology of Women” is a series of hand-painted silhouette cutouts depicting female imagery across cultures and over time. Schmidt explores “types” and offers insights on the complexity by which female identity is constructed.

On July 21st, an exhibition and book launch will be held at Ricco/Maresca Gallery.

More info on the opening reception and Bastienne Schmidt here.

One Africa Music Fest @ Barclays Center Date: July 22, 7pm Price Range: $65-$155

With live performances from Africa’s biggest musical stars, One Africa Music Fest will be bringing the diverse worlds of afropop, dancehall, and reggae to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

International stars from Ghana, Nigeria, East Africa and more will deliver an evening of unforgettable tunes and vibrations all dedicated to help bring awareness to the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign.

To purchase tickets and see the full lineup head to Ticketmaster. Women at the Whitney Museum Price Range: Free - $25 Through the end of the summer, the Whitney Museum will be premiering and hosting a few new exhibitions by leading ladies in the global art world. Covering an array of cultural paradigms, they are sure to hit home in one way or another. Sophia Al-Maria: Black Friday On display from July 26 - October 31

American-Qatari artist Sophie Al-Maria is known for navigating the intersections of our generation’s technology, culture, and identity through art, writing, and filmmaking.

In Black Friday, a series of videos explores the Gruen Transfer - a phenomenon where controlled environments combined with visual and auditory stimuli are used to distract and manipulate consumers. In Collecting Injustices, Unnecessary Suffering, through original songs and dance, Kroesen animates the structures of parenting, socialization, and control that shape individual lives and collective society. With such a talented artist on display, make sure not to miss out! Jilll Kroesen: Collecting Injustices, Unnecessary Suffering July 27-31, exhibition on display July 29-31, 8pm ticketed performances ($22 adults)

Born in Havana, Cuba in 1915, Carmen Herrera is still actively working, painting every day in her New York studio. While living in Paris in the years following WWII, she developed her still of geometric hard-edged images employing a limited palette of just two or three colors for each composition titled Lines of Sight. Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight On display from September 16 - January 2, 2017 Ticketed exhibition: $22 Adult, online day in advance - $25 Adult, museum same day

The NYC African Food Festival offers an opportunity to see and taste a wide variety of African foods, and connect with some of the best African chefs, food experts and personalities in a festive, vibrant NYC atmosphere. NYC African Food Festival @ Brooklyn Navy Yard Date: August 13, 12pm Price Range: $10-$150

For more info and tickets visit here.

If you're looking for more consistent day-to-day updates on “free and cheap” happenings in NYC, subscribe to the skint. From outdoor and rooftop movie screenings to comedy shows to book readings, you’ll get a daily update on all there is to do around the city.

Have a Happy Summer '16!

Bri.LThrough writing, New York native, Bri.L, has produced a creative voice that speaks for the sake of her mind and heart. Her poetry is a raw reflection of the world’s culture - telling stories that embody life, consciousness, acceptance and more – from unpredictable perspectives. At an early age, putting pen to paper became a way for her to heal, to evoke, to love and she’s been left to write ever since. For more on how she tells it, visit | IG: @Bri_Bossy