Volume 23, Number 10 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 16 - 22, 2010

Drop the Xbox controllers and venture out

A Summer Guide for Teens

BY Joseph Rearick

After the elation of the end of school, teens across the city are coming to the same conclusion: summer can be boring. Friends are off on vacation, the heat is too strong to hang out outside and nothing quite seems to be happening. Plus, according to The U.S. Department of Labor, American teens face the highest rate of unemployment ever recorded. Without jobs, teens have all the time in the world and no money to take advantage of it. Mind-numbing tedium ensues.

Well, teen population of the Downtown area, the Downtown Express has got you covered. Whether you work all day for minimum wage or spend countless hours on the couch, there are free, interesting things for you to do in July and August. Here are just a few:

SummerStage: One word encapsulates the draw of this perennial favorite for city dwellers of all ages: free. See names as big as Public Enemy and alternative gems like Chairlift play an outdoor stage erected near 69th Street in Central Park free of charge and relatively close to home. SummerStage, run by the City Parks Foundation, offers 33 free concerts this summer, so something is available to fans of any genre. But you may want to use SummerStage as a chance to experience an act you’ve never heard before. When it costs you nothing, what have you got lose? For more info, go to www.summerstage.org.

MoMA Free Fridays: The Museum of Modern Art gives students a discount when they show their student I.D., but even the reduced price ($12) could perturb teen visitors without a steady income (or with other plans for their money). But on Fridays, the Museum opens its doors to all visitors for free from 4-8 p.m. This opportunity, seized by too few Downtown residents, provides access to one of the finest collection of modern art in the world and a nice respite from the heat. Among works by Picasso, Kandinsky and Warhol, even the most skeptical visitors will be impressed by the scope and quality of MoMa’s collection. Visit www.moma.org/visit/calendar/tickets to reserve tickets, or call 212-708-9400 for more info.

River Flicks in Hudson River Park: Some of this summer’s coolest events involve movies, but River Flicks at Piers 46 and 54 has a lineup that would be hard to beat. If you prefer moody, Indie classics to “The Hangover,” you may want to utilize another film series (try Rooftop Films at www.rooftopfilms.com). But if you want to relax in the grass of Hudson River Park and watch recently released blockbusters, River Flicks is right up your alley - especially because it’s free. Every Wednesday, films rated PG 13 and R are shown at Pier 54 on a huge projector. This year’s movies include “District 9,” “Julie and Julia” and “Star Trek.” On Fridays, River Flicks moves to Pier 46, where kids’ movies are shown. Don’t let the PG rating fool you; these are quality films worth watching, including classics (The Wizard of Oz, Annie), and recent Pixar masterpieces (Monsters vs. Aliens). All screenings start at 8:30 p.m. Go to www.pier54.com/riverflicks for a schedule and more info.

Bike to the Other Borough: Brooklyn’s a lot closer than you think, especially the new Brooklyn Bridge Park that just opened at the foot of the bridge a few months ago. Grab a bike and some friends, and you’ll be living it up on the manicured grass in no time (or, according to Google Maps, about 15 minutes). As if the breathtaking views of the city were not enticing enough, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers free programs that rival that of any park in Lower Manhattan. From workout classes on the waterfront to cultural exhibitions from India and Haiti, there are plenty of activities that won’t cost you a penny. And, taking a page from Hudson River Park, this new space offers outdoor movie screenings on Thursday nights. Can you imagine watching “The Big Lebowski,” camped out in the grass next to a beautiful skyline? The Dude would approve. Go to www.brooklynbridgepark.org for a schedule.

Art Galleries: The NYC art scene is fiercely competitive, and you can benefit from the plethora of artists attempting to display their works. On any given Thursday, Chelsea is home to a handful of gallery openings that practically beg for visitors, and dozens more galleries open their doors for passing strangers to see ongoing exhibits. Stroll through the 20s between 9th and 10th Avenues leisurely, and head inside when you see something you like. If Chelsea’s art scene strikes you as stuffy, check out the Deitch Galleries in Noho at 18 Wooster Street and 76 Grand Street. With two amazing locations and a decidedly youthful aesthetic, Deitch offers exhibits from dynamic and renowned artists, many of whom recently cut their teeth in the Downtown art scene. You’ll leave feeling entertained and even a little cultured. Check out www.artcat.com for more info about openings throughout the City.

Seaport Music Festival: So one concert went horribly wrong. But the Drake fiasco shouldn’t serve as a deterrent to fans that want to catch the alternative offerings of the Seaport Music Festival, a series of free shows at Pier 17. The Apples in Stereo and Thee Oh Sees are sure to attract fairly large audiences, but there’s no need to fear flying chairs from the nearby Pizzeria Uno balcony. The Seaport is also a pretty sweet venue: keep cool with the ocean breeze and grind those cobblestones down with your best dance moves. Visit www.seaportmusicfestival.com for a schedule of performances.

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