In addition to a rundown on free kayaking in New York City (video interview above and text overview down below) this 40th New York State of Mind Amoeblog weekly report from the Big Apple will take a look at some of the many events and concerts happening in New York City this mid July where the weather has been extremely hot and muggy of late. Considering that then a good place to be on these hot New York summer evenings is out in the park down by the river such as the Brooklyn Bridge Park where this week the fun summertime Syfy Movies with a View series, that kicked off last week and runs through late August on each Thursday night, continues tomorrow with a free sreening of the Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon. There is also an opening short film, Catnip: Egress to Oblivion by Jason Willis, plus music spun by DJ Hahn Solo earlier in the evening to get the mood going as folks gather before dusk at the Brooklyn Heights district park. No cover. All ages. DJ starts spinning at 6:00pm and the movies begin at sundown. Bring a blanket and a picnic. More info here.
This week the annual Metropolitan Summer Opera Recital Series kicked off last night in Central Park and will continue over the next couple of weeks with a total of six concerts that will take place in each of the five boroughs. The second concert will be on Friday, July 19th at 7pm, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn where the recital will feature Erin Morley (soprano), Isabel Leonard (mezzo-soprano), Stephen Costello (tenor), and Bradley Moore (pianist). Next week the series will travel up to Crotona Park in the Bronx on Tuesday and over to Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island on Thursday where, on both dates, the performers will be Ying Fang (soprano), Mario Chang (tenor), Brandon Cedel (bass-baritone), and Bradley Moore (pianist). Free. All ages. For full details on these and the other upcoming Met Summer Recital Series visit the Metro Opera website. Also outdoors and free in New York City this week is Arriba! - the series of community dance parties with locally themed Latin music, that begins on Friday July 19th, on the High Line. More info. Large scale rock, rap, and pop concerts in NYC this week include the big Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z concert show at Yankee Stadium on Friday and Saturday (July 19 + 20th). Tickets range in price from $49 up to $279.50. More info here. On Monday and Tuesday (July 22nd and 23rd) friends of Amoeba Tegan and Sara perform at Hudson River Park's Pier 26. Tickets are $42.50.
Located in lower Manhattan on the West Side near Houston Street the mission statement of the Downtown Boathouse at Pier 40 is to "promote public access to the water for all " and this the all-volunteer run-and-operated nonprofit ably does (and for free) for almost five full months out of the year via providing free public access to the harbor in New York City through public kayaking programs. I stopped by one particularly quiet weekend afternoon this summer and was pleasantly surprised that there was no wait at all, and that the volunteer staff were extremely friendly and helpful. See the short video interview at top of this page with Downtown Boathouse volunteer Kelly who took a moment to talk with the Amoeblog about this wonderful public program that is 100% free to partake in. As well as the boats they provide life jackets and lockers with locks to place your valuables in and to keep dry.
All you have to do is sign a waiver, snap on a provided life jacket, and head out into the water for twenty minutes or longer. The few requirements include that you must know how to swim and that children be accompanied by adults. One tip I'd offer is that it is best to wear swim shorts or bring a change of pants as the seat of your pants will likely get wet. Free kayaking at Pier 40's Downtown Boathouse happens every Thursday evening from 5pm to 7pm and every Saturday/Sunday (and holidays) from 9am to 6pm from now through October 13th, 2013. More info here. Note that there is also free kayaking at Pier 96 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at Pier 96 near West 72nd Street - info via the Downtown Boathouse website. There is also free kayaking over in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Bridge Park where, through the end of August on Thursdays and Saturdays, they also have free kayaking. More info here.
And finally I leave you with a video clip related to the report by guest Amoeblogger Jason Snyder here in this column two weeks ago on the new CitiBike sharing system in place in New York. It was made by the ever funny New York City rapper Sean Price and his label Duck Down and supposedly "exposes a flaw in the system with the new CitiBike."