The Official Guide to Twee Outdoor Summer Dance Parties


Now that Memorial Day has passed, the season of outdoor dance parties is officially upon us in a wash of bright clothes, pale skin, and insufferably twee sideshows like Slip ’n’ Slide setups and dodgeball games. Here’s a quick heads-up on where to show your sweaty face in the coming months.

The latest addition to the summer lineup is Sunday Best at the Yard (that leafy waterside lot on the Gowanus Canal), born from the same minds as the Beach Party, last summer’s hit soiree at the Water Taxi Beach. (It’s happening this year, too.) “The party came to be after we threw a Labor Day
barbecue at the space last year with Prins Thomas,” explains resident DJ Justin Carter, the wizard behind the curtain at Nublu, APT, and Easy Lover. “It was exactly the kind of vibe we were looking for. After throwing the Beach Party . . . we wanted something that was a little bit more laid-back, but still focused on great music. It ended up being just that: People strolled or rode their bikes in, got little plates of food, drank some beers, and had a late-afternoon dance. It went so well that we decided to do it every week this summer.” Also involved: Eamon Harkin (from Studio B’s FUN) and Doug Singer.

The easygoing Sunday-afternoon escape kicked off last weekend with Chicago house legend Roy Davis Jr.; upcoming appearances include Afrika Bambaataa and Kevin Saunderson. The series continues every Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m. through August 31, and admission is $8 each week except June 1 (when Digable Planet’s King Britt is playing a free show). The barbecue is organic, and booze is for sale; visit for more information and a full schedule.

Speaking of the Water Taxi Beach, it also plays host to Turntables on the Hudson, of course, celebrating 10 years—and six remix albums—this summer. (The crew, helmed by Nickodemus and Mariano, first spun at venues like the Frying Pan and the Chelsea Piers—hence the name.) The DJs’ international mix of funk, soul, hip-hop, and Afrobeat powers the longest-running outdoor party in New York, this season filling a Friday night slot from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. through October 15. Admission is $10; visit
for special guests.

Fresh air in Manhattan may be more precious, but it’s still available: Flawless Sound, the music wing of the Flawless media-relations company, is launching Porch Sundays, a bi-level, bi-sound-system, bi-patio shindig on Avenue C between 6th and 7th streets. (Perhaps it’s hoping to serve as the heir to the Le Souk crown?) Residents Andrew Vogt, Stadenco, and John Dill are gunning for an all-day deal: Flyers promise 12 hours of beats, from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Le Souk, for its part, is supposedly resuming its Sunday Sessions, but no one called me back. I thought their liquor license was revoked a couple months ago?

Electronic-music lovers Global Frequencies continue to stake their claim as the original “DJ boat party” hosts: This summer, they’re taking their toys and climbing aboard the Star of Palm Beach (capacity: 430). Last weekend saw an angels-and-devils theme, “The Righteous and the Wicked,” with John Creamer and Stephane K; next up is “Wild, Wild West” on June 15, with Luke Fair and James Talk. Parties are mostly biweekly, and “by the end of it all, you’ll be a certified urban pirate!” promises If that’s, uh, something to which you think you might aspire, you can purchase tickets there.

There hasn’t been much talk about the next Warm Up series just yet, but P.S.1’s April Hunt assures me that they’re just tying up a few loose ends—MOMA’s Long Island City outpost is all set to release the beats July 5 through September 6. Confirmed performers so far include LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, No Wave leaders James Chance and the Contortions, and jazz composer Butch Morris; on August 23, the series takes a Finnish bent with Op:l Bastards, Jimi Tenor, Lary 7, and a few others. It could be 110 degrees out, and there will always be chicks at Warm Up wearing their best frocks and highest heels—love that. Check for future updates.

And lastly, the sweatiest, smelliest, but most affordable summer weekend option—the free McCarren Park pool parties—kick off June 29 with the Hold Steady. Expect an equally great sea of pasty, unwashed skin for Ronnie Spector (July 6), Matt & Kim with a TBA headliner (July 13), Liars (July 20), MGMT (July 27), Black Lips (August 3), and Aesop Rock (August 17). The Sunday-afternoon fetes start at 2 p.m.; see for details. So. Is it September yet?