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Where to Dance Outdoors in the City

By Heidi Patalano | June 24, 2013 7:44am
 Bust a move at these airy outings.
Outdoor Dancing in New York City
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UPPER WEST SIDE — For those of us who remain in the city in the hot months, the dance floor is the place where boundaries melt.

Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing is one of the most emblematic of the city's summer dance series, and is now celebrating its 25th year. Bill Bragin, director of public programming for Lincoln Center, said the three-week event is a great community-builder for the lindy hoppers, swing dancers and salsa enthusiasts in town.

“Midsummer Night Swing is one of those magical places where all of these barriers come down and people are really dancing with their neighbors, with their friends, but also with strangers," Bragin said.

"And it’s something that through this participatory experience with the finest art in the world brings people closer together."

Get into the groove this summer with one of these great outdoor dance parties:

Midsummer Night Swing
In honor of the 25th anniversary, organizer Bragin invited some of the most crowd-pleasing ensembles of previous programs back to Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center.

“The celebration is in part by honoring the people who have helped to build this festival with us,” Bragin said.

The season starts on Tuesday, June 25 with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. As with every night in the schedule, the program begins at 6:30 with a dance lesson and the live music begins an hour later. Norma Miller, one of the originators of the Lindy Hop, will be on hand to teach that dance on opening night.

“There will be lots of moments like that that will celebrate the continuum that has brought swing to the present,” Bragin said. “So much of dance-floor culture is about oral tradition and about dancers learning from dancers and musicians learning from musicians. And musicians learning from dancers and vice versa.”

Tickets for admission to the dance floor are on sale now. Bundled passes (from four dances to a season pass) include a free bag check and individual tickets are $17.

Le Bain at the Standard Hotel
It’s all about "scene" and be seen at the uber-trendy Standard Hotel, where you can frolic among the beautiful people at Le Bain’s penthouse dance parties until the early hours of the morning.

This Sunday the long-running DJ duo known as Turntables on the Hudson return to the venue. Salsa, hip-hop and house music from all corners of the globe will be spun in this high-rise dance space, which gives way to a gorgeous grassy veranda where you can bop under the stars. Check here for the rest of the summer DJ schedule.

Dancing on a boat
The Spirit of New York is bringing back its Hot Latin Moonlight Cruises this summer. For $29.99, board at midnight from Chelsea Piers, take a 30-minute dance lesson on the cruise and merengue until 3 a.m. on their roof deck.

Rocks Off Boat Tours puts the live show experience on water, with a variety of acts performing throughout the summer for three-hour boat tours. Highlights include pre-party cruises to Yankee Stadium for Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake’s shows there on July 19 and 20 and tribute bands for The Talking Heads, Guns N Roses, the Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Warm Up at PS 1
Leave it to MoMA to make daytime clubbing cool. This long-running summer afternoon dance party at their Long Island City outpost, PS 1, has been running for more than 16 years. Packing every Saturday with buzzy, internationally known DJs, the series has quite the hipster pedigree. Curators on the Warm Up committee include heads of XL Recordings and DFA Records, alongside Pitchfork editor Brandon Stosuy, who spoke to DNAinfo New York about the program.

The shows, which take place in PS 1’s courtyard, often have a crowd of devotees determined to dance the day through.

“The one thing that’s generally interesting is that people really do start dancing whenever it starts in the afternoon,” Stosuy said. “Many of those people just don’t stop through the whole thing. There is that whole crowd that is kind of built-in and they’re just sort of there to be there. If the DJ’s good, in some cases, just maintains a beat, they’ll just keep going.”

Among this year’s participants are Grimes’ cohort Majical Cloudz, Kode9 and King Britt with a DJ set from Caribou and a live performance by Liars. Each year the courtyard features a “temporary urban landscape” designed by contest-winners of the Young Architects Program. This year’s installment has been dubbed Party Wall by CODA.

The Warm Up program begins on June 29. Tickets can be purchased in advance. Long Island City residents with proof of residency get in free.

Mister Saturday Night at Gowanus Grove
Did you really think Brooklyn would be left out of the summer dance trend? Never. Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin — known as Mister Saturday Night — have moved their "Mister Sunday" parties around the borough a few times but seem to have settled on the space formerly known as BKLYN Yard for the time being. On June 16, June 23 and June 30 they'll host the dance party from 3-9 p.m.

The backyard feel of the space is enhanced by cheap drinks and a super-friendly atmosphere.

Buy advance tickets here.