New York Philharmonic in the Parks Event Guide

New York Philharmonic in the park

A. Strakey/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

For locals, one of the favorite New York City summer concert series is the New York Philharmonic in the Parks. Typically in June, the New York Philharmonic performs free concerts throughout different spaces in New York City. Past venues have included Central Park, Prospect Park (Brooklyn), Van Cortlandt Park (the Bronx), and Cunningham Park (Queens).

While these performances offer the chance to hear amazing classical music, more importantly it's an opportunity to gather with friends and enjoy drinks, snacks, and conversation with the New York Philharmonic providing a soundtrack. The closer you sit to the band shell, the more seriously the audience takes the performance, so gauge your positioning appropriately.

When to Go

Performances begin at 8 p.m., so if you want seating close to the band shell, plan to arrive about 2 hours early -- if you're less particular, and depending on the size of your group, you can arrive up until the show begins.

What to Bring

  • Food and drink (alcohol is generally tolerated, but there are police around, so keep it low-key)
  • Candles (it gets dark as the night goes on and it can be difficult to see your companions)
  • Jacket or sweater (after the sun sets, the temperature can drop and you'll be happy to have it)
  • Bug spray to keep mosquitoes away (citronella candles can also do double duty)
  • Balloons are a good way to help you find your friends (cell phones work too) [Please dispose of your balloons in the trash -- releasing them into the air is essentially littering and can be harmful to wildlife.]
  • Blankets to sit on (a plastic garbage bag makes a great liner between your blanket/beach towel and the moist ground)

Directions to the Great Lawn in Central Park

The Great Lawn is located mid-park from 79th to 85th Street. The band shell is located in the northern portion of Great Lawn.

  • Take the 4/5/6 to 86th Street. Walk West 3 blocks to 5th Avenue and enter the park at the entrance between 85th/86th Streets. Follow the winding pathway (or the crowds).
  • Take the A/B/C to 81th Street and enter the park at 81st Streets Follow the path or the crowds to the Great Lawn.
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