Summer On The Hudson Returns With 300 Events, Stretching into Northern Portion of 6-Mile Long Park on West Side

Riverside Park and West Harlem Piers Park’s annual outdoor arts and culture festival, Summer on the Hudson is going to see its largest season yet with more free events including expanding into northern areas of the park.

| 22 Apr 2024 | 05:45

Summer on the Hudson is back this year offering the largest-ever season to date. The outdoor arts and culture festival now entering its 22nd year, is run by the Riverside Park Conservancy and officially which kicks off this year on May 1. The festival will feature over 300 free events and programs over a five month period at different locations along the west side ranging from 59th Street to 181st Street.

The events include a wide variety and are divided into sections like special events and festivals that includes sketch jam, edu-fun programs like birding walks, a silent disco using headphones and dance moves, movie nights, family programs, and concerts, among other activities.

In past years, the Riverside Park Conservancy only had enough funding in the budget to handle programming in the southern half of the long park. Thanks to individual donations for this year’s festival, more programs have been added to include the northern portion of the park.

“As part of an effort to expand programming northwards to provide more free public cultural events for neighbors in the Washington Heights, in addition to our regular series on Pier I at 70th Street in the southern part of the park, we are screening films at 145th Street,” Director of Public Programming, Whitney Dearden said.

This also allows them to utilize spaces with more scenic views and natural settings. “The exciting thing about the uptown movies is that it’s taking place on a lawn with beautiful views of the river. A bit different than the movies on the Pier where you really need to bring a chair. There’s always a limited number of chairs, but the lawn offers a whole different kind of experience of outdoor movies in a more natural setting. So that’s very exciting,” Conservancy’s President & CEO, Merritt Birnbaum said.

Riverside Park Conservancy in an agreement with NYC Parks cares for around 450 acres with 6 miles of waterfront. “Our primary mission as stewards of six miles of parkland is to provide the same equitable standard of care in everything that we do throughout the space,” said Dearden.

Dearden recommends that people go through their brochure for the program list and concert details to find an event that suits their needs. “The great thing about summer on the Hudson is that there is something for everyone. The breadth of the programming is that you can search at any page in the brochure and find something that you personally would be interested in,” she said.

At the end of the day, both Dearden and Birnbaum emphasize The Conservancy’s role in providing entertainment to New Yorkers that doesn’t break the bank. “I think that the most rewarding part of this work is getting to bring something unique and unusual in people’s daily lives. We all need moments of lightness and air and sky and trees and joy,” said Birnbaum.

“The great thing about Summer on the Hudson is that there is something for everyone.” Hudson Park Conservancy, director of public programming, Whitney Dearden