Summer For the City Strikes Again

Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City is back and it is filled with new, unique performances.


Lara Adamjee

Opened in 1965, Lincoln Center is a staple of the Upper West Side.

At the end of each school year, you have probably been asked the infamous question, “What are you doing over the summer?” Some New York City students plan to travel, to see family, or to visit new cities. Others have internships or plan to attend enrichment summer programs. But, no matter how packed your summer is, there is always time that can be well spent in the city itself. 

After visiting the MET for the umpteenth time or going to yet another NYPL concert, being stuck in the city may seem mundane. Constantly finding new and cheap activities can be difficult. Luckily, Lincoln Center is hosting Summer for the City, a festival that features poetry readings, concerts, and so much more. 

Summer for the City takes place from June 14th to August 12th, 2023. The festival showcases New York City’s diverse talent by featuring performers from its numerous ethnic enclaves. The events center around internal discovery, political discussion, community, and culture.

Make New Connections

Any music lover will not want to miss out on Second Moon. Infusing traditional Gu Ak Korean music with Western elements, the band has won numerous Korean Music Awards and been featured in shows such as the 2006 ‘Princess Hours.’ 

Second Moon first met in 2003, at a post-production that makes Korean dramas and movies. The current roster was finalized after the recruitment of several other Western music majors. The band includes Hyunbo Kim, who plays the guitar, mandolin, bodhran, and Irish whistle; Younghoon Lee, who plays the guitar; Jinkyung Choi, who plays the piano and accordion; Yunjeong Jo, who plays the violin; Jingo Park, who plays the bass; Jongsun Park who plays the drums; and Danhae Oh who is the vocals. 

The purpose behind the use of Western instruments is to bridge the gap between Koren and Western music. “Traditional Korean music is usually played through traditional instruments, but from the perspective of Western music, it does not feel rich in harmony and rhythm because it’s music that values the beauty of the margins, which is empty but filled,” said a Second Moon spokesperson. 

Culture is forever changing, with today’s cultures being a result of past cultures intertwining. Thus, the goal of Second Moon is not to be pioneers, but to further the progress that has already been made by breaking down the mental barriers that exist between different cultures. As the Second Moon spokesperson put it, “seawater and river water are constantly meeting and mixing on certain boundaries, but we still call them water.”

In New York City, many of these barriers are already broken down. “Through this concert in the U.S., I want to meet many people and hope it will be an opportunity to sympathize with the diversity we have,” said the Second Moon spokesperson. This is a central idea of Summer for the City, with events like Big Umbrella Day and Korean Arts Week focused on bringing together like-minded people.

Second Moon: Moonlight Flows is on June 8th at 7:30 pm. Big Umbrella Day is on July 1st and Korean Arts Week is on July 19th–July 23rd.

Bring The Family

While Second Moon is blending cultures, HEGAZY is blending generations. Catered towards families, this band is a must see for pop/rock/R&B/soul fans of all ages.

Composed of twins Omnia and Leila Hegazy, HEGAZY was formed in 2015. The twins started pursuing music back when they were in public school, but became a duo act after moving in together after college. “At some point after writing music in the same space for long enough, our sounds started to blend and become more similar. At that point we decided that it made more sense to be a band than solo artists,” said Leila Hegazy.

Each twin has a different focus, with Leila being a R&B/soul musician and Omnia being a folk/pop/rock musician.  “When we write together or edit each other’s songs the perspectives we bring from our individual musical styles help us to see each sister’s song in a unique way. So instead of a song being set in one style, it always has the opportunity to be challenged and rethought from a different musical point of view in the editing process,” said Leila. So, instead of clashing, HEGAZY’s opposing styles elevate their music. 

HEGAZY has a pre-show family workshop, which means that children of all ages can attend. “Music was a very important part of our younger years, and we hope to keep exposing future generations to music as a form of self-expression. It helped us to survive tough times which included bullying, mental health struggles, and growing up,” said Leila. The pre-show family workshops help facilitate children’s interest in the arts by teaching them about the performances that they watch.

All pre-show family workshops begin at 11:00 am, with the associated performance beginning at 12:00 pm. HEGAZY is on August 5th. Other performances with pre-show family workshops are Shamarr Allen on June 17th, “Así Soy”: The Los Angeles Rainbow Mariachi on June 24th, DANCING CLASSROOMS on July 8th, In Harmony on July 15th, From the Heart of Korea by KTMDC Dance Company on July 22nd, Élage Diouf on July 29th, and The Art of the Cypher on August 12th. 

Visit Captivating Venues

If you want to experience something more tuned down, Musings is the performance for you. Musings is a therapeutic poetry reading, produced by Mahogany Browne and taking place at the David Rubenstein Atrium. 

Browne is a long time activist and writer, being the Executive Director of JustMedia, an organization that promotes and creates criminal justice stories, and the author of Black Girl Magic: A Poem and Vinyl Moon. In July 2021, Browne became Lincoln Center’s first poet-in-residence. Since her recruitment, Browne has worked on numerous projects for Lincoln Center, one of which was ‘Seen. Sound. Scribe,’ an ongoing series that promotes civil discourse through sharing literary works. 

Similarly, Musings encourages its attendees to self-reflect while listening to poetry. Browne utilizes an interactive soundscape to put sound at the forefront of Musings. “Sound is important to me. It’s healing. And it’s a war cry,” said Browne. 

The interactive soundscape allows each participant to undergo an individualized experience. “The movement, the sound, the visual art, the hands-on aspects, the community, the meditation — all of it is an invitation for our audience members to experience art differently,” said Browne. The Atrium and its interactive soundscape is only one of Summer for the City’s unique venues.

All of Lincoln Center’s outdoor areas are redone for Summer for the City, gaining flourishing flowers and gorgeous greenery. Clint Ramos, the creative director for productions such as ‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’ and ‘Eclipsed,’ is making history this year by being the first visual director to have sole control over Summer for the City’s design. The redone locations range from Clark Studio Theater, a black box theater that creates an intimate experience for viewers, to The Garden, a greenhouse that oozes relaxation. 

Mahogany L. Browne’s Musing(s) is on June 3rd at 7:30 pm, Our Echoes Be Bloom is on June 23rd, June 30th, and July 7th at 5:00 pm, and Seen. Sound. Scribe. is on June 24th, July 1st, July 15th, and July 29th at 8:00 pm.

All Completely Free

Hosting artists like Mahogany Browne and putting together festivals like Summer for the City are two ways that Lincoln Center achieves its overall objective of giving new or underrepresented artists more exposure. Since Summer for the City has free admission, there is no risk in seeing new or unknown artists’ performances.

Additionally, free admission makes the art more accessible to the public. “I think free art is the best gift possible! It expands our access to the world and further develops our sense of purpose. How do we fit in the world, what do we believe in and what do we stand for?” said Browne. 

So, if you are in the city and are looking for something to do, check out Summer for the City. Connect with people who have similar interests, hang out with your friends, or just take in the amazing performances and scenery. Most importantly, take advantage of the free opportunities that the festival offers.

“I think free art is the best gift possible! It expands our access to the world and further develops our sense of purpose. How do we fit in the world, what do we believe in and what do we stand for?” said Mahogany Browne, the Executive Director of JustMedia, an organization that promotes and creates criminal justice stories, and the author of Black Girl Magic: A Poem and Vinyl Moon.