15 ways to celebrate Juneteenth in NYC

June 11, 2024

Photo by Curt Saunders, @curthoranesaunders. Courtesy of Weeksville Heritage Center / Black Owned Brooklyn

Juneteenth commemorates the day President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas, effectively ending slavery in the United States. Although it only became a nationally recognized holiday in 2021, Black Americans in New York City and across the country have long celebrated the holiday, an opportunity to uplift communities and share Black culture. Ahead, find Juneteenth events happening in NYC this year, from live gospel performances and celebrations of Black music to food festivals and 5K runs.

Juneteenth Celebration at Wave Hill

Thursday, June 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center, The Bronx

Commemorate Juneteenth and celebrate Black history at the Bronx’s Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center with live performances, art-making, and more. Guests can enjoy specialty rolled ice cream on the garden’s great lawn courtesy of Only Rare NYC, decorate colorful plant pots inspired by stories of liberation and hope, and watch live music and dance performances by Bahati Barton and the Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet. This free event is open to guests of all ages.

Image courtesy of The Legendary Ingramettes

The Legendary Ingramettes at Flushing Town Hall

Friday, June 14 at 7 p.m.
Celebrate Juneteenth with gospel legends The Legendary Ingramettes at Flushing Town Hall on June 14. Founded by the late Maggie Ingram and inspired by the all-male gospel quartets of the 1940s and ’50s, this renowned all-female group has performed for over six decades and earned the title “First Family of Gospel Music.”

The concert promises an exhilarating experience and kicks off a series of Juneteenth celebrations across Queens, part of the month-long Queens Rising festival. For a full schedule of events, visit Queens Rising Calendar.

15th Annual Juneteenth NYC

Saturday, June 15 at 8 a.m.
Gershwin Park, East New York
Now in its 15th year, the East New York and Brownsville communities have hosted the annual Juneteenth Festival, bringing together more than 20,000 people from the local community and beyond for a celebration of Black culture through music, dance, poetry, skits, history, vendors, family activities, and more. The free festival takes place on Saturday, June 15 at 8:30 a.m. at Gershwin Park in East New York, located at 800 Van Siclen Avenue.

Photo by Curt Saunders, @curthoranesaunders. Courtesy of Weeksville Heritage Center / Black-Owned Brooklyn

Juneteenth Food Festival

Weeksville Heritage Center, 158 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn
Saturday, June 15 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Weeksville Heritage Center, a historic site and cultural center once home to one of the largest free Black communities pre-Civil War, and Black-Owned Brooklyn are joining forces to host the biggest Juneteenth Food Festival yet. This year’s festival will feature 42 Black-owned food vendors offering an array of Black cuisine from the American South, the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America, reflecting Brooklyn’s cultural richness.

Attracting over 7,000 attendees annually, the festival includes a marketplace showcasing local Black-owned brands and cultural programming with live DJ sets and dance performances.

Saddles and Soul: A Juneteenth Black Western Celebration

Saturday, June 15 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Brooklyn Museum
This special exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum celebrates the legacy of Juneteenth as a Texas holiday and shines a light on the long history of Black Western culture. The day includes line dancing, local DJ sets, photo activations, a denim customization station, art-making, and food. Guests can also take advantage of special after-hours access to “Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beats and Alicia Keys.” The Juneteenth celebration is free with museum admission.

Juneteenth Family Day at Green-Wood Cemetery

Saturday, June 15 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Celebrate Juneteenth by exploring Black history at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. Guests can embark on a self-guided tour through the scenic grounds to discover the gravesites of influential Black historical figures. Maps and biographies will be provided upon entry, and a trolley will run on a loop to help visitors easily travel between sites.

Kids can enjoy free arts activities in Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel, operated by ASNEAA, a social justice enterprise dedicated to the global mapping and narrative collection of the African Diaspora. The event is free but advanced registration is recommended.

Image courtesy of William Farrington

Schomburg Juneteenth Literary Festival

Saturday, June 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is hosting its 6th annual Literary Festival on June 15. The event offers book signings, discussions, and workshops with established and up-and-coming writers across the Black Diaspora.

This year’s lineup includes a keynote conversation with award-winning author and journalist Donovan X. Ramsey, book talks and workshops with Harlem Writers Guild’s Diane Richardson, Elizabeth Acevedo, and B Michael Jonell Joshua, and others. The festival’s beloved outdoor marketplace is also returning, featuring local vendors and organizations, and for the first time this year, the Black Zine Fair, presented by Sojourners for Social Justice Press

Juneteenth Freedom Fest NYC

Saturday, June 15 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Harlem State Office Building Plaza, 163 West 125th Street, Harlem, Manhattan

Join the Harlem community for the 4th annual Juneteenth Freedom Fest NYC. This year’s theme, “Black To The Future,” features live performances, giveaways, local vendors, and more. Founded in 2021, this free festival celebrates Black culture, history, advancement, and pride while providing a platform for Black-owned businesses, artists, speakers, and more.

Juneteenth in Seneca Village

Saturday, June 15 at 12 p.m.
Central Park
The Central Park Conservancy’s Juneteenth celebration returns to Seneca Village for its third year. Hosted at the site of the former village, once home to a prosperous Black community that was displaced by the city to make way for Central Park in the 1850s, the celebration features live music, family-friendly activities, archaeological insights, and more. Join Conservancy staffing reliving the traditions of Seneca Village residents and celebrating the sense of community fostered by the area’s three churches. This year’s celebration is curated by Artistic Director Andromeda Turre, with artwork by Daniel Fishel.

Black Restaurant Week

Sunday, June 16 through Sunday, June 30
Kicking off on Juneteenth, the annual Black Restaurant Week showcases African American, African, and Caribbean cuisine throughout the United States, including NYC, New Jersey, and the surrounding areas. This year’s event offers guests mouthwatering eats from up to 80 participating vendors, offering classic soul food, Caribbean delicacies, and everything in between. Check out a full list of participating businesses here.

Juneteenth March 5K Run, Walk, and Roll

Wednesday, June 19 at 1 p.m.
Central Park

Founded by Harlem neighbors James Felton Keith and Tiffany Rea-Fisher two weeks after the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the Juneteenth March and 5K serves as a statement against the injustices and reforms that are still central to the city’s power.

All proceeds from the march and 5K will go towards the Harlem Center, a community hub offering services from more than 30 organizations from across the five boroughs to provide support to citizens affected by racial discrimination, anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, and other forms of bigotry. You can register for the 5K here.

Juneteenth: In Our Words

Wednesday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, 161-4 Jamaica Avenue, Queens
Hosted as part of Queens Rising, the borough’s annual celebration of its unparalleled diversity, Juneteenth: In Our Words highlights African American history through music, spoken word poetry, and visual art. This year’s performers include BRIC Brooklyn Grand Slam Winner Jasmine “JRose” Rosario, Jerome Heka, Keys Will, Unique on Purpose, and Divine Wordsmith. You can RSVP here.

Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth

Wednesday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Times Square

Returning for its fourth year, Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth is a free outdoor concert that uplifts Black artistry and unity. Created by and featuring Black performers and allies, the event showcases more than 35 Broadway performers from 17 different shows, including “Aladdin,” “& Juliet,” “Back to the Future: The Musical”, “Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club,” “Chicago,” “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” “The Wiz,” and more. All performances will be accompanied by live music, supported by the Music Performance Trust Fund and the Film Funds. Additionally, the 2024 Juneteenth Legacy Award will be presented to Tony Award-winner Phylicia Rashad.

Juneteenth UNITYFEST 2024

Wednesday, June 19 from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Lena Horne Bandshell, Prospect Park

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!’s UNITYFEST returns to the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park for another year, creating a space to celebrate achievements, address challenges, and work towards lasting economic impact in African American communities. Hosted in collaboration with the Robert Randolph Foundation, this year’s festival features headliner DJ Spinna, renowned for his genre-defying music spanning hip-hop, soul, R&B, jazz, funk, and house. Joining him will be Peven Everett, Merlin Bobb, Monique Bingham, Voices of a People’s History, and other special guests. Admission is free, and you can RSVP here.

Image courtesy of Lawrence Sumulong

“Some Sing”: A Juneteenth Celebration

Wednesday, June 19 at 6 p.m.
Lincoln Center

Hosted as part of Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City festival, Some Sing celebrates the rich and diverse history of Black American music. The event features performances that blend jazz, blues, rock, country, zydeco, and more, by esteemed Black musicians. Notable performers include free jazz experimentalist Cooper-Moore, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Tamar-kali, Bronx-native soul musician Stephanie McKay, and many others. For more information, you can learn more about the event here.


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