Juneteenth is short for June 19th, which commemorates the historic moment in 1865 when federal soldiers reached Galveston, Texas, assumed authority over the state, and guaranteed the liberation of all individuals held in bondage. This event occurred two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. Juneteenth serves as a tribute to the abolition of slavery in the United States and holds the distinction of being the African American holiday with the longest legacy. It gained official recognition as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021.
Manny Cantor Center Fitness will run on a holiday schedule of 9am to 3pm on Monday, June 19th, 2023. All other programs will be closed that day.
Juneteenth Events in NYC
As a resource hub for the NYC community, we’re happy to share with you a plethora of exciting events to attend in NYC this year for Juneteenth.
1. The 14th Annual Juneteenth NY Festival
Each year, thousands of people attend the Juneteenth NY Festival in Brooklyn. Stop by for a full day of music, dance, poetry, skits, history, vendors, and families. This year, the festival will be held from June 16-18.
2. The Black Women in Comedy Laff Fest
The Black Women in Comedy Laff Fest was created to fight the misrepresentation of black women in the comedy industry after “decades of being left out, unseen, and overlooked.” Today, the talented and hilarious lineup of women will be performing over the course of five days as part of Juneteenth celebrations this summer in NYC. Check out the dates and performers to catch a show!
3. Juneteenth Family Day at Green-Wood
Enjoy the outdoors and a trolley ride while you and your family learn more about Black history at Green-Wood Cemetery. This is a free event taking place on Saturday, June 17, and includes family-friendly tours and art activities inspired by the Black lives that are forever memorialized at Green-Wood.
4. Juneteenth at Seneca Village
Another family-friendly event, Seneca Village will be hosting an event on Saturday, June 17, at 10 am to celebrate Black dance, music, art-making, comedy, and self-care. Seneca Village’s community is predominantly African-American, and it existed before the creation of Central Park — long before we all celebrated Juneteenth.
5. Enjoy Free Activities with NYC Parks
NYC Parks and its partners are celebrating Juneteenth this year with concerts, workshops, Urban Park Ranger tours, and other celebrations at parks across New York City.
Some of the many events include:
Saturday, June 17, 2023 | 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
The Civics Fair will include booths with activities from local organizations including NAACP, South Queens Womens’ March, and Abuela Neighborhood Maintenance. Kids will love the crafts sessions, where they can write with quill and ink, and adolescents and young adults can get creative and make activist signs for causes that speak most to them.
Saturday, June 17, 2023 | 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Chef it up in the Phoenix Community Garden! During this workshop, you’ll get learn more about the legacy of Juneteenth, the self-liberation efforts throughout the African diaspora, and the crops that sustained Black peoples throughout the Southern U.S. and Caribbean. As you prepare and share a meal together, you’ll reflect on the legacies and continued strides Black people have made through self–determination and preservation of foodways.
Saturday, June 17, 2023 | 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Get your groove on at this special Juneteenth concert at South Oxford Park in Brooklyn. It’s got an impressive lineup of talented musicians:
“Born in Philadelphia, but a longtime Brooklyn resident, Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax studied at Berklee College of Music and went on to work with many musical greats, including Kevin Eubanks, Eartha Kitt, Illinois Jacquet, Savion Glover, and a 14-year run with the legendary Little Jimmy Scott.
A native of Baltimore, drummer George Gray is held in high esteem for his time and versatility. Soon after earning a degree in music education at Morgan State University, he was offered the drum chair in Pockets, a major funk group produced by Verdine and Maurice White from Earth, Wind & Fire.”
Reflect on Juneteenth 2023
No matter how you decide to fill your calendar this year, the importance of Juneteenth is its reminder to reflect on Black American history, the many cultural contributions of Black Americans, and how we can help push for meaningful policy changes.