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Five Places Where I Dress to Sweat in NYC

Curating excellent content is hard work.

But, it’s convenient.

It’s convenient because you conduct your discovery and your assessments from the comfort of your home, on your own time (in other words, at any time), while you’re doing other things, and mostly without costs of admission.

The extent of your bookmarking, skimming, and researching is limited only by the awesome power of drowsiness, or more bookmarking.

In contrast, curating experiences is inconvenient.

Finding artists and venues who, together, reliably deliver both music and atmosphere for shameless dancing requires a different form of effort and coordination: putting clothes on, leaving the house, travelling, waiting for a specific day of the week and time of day, attending, and other actions demanding more than just your fingertips.

After nine years of rhythmic trial and error, I will share my favorite places to dance in the city of New York.

Soul Summit

All ages, day and night, Soul Summit began as a monthly summer party in Forte Green park. It’s my musical equivalent of chicken soup for the soul.

Equal parts sweat and house music, some barbecue and nutcrackers, Soul Summit is a working antithesis of what has emerged as EDM.

Clip to the tune of Robert Owens ‘I’ll be your friend.’

  • You might not like: How crowded and sweaty it – and you – will get.

  • Frequency: A few weekends from June to September

  • Location: Various venues throughout Brooklyn

  • Price: Free (if in the park) to $30 (if held elsewhere)

Home by Rich Medina

First, Rich produces great father-son car ride dance videos. Second, Rich’s time spent ‘digging in the crates’ is evidenced by how often I hear a track that I love, have never heard before, and cannot Shazam to find the title.

This event happens twice per month: once in Philadelphia, once in Brooklyn. While Rich is well-versed in hip-hop, this event is a blend of disco and soul, punctuated with latin, house, and afro house. Like other events listed here, there’s no standing around just looking at each other.

Clip to the tune of Eddie Palmieri’s ‘Azucar.’

  • You might not like: The bathrooms at the venue.

  • Frequency: Monthly

  • Location: C’mon Everybody in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

  • Price: $7

Mister Sunday

Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin are the pair behind the weekly Mister Sunday party held throughout the Summer. Guest DJs like Soul Summit and Theo Parrish, alongside Justin and Eamon, spin house, deep house, techno, and danceable electronica at the outdoor venue.

The flailing of the limbs takes place on a squishy dance floor surrounded by picnic tables, food vendors, draft beer dispensaries, and people who are more adorned than not. Most important, the dance floor is preserved as an active space, as it’s policed by guards who swiftly remove anyone who opens a cellphone to record for the future instead of dancing for the present.

Clip to the tune of Todd Terry’s ‘Razen theme.’

  • You might not like: How quickly it sells out, and the subsequent wait in line for people without tickets.

  • Frequency: Weekly

  • Location: Elsewhere in Bushwick, Brooklyn

  • Price: $10 - $20

Soul in the Horn

Together, Natasha Diggs as resident DJ and DProsper as talent scout, create Soul in the Horn’s weekly magic, a night of hip-hop, house, or disco wrapped around two or three live music performances from up-and-coming talent. Natasha opens and closes the night alongside a guest DJ, like Bobbito Garcia, DProsper, and others, while everything from live jazz to soul to reggae performances that grab the crowd’s attention and pull couples close for the middle of the evening.

Soul in the Horn can feel a bit like high intensity interval training in reverse, with short, dancey DJ sprints alternating with long, soulful stretches of drums and brass.

Clip to the tune of a live band.

  • You might not like: Needing to bring a member of the opposite sex, if you’re a male, for admission.

  • Frequency: Weekly

  • Location: Chelsea Music Hall in Chelsea, Manhattan

  • Price: Free (but men typically need to be accompanied by a woman for entrance)

Funkbox NYC

Started by Tony Touch and Voodoo Ray, Funkbox NYC accurately describes itself a ‘dancer haven.’ No talking, all dancing.

And maybe a few too many cyphers.

This is where you go to dance relentlessly to house and afro house music on a Sunday night. You will find yourself among the most talented, enthusiastic, and diverse group of dancers on a single dancefloor in New York City. It attracts choreographers, and professional dancers from all domains of dance: hip hop, breakdancing, house, ballet, tap, and so forth.

For a solid introduction, I highly recommend attending when Jihad Mohammad or EJoe Wilson are spinning.

Clip to the tune of Kevin Hedge’s ‘My Beat (Spaced Out Beat; David Harness Remix)

  • You might not like: The perceived skill level and community among dancers, which can feel unwelcoming or intimidating.

  • Frequency: Weekly

  • Location: Chelsea Music Hall in Chelsea, Manhattan

  • Price: Free before midnight, $20 after

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