April 2015 events calendar for New York City

Plan your month with our events calendar of the very best activities, the Tribeca Film Festival and our picks from theater, the arts and music

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Let spring sweep you up in its lovely embrace. Celebrate Easter in New York by donning your favorite hat for the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival or enjoying a meal at one of NYC's best brunch spots. There's even something for hay-fever sufferers, who can make a beeline for the cool, dark confines of theaters for the Tribeca Film Festival.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

Featured events in April 2015

Easter in New York

Easter Sunday: The day of pastels, egg rolling and rabbity propaganda doesn't seem very "cool New York" at first blush, but as with all holidays in the city, it's as entertaining as you make it. You can gawk at the Easter Parade, seek out the city's tastiest egg dishes, or use it as an excuse for some leisurely day drinking.

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By: Tazi Phillips

Cherry Blossom Season at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Critics' pick

You don’t have to take a 15-hour flight to Japan to experience the wonder of cherry-blossom trees in bloom; hop the train to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to stroll through the most majestic springtime beauty New York City has to offer. Check out the "Plants in Bloom" report on the garden’s website to plan your visit like a pro.

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden Wednesday April 1 2015 - Sunday April 26 2015

Stevie Wonder

Critics' pick

Stevie Wonder. Songs in the Key of Life. Back again at Barclays Center. Yeah, it's actually happening. Elder statesman of pop Wonder isn't usually the type to dwell on past glories, but this time he is. You've read the best-of lists, and you know the tunes. While he's extended his tour beyond the original 12 dates, Wonder certainly isn't like other artists who ride the nostalgia wave until it crashes

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Barclays Center Sunday April 12 2015 - Tuesday April 14 2015

Tribeca Film Festival

Critics' pick

The star-studded festival that helped make Tribeca cool is back! Robert De Niro's downtown fest draws roughly 400,000 film fans each year, to view more than 1,000 films, from high-profile premieres to breakout indies. The movie lineup hasn't been announced, but we know that the opener is Live from New York!, the much-anticipated Saturday Night Live documentary—with unprecedented access granted by Lorne Michaels. Visit the website for the full schedule of screenings, panels, talks and other events. Locations vary.

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Tribeca Cinemas Wednesday April 15 2015 - Sunday April 26 2015

Bacon and Beer Classic

Critics' pick

Breweries (Coney Island, Harlem Brewing) and restaurants (Bareburger, Swine) from all five boroughs come together for this patty fest, where you can sip more than 120 suds and nosh on unlimited bacon bites like chocolate-and-bacon-covered pretzels and beer pancakes with maple-sriracha syrup. Work off your gluttony with rounds of whiffle ball, inflatable bungee run and life-size Jenga on the stadium concourse, or learn home-brewing basics and butchering techniques at complementary demonstrations.

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Citi Field Saturday April 25 2015

Sufjan Stevens

Critics' pick

Having filled his last five years with collaborations, ambitious conceptual projects and even a Christmas album, folk-pop visionary Sufjan Stevens takes a more direct, singer-songwriter–oriented approach on his new LP, Carrie & Lowell.

Read more
Beacon Theatre 11 Apr 2015

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Critics' pick

Sunday best gets new meaning during this annual procession, wherein participants show off elaborately constructed hats—we’re talking noggin-toppers shaped like the NYC skyline or the Coney Island Cyclone, not just a boring old fedora. The tradition started in the mid-1800s, when high-society ladies would promenade in their Easter finery after church, and has since evolved into a showcase for chapeau artistry. Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts.

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Manhattan Sunday April 5 2015 Free

Twin Shadow

Critics' pick

Since George Lewis Jr. introduced himself to the public as north Brooklyn's one-man laptop act Twin Shadow, he's added a live band to the fray and made for some kind of indie-Prince, slick-dance-ballad endeavor—which is to say that it's awesome. There's a new full-length in the works, so be on the lookout for sparkly new jams.

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Music Hall of Williamsburg Tuesday March 31 2015 - Wednesday April 1 2015

Björk

Critics' pick

MoMA celebrates the multi-faceted career of the Icelandic alt diva with a retrospective encompassing the many mediums she’s worked in: Music of course, but also art, costume design and video, among others. The installation includes an immersive “experience” in sound and film created especially for the show.

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Until Sunday June 7 2015

Free events in April 2015

Macy's Flower Show

Critics' pick

Escape to a not-so-secret garden at this two-week floral display, this year titled "Art in Bloom." The ground level of Macy's Herald Square turns into something from Alice in Wonderland, all covered in ceiling-to-floor greenery—and then you get to the clothes! Go social.macys.com/flowershow for information on free workshops, including terrarium making and floral design.

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Macy's Herald Square Until Saturday April 4 2015 Free

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Critics' pick

Sunday best gets new meaning during this annual procession, wherein participants show off elaborately constructed hats—we’re talking noggin-toppers shaped like the NYC skyline or the Coney Island Cyclone, not just a boring old fedora. The tradition started in the mid-1800s, when high-society ladies would promenade in their Easter finery after church, and has since evolved into a showcase for chapeau artistry. Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts.

Read more
Manhattan Sunday April 5 2015 Free

Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair

Critics' pick

Nestled between tried-and-true fare like snacks and face painting are some ultracool activity stations, including Chess NYC speed tournaments and soapy wands from Gazillion Bubble Garden. Storytellers, puppeteers, and cast members from Broadway and Off Broadway shows perform on the festival’s main stage throughout the day.

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Various locations Saturday April 25 2015 Free

Freaks and Geeks Bingo

Critics' pick

Wow, Freaks and Geeks lasted for only 18 episodes. The nerdy cult classic was surely gone too soon, but it packed enough pop references (Bionic Woman costume, anyone?) and inside jokes for a weekly night of bingo.

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Videology Wednesday April 1 2015 - Wednesday April 29 2015 Free

Music events in April 2015

Björk

Critics' pick

Björk's not one for small gestures, so it makes sense that the Icelandic art-pop empress is headlining a little room called Carnegie Hall—kicking off a six-show local stint—the same day her surefire-blockbuster MoMA retrospective opens. This would all be big news under any circumstances, but considering that Björk unveiled her latest LP, Vulnicura—an emotive, arresting collaboration with vanguard producers Arca and the Haxan Cloak—back in January, each of these gigs seems destined for show-of-the-year status.

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Carnegie Hall Wednesday April 1 2015

Twin Shadow

Critics' pick

Since George Lewis Jr. introduced himself to the public as north Brooklyn's one-man laptop act Twin Shadow, he's added a live band to the fray and made for some kind of indie-Prince, slick-dance-ballad endeavor—which is to say that it's awesome. There's a new full-length in the works, so be on the lookout for sparkly new jams.

Read more
Music Hall of Williamsburg Tuesday March 31 2015 - Wednesday April 1 2015

Alvvays

Critics' pick

We're thrilled that these Toronto indie-pop upstarts, who made our hearts flutter last year with the dreamily delicious single, "Archie, Marry Me," as well as the rest of their stellar self-titled debut, are getting a taste of the big time this spring via an opening slot on the Decemberists' tour. Even better news: Alvvays is making time in its busy schedule for an LES headlining gig.

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Bowery Ballroom Thursday April 2 2015

Billy Joel

Critics' pick

Erstwhile angry young man Billy Joel—now an official Madison Square Garden franchise, like the Knicks and Rangers—is tacking on date after date in what's threatening to become an endless run. Tonight may be sold out, but you can grab tickets for...September.

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Madison Square Garden Friday April 3 2015 - Thursday December 17 2015

The Decemberists + Alvvays

Critics' pick

Portland, OR's Decemberists attract a nerdily passionate following thanks to their knowing (and, to some, pretentious) indie antiquarianism. The band hits the road again after three years, supporting its latest album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World—and we have to say, the ornate Beacon Theatre is the perfect venue for the show. Opening is the excellent Toronto indie-pop crew Alvvays, whose self-titled debut album is one of 2014's best.

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Beacon Theatre Monday April 6 2015

The Sonics + Barrence Whitfield and the Savages

Critics' pick

Garage-rock pioneers the Sonics haven't lost the gnarly bite that made their ’60s sides so much fun. Here, the Tacoma, WA, group turns up in support of a new comeback disc, This Is the Sonics, with support from veteran R&B crew Barrence Whitfield and the Savages.

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Irving Plaza Wednesday April 8 2015

Waxahatchee + Girlpool + The Goodbye Party

Critics' pick

Waxahatchee, the vulnerable indie-pop project of singer-songsmith Katie Crutchfield, turned heads (ours included) with 2013's Cerulean Salt. This year, Crutchfield's ready to do it again with her latest, Ivy Tripp. As you hear on uplifting and atmospheric first single "Air," Waxahatchee promises indie-folk gold.

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Music Hall of Williamsburg Thursday April 9 2015

OK Go

Critics' pick

The quirky Chicago alt-rock band—more famous for its music videos than for its actual music—has a new album, Hungry Ghosts, and, yes, a trippy, optical-illusion–laden video for the single “The Writing’s on the Wall.” But are people actually into the band? This big T5 gig suggests so.

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Terminal 5 Saturday April 11 2015

Sufjan Stevens

Critics' pick

Having filled his last five years with collaborations, ambitious conceptual projects and even a Christmas album, folk-pop visionary Sufjan Stevens takes a more direct, singer-songwriter–oriented approach on his new LP, Carrie & Lowell.

Read more
Beacon Theatre 11 Apr 2015

Stevie Wonder

Critics' pick

Stevie Wonder. Songs in the Key of Life. Back again at Barclays Center. Yeah, it's actually happening. Elder statesman of pop Wonder isn't usually the type to dwell on past glories, but this time he is. You've read the best-of lists, and you know the tunes. While he's extended his tour beyond the original 12 dates, Wonder certainly isn't like other artists who ride the nostalgia wave until it crashes.

Read more
Barclays Center Sunday April 12 2015 - Tuesday April 14 2015
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Arts events in April 2015

"Thomas Hart Benton's America Today Mural Rediscovered"

Critics' pick

Benton is generally known for being the crusty anti-Modernist teacher of Jackson Pollock, so it's somewhat ironic that his epic 10-panel mural, America Today, was commissioned in 1930 by New York’s New School for Social Research for the boardroom of its International Style building on West 12th Street.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Until Sunday April 19 2015

Sam Falls, "Light Over Time"

Critics' pick

A process-oriented Los Angeles artist who works in a variety of media, Sam Falls has transformed Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons into a playground for his interactive art. Exploring the passage of time through light and color, Falls displays several sculptural works that are activated by the viewer and will physically alter over time.

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Public Art Fund at MetroTech Center Commons Until Friday May 29 2015 Free

Björk

Critics' pick

MoMA celebrates the multi-faceted career of the Icelandic alt diva with a retrospective encompassing the many mediums she’s worked in: Music of course, but also art, costume design and video, among others. The installation includes an immersive “experience” in sound and film created especially for the show.

Read more
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Until Sunday June 7 2015

"On Kawara—Silence"

Critics' pick

Over the 40 year span of his career, On Kawara has been best known for his “Today” series of paintings, one created each day in a single day and bearing, simply, the date of its making. Starting in 1966, he’s maintained this daily practice even while traveling, marking the location of each place a painting was created by covering the back of the canvas with the front page of the local newspaper from the same day.

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Until Sunday May 3 2015

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra

Critics' pick

Fuerza Bruta returns in the third installment of the De La Guarda trilogy. If it's anything like the first two, you can expect a visually impressive dance-rave thrill ride that merges striking imagery with techno music and aerial showboating.

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Daryl Roth Theatre Tuesday March 31 2015 - Thursday December 31 2015

More events in April 2015

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Critics' pick

Sunday best gets new meaning during this annual procession, wherein participants show off elaborately constructed hats—we’re talking noggin-toppers shaped like the NYC skyline or the Coney Island Cyclone, not just a boring old fedora. The tradition started in the mid-1800s, when high-society ladies would promenade in their Easter finery after church, and has since evolved into a showcase for chapeau artistry. Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts.

Read more
Manhattan Sunday April 5 2015 Free

"The All-Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide"

Behold 54 intricate 18th-century paintings from China designed in the style of autumn leaves. Created for meditation practice honoring ancient Tibetan Buddhist Sarvavid Vairochana, this is their first presentation in the U.S. Head over on Friday for free entry from 6 to 10pm. Through Apr 13.

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The Rubin Museum of Art Until Monday April 13 2015

Drunk Shakespeare

An actor drinks heavily (in the vein of Comedy Central's Drunk History) and then tries to corral others into enacting a story by the Bard. Bibulous excess is encouraged.

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Roy Arias Stages Wednesday April 1 2015 - Thursday December 31 2015

Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion

Critics' pick

This exhibit investigates the elaborate backstory of trade and immigration between China and the United States starting from the late 18th century to present. "Exclusion/Inclusion" delves into Chinese-American history from all over the country and will include less-publicized narratives like the Exclusion Act of 1882, which blocked many Chinese people from entering the U.S. for many years.

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The New-York Historical Society Tuesday March 31 2015 - Sunday April 19 2015

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