101 things to do in New York City in the spring

The weather's fine---get outside and do something.

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  • Photograph: courtesy of www.flickr.com/summeronthehudson

    101spring401danceparty

    31. Party by the river---for free---at Riverside Park South

  • Photograph: Catherine L. Yrisarri

    101spring402bluehill

    32. Eat farm-fresh produce at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

  • Photograph: courtesy of www.flickr.com/sugarpond

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    33. Ride off into the sunset on horseback. Pictured: Kensington Stables

  • 101spring404fleetweek

    34. Dock at Fleet Week

  • Photograph: courtesy of www.flickr.com/graydonwintour

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    35. Green out at Habana Outpost

  • Photograph: courtesy of the New York Hall of Science

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    36. Perfect your putting. Pictured: New York Hall of Science's Rocket Park

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    37. Ramble through Flushing Meadows--Corona Park. Pictured: the Unisphere

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    38. Visit Madagascar in the Bronx

  • Photograph: www.flickr.com/Gary Soup

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    39. Chow down at Red Hook ball fields

  • Photograph: courtesy of www.flickr.com/_PaulS_

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    40. Hunt for a bargain. Pictured: Hell's Kitchen Flea Market

Photograph: courtesy of www.flickr.com/summeronthehudson

101spring401danceparty

31. Party by the river---for free---at Riverside Park South

31. Party by the river—for free
The outdoor Pier I Cafe opens on May 1, offering views of the Hudson from Riverside Park South and free events sponsored by the Parks Department, including the GlobeSonic Sound System Dance Party. The setup is nothing fancy—a few dozen tables shaded by umbrellas—but the river views make the $10 Pat LaFrieda burgers and $5 beers that much better. Park entrance 68th St at Riverside Blvd; see nycgovparks.org for a full schedule.

32. Eat farm-fresh produce at Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Just a 40-to-50-minute train ride from the city is the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture (630 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills, NY; 914-366-6200, stonebarnscenter.org). Take the "Insider's Tour" of the 80-acre farm to get an in-depth view of the livestock and produce (Fri, Sat 11am--12:30pm; $15), or talk to a grower during the monthly "Meet the Farmer" discussions (next event Mar 19 2--3:30pm; $15). In the monthly Farm to Table program, you can even get your hands dirty harvesting vegetables and collecting eggs, and then learn how to turn them into a home-cooked snack (next event Mar 20 11am--1pm, 2--4pm; $20). If mud isn't your thing, make a beeline for the low-key Blue Hill Caf, or splurge on dinner at Dan Barber's exquisite Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant (914-366-9600; bluehillfarm.com). The locavore eatery features the best of the farm in seasonal preparations: The asparagus you saw on the tour will likely end up on your plate—same with the pig.

33. Ride off into the sunset on horseback
Trade in your MetroCard for a saddle and reins; two Brooklyn stables offer well-priced options for beginners and seasoned equestrians. Kensington Stables (51 Caton Pl at E 8th St, Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn; 718-972-4588, kensingtonstables.com. Group ride: one hour $37; private ride: one hour $57) is great for beginners who want to walk or trot, offering trail rides through Prospect Park, where horses largely keep the same steady pace. For a chance to ride completely off-road, head to Jamaica Bay Riding Academy (7000 Shore Pkwy, Mill Basin, Brooklyn; 718-531-8949, horsebackride.com. Group ride: 40 minutes $37; private ride: 50 minutes $53), located in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. It offers 450 acres of wooded trails and 3.5 miles of beachfront riding—you'll soon forget you're in the city.

34. Dock at Fleet Week
Hello, sailors! The ladies will be swooning when mariners roll into town to spotlight the work done by U.S. Naval officers, Coast Guard enlistees and other members of the armed forces. Honor them with a week of nautically themed events, including a tug-of-war competition, band performances and a special Memorial Day celebration, or board a naval vessel for a behind-the-scenes tour. For a full schedule, go to intrepidmuseum.org. Pier 86, W 46th St at the Hudson River (877-957-7447). May 25--June 1.

35. Green out at Habana Outpost
The Fort Greene eco-eatery opens for the season with an all-ages fete: Learn about composting and recycling and shop for eco-friendly products, while brunching on sustainable fare, at April 16's Earth Day Expo. Dig into homestyle Latin eats like huevos rancheros ($6) or a breakfast burrito with eggs, bacon, tomato, avocado, lettuce and chipotle mayo ($8). Throughout the season, check out the weekend Outpost Market, where DJs provide a shopping soundtrack while you ferret out goods by local designers and artists. 757 Fulton St at South Portland Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-858-9500, habanaoutpost.com). Daily noon--midnight.

36. Perfect your putting
The two leafy 18-hole courses at Randalls Island Golf Center (1 Randalls Island; 212-427-5689, randallsislandgolfcenter.com; first 18 holes $7, replay $4) offer ample opportunities to perfect your minigolf technique. If you've got time (or patience) for only one round, choose the links with the waterfall. Hidden away beneath a long, cavelike archway, you'll find hole nine, where a dark approach provides a straight shot to the cup—the perfect chance to sink that elusive hole in one. For a more unusual round of minigolf, try the New York Hall of Science's Rocket Park (47-01 111th St between 46th and 47th Aves, Corona, Queens; 718-699-0005, nyscience.org; $6 plus general museum admission [$11], children $5 plus general museum admission [$8])—a sculpture garden filled with rockets from the Cold War era. The nine-hole course is designed to illustrate how the laws of motion are experienced on a journey through space—hit your ball through the "Launch Window" at the wrong moment and it will collide with revolving celestial matter.

37. Ramble through Flushing Meadows--Corona Park
The sprawling green space in Queens features many photoworthy destinations. For a hit of natural beauty, check out the 39 acres of botanical gardens (43-50 Main St between Dahlia and Elder Aves, Flushing, Queens; 718-886-3800, queensbotanical.org), with areas dedicated to herbs, roses, fragrant plants and bees, and don't miss the views of the New York State Pavilion and the Unisphere, built for the 1964 World's Fair. Also worth a gander is the skate park (enter at Passerelle Pedestrian Overpass near the Mets--Willets Pt subway station; 718-760-6565, nycgovparks.org), in which obstacles are modeled on famous New York skating spots, like the nine-stair rail from the Brooklyn Bridge Banks and the handicap rail from Union Square. To build the course, designers California Skate Parks consulted with NYC skaters, including Rodney Torres, the skating "mayor" of Flushing, Queens.

38. Visit Madagascar in the Bronx
Explore the Bronx Zoo's permanent exhibit dedicated to the African nation, the fourth largest island in the world. The indigenous creatures on display include lemurs, mongooses, a pair of Nile crocodiles, geckos and a tree boa constrictor. Weirdest of all is the colony of hissing cockroaches, each one able capable of reaching 90 decibels in volume (that's the same as a hairdryer). 2300 Southern Blvd at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-220-5100, bronxzoo.org). $15, seniors $13, children 3--12 $11, children under 3 free. Wednesdays pay what you wish.

39. Chow down at Red Hook ball fields
Bypass IKEA's meatballs and head for the locally renowned Latin-food vendors that set up shop on the Red Hook ball fields from late April through the fall (Red Hook Recreational Area, Clinton St at Bay St, Red Hook, Brooklyn; redhookfoodvendors.com). Sample excellent Salvadoran pupusas, ceviche and other South American delicacies, and watch some serious teams play soccer. On the weekends, extend your culinary adventures down Van Brunt street to Stumptown Brew Bar for an artisanal caffeine kick (219 Van Brunt St at Commerce St, Red Hook, Brooklyn; no phone, stumptowncoffee.com. Sat, Sun 10am--5pm).

40. Hunt for a bargain
Warmer weather equals outdoor markets; take on Hell's Kitchen Flea Market's shopping trifecta on this market crawl. Get up early to make a first pass at the secondhand wares at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market (39th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-243-5343, hellskitchenfleamarket.com; Sat, Sun 9am--6pm) before hopping on the $1 Annex Market shuttle to the Antiques Garage (112 W 25th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-243-5343; Sat, Sun 9am--5pm) to add a certain je ne sais quoi to your pad with vintage prints. Finish your shopping odyssey getting dusty fingers: Search for killer vinyl at the West 25th Street Market (W 25th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 212-243-5343; Sat, Sun 9am--6pm). For more digging options, and where to eat afterward, peruse the best markets in NYC.

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11 comments
Heidi
Heidi

This really helped me a lot

SBU Philosophy & Art Conference and Exhibition
SBU Philosophy & Art Conference and Exhibition

The 5th Annual Stony Brook University Philosophy and Art Conference & Art Exhibition taking place in Manhattan at the AC Institute in Chelsea on March 30-31. The Masters program in Philosophy and the Arts at Stony Brook University in Manhattan focuses on intersections of art and philosophy. In an effort to encourage dialogue across disciplines, we offer this conference and concurrent month-long exhibition as an interdisciplinary event and will present participants working in a variety of fields and media to respond to this year's topic: Still Life? Dr. David Wood, Keynote Speaker Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University Artist Speaker Reynold Reynolds, Berlin-based experimental filmmaker March 30-31, 2012 The conference is free and open to the public!

maweejik
maweejik

This is an awesome list! New York is one of my most favourite cities. Like Paris or London, I can spend all day wandering the museums. I'm trying to get my site off the ground here, as I think this is a community that would really appreciate it. It's a labour of love on my part, so I'm hoping for good things. The goal is to be able to meet up with others to go and do some of this cool stuff, when you are new or just looking to meet other people. Check it out, it's www.maweejik.com, and just started this week. If you think it's a cool idea, share with your friends, so I'll have a million people to do stuff with next time I'm in town :)

TONY
TONY

Glad you like, Codina --- we'll post 101 things to do in the summer in early June. Stay tuned!

codina
codina

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! ive been looking for a guide like this for awhile, im new to the city and want to explore so this is great!!! will there be some strictly summer stuff too?

Anonymous
Anonymous

#80, Beer For Beasts, was on MARCH 26, NOT May 26...

Amy
Amy

re: #5, are the Staten Island Yankees having a home-opener this year?

Anonymous
Anonymous

1 out 101 done. Yes! haha. See ya'll at the others.

Ace5O
Ace5O

I'm going to try to do as many of the 101 as possible, and I will be chronicling my experiences on my blog. I'm putting down the controller for awhile, leaving my man cave and hitting the streets of NYC. Check it out, and if you've done any of these things already, I'd def be down for some insider's tips. Thanks for all the suggestions TimeOut NYC!