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: Lindsay Taylor

    101spring501bcgarden

    41. Explore a secret garden in the East Village

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    101spring502dostoros

    42. Pig out on Cinco de Mayo. Pictured: Cal-Mex burrito at Dos Toros

  • Photograph: Lindsay Taylor

    101spring503pylos

    43. Celebrate Greek Easter, even if you're not Greek. Pictured: Pylos

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    101spring504fryingpan

    44. Soak up suds and sun at the Frying Pan

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

    101spring505greenthumb

    45. Nurture your green thumb

  • 101spring506fitness

    46. Shed some winter padding---make the city your gym!

  • Photograph: Arthur Fink

    101spring507danceparade

    47. Budge your bulk during the New York City Dance Parade

  • Photograph: Dez Santana

    101spring508ninthavefoodfest

    48. Trek your taste buds through Ninth Avenue International Food Festival

  • Photograph: courtesy of New Directors

    101spring509newdirectors

    49. Meet the next Spielberg at the New Directors/New Films festival. Pictured: 2010 Q&A with I Killed My Mother director Xavier Dolan

  • Photograph: Tanya Codispodi

    101spring510tribecafilmfest

    50. Munch popcorn at Tribeca Film Festival

Photograph: Lindsay Taylor

101spring501bcgarden

41. Explore a secret garden in the East Village

41. Explore a secret garden in the East Village
The threat of development loomed briefly over New York's community gardens last September, when the agreement that protected them expired. They're now safe under a new set of rules, at least until the city administration changes, so move fast before they pave over urban paradise. The East Village in particular is filled with green spaces: Picnic among spring's first crocuses in 6th BC Botanical Garden (E 6th St between Aves B and C; 6bc.org), or check out an art exhibition at Le Petit Versailles (346 E Houston St between Aves B and C; alliedproductions.org/le-petit-versailles). Locate more community gardens via the East Village Park Conservancy's green-space map at evpcnyc.org.

42. Pig out on Cinco de Mayo
If Mexican troops hadn't triumphed over their French invaders, we might all be eating onion soup on what would be called Le Cinq de Mai. Doesn't really sound as fun as a thick Cal-Mex burrito ($7.35) from Dos Toros (137 Fourth Ave between 13th and 14th Sts; 212-677-7300, dostoros.com) or affordable barrio bites from Mesa Coyoacn (372 Graham Ave between Conselyea St and Skillman Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-782-8171, mesacoyoacan.com)—both recipients of TONY Food & Drink Awards last year. Consult our list of ten great Mexican restaurants for further margarita guzzling options.

43. Celebrate Greek Easter, even if you're not Greek
The moment you stopped believing in the candy-bearing bunny, it became clear: Easter is kind of lame. But Greek Easter is a literal feast. At Pylos (128 E 7th St between First Ave and Ave A; 212-473-0220, pylosrestaurant.com), the Easter midnight menu includes magiritsa (traditional Easter soup), rack of lamb with porcino mushrooms, and pears poached in red wine (Apr 23 midnight; $TBA). If you're not carcass-shy, reserve a spot at upscale Estiatorio Milos (125 W 55th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-245-7400, milos.ca), where they'll be roasting lambs right on the sidewalk, and offering a three-course tasting menu that includes a traditional Easter spread ($97). Those who want the real deal should reserve for midnight on April 23, but the party continues during dinner on April 24 (Easter Sunday).

44. Soak up suds and sun at the Frying Pan
This "lightship"—a floating lighthouse once used by the Coast Guard—sank and spent three years underwater before she was salvaged and converted into a floating bar. Now docked near Chelsea Piers, this nautical beer garden attracts formidable weeknight and weekend throngs of would-be revelers. Starting in April (on days the weather is forecast to reach 70 degrees or higher) and officially after May 1, you can drink on deck—that is, if you can find room on the beer-soaked boat, jetty or the prime real estate: the jetty roof. If you're fortunate enough to nab a seat, order a burger. Pier 66A, West Side Hwy at 26th St (212-989-6363, fryingpan.com)

45. Nurture your green thumb
On April 16, join 5,000 expected volunteers taking part in Hands on New York Day. Now in its 17th year, the New York Cares fund-raising event will assign each participant to a city garden or park, to prepare flower beds, mulch and clear winter debris. Register online at handsonnewyorkday.org. Want to keep gardening throughout the year? Find your nearest community garden or attend a free Green Thumb workshop (greenthumbnyc.org): The spring program includes a seed giveaway (Mar 16; free), pointers on growing fruit trees and berry bushes (Apr 9; free), and tips on attracting butterflies to your garden (May 14; free).

46. Shed some winter padding
No, we aren't suggesting you clean out your wardrobe. The time has come to lose those five (or is it ten?) pounds you picked up while in hibernation. The good news is you don't have to be a gym rat to get fit—now that the weather is temperate, you have multiple outdoor activities to choose from, many of them free. Get some fresh air on one of our three after-work runs designed by triathlete Christopher Bergland; en route use everyday objects like benches and crosswalk signs to make the city your gym. Keep your workout interesting and varied by exercising on the water and trying these cycling routes, and your body will be beach-ready come summer.

47. Budge your bulk during the New York City Dance Parade
This annual parade aims to celebrate and showcase dance in all its forms, from the waltz and salsa to ballet and belly dancing. All in all, you'll see 70 different styles performed by close to 10,000 dancers; file away a few new moves to bust out later in Tompkins Square Park, where the parade ends with the DanceFest party. Parade begins on Broadway at 21st St (danceparade.org). May 21 1--7pm; free.

48. Trek your taste buds through Ninth Avenue International Food Festival
This two-day street fair, now in its 38th year, gives you a chance to try ethnic foods from around the world, as well as shop for crafts, clothes and jewelry. In addition to Spanish, Greek and Polish snacks, check out carts from local Ninth Avenue restos like Little Pie Company (424 W 43rd St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-736-4780, littlepiecompany.com), Delta Grill (700 Ninth Ave at 48th St; 212-956-0934, thedeltagrill.com) and Empire Coffee & Tea (568 Ninth Ave between 41st and 42nd Sts; 800-262-5908). Ninth Ave between 37th to 57th Sts (ninthavenuefoodfestival.com). May 14, 15; free.

49. Meet the next Spielberg
Want to see tomorrow's Spielbergs and Almodvars today? Both were once unknown filmmakers whose work appeared in the New Directors/New Films festival, a joint effort of the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Scope out up-and-coming talent from around the globe at the 40th anniversary of the festival this year, with many of the flicks introduced by the filmmakers themselves. MoMA, 11 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves * The Film Society of Lincoln Center, 165 W 65th St between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave (newdirectors.org). Mar 23--Apr 3, tickets on sale Mar 13.

50. Munch popcorn at Tribeca Film Festival
Sure, the venues are scattered and the selections erratic, but the broad mix of movies at Robert De Niro's growing Tribeca Film Festival really does translate into something for everyone. Where else are you going to see big Hollywood blockbusters (Mission: Impossible III and Shrek Forever After premiered here) alongside local indie gems, foreign films and music-related documentaries? Various locations, see tribecafilm.com for details. Apr 20--May 1.

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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!