101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

Warm weather is back, along with your will to go outdoors and explore NYC. Lucky for you, we've rounded up the best things to do in the spring.

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  • Photograph: Ronnie Ginnever

    101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    11. Shake what your Mama gave you at the New York Dance Parade

  • Photograph: Richard Burrowes

    101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    12. Attend NYC's biggest gay party during Black Party Weekend

  • Photograph: Michael J. Lutch

    101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    13. See a spankin’ new Broadway show

    Pictured: Pippin

  • 101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    14. Stretch out in Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Photograph: Graham Carlow

    101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    15. Welcome Frieze New York back to Randalls Island

  • Photograph: Kelvin Chen

    101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    16. Gorge for a cause at Crawfish for Cancer

  • Photograph: Jonathan Reilly

    101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    17. Ham it up at the Thrilling Adventure Hour

  • Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

    101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    18. Spend a Saturday at Hester Street Fair

  • 101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    19. Act in March to guarantee a May spent at Red Bull Music Academy’s series

    Pictured: Culture Clash in London

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

    20. Go to a saucy spring gala

    Pictured: Coney Island USA Presents Spring Gala 2013: The Burlesque Manifesto

Photograph: Ronnie Ginnever

101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013

11. Shake what your Mama gave you at the New York Dance Parade

11

Shake what your Mama gave you at the New York Dance Parade

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Shake your booty while learning about the cultural history of dance at this march, now in its seventh year. With a chronologically ordered showcase of performances, you’ll be able to trace the evolution of the art form, with references to African dance, medieval Irish step, clogging, samba, ballet, ballroom, swing, hustle, salsa and just about every other way of boogying down. And if you’re not actively getting down, be warned: The New York Dance Police, the parade’s uniformed brigade, may ticket you with coupons to local dance studios. Check out the postparade DanceFest in Tompkins Square Park, where performances will be going on until 7pm.

12

Attend NYC's biggest gay party during Black Party Weekend

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The Black Party, that reliably raunchy annual celebration of the arrival of spring, turns 34 this year—and oh, how it’s blossomed, from its humble beginnings in the East Village to a sprawling three-day celebration of all things naughty. In addition to the main event, Rites XXXIV: The Black Party—a massive dance/performance/kink party lasting more than 12 hours and drawing some 5,000 revelers—the weekend now includes the International Escort Awards, a.k.a. the Hookies, and an Expo and Dirty Carnival, featuring demonstrations, vendors, performances and porn-star appearances. This year’s theme is Luna Park, and highlights include a set by alt-disco diva Billie Ray Martin and a fashion show of male corsets made specifically for the occasion. Plenty of satellite events, including after parties, pre-parties and art shows will be announced as the big weekend approaches.

  1. Roseland Ballroom 239 W 52nd St, between Broadway and Eighth Ave
  2. Fri Mar 22 - Sat Mar 23
More info
13

See a spankin’ new Broadway show

  • Critics choice

Each spring, new shows pop up all over Broadway. March kicks off with Kinky Boots, an adaptation of the 2005 British drag-queen-footwear film, with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper (opens Mar 3); a stage adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring Game of Thrones’ Mother of Dragons, Emilia Clarke, as Holly Golightly (opens Mar 4); and Matilda, a musicalization of Roald Dahl’s beloved kids’ novel, scored by Australian singer-comedian Tim Minchin, that’s been killing in London (opens Mar 4). Diane Paulus’s revival of Pippin, pictured, (opens Mar 23) and an already dramatically fraught production of Orphans, starring Alec Baldwin (opens Mar 19), round out the month. In April, stay tuned for Alan Cumming in a (mostly) one-man Macbeth (opens Apr 7). Check out more hot openings with our Broadway star map.

14

Stretch out in Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Instead of holding downward-facing dog mere inches from your neighbor’s rear at an overcrowded studio, bring a mat and stretch out in the fresh air at this outdoor oasis. The open-air sculpture museum offers free yoga (Sat 9:30–10:30am, 11am–noon; Sun 10–11am) and tai chi (Sun 11am–noon) classes beginning in May. And for those who aren’t content with appreciating the water views from the shore, gratis kayaking is available on weekends beginning in mid-May. The formerly abandoned riverside landfill also hosts performances and special events; on May 12 check out the opening of the “do it (outside)” exhibition (2–6pm; through July 7), for which 50 international artists (including Ai Weiwei and Joan Jonas) provided instructions for other creatives to interpret. See the resulting works and performances, and follow the guidelines the artists left for the exhibit’s viewers.

  1. 32-01 Vernon Blvd, (at Broadway)
More info
15

Welcome Frieze New York back to Randalls Island

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Last year’s debut of the London superfair’s New York edition was a splashy affair that stole much of the Armory Show’s thunder. It’s setting up on Randall’s Island again in a twisting, winding tent along the waterfront and making use of the sylvan location with commissioned outdoor projects. This year’s fair includes a tribute to the legendary artist-run restaurant, Food, which in early-’70s Soho provided sustenance to the neighborhood’s loft-dwelling creative class–back when the term actually referred to making art.

  1. Randalls Island Park Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, at Randalls Island
  2. Mon May 13
More info
16

Gorge for a cause

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Crawfish season typically runs March through June, so make sure to catch a Louisiana-style boil of these succulent, tender little crustaceans before spring passes you by. We recommend the annual Crawfish for Cancer feast at alfresco spot Boat Basin Café, which benefits the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Your tickets affords you unlimited pours of boiling pots of crawfish, sausage, corn and potatoes, plus gratis beer, wine and cocktails (mint juleps, sweet-tea vodka). Your overindulgence is set to a live soundtrack, including a cover band to play you through the final two hours.

  1. 79th Street Boat Basin Café 79th St, at the Hudson River, 10024
  2. Sat May 11
More info
17

Ham it up at the Thrilling Adventure Hour

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This Los Angeles–based series, which asks well-known comic actors to read new scripts written in the style of old-timey radio dramas live onstage, brings a playfully anachronistic experience to modern eyes and ears. TAH’s musical numbers, Foley effects, and campy, quip-laden stories involving martians, hobos and robots are perfect for mannered players, including New York cast members Paul F. Tompkins and John Hodgman. This show should sell out quickly; nab tickets now.

  1. The Bell House 149 7th St, between Second and Third Aves
  2. Sat May 11
More info
18
101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013: Spend a Saturday at Hester Street Fair

Spend a Saturday at Hester Street Fair

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This LES favorite boasts food vendors and 50-plus sellers. Check out ethereal necklaces ($30) and fashion-forward womenswear ($150–$400) from Visantine (visantinecollective.com); colorful, Indian-inspired scarves ($45–$60) from Uurmi (uurmicollection.com); and affordable vintage duds ($20–$150), with a focus on pieces from the 1970s through the ’90s, courtesy of Summer Mizera. hesterstreetfair.com

  1. Hester St at Essex St
  2. Sat 10am–6pm; May through October
19
101 things to do in the spring in New York City 2013: Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash in London

Act in March to guarantee a May spent at Red Bull Music Academy’s series

  • Critics choice

Cramming more than 230 acts into 34 shows over five weeks, this festival of DJs, musicians and artists has enough to satisfy those who fail to plan, but we implore you to be ready  when tickets go on sale on March 4 at 10am. At the top of our wish list is a celebration of 12 years of DFA Records at Grand Prospect Hall (May 25; $TBA). Label founder and LED Soundsystem frontman James Murphy headlines the nine-hour extravaganza of live acts and DJs from DFA’s past, present and future. Then the Culture Clash at Roseland Ballroom (May 9; $TBA) riffs off reggae’s sound-system clash format, pitting Federation Sound’s Max Glazer, Fool’s Gold’s Nick Catchdubs and A-Trak, Young Guru and Just Blaze, and Que Bajo?! against one other in a battle to win the crowd’s favor with exclusive, one-night-only tracks. And believe us when we say that’s only the beginning; the full lineup will be revealed when tickets are released. It bears repeating: Credit cards at the ready on March 4 at 10am. Visit redbullmusicacademy.com for details.

  1. Various venues
  2. Apr - May
20

Go to a saucy spring gala

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

More than any other single entity you can name, Coney Island USA is responsible for the burlesque and sideshow renaissance, and while the not-for-profit organization is still working hard to promote that scene, but it’s also digging its way out of the mess left by Sandy. This year’s fund-raising extravaganza—featuring a theatrical performance based on founder Dick Zigun’s 1982 tract, The Burlesque Manifesto—brings together more than 50 glittering performers to aid in that effort.

  1. Webster Hall 125 E 11th St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Sat Mar 9
More info

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