101 things to do in the spring in New York City

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.

Photograph: Paul Hardwick

Is that a balmy breeze we feel? A blossom we see on that tree? If you’re looking for things to do in the spring, check out our packed list of events and happenings to thaw you out, whether you want to attend the season's best festivals like Sakura Matsuri, browse the wares at Hester Street Fair or find an outdoor volleyball court to spike a ball in honor of Top Gun Day. We hope our list of things to do in the spring keeps you busy from March onward, whether you find yourself in the throes of April showers or May flowers.

RECOMMENDED: Spring in New York guide

Chow down at Smorgasburg

Critics' pick

The venerable epicurean extravaganza returns the weekend of April 6, spending Saturdays in Williamsburg's East River State Park (enter at North 7th Street) and Sundays in Brooklyn Bridge Park at the walled-in, open-air Tobacco Warehouse through the summer. The 2013 iteration features returning vendors such as comfort-food maestro Buttermilk Channel, offering its beloved fried chicken and cheddar waffles. Welcome newbies like Vermont’s Rockville Market Farm, peddling breakfast gorditas ($5) with farm-made sausage, eggs, butternut-squash hot sauce and Shelburne Farms cheddar wrapped in a double tortilla; they’ll also be hawking farm-fresh eggs by the carton ($5 for a dozen). Last year saw the debut of Smorgasbar, an all-weather outdoor bar within the market, and though the beercentric watering hole won’t open until May or June, expect an expansion of offerings from breweries beyond Kings County. Visit smorgasburg.com for more information.

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Various venues Sat Apr 6 - Sun Nov 24 Free

Picnic in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5

Critics' pick

This new five-acre development opened in December, and we’re predicting that its Picnic Peninsula will be one of this season’s hottest hangs, with its views of lower Manhattan, reclaimed-wood tables and 22 barbecue grills (no permit required). It also boasts two tetherball poles at its northern end—a backyard pastime that’s overdue for a kickball- or cornhole-like resurgence. The quay’s other draws include fishing stations and three 200,000-square-foot synthetic-turf fields suitable for soccer, lacrosse, cricket, rugby, Ultimate Frisbee and more. Spring permits for the sports grounds are all taken, so join a group such as BBP’s soccer league (Wed 7–11pm; Wed 6–May 29; $130) if you want to get cleats on the green. You can apply now for a summer permit (June–Aug; $25) at https://nyceventpermits.nyc.gov/bbp; fall permits (Sept–Nov; $25) will be available starting May 1.

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Dumbo Free

Mingle with mixologists at the The Manhattan Cocktail Classic

Critics' pick

For serious connoisseurs, this annual festival is an opportunity to pay homage to Manhattan’s preeminent cocktail culture—and revel in five days of merry, mixology-fueled debauchery. The close to a hundred events range from scholarly lectures and conferences to parties and bar crawls that don’t lend themselves to retention of information. The crown jewel of the fest is the opening-night gala, held at the grand New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Though details for the ball are still under lock and key, in 2012 it featured mountains of oysters, ’20s-style burlesque dancers and more than 30,000 hand-stirred cocktails. Tickets sold out in just a few hours last year; be at the ready when they go on sale March 15 at noon. Visit manhattancocktailclassic.com for more information.

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Various locations 13 May 2014

See rock-star fashion at the Met’s “PUNK: Chaos to Couture”

Critics' pick

For its much-anticipated annual exhibit, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute examines the place where sneering, spitting rebellion meets high fashion. Around 100 spiky, shredded, safety-pinned designs will be on display, including artifacts from the punk-rock scene and the haute outfits inspired by them. The aesthetic of each of the Institute’s seven galleries will be framed around the aesthetic of icons like Sid Vicious, Richard Hell (see him read Mar 14) and Debbie Harry. The exhibit will include pieces by more than 30 fashion designers, including John Galliano, Helmut Lang and Gianni Versace. And did we mention that fashion photog Nick Knight (who directed the video for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”) is acting as creative consultant, and Gideon Ponte (American Psycho) is overseeing production design?

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Thu May 9 - Sun Aug 11

Shop, dance and eat at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar

For the first time, this beloved holiday market is hosting a spring and summer series featuring more than 100 vendors, live music and a microbrew garden. Make a beeline for jewelry maker Perry Gargano (perrygargano.com), whose intricate gold-and-silver creations ($85–$225) are inspired by the animal kingdom, and Windowfarms (windowfarms.com), creators of vertical indoor gardens ($200–$400) that allow for year-round harvesting of herbs and veggies. The location will be revealed in late April. bkbazaar.com

Stop and smell the cherry blossoms at Hanami

Critics' pick

The Japanese have a term for appreciating cherry blossoms from bud and bloom to the blankets of fallen petals that eventually accumulate: hanami. This cycle will be on full view as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s approximately 220 cherry trees show off their floral display. Tours of the collection—the largest of these trees outside of Japan—as well as of the other Japanese plants on the grounds, will take place at 1pm on Wednesdays and 11am on Saturdays during the show.

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden Until Sun May 18

Hang out and dine on the High Line

Critics' pick

From April 19, visitors to the High Line can fuel their stroll along the design-minded, elevated green space with snacks from an all-star lineup of local vendors. Sweet tooths can cool down with La Newyorkina ice pops or Melt Bakery ice-cream sandwiches, while those hankering for a meal can grab Michoacán-style grub from the Taco Truck. To drink, sip on cups of java from Blue Bottle Coffee or glasses of wine, courtesy of the team behind Terroir, at the Porch (from May 16). Check out the High Line's largest ever art installation, Broken Bridge II, a 37-foot sculpture by by West African artist El Anatsui which is on view now. Tuesday night stargazing returns May 7.

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Meatpacking District Free

Celebrate Grand Central’s Centennial with the herd

Critics' pick

Some people are happy with just a day dedicated to celebrating their birth; others stretch the revelry out over a weekend or even a week! Grand Central goes one step further with a whole year of programming to celebrate its 100th. Our pick of the spring festivities is artist Nick Cave’s free performance installation HEARD•NY (Mar 25–31, 11am, 2pm). Sixty dancers from the Ailey School dressed in tandem horse costumes will meander through the terminal as if it were a sunny field, sporadically coming together to perform choreographed pieces accompanied by live harpists. Also make sure to catch the exhibit “Grand by Design: A Centennial Celebration of Grand Central Terminal” before it closes on March 15, check out “On Time” (Mar 6–July 7) featuring works by a dozen contemporary artists in the New York Transit Museum Annex, and peruse classic railroad cars at the Grand Centennial Parade of Trains Weekend (tracks 34–37; May 11–12).

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Midtown East Free

Paint the town at the Phagwah Parade and Festival of Colors: Holi NYC

Missed out on a snowball fight this winter? There’s still a chance to clobber your friends with a faceful—only this time with brightly hued gulal powder. Since 1990, New Yorkers have been celebrating the Hindu spring festival of Holi in Richmond Hill, Queens, with the Phagwah Parade (richmondhilledc.org; Apr 7 noon; free). Beginning on Liberty Avenue at 133rd Street, a procession of revelers, musicians and floats will head north for paint-pummeling in Smokey Oval Park (125th St at Atlantic Ave; free). The Brooklyn-based Festival of Colors (Location TBA; festivalofcolors.org; Apr 6 noon; $15, advance $12.50) drew more than 1,200 people last year, so prepare for an almighty mess as you color-bomb your pals and dance into the evening to DJs and live bands.

Hit this season's hot restaurant opening: Ivan Ramen

Buzzy impresario Ivan Orkin—a Long Island native famed for opening two of Tokyo’s best ramen-ya—brings his acclaimed bowls to the U.S. for the first time. The toque will employ his chewy, custom-made rye and wheat noodles—previewed last year at mobbed pop-up dinners in Momofuku Noodle Bar and the Breslin—in tweaked versions of the Japanese comfort-food staple. A blended chicken-and-dashi shio (salt broth) ramen comes with a soft egg and pork belly, while a Tonkotsu Triple Garlic Mazemen dish combines raw, pickled and roasted garlic with pork soup, pork fat and bacon. Check out more new restaurants in NYC for spring.

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

Critics' pick

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.

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From Broadway at 21st St to St. Marks Pl at Ave A. Subway: N, R to 23rd St. Until Sat May 17 Free

Attend NYC's biggest gay party during Black Party Weekend

Critics' pick

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.

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Roseland Ballroom Fri Mar 22 - Sat Mar 23

See a spankin’ new Broadway show

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.

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Stretch out in Socrates Sculpture Park

Critics' pick

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.

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Long Island City Free

Welcome Frieze New York back to Randalls Island

Critics' pick

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.

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Randalls Island Park 13 May 2013

Gorge for a cause

Critics' pick

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.

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79th Street Boat Basin Café 11 May 2013

Ham it up at the Thrilling Adventure Hour

Critics' pick

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.

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The Bell House 11 May 2013

Spend a Saturday at Hester Street Fair

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

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

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.

Go to a saucy spring gala

Critics' pick

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.

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Webster Hall 09 Mar 2013

Make a day of it in Beacon

Spring means you may finally be ready to venture outside for fun again, which in turn means: day trip! For a winning combination of art, booze, fine dining and natural beauty, take the Metro-North to Beacon, New York (off-peak one way $14), one of the Hudson Valley’s more happenin’ towns. Start off at Dia:Beacon (3 Beekman St at Wolcott Ave; 845-440-0100, diabeacon.org), a contemporary-modern art gallery built inside the shell of a 300,000-square-foot former Nabisco factory that provides ample room for large-scale works by artists like Louise Bourgeois, Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys. After wandering along the river on the Beacon Shoreline Trail, settle in for dinner at Swift at the Roundhouse at Beacon Falls (2 E Main St at Main St; 845-765-8369, roundhousebeacon.com), a New American restaurant offering picturesque views of an adjacent waterfall. Top off your day at the Hop (458 Main St between Schenck and Tioronda Aves; 845-440-8676, thehopbeacon.com), a high-class beer spot boasting a bottle list of more than 150 craft brews, plus more on tap.

Wear green at the St. Patrick's Day Parade

Critics' pick

No St. Patty’s Day in NYC would be complete without staking out a spot at this parade, which makes its 252nd march up Fifth Avenue. (The event is even older than the United States; it was started by a group of homesick Irish conscripts from the British army in 1762.) More than 2 million onlookers are expected to show up for the annual spectacle, whose 2013 grand marshal is Alfred E. Smith IV—philanthropist, former Wall Streeter and great-grandson to former Gotham mayor Al Smith.

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Fifth Ave from 44th St to 86th St Tuesday March 17 2015 Free

Get taken for a free ride on opening day at Coney Island

Brooklyn’s beachfront diversions always open on Palm Sunday, so this year’s early Easter means you won’t have to wait too much longer to take a stomach-churning ride. Luna Park, the most recent addition to the shore (although Big Mark’s Action Park may open this summer), boasts two modern roller coasters, the Soarin’ Eagle and the Steeplechase, as well as the Sling Shot, which hurls two people 220 feet into the air, and the Zenobio, a spinning arm with two freewheeling cars at either end. Before you do anything, though, get in line for the rickety (but totally safe) Cyclone—on opening dat the first 100 people ride for free (normally $9). Take your time reaching Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, which opens on the same date—a turn on the eponymous Ferris wheel is free all day.

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Kick off baseball season with NYC’s MLB teams

Critics' pick

No foolin’—April 1 is opening day for both the Yankees and the Mets. The Bronx Bombers face off against their ancient rivals, the Boston Red Sox, and the Amazin’s lock horns with the San Diego Padres. Even if you’re not a sports nut, nothing says spring like the rising strains of the pipe organ as you savor that first bite of hot dog.

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Yankee Stadium and Citi Field Until Mon Apr 1

Don't fool around on April 1

Critics' pick

This annual April Fools Comedy Show trots out an overstuffed lineup sure to keep the entirety of MSG doubled over. In addition to boisterous performers such as JB Smoove and Tracy Morgan, there will be time with SNL’s resident Denzel, Jay Pharoah, and a favorite local, the straight-talking Damien Lemon.

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Theater at Madison Square Garden 01 Apr 2013

Ponder bravery at PEN World Voices Festival

Critics' pick

This massive festival, now in its ninth year, brings together writers from around the globe to contemplate change, international politics and the value of free speech. This year's theme, bravery, will bring a cast of scribes including Ursula Krechel, Jamaica Kincaid (pictured), Eduardo Galeano, Téa Obreht and Fran Lebowitz.

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Various locations Mon Apr 29 - Sun May 5

Ride during Bike Month

Critics' pick

Each year, Transportation Alternatives and several biking businesses and nonprofits collaborate to make May the most cycling-friendly time of year. The full schedule is still to be announced, but look out for pedal-powered events such as Bike Expo New York (May 3, 4) and the TD Five Boro Bike Tour (May 5), plus a heap of classes where you can learn to ride or improve your road skills and confidence. Locations and times vary; visit bikemonthnyc.org for details.

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Various locations Until Fri May 31

Catch premieres during American Ballet Theater's spring season

Critics' pick

ABT returns to the Metropolitan Opera House with the premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Shostakovich trilogy, as well as the company debut of Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country and a new production of Le Corsaire. Dancers include Roberto Bolle, Irina Dvorovenko—in her final season with the company—Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Cory Stearns, Ivan Vasiliev, Natalia Osipova and the newest principal, Hee Seo.

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Metropolitan Opera House (at Lincoln Center) Until Sat Jul 6

See gents gyrate at the Second Annual New York Boylesque Festival

Critics' pick

The idea of boylesque may not have the shock appeal that it once had—by now, most burlesque aficionados realize that the fellas like to show a little skin too. Still, with a lineup that includes Tigger!, Mr. Gorgeous, Jonny Porkpie, Go-Go Harder and sequined stars from around the world, it’s safe to say that these two night’s will have the talent to quicken the pulse.

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Gramercy Theatre Friday May 8 2015 - Saturday May 9 2015

Check out Torrisi and Carbone's new spot

Following nouveau-Italian Nolita hits Torrisi Italian Specialties and Parm, downtown wunderkinds Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone expand their empire to Greenwich Village with the Lobster Club, a 12-seat sandwich shop and restaurant (down the street from their other highly anticipated spring opening, retro pasta joint Carbone). By day, classic triple-deckers will be the focus, and true to the name, the menu will feature lobster-stuffed clubs available with two sauces—a creamy white and a spicy red. For dinner, oysters from a raw bar and seafood platters will be on offer, while cocktail whiz and former Death & Company head bartender Thomas Waugh mixes libations from an extensive drinks list.

Wear a bonnet at the 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.

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Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts Sunday April 5 2015 Free

Join the crush at the Armory Show

Critics' pick

Fair season, the art world’s version of March Madness, is led by the Armory Show, divided into Modern and Contemporary sections. There are fewer exhibitors this year—210, down from 2012’s 228, prompting whispers of irrelevance—but the fair still has the cachet of its name, borrowed from the 1913 Armory Show that blew New York’s collective mind and exposed Gotham’s upright citizenry to the wild work of the European and American avant-garde (the subject of “Decenter: An Exhibition on the Centenary of the 1913 Armory Show” at Abrons Arts Center through April 7). Perhaps in the hope of recapturing some of that event’s electricity, this year’s Armory Show is dedicated to the centennial of the first one.

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Piers 92/94 Until Sun Mar 10

See Stevie Nicks & Co.

Critics' pick

Over the past few years, the indie-rock sphere woke up to the potent bittersweetness summoned by the Lindsey Buckingham–Stevie Nicks tandem. Expect cathartic scream-alongs this spring, as the pair joins veteran members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie on a jaunt supporting a new deluxe reissue of Rumours.

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Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Sunday February 8 2015

Then salute Stevie Nicks at Night of a Thousand Stevies

Critics' pick

The annual Nicksfest is back for round 23 (!), with Stevie wanna-bes from all over the world descending upon NYC like a flock of white-winged, wig-wearing doves. (Or like "a magnet to the sea," as Nicks sings on "Crystal.") Chi Chi Valenti, Hattie Hathaway and Editrix Abby serve as the “enchantresses of ceremony,” and Craig Spencer, Johnny Dynell and VJ Trey play the between-act tunes. The massive lineup of performers includes the Ho-Hos, Heather Litteer, Vangeline Theater, Machine Dazzle, Kat Mon Dieu, Poison Eve and Darlinda Just Darlinda. Here’s the dress code, boiled down to its basics: "Stevie Nicks realness, all eras."

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Highline Ballroom 03 May 2013

Hear new stories from Etgar Keret and Gary Shteyngart

Critics' pick

Two satirists, one Israeli and one Russian, join forces for an evening of new stories read by well-known actors. Keret has made some strides in the U.S. the past few years, landing his loopy, fantastical short neofables in The New Yorker and a great 2012 collection titled Suddenly, a Knock on the Door. Super Sad True Love Story, the most recent novel from Shteyngart (Absurdistan, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook), taps into the insecurity and longing of a middle-aged man, even while charting a dystopic near-future.

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Symphony Space Until Wed Apr 17

Meander around Manhattan on the Great Saunter

Critics' pick

Not all walks are created equal, and this annual 32-mile trek around the circumference of Manhattan is a standout for sure. The entire jaunt takes about 12 hours, and along the way you'll pass through 20 parks, see dozens of landmarks and make friends with your fellow striders. If you complete the circle, reward yourself with a beer back at the starting point, the Porterhouse at Fraunces Tavern.

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The Porterhouse at Fraunces Tavern 04 May 2013

See Paul Taylor Dance Company's old classics and future classics

Critics' pick

For his company’s second season at the grand Koch Theater after years spent at New York City Center, Taylor revives seven decades of masterworks, such as 3 Epitaphs from 1956, in which faceless performers wear spooky costumes designed by Robert Rauschenberg and dance to early New Orleans jazzl and Esplanade, a 1975 classic set to Bach and inspired by the sight of a girl running to catch a bus—the movement entirely comprised of standing, walking, running, sliding and falling. There are 21 new works as well, including the world premiere of Perpetual Dawn, the choreographer’s 138th dance, and the New York premiere of To Make Crops Grow, set to music by Ferde Grofé. If you like variety, Taylor’s your man. Each of his dances parts the curtain to reveal a bold, new world.

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David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center) Until Sun Mar 24

Become a nicer New Yorker

Critics' pick

Be the change you wish to see and sign up for New York Cares Day Spring, a day of service and benefit to raise money for the nonprofit’s programming, which includes volunteer projects and an annual winter coat drive. Approximately four thousand New Yorkers will help improve ten miles of shoreline and 70 parks in all five boroughs by gardening, painting and repairing fences, fixing nature trails and, yes, paying for the opportunity. If you want a chance to choose where you’ll be working, gather some friends and sign up as a team (of ten to 75 people) by March 22; otherwise you’ll be assigned to a project in the borough of your choice, as long as you register on newyorkcaresday.org by April 12.

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Various locations 20 Apr 2013

See things another way at "Topsy-Turvy: A Camera Obscura Installation"

Critics' pick

For this Madison Square Park public-art project Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder, a collaborative pair of deconstructive filmmakers, go back to the optical beginnings of the medium, installing a walk-in camera obscura on the greensward. Inside this darkened room, viewers will see the surrounding trees and buildings projected upside down; upending the experience of the everyday by making the familiar seem strange.

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Madison Square Park Sat Mar 2 - Sat Apr 6 Free

Go wild at Pillow Fight NYC

Critics' pick

Bring your softest weapon of choice (but organizers ask you to leave the feather- and down-stuffed pillows at home to lessen the mess), and join in New York's eighth citywide pillow fight. After you've fended off your cushion-wielding attackers, you'll feel even warmer knowing the surviving pillows will be donated to homeless shelters.

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Location TBA 05 Apr 2014 Free

Check out a new market

A brand-new market, Big Apple Flea, is primed to hit the scene late this spring, featuring food, plants, produce, collectibles, fashion, and vintage clothing and furniture. With a location in Manhattan and several others in the works, keep an eye on bigappleflea.com for specifics.

Give a warm New York welcome to visiting orchestras

Critics' pick

The third season of audacious festival Spring for Music, housed by Carnegie Hall but independently produced, comes with a bittersweet footnote: Next year's edition of Spring for Music will be the last, since funding could not be secured to perpetuate the series. Still, there's plenty to celebrate in the here and now, as five major orchestras come to town with their most adventurous programs in hand: the Baltimore Symphony (May 6), Albany Symphony (May 7), Buffalo Philharmonic (May 8), Detroit Symphony (May 9, 10) and National Symphony (May 11).

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Carnegie Hall Until Sat May 10

Leave your MP3 player at home for Record Store Day

Critics' pick

The sixth annual celebration of independent brick-and-mortar music shops is set for April 20 (you weren’t planning on doing anything else that day, right?). More than 25 vinyl slingers across the city will be participating, including Other Music, Bleecker Street Records and Turntable Lab. This year’s Record Store Day ambassador, Jack White, has already got us pumped with turntable love; as the date approaches, check recordstoreday.com for info on specials and events.

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Various venues Until Sat Apr 19 Free

Groove at a roller-skating jam on Saturdays (and Sundays)

Critics' pick

Five days you work / Two whole days to play / Come on, everybody / Wear your roller skates today. If it’s Saturday (or Sunday), you’ll find the Central Park Dance Skaters Association’s skate circle in the heart of the park by a grove of blossoming cherry trees. Bring your own quads—or rent a pair from the Skate Truck (skatetrucknyc.com; two hours $15, four hours $20, all day $25; includes safety equipment), which is usually parked nearby—and bust a move with people of all ages to disco hits, soul and funk classics, modern R&B, jazzy grooves, and house and dance music spun by a rotating roster of local DJs. If you’re not a skater, there’s space to dance without colliding with those on wheels, or just watch the old-timers get groovy. Beginning in early April, weather permitting.

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Central Park Free

Catch the inaugural Downtown Literary Festival

Critics' pick

For the first time, McNally Jackson Books and Housing Works Bookstore team up to present a day of nontraditional events reflecting their collective vision of the downtown scene. The individual happenings are still taking shape, but they’ll include a reading of Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems, a literary walking tour of the area and a lecture pairing books with a proper Scotch. Participants include Lapham’s Quarterly and Tumblr, and the whole day will wrap up with wine and chatting at Housing Works.

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Various locations 13 Apr 2014

See works by Claes Oldenburg at MoMA

Critics' pick

MoMA showcases immersive environments representing, respectively, the beginnings and high-water mark of the protean Pop Art sculptor's career. The sixth floor gallery hosts The Street and The Store, both products of the early-’60s East Village milieu in which the artist got his start. The later Mouse Museum/Ray Gun Wing, meanwhile, takes up MomA's second-floor atrium.

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Sun Apr 14 - Mon Aug 5

See the Royal Shakespeare Company take on Julius Caesar

Critics' pick

The definitive Shakespearean theater troupe comes to BAM with a new take on the Bard’s great political play, set in modern-day Africa. Featuring an all-black cast, this is the first production helmed by Gregory Doran as artistic director of the RSC. Caesar garnered acclaim for its powerful performances and sense of immediacy when it ran last year in Bill S.’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon; we can’t wait to see this fresh perspective on Brutus, Cassius and the whole stabby gang.

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BAM Harvey Theater Wed Apr 10 - Sun Apr 28

Lose the troosers for the New York Tartan Day Parade

Critics' pick

Expect bagpipers, pipe bands, drum corps, men in kilts and lots of plaid at this Scottish-themed march, which draws an estimated 3,000 fanatics every year. The event is part of the larger Tartan Week celebrations, which include musical performances, whiskey tastings and parties, from Mar 29 to Apr 9.

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Sixth Ave from 45th to 55th Sts. Subway: D, F to 47–50th Sts–Rockefeller Ctr 06 Apr 2013 Free

Hang on David Cross' every word

Critics' pick

That low, liquidy sound you hear is comedy nerds across the city frothing at the maw. One of New York’s comedy heroes sits down to talk about everything: The Ben Stiller Show, Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret—and that list doesn't even include stand-up or film. And, in what amounts to the closest we're getting to a Bluth family reunion, Cross's Arrested costar Michael Cera will moderate.

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92nd Street Y 20 Mar 2013

See the blooms at the Orchid Show

Critics' pick

The New York Botanical Garden explodes into a tropical floral extravaganza for the 11th annual Orchid Show. Banish your winter blues as you take in the thousands of blooms on display, and don't forget to make a pit stop by the Shop in the Garden for your very own orchid to take home. This year the design, by staffer Francisca Coelho, thoughtfully incorporates trees felled by Hurricane Sandy.

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New York Botanical Garden Sat Mar 2 - Sun Apr 21

Find out what happens when David Byrne meets musical theater in Here Lies Love

Critics' pick

Under ordinary circumstances, the phrase disco musical would send us running for the hills; but not when the incomparable David Byrne is involved. He and Fatboy Slim (a.k.a. Norman Cook) are behind this new tuner, which tracks the rise—and shoe obsession—of former Filipino first lady Imelda Marcos. Based on Byrne and Cook’s 2010 concept album of the same name, the dance-packed, beat-heavy piece is being helmed by hotshot director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher). Here Lies Love is set in a nightclub environment—unless you opt for a seat in the balcony or a box, you’ll be standing and moving with the performers; audience booty-shaking is encouraged.

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Public Theater Until Sun Jan 4

Imbibe at the NYC Craft Beer Festival

Critics' pick

The suds fest is back for its vernal shindig. Ticket holders receive a tasting glass for unlimited two-ounce pours, but with 150 brews on offer and sessions lasting only two-and-a-half hours (three-and-a-half if you pony up for a VIP pass), you’ll need to have a plan of attack. Make a beeline (and get on line) for a citrusy Firestone Walker Double Jack and the farmhouse ale Allagash Interlude, then explore varieties by approximately 75 breweries from across the country. Soak up the alcohol with hearty snacks from Cooper’s Craft and Kitchen—such as a stout-braised, chipotle-smothered pork sandwich ($6)—the Guilty Goose and Tavern 29. Hops-heads itching to make their own concoction can attend cofounder of Bitter & Esters Douglas Amport’s seminar on brewing at home; check nyccraftbeerfest.com for other expert-led workshops, but arrive early, as they’re limited to 50 first-come first-served spots apiece.

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Lexington Avenue Armory Until Sat Nov 1

Get a dose of the backcountry at the 5th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival

Critics' pick

Kings County may have precious few wide-open spaces, endless highways and starry, starry nights, but that hasn’t stopped jug bands, banjoists and other Americana types from sprouting here like mushrooms beneath a crumbling back porch. Promoter and Down Home Radio Show (downhomeradioshow.com) host Eli Smith brings members of the scene to the Bell House for one weekend this April. Acts on the roster include darkly hilarious antifolkie Jeffrey Lewis, Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues, NYC folk godfather Peter Stampfel (of the legendary Holy Modal Rounders) and many others. There’ll also be film screenings, music workshops and readings during weekend afternoons, and the final session on Sunday night begins with a square dance called by Dave Harvey of NYC Barn Dance. Various times, visit brooklynfolkfest.com for details. Shows $15–$20, one-day pass $30, three-day pass $80.

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Gowanus

See some impressive Lincoln-esque facial hair

Critics' pick

Did Lincoln inspire you to grow some natty 19th-century whiskers? See what you're aiming for as the Met draws on its collection of archival photography for the exhibit "Photography and the American Civil War," which features more than 200 images taken during the Civil War.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art 02 Sep 2013

Party at 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center

Critics' pick

The Institute of Higher Burning hosted an ambitious season of programming in 2012, and continues in the same vein  beginning May 4 with a full lineup of parties, scratch battles and live art. Until then you can explore the premises and catch a spray-painting demo on a guided tour (next dates: Sat 23, Sun 3 2–3:30pm; $35; sidetour.com) with curator Jonathan Cohen (aerosol master Meres One). Free hourly sojourns are also being offered March 9 as part of the Armory Show adjunct Armory Arts Week (2–6pm; armoryartsweek.com).

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Long Island City Free

Instagram your heart out during Manhattanhenge

Critics' pick

Witness the stunning natural spectacle that occurs when the sun aligns perfectly with Manhattan’s grid: The setting orb will illuminate both sides of every street in the borough four times a year. For the best view, camp out as far east as possible along a broad avenue with views across the island (14th and 34th Streets will do). And don’t forget your camera.

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Location TBA Until Sat Jul 13 Free

Mark the return of Dance Theatre of Harlem

Critics' pick

Artistic director Virginia Johnson unveils the new, streamlined version of Dance Theatre of Harlem in its first New York season. Six performances, including two programs and a family matinee, include John Alleyne's Far but Close, Robert Garland’s Gloria, Alvin Ailey’s The Lark Ascending, Donald Byrd’s Contested Space and George Balanchine’s Agon.

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Rose Theater (at Frederick P. Rose Hall) Until Sun Apr 14

See a gay pop act on the verge of a breakthrough

The city’s gays are currently spoiled for choice when it comes to singers, bands and performers treading the gay party (and even musuem party) circuit, and we’re predicting big things for acts like melancholy popsmith Bright Light Bright Light, modern-retro band AVAN LAVA and viral sensation JbDubs. Find out where they're playing this spring and listen to their essential tracks here.

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Wander among the artworks in the green fields of upstate New York

Dia:Beacon doesn’t have a monopoly on arty day trips. In the Hudson River Valley, Storm King Art Center boasts more than 100 post-1945 sculptures—many of them monumental—on over 500 acres of land. Stroll at your leisure or rent a seven-speed Electra bike ($10/hr, minimum two hours; full day $40). May 4 sees the opening of a Thomas Houseago exhibit, part of the artist’s first monograph museum tour in the U.S. It showcases his outdoor sculptures, which explore the energy of the human body through abstraction. Coach USA Short Line runs one service a day between Port Authority Bus Terminal (625 Eighth Ave between 40th and 42nd Sts; 212-564-8484, coachusa.com/shortline; departs NYC at 8:30am and 10am, $44) and Storm King on the Mountainville line. Times vary, check stormkingartcenter.org for details; $12, seniors $10, students $8, kids under 5 and members free.

Spring-clean yourself

Critics' pick

Say goodbye to the winter dry-skin epidemic and indulge in a treatment or two during Spa Week Spring 2013, during which hundreds of spas, salons and fitness centers around the city offer signature treatments or class packages for just $50 a pop. Services will be announced when bookings open on March 11 at 10am, but we can tell you that some of the Time Out–approved spas participating this year include Faina European Day Spa, Skn Spa, and Hearts New York Salon & Yukie Beauty Spa. Fair warning: Many services will be fully booked within hours after reservations become available, so be logged into spaweek.com and be ready to buy.

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Various venues Mon Apr 15 - Sun Apr 21

Be wowed by Phosphorescent's new album

Critics' pick

Color us very excited for this show, in which Brooklyn-via-Alabama songman Matthew Houck presents material from his new album, Muchacho—in our opinion, his finest work to date. Over the past decade, Houck's music has moved from melancholy, bare-bones songs, to rollicking Exile on Main Street–toned rock & roll, via a collection of Willie Nelson covers praised by the country hero himself. This latest bunch of songs combines deep blue longing with seriously honed songwriting chops (check the single "Song for Zula" on YouTube for evidence). A secret(ish) show in January at John Vavartos, the former CBGB spot, found Houck and band on stunning form. We suggest you ask for your money back if you're not wowed tonight.

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Bowery Ballroom 18 Apr 2013

Catch an underground (literally) film series

DIY filmmaking collective Cinebeasts are, like the Jam, going underground with a program of shorts about our beloved transit system that will take place, for the most part, in subway stations. The group will be setting up tables with a portable DVD player or digital frame device and headphones on platforms in Manhattan and Brooklyn on Wednesdays and Thursdays after rush hour, and on Sundays in the early evening. Check facebook.com/cinebeasts or follow @cinebeasts for updates on the exact location closer to the time. Cinebeasts will also host evening screenings at traditional venues, beginning with The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) at 92YTribeca (Mar 16 at 7pm; $12), making stops at the Spectacle Theater (Apr 6 at 7:30pm; $5) and UnionDocs (Apr 1 at 7pm; suggested donation $9) before terminating the journey at Anthology Film Archives (Apr 25 at 7pm; $TBA). Various venues, dates and times, visit cinebeasts.com for more information.

Cruise through the city on the TD Five Boro Bike Tour

Critics' pick

May is Bike Month; time to take your two-wheeled steed out of the corner of your living room and hit the pavement once more. If you love cycling but have a horror of navigating New York traffic, join Bike New York’s annual trans-city cyclathon. As the name suggests, this 32,000-strong ride spans all five boroughs in the course of 40 miles and five bridges. And thanks to a partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation, each and every one of those miles is automobile-free. The route begins near Battery Park, moves up through Manhattan and makes a circuit of the boroughs before winding up at Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth for a festival (catch the ferry back to lower Manhattan afterward). Though general registration is sold out, you can still sign up to ride with a charity; visit bikenewyork.org for more information.

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Starting location: Franklin St at Church St Sunday May 3 2015

Pound the pavement to fight cancer

Critics' pick

We’re New Yorkers—we know how to power walk. Put your prowess on display during the 16th Annual EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women, in which more than 20,000 participants will raise funds for women’s cancer research, counseling and outreach. The race begins with a confetti explosion in Times Square, and the three-mile route finishes in Central Park. You’ll be done by noon and be free to enjoy a Saturday relaxing in Sheep Meadow. Call 855-434-3779 or visit revlonrunwalk.org to register.

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Times Square 04 May 2013

Wish the Deep Space party a happy tenth birthday

Critics' pick

François K has been on the cutting edge of Gotham’s clubland since the late ’70s, but don’t take the fabled DJ-producer for granted. He’s still one of the most vital presences of the current scene and this weekly fete—with its genre-spanning playlist and chilled, house-party vibe—is one of the best things going. For this milestone, he’ll be joined by Scuba, head of the revered dubstep-and-more label Hotflush.

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Prepare to see things you can't unsee at Paul McCarthy's pair of shows

Critics' pick

One of the godfathers of L.A. art (or at least the branch that treats pop culture as one big wallow in sexual abjection), McCarthy has certainly made his contribution, with sculptures of cute Santa figures wielding butt-plugs and depictions of the Seven Dwarves with flacid penises for noses. But more than that, his work sends up America’s glorification of masculinity. With two galleries at his his disposal, expect something big and disturbing.

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Hauser & Wirth New York 27 Jul 2013 Free

Laugh till it hurts at the NYC Improv Festival

Critics' pick

Improvisers from around the country take part in a weekend of performances, workshops and panels, though this festival, now in its second year, also has plenty of New Yorkers (many of whom are regular PIT performers) on the bill. This year's big tickets include a reunited Threat, a set from Centralia and a visit from Toronto’s physical, frenetic 2-Man No-Show.

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Peoples Improv Theater Wed Mar 20 - Sun Mar 24

Give the gift of a good read for World Book Night

Critics' pick

Last year, the city (along with the rest of the U.S., the U.K., Ireland and Germany) celebrated World Book Night: Volunteers signed up to hand out donated special editions of beloved novels—30 in all—to strangers who might not have convenient access to literature. This year, promote literacy yourself by targeting a community of needy readers with titles that range from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 to Tina Fey’s Bossypants. As a bonus, meet some of your fellow lit enthusiasts over drinks and snacks while collecting your titles at participating shops, including WORD. Visit worldbooknight.org to sign up.

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Various locations Until Wed Apr 23

Discover the magic of classical Cambodian dance during the Season of Cambodia

Classical Cambodian dance abounds at this festival. The Royal Ballet of Cambodia will perform The Legend of Apsara Mera (BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-636-4100,
bam.org; May 2–4; $20–$55), choreographed by Her Royal Highness (and former dancer) Princess Norodom Buppha Devi. But first, Khmer Arts Ensemble will unveil Sophiline Cheam Shapiro’s A Bend in the River at the Joyce (175 Eighth Ave at 19th St; 212-242-0800, joyce.org; Apr 9–14; $10–$49). It has everything: love, vengeance, magic and heartbreak.

Follow the Brooklyn Flea outdoors

The Sunday Williamsburg location moves a few blocks down to the East River State Park this year, and there will be some new faces among the 140 stalls, including Positive Space Design, which sells architectural salvage and antiques ($15–$1,500). Also drop by Gregory Coccaro, who’ll be selling midcentury furniture and accessories ($25–$1,000 ), and Fruzworld (fruzworld.tumblr.com), which makes one-of-a-kind plant art, including quirky terrariums ($15–$100). 176 Lafayette Ave between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Sat 10am–5pm. • East River State Park, Kent Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sun 10am–5pm. • brooklynflea.com

Visit MoMA to see "Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light"

Critics' pick

This survey takes a long-overdue, in-depth look at one of the true giants of modern photography. Brandt (1904–1983) was born in Hamburg, Germany, to a British father and German mother. His father was interred by the Germans as an enemy alien during World War I, an event that perhaps accounted for Brandt’s decision to eventually move to England in 1939—via a stint as Man Ray’s studio assistant in Paris—and to later claim that he’d been born in South London. These biographical details undoubtedly lay behind the subtly Surrealistic quality and an outsider’s perspective that imbues images of British society, nude studies and landscapes with a sense of unease.

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 12 Aug 2013

Celebrate Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day with Lomography

Critics' pick

Each April, low-tech photography enthusiasts across the globe create DIY cameras from coffee canisters, matchboxes and other household items, and head out to see what they can capture. To fete this most minimalist form of photography, Lomography is throwing a Pinhole Picnic at Jersey’s 146-acre Van Saun County Park (216 Forest Ave, River Edge, NJ). A school bus from the Lomography Gallery Store in the West Village will take you to and from the park. There’ll be a spread of snacks to fuel you for the day ahead; from there, you’re unleashed to wander the park, which includes a carousel, a miniature train and a zoo. Admission also includes a rental pinhole camera, a roll of film and 10 percent off in-store purchases. Get snapping (er, we guess just pointing), budding Ansel Adamses. Call 212-529-4351 or e-mail shopnyc@lomography.com to register.

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Lomography Gallery Store Until Sun Apr 28

Spike like Maverick in honor of Top Gun Day

And speaking of days for random things, Tony Scott’s ridiculous 1986 action classic has one too. Topgunday.com suggests celebrating by quoting the movie a lot and wearing aviators—there’s even a Call Sign Generator (ours is “Wild Weasel,” in case you were curious). But short of climbing into the cockpit of an F-14 (the Intrepid’s security detail is on red alert after our bungled attempt last year), we can think of no better way to show your love of all things sexy fighter pilot than by re-creating the film’s famously over-the-top beach-volleyball scene. Head to the sand courts at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 (Furman St at Atlantic Ave, Dumbo, Brooklyn; brooklynbridgepark.org), Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 (West St at 16th St; hudsonriverpark.org, reserve a court at manhattanyouth.org) or east of Central Park’s Sheep Meadow (enter at Central Park West and 66th St). You and your buddies may lack the freakishly rippling ab muscles—and super shiny torso—of ’80s Tom Cruise, but throw some Kenny Loggins on the boom box, and you’ll be in the zone…the Danger Zone.

Brainstorm at Ideas City 2013

The biennial affair is back, though under a new name, and still trying to meet the challenges of living in a metropolis. Formerly the Festival of Ideas for the New City, this New Museum–organized expo on urban sustainability incorporates a street fair, a brainy conference and a diverse array of projects from more than 200 organizations. NYU Wagner School, the Architectural League of New York, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Bowery Poetry Club and the Drawing Center all weigh in on this year’s theme: “Untapped Capital.” It’s still too early for a lineup announcement, but the inaugural 2011 edition hosted loads of choice events and initiatives, such as “Murals on the Bowery,” in which 18 rolling metal storefront shutters were painted by internationally renowned artists, and bike tours of the Lower East Side and Chinatown led by young residents. Prices vary (212-219-1222, newmuseum.org/ideascity).

See Liars perform at the Temple of Dendur

Critics' pick

Building on the momentum of last year’s electronica-drenched WIXIW, this popular, provocative California art-punk trio returns for a glitzy exclusive at the Met’s Temple of Dendur, and a more conventional romp at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple.

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Brooklyn Masonic Temple Until Fri May 9

Have a (beer) blast with the bears

Critics' pick

The annual Urban Bear Weekend marks the end of hibernation season. The bear crowd—burly, hairy gay men and those who love them—has become firmly ensconced in the mainstream, so it’s no surprise that producer Robert Valin’s celebration of fuzzy hunks draws massive crowds to its four-day program of events. Valin has yet to announce details for 2013’s incarnation, but last year featured a beer blast, comedy show, crawl of bear bars, barbecue, boat party, Sunday street fair and more. Check out our NYC bear guide for more on the city’s ursine scene.

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Various locations Thu May 2 - Mon May 6

Meet Mr. Met at Queens Taste

Critics' pick

Celebrate the diversity of the city in the best way possible—with your taste buds. Now in its 11th year, this festival that began as a handful of restaurants in a JFK terminal has made its home in Citi Field’s Caesars Club, a sprawling convention hall with views of Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. Fifty food vendors from the borough will be on hand, from Redwood Deli and Ottomanelli & Sons to Mama’s and Bourbon Street Café (let’s hope they bring the outstanding gumbo they’ve served every other year). Sip on Turkish coffee from the Turkish Cultural Center and wine from Long Island’s Borghese Winery—all included in your admission price. Plus, we have it on good authority that Mr. Met himself will be present.

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Citi Field 14 May 2013

Wish the Woolworth Building a happy 100th birthday

Critics' pick

Grand Central isn’t the only NYC icon turning 100 this year. On April 24, 1913—just two months after the transit hub opened—President Woodrow Wilson flipped a ceremonial switch to illuminate the new Woolworth Building, at the time the tallest office building in the world. This exhibit spotlights the elegant green-and-white building, from the initial stages of architect Cass Gilbert’s design and an up-close look at the building’s gorgeous terra cotta ornaments, to an examination of its pop cultural significance.

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The Skyscraper Museum 15 Sep 2013

Quaff a mint julep

With the approach of the Kentucky Derby (May 4), our minds turn to hats, horses and that intoxicating mix of bourbon, sugar, mint and crushed ice. New York’s biggest show of pomp is at Eleven Madison Park’s glitzy party (May 4 3–7pm; $195, e-mail derby@elevenmadisonpark.com beginning Mar 11 to buy tickets) hosted by star chefs Daniel Humm and Will Guidara. It features a raw bar, fried chicken and waffles, snow cones, mint juleps and sundry cocktails, and live music from roots band the Crooners and country six-piece the Defibulators. If you prefer to get down and derby, plan on attending the Bell House’s annual shindig (times TBA; free).

Get a sneak peek at future movie hits at the Tribeca Film Festival

Rejoice! Robert De Niro’s downtown indie-film fest returns for its 11th year, drawing cinéastes to its screenings, panels, talks and other events. This year’s lineup has yet to be released, but expect the quality to be high when the schedule for feature-length movies is announced on March 5 and 6, and shorts on the March 12. Unless you’re looking to spring for a ticket package ($250–$1,200), single tickets go on sale to the general public on April 15 at 11am. Before heading to this year’s activities, check out our handy roundup of the best places to eat and drink nearby. Visit tribecafilm.com/festival for details.

Have a whale of a time (sorry) at the American Museum of Natural History

Critics' pick

The museum’s iconic blue whale will get some company during “Whales: Giants of the Deep,” which comes to New York courtesy of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and is augmented with pieces from AMNH’s holdings. Artifacts on view include a massive 58-foot-long sperm-whale skeleton, items made from whale bones (such as weaponry and jewelry), and interactive elements that allow visitors to crawl through a replica of a blue-whale’s heart or to watch a re-creation of a sperm whale diving to unfathomable depths to catch a giant squid for supper (we really, really hope it ends up in a showdown). The exhibit will also examine the developing relationship between humans and whales, from the Maori whale-riding tradition to today’s conservation efforts.

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American Museum of Natural History Sat Mar 23 - Sun Jan 5

See Stephen Adly Guirgis and Lynn Nottage at the 92nd Street Y

Critics' pick

This bill features two of the best playwrights working today, both New Yorkers. Guirgis nails the impassioned yearning of the city’s desperate, repentant sinners (in their own vernacular), in plays that include prison drama Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train and Broadway's The Motherfucker in the Hat. Nottage channels the struggle and pain of black women, be they a turn-of-the-20th-century seamstress (Intimate Apparel) or a Mother Courage–like business owner in the Congo (Ruined). Don’t be surprised if some of their actor friends show up to help out.

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92nd Street Y 09 May 2013

Roll with your homies at Wednesday Night Skate

At this hump-day social, dozens of skaters cruise around the city for two hours along a different route each week—the group has previously wheeled through Central Park, Queens, Brooklyn and even Jersey. All skill levels are welcome as long as you can stop and turn, and because you'll be rolling on the road, helmets and wrist guards are obligatory. The hobnobbing continues postskate at Mumbles bar and restaurant (179 Third Ave at 17th St; 212-477-6066, mumblesnyc.com), which is also where the gang heads when the event gets rained out.

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Union Square Wed Apr 3 - Wed Oct 30 Free

Sit down while others stand up for a cure

Critics' pick

After returning last fall to both his comedic and geographic roots, Jerry Seinfeld gives fans another opportunity to catch this carefully crafted hour of silliness about everything from hydration to marriage. During the show Stand-Up for a Cure, which benefits medical research and treatment, Seinfeld will be joined by his good pal, caustic NYC everyman Colin Quinn.

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Theater at Madison Square Garden 17 Apr 2013

Join the AIDS Walk New York

Critics' pick

You’re good at walking. Deploy your talent for a great cause at this 10K (6.2-mile) walkathon that starts and ends in Central Park—it’s also the largest AIDS fund-raising event in the world. Beyond benefiting Gay Men’s Health Crisis and more than 40 other tristate-area AIDS service organizations, the intent is to raise awareness of the continuing fight against HIV and AIDS. Though registration is free, walkers are encouraged to raise money through pledges and sponsorship.  aidswalk.net/newyork

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Central Park Free

Meet fellow bibliophiles at Lit Crawl Brooklyn

Critics' pick

This gratis event combines two of Brooklynites’ favorite things—literature and booze—into one multivenue fest. Details are still to be announced for this year’s incarnation, but the organizers say it will be an expanded version of 2012’s, which took place in locales all over Cobble Hill, including bar 61 Local, independent store BookCourt, the Micro Museum and more, and featured authors like Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and journals such as Electric Literature and Tin House. Expect 2013’s crawl to stretch out across more than 20 venues and include readings, workshops and plenty of imbibing.

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Various venues Until Sat May 18 Free

Experience romance and tragedy at New York Live Arts

Critics' pick

Japanese experimental choreographer Yasuko Yokoshi has collaborated with Masumi Seyama, an 82-year-old master teacher of the Kabuki Su-odori style of dance. As New York Live Arts’ resident commissioned artist, Yokoshi premieres BELL, a contemporary reimagining of the classical Japanese dance Kyoganoko Musume-Dojoji (“A Woman and a Bell at the Dojoji Temple”), which also draws inspiration from the ballet Giselle. Romance and tragedy never get old.

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New York Live Arts Tue Mar 19 - Sat Mar 23

Get high and watch a film

Now in its 17th year, the Rooftop Films alfresco series hosts screenings of smartly curated indie docs, shorts and features at locations around the city (although you’ll often find them on the Open Road Rooftop on the LES, or the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus). To top it off, performances by buzzworthy music acts precede the feature and there’s almost always an after-party. The lineup for 2013 will be announced in April, visit rooftopfilms.com for updates.

Welcome the weird and the wonderful back to Coney Island in May

Critics' pick

Hurricane (fine, Superstorm, sheesh you people are pedants) Sandy did a number on Sideshows by the Seashore, the space for Coney Island USA’s off-kilter events and variety shows, and the home of the Coney Island Museum. A focus on rebuilding means there’s no Noisefest parade or Congress of Curious Peoples this year, but the institution makes its return with the Olde Time Strongman Spectacular on May 19, a free show (VIP seating $25) outside the building with astounding feats of brawn. That’s followed by the season’s first Burlesque at the Beach on May 23 and Sideshow on May 24. Check coneyisland.com closer to the time for details.

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Coney Island

Get down at Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Critics' pick

Bryce and Aaron Dessner, the twin guitarist-composers behind the National, are bringing their weekend-long music fest back to BAM after a stellar debut last year. Named for Walt Whitman’s 1855 poem about a trip across the East River, CBF showcases NYC’s top-notch musicians, composers, singer-songwriters and DJs. This year’s lineup is still pending, but if last year’s is any indication (it included the Walkmen, St. Vincent, Beirut and the JACK Quartet, to name just a few), expect the crème de la crème of indie rock, postclassical, Afrobeat and more. $50.

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Fort Greene

Find Brooklyn cool in Chelsea Market at the Artists & Fleas pop-up

Critics' pick

After going strong in Brooklyn for a decade, cofounder Ronen Glimer says, A&F is “bringing cool back to Chelsea Market” (burn!), with a monthly pop-up featuring 30 makers and their wares. Score affordable art from Kevin Marcell, who screenprints iconic New York scenes onto old city cycling maps ($25–$55), or dig through impeccably curated boho-chic women’s vintage clothing ($48–$1,200) from Gypsy Nation (gypsynationvintage.com). Watch out for details regarding an end-of-spring trunk show dedicated to accessories and jewelry.

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Chelsea Market Sat Mar 2 - Sun Jun 2

Dock for Fleet Week

Critics' pick

Each year, members of the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps gather in New York City to celebrate the seafaring wing of our armed forces. The week kicks off with the Parade of Sail, a flotilla of visiting vessels and tall ships that cruise along the Hudson River, and the festivities continue into the week with musical performances, military demonstrations and a Memorial Day ceremony. There’s also the chance to visit in-service ships docked in city harbors. And then, of course, there’s the sight of Navy men and women on shore leave, taking in the sights, engaging in high jinks and making us swoon. Locations vary, visit militarynews.com/fleetweeknewyork for details.

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Various locations Thu May 23 - Thu May 30

Get fit at the Central Park Circuit

Critics' pick

Trade in your gym membership for a free workout in Manhattan's shared backyard, thanks to Central Park Conservancy. Trainers Rich Fortunat and Whitney Jacobs helped design this outdoor circuit that utilizes park facilities—such as benches, stairs, hills and lawns—in cardio and strength-building routines. Conservancy members have first dibs on trainer-led workouts, which take place on Tuesdays (6:30–7:30pm, Great Lawn at 81st St) and Thursdays (6:30–7:30pm, Great Hill at 106th St) over spring (May 14–June 20) and summer (July 9–Aug 5). The classes are capped at 20 people, but you can download a PDF of the exercises and view instructional videos at centralparknyc.org/circuit.

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Central Park, Great Hill Tue May 14 - Thu Aug 15

Make a pilgrimage to the Red Hook ball fields

Critics' pick

This collection of Latin-food vendors isn’t the well-kept secret it once was (like five, ten years ago), and trucks on the Red Hook roster such as Vendy Award winners Solber Pupusas and Country Boys can be found around town at the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg (the latter has even opened a new joint in Park Slope). But we think there are still good reasons to make the trip: The neighborhood of Red Hook is a great place to spend a day, we prefer our pupusas on the grass while watching soccer, and this is the final season of the association’s six-year lease. Calm down, they’ll likely reapply and return next year, but remember Carly Simon’s words—you never know what you’ve got till it’s gone. So go get it. Opening late April or early May; check redhookfoodvendors.com or follow @RedHookFoodVend for updates.

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Red Hook

Attend the season's most affordable (and high-minded) gala

Critics' pick

The Poetry and the Creative Mind Gala is a star-studded annual happening that lures poesyphobic New Yorkers with celebrity readers and relatively affordable seats. Big-name proponents of verse, including Jake Gyllenhaal, tout their favorite poems in an evening that supports the worthy Academy of American Poets and helps anchor National Poetry Month.

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Alice Tully Hall (at Lincoln Center) Until Thu Apr 24

Make like a collector at ADAA: The Art Show

Critics' pick

Whether you’re a serious collector or a casual art fan, this vast fair, run by the Art Dealers Association of America, offers the chance to peruse some of the world’s most impressive, museum-quality pieces on the market. Seventy exhibitions feature paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture and multimedia works dating from the 17th century to the present.

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Park Avenue Armory 09 Mar 2014

Celebrate NYC’s bohemian rhapsody

Critics' pick

A new New York Public Library for the Performing Arts series, Rhapsodic City: Music of New York, examines homegrown musical genres such as hip-hop, punk, mambo, salsa, folk revival and Brill Building pop (the name refers to a songwriting epicenter in the 1950s and ’60s) with free talks, performances and screenings of holdings from the library’s holdings. Highlights of the six-week program include Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein discussing punk with Rolling Stone’s Will Hermes (Mar 27 at 6pm), while the Jazz Age Lawn Party’s Michael Arenella hosts an evening looking at the music of the Prohibition Era (Apr 10 at 6pm).

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Upper West Side Free

Learn to keep a secret…

…unlike us, who will reward readers who got this far by blabbing about Secret Cinema, a London-based outfit that holds film screenings in undisclosed locations, with a dress code and interactive-theater experience matching the theme of a movie (which also isn’t revealed). For instance, in summer 2012 an event centered around Prometheus took place in a vast abandoned warehouse in North London, and got attendees to sign up as employees of Brave New Ventures to take a trip to outer space, with Radiohead providing the soundtrack. (Read about the whole shebang on this Secret Cinema webpage.) And now their website declares they’re coming to New York. Get on the list for updates at secretcinema.org and for goodness’ sake, don’t tell anyone you heard about it from us.

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