Your perfect Sunday
Wed May 18 2011
Wear a party hat and celebrate a birthday
Help Coney Island amusement hub Luna Park (1000 Surf Ave between 8th and 12th Sts, Coney Island, Brooklyn; 718-373-5862, lunaparknyc.com; 11am--1am; prices vary; check website for details) ring in its first birthday today. The first 1,000 people who purchase a ticket will get a bag full of party favors (including paper hats and noise makers), while the first 100 people in line for a spin on the Air Race (a fighter-jet simulator) will ride for free. The birthday festivities kick into high gear with performances from the park's Lunatic Dance Team, a set from DJ Solo and a supersized birthday cake. And since you've already made the trek out to the beach, take advantage of other attractions along the boardwalk—for suggestions on where to go, check out our Coney Island guide.
See another side of Central Park
Get the scoop on New York's most famous park with one or both of two free tours: The Art of the Park (meet at the north side of Tavern on the Green, Central Park, enter at 67th St and Central Park West; centralparknyc.org; noon; free) sets out from the iconic Tavern on the Green building and heads to fairy-tale-looking Belvedere Castle. Along the way, you'll hear about how the landscapers planned out the park's romantic vistas and bucolic settings. For a deeper exploration of the area's history, travel a few blocks north to hear about Manhattan's first African-American community of property owners while on the Seneca Village Tour (meet at the southeast corner of Central Park West and 85th St; centralparknyc.org; 2pm; free). Either one will also be a perfect primer for staking out a plot for a picnic or reading session later in the day.
Stroll through art-lined streets
More than eight decades ago, New York artists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning propped up a few of their paintings in Washington Square Park and called it a show. A lot has changed since then: Now, more than 120 artists and artisans—including painters, sculptors, jewelers and glassblowers—set up camp under tents during the Washington Square Park Outdoor Art Exhibit (from W 3rd St and Washington Sq East to E 12th St and University Pl; wsoae.org; Sat 28--Mon 30, June 4, 5 noon--6pm; free), which stretches across the park and up almost the entire length of University Place.
Make your day a bit sweeter
Beekeeping was legalized in New York City last year, which is good news for aspiring apiculturists. (But if you're allergic—or an insectophobe—you may want to steer clear.) Learn the basics of cultivating a beehive during Beekeeping with Ross Ber (Fort Tryon Park, Linden Terrace, enter at Margaret Corbin Circle, Cabrini Blvd and Fort Washington Ave; 212-795-1388, ext 306; forttryonparktrust.org; 1--2:30pm; free). Ber—the brains behind the aptly named apiary Berz Beez—will explain why you should be keen on luring these insects to the city (it's not just for honey), and he'll bring along one of his hives so you can watch the bees at work.
Root, root, root for the home team
Few things are more American than watching a baseball game, so hop on the 7 and head to Queens to watch the Mets (Citi Field, Roosevelt Ave at 123rd St, Flushing, Queens; 718-507-8499, mets.com; 1:10pm; $10--$457). The Amazin's may be at the bottom of their division, but the team is showing signs of life—see if it can whup the asses of its NL East rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. You'll want to get there early: Not only do the first 25,000 fans through the gates get a free baseball card of a current player, but the line for Shake Shack—where you can nosh on a Shackburger ($6.25) and concrete ($6.75)—forms almost immediately.
Walk in the footsteps of a literary giant
Civic-minded group the Municipal Art Society celebrates New Yorker and great American poet Walt Whitman (whose birthday approaches on May 31) with Walt Whitman's New York walking tour (meet at the southwest corner of Bleecker St and Broadway; mas.org/tours; 2pm; $15, members $10). The jaunt travels through Whitman's old stomping grounds around Greenwich Village and Tribeca; architectural historian Francis Morrone will take participants to the former minstrel halls, rathskellers and newspaper offices frequented by the poet.
The undead rise again for the fourth NYC Zombie Crawl (meet at the Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; nyczombiecrawl.com; 4pm; free). The gory festivities begin with a meet-up and mixer, before the bloody hordes do their best Night of the Living Dead impression and lurch down Bedford Avenue (footage will be used in Doug Sakmann's film Punk Rock Holocaust 3). Then, brain-munchers will gather at Public Assembly (70 North 6th St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-384-4586, publicassemblynyc.com; 8pm) for an after-party, featuring zombie burlesque, live music and blood wrestling (imagine Jell-O wrestling, but substitute that slippery substance with fake blood).
Partake in poetry, admire art
This three-day 16th Annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts (Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave between 9th and 10th Sts; 212-254-1109, theaterforthenewcity.net; Fri 27--Sun 29; free), celebrating the culture of the neighborhood, culminates today with the Poetry Jam with Prose on the Side (4--7:30pm). Performance artist Richard West will memorialize his friend and Beat poet Tuli Kupferberg, and aspiring bards will get a chance to share their verses at an open mike.
Get a double dose of folk
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros frontman Alexander Ebert brings his latest project, Alexander and Fam, to the Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 North 6th St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-486-5400, musichallofwilliamsburg.com; 9pm; $20). Expect similarly folksy melodies and catchy choruses to his previous projects. And don't miss opening act He's My Brother She's My Sister, which mixes bluesy tunes and tap-dance routines to wholesome effect—even if they're singing about drunken nights and other debauchery.
Gear up for a glam evening
Party planners Michael T., Benjamin Ickies, Shien Lee and Twig the Wonderkid (who we recently profiled) host tonight's Oh! You Pretty Things: The New Romantics bash ([Le] Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St at Thompson St; 212-505-3474, lepoissonrouge.com; 9pm; $20, advance $15). This time around, the festivities focus on the New Romantic scene, featuring a fashion show (and DJ set) from Wren Britton, of creepy-cool jewelry line Purevile; meanwhile, there'll be live music from Revel Hotel, This Ambitious Orchestra and Michael T.'s own group, the Vanities. And there is, of course, a dress code: The organizers suggest blitz-kid or Victorian garb, so don't skimp on the frilly lace and eyeliner.