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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Owen Byrne

15 awesome things to do in NYC this weekend

Jennifer P

Fri 21

Shakespeare’s Birthday Sonnet Slam Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park; 1pm; free
Shakespeare lovers gather for the seventh annual Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Slam, produced by Willful Pictures, in which 154 readers recite the Bard’s prose at the Bandshell in Central Park. Watch some of your favorite NYC performers—including Maulik Pancholy, Richard Thomas, Peter Francis James and Candy Buckley—take on the immortal poems of love. 

#BeerMansion: Brooklyn the Well; 6pm; $60
Immerse yourself in multiple rooms of boozy indulgence at this outrageous mansion party touting unlimited themed drinks from Brooklyn Brewery, LIC Beer Project, KCBC and more. Also enjoy food from Roberta’s, Bunker and Frankel’s; performances from Lost Boy(?), Boytoy and Rips; and several rooms of surprises. Pace yourself.

New York Travel Festival at various locations; 9am; $35–$160
Travel fanatics, industry professionals and dealhunters searching for an affordable getaway will convene in Brooklyn for nonstop panels, exhibitions and more at this enormous convention. Attend talks like "travel as a personal journey" and check out workshops, storytelling and more. By the end of the weekend, you'll have years' worth of trips to book. 

Artexpo New York Pier 94; 4pm; $20, run of show $40
As if NYC weren’t enough of an art mecca, this annual convention of more than 400 leading galleries, artists and publishers packs Pier 94 with stunning works from around the globe. Peruse halls of multimedia pieces, and engage with rising artists during talks and seminars held throughout the day. 

Sat 22

FAD Market Brooklyn Historical Society; 11am; free
Every season, FAD—which stands for Fashion, Art and Design, naturally—takes over a Brooklyn landmark with a horde of independent vendors and creators. Peruse jewelry, clothes, furniture and more from over 45 vendors, grab drinks on the patio and enjoy a free museum tour at this packed day of culture and shopping. 

Spring Ephemeral Papercuttings Class New York Botanical Garden; 10am; $95
What better place to celebrate nature’s beauty than the sprawling lawns and vibrant greenhouses at the New York Botanical Garden? Get inspired by the early spring blooms, then learn to capture their beauty in a paper cutting class taught by silhouette artist Jenny Lee Fowler. Bouquets will eventually wilt and die, but the one-of-a-kind art you create will last forever. 

1 Hotels + mindbodygreen Earth Day Celebration 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge; noon; free
Celebrate Earth Day near one of New York’s best green spaces: Brooklyn Bridge Park! In case you haven’t noticed, the area surrounding the lush park just gained 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge—a mission driven luxury resort. So, to celebrate the hotel chain’s newest location and Mother Nature, the company has teamed up with lifestyle media brand mindbodygreen to offer visitors a full day of free programming and entertainment outside and inside the green hotel. Activities run the gamut from shopping at a local vendor market to getting an astrology reading and wellness checkup. There will also be meditation, yoga and more. The whole event ends with a Live Earth Day performance by Bella Gaia—a multi-sensory stage show about our beautiful planet. Can’t make it to Dumbo, Brooklyn? The hotel’s other chains (1 Hotel Central Park and 1 Hotel South Beach) have awesome Earth Day perks too. Check the event schedule for more details.

Sometimes It’s Prince in April: A Celebration of Prince Littlefield; 10:30am; $7, at the door $10
Dust off your puffy sleeves and attend this tribute to the pop legend, with a deep well of hits and lesser-known gems courtesy of Party Like It's 1999's Steve Reynolds. While your favorite songs play, Music Video Time Machine will serve you some insane music video clips and film appearances. He may be gone, but his music will keep us partying forever. 

Big Apple Brew Fest The Tunnel; noon + 5:30pm; various prices
Get your brew on at this year's Big Apple Brew Fest, an all-things-beer festival with over 100 styles of craft beer plus live music and food from locations like Luke's Lobster, Brooklyn Oyster Party, By Suzette, Mac Truck, Nuchas and many more. This year pays homage to Germany's Octoberfest and with two sessions available, hit the Tunnel on the West Side for a beer fest big enough to call the Big Apple home. Bottoms up!

Unleashing Your Shakti Floating Lotus; 1pm; $44
Fierce females looking to get reacquainted with their bodacious bods should sign up for this Shakti workshop, where you’ll learn how to release stagnant energy through movement, sound healing and journaling exercises. The event, hosted by Confidence and Sexuality Coach Connie DaSilva as well as Life and Business Coach Stephanie Simpson, is bound to help women restore their powerful feminine energy, feel empowered and get their sexy on.

CHIHULY New York Botanical Garden; 10am; $23–$28
Step into the sublimely colorful mind of multimedia artist Dale Chihuly at this larger-than-life exhibition, where over twenty of the celebrated creators' gigantic pieces will take over the gardens. 

The Illuminati Ball, an Immersive Excursion; location TBA; 6pm; $450 per ticket
Get whisked away to a secluded estate in the woods outside the city with 30 other participants for an enchanting dinner, drinks and an Illuminati initiation ceremony filled with intrigue and mystery. From a luxury limousine pickup at a secret location on the Upper East Side to a masked soiree with dances and rituals to special celebrity guests on certain dates, the magic and ambiance of the Illuminati Ball will provide a break from the city grind and give you a night full of surprises.

Sun 23

Brooklyn Mac and Cheeze Takedown The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club; noon; $20
Say cheese and open wide for macaroni goodness. Chefs and homemade mac-and-cheese experts compete to earn the judges' choice of most supreme dish. Cheese lovers can taste mounds of different combos, like bacon mac, lobster mac, you name it. Let the meltdown begin!  

Grand Bazaar NYC; 10am; free
Spend a Sunday afternoon browsing the wares of local artists, designers and vintage dealers at this weekly market. It's a great place to pick up limited-edition art, handmade jewelry, unique home furnishings and tasty artisanal treats. Plus, 100% of the bazaar's net revenue is donated to four neighborhood public schools, so no risk of buyer's remorse here.

Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day Temple Emanu-El; 2pm; free, donation suggested
In honor of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Museum of Jewish Heritage hosts this annual candle-lighting ceremony. Elected officials and community members join Holocaust survivors and their families to honor Jews who lost their lives and to share memories and traditions across generations. 


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