Get us in your inbox

Search

53 wonderful things happening in New York this May

By Jaz Joyner
Advertising

COOL THINGS TO DO

May 1, 2
Bike Expo New YorkPier 36 at Basketball City
Cyclists gather round at this annual fest for two-wheeler enthusiasts in downtown Manhattan. Whether you want to get started with urban cycling, learn how to fix a flat tire, or just gawk at top-shelf bikes, this expo is a one-stop shop.

May 5–10
RadioLoveFestBrooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
The unapologetically nerdy event features live tapings of some of your favorite podcasts like Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, plus panel discussions with several on-air personalities.

May 8
Night Lights; Wave Hill 
Fun fact: Did you know 2015 was named International Year of Light? This year's show features Chris Doyle's new, luminous outdoor installation, The Lightening: A Project for Wave Hill’s Aquatic Garden.

May 18
Ask Me Another; The Bell House
The NPR quiz podcast hosts a live taping at the Bell House that's sure to boggle your mind with trivia, puzzles and wordplay. 

May 27
Shakespeare in the ParkDelacorte Theater
Hear, hear—the free outdoor series returns! This year features the lovable Sam Waterston of The Newsroom in the lead role of Prospero in The Tempest, and award-winning director of last year's King Lear, Daniel Sullivan, for Cymbeline

AWESOME THINGS TO SEE

May 1
Avengers: Age of Ultronopens in theaters 
The Marvelverse expands yet further, in the summer’s first blockbuster.

May 5
The FlickBarrow Street Theatre
It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013, and now Annie Baker’s offbeat but tender portrait of movie-theater losers returns Off Broadway for an extended run.

May 11
The Painted Rocks at Revolver CreekPershing Square Signature Center
The great South African playwright-director Athol Fugard presents a new work about a black farm laborer who was an artist in another life.

May 15
Mad Max: Fury Road; opens in theaters 
Rebooting his brilliant and revolutionary Mad Max series, director George Miller hits the postapocalyptic wasteland once again, this time with Tom Hardy in the title role.

Pitch Perfect 2; opens in theaters 
If you’re seeing this on opening day, you either hate Mad Max movies or you’re an extremely supportive boyfriend. Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson are back for more a cappella shenanigans.

May 19
PermissionLucille Lortel Theatre
His splendidly rude Hand to God is currently running on Broadway, and now Robert Askins has a new religious satire in which a couple tries to live by the rules. 

May 20
The Way We Get By; Second Stage Theatre
The prolific and provocative Neil LaBute shows what happens in the aftermath of a drunken wedding hookup. Thomas Sadoski and Amanda Seyfried star.

May 22
Tomorrowland; opens in theaters 
Brad Bird is the animation genius who smartened up the genre with The Incredibles. He’s made a decent run in live action as well (Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol); his latest effort stars George Clooney and looks like a popcorn-munching fantasy.

May 28
An Act of God; Studio 54
Playing the one and only Supreme Being, Jim Parsons opens on Broadway in a solo piece about ruling over all of space, time and existence—and maybe how hard it is to get a cab in midtown.

May 29
San Andreas; opens in theaters 
Don’t even pretend you’re not ready for some disaster porn come the warm-weather months. This one features Dwayne Johnson, True Detective’s Alexandra Daddario and the titular California fault line.

TASTY PLACES TO EAT 

May 1
Five Boro Craft Beer Fest; Studio Square NYC 
Grab a two-ounce tasting glass and take to the taps for samples of more than 100 craft beers from 44 NYC brewers (Finback, Gin Hill) as live bands bellow in the background.

May 9 
NYC Spring Wine Festival; Broad Street Ballroom 
Sip your way through 200 vino samples—from deep reds to bright whites curated by Vintry Fine Wines—during this walk-around ballroom tasting, and don’t forget to chow down on the charcuterie and crudités.

May 14–17
Harlem EatUp!; various locations 
Explore upper Manhattan during this four-day food fest celebrating Harlem's culture and cuisine, with tastings, cooking demos and celeb-chef appearances (Bobby Flay, Amanda Freitag) at the nabe’s iconic joints.

May 16, 17
Ninth Avenue International Food Festival 
Head over to Hell’s Kitchen for the city’s oldest and largest food festival, and celebrate local food spots like Daisy May’s BBQ and Poseidon Greek Bakery as they set up shop on Ninth, street-market–style.

ASTONISHING DANCE PERFORMANCES 

Through May 4
Lyon Opera Ballet; Joyce Theater
This revered European—always a welcome addition to the Joyce's season–group presents three works by William Forsythe, Benjamin Millepied and Emanuel Gat.

May 8–17
Rennie Harris RHAW; New Victory Theater
The hip-hop master presents this young company in LUV: American Style, in which a teenage boy searches for purpose in life. 

May 11–Jul 4
American Ballet Theatre 2015Metropolitan Opera House (at Lincoln Center)
In its spring season, ABT offers a wealth of classics, from Romeo and Juliet to Swan Lake and Giselle, along with a program of historic company repertory in keeping with the troupe's 75th anniversary. There will be three ballerina departures as well: Xiomara Reyes, Paloma Herrera and the ever-resplendent Julie Kent.

May 26–31
Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature; Joyce Theater
After postponing her evening of dance, Restless Creature, at the Joyce last year, due to an injury, the ballerina is back with four duets created by Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo.

Through Jun 7
New York City Ballet Spring 2015; David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center)
The company offers a spring season filled to the brim with a number of ballets choreographed by George Balanchine, Peter Martins's staging of La Sylphide and the full-length A Midsummer Night's Dream.

FANTASTIC SHOWS TO SEE

May 1–Sep 20
"Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television"The Jewish Museum
This exhibit looks at how early television borrowed many of its style cues from Modern Art—everything from CBS's "eye" logo to countless sets for game shows, variety shows and news broadcasts, etc, designed with sleek midcentury lines.

May 1–Sep 27
“America Is Hard To See”Whitney Museum of American Art
It's finally here! The new and improved Whitney home in MePa that's supposed to finally put to rest the museum's rep as the also-ran of New York's major art institutions. 

May 9–Oct 25
"Gilbert & George: The Early Years"; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
The famed Brit "living sculptures" duo got their start in the late 1960s when they gave Conceptual Art a sardonic, Edwardian twist. MoMA delves into its holdings to examine those defining years with photos, videos, drawings and assorted ephemera.

May 12–Aug 16
"Van Gogh: Irises and Roses"Metropolitan Museum of Art
This show reunites two pairs of still-lifes representing two different versions of two subjects: irises and roses. Van Gogh painted all of these canvases near the end of his stay at an asylum in Saint-Rémy in Provence, France, where he had committed himself in 1889.

May 17–Sep 7
"Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971"Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Before she “broke up" the Beatles, Yoko Ono was an artist with considerable reputation as a conceptual and performance artist. MoMA examines Ono and her work in the years prior to her celebrity status.

CONCERTS TO GO CRAZY AT

May 11
Azealia Banks; Irving Plaza 
Banks brings her appealing blend of hip-hop, pop and dance music—as well as tons of NYC attitude—for this hometown date.

May 14–17
Wayne Shorter Festival; various locations
Every local appearance by this 81-year-old legend is a major jazz event, but this festival, featuring a collaboration with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, sounds downright unmissable.

May 16
Lightning Bolt; Le Poisson Rouge
More than two decades after it formed, the skull-rattling, wildly exhilarating duo of bassist Brian Gibson and drummer Brian Chippendale touches down in NYC for two whirlwind gigs.

May 18
FKA twigs; Brooklyn Hangar
The artpop auteur hosts an immersive stage spectacle, sure to be an epic event, as part of the Red Bull Music Academy.

May 28
Hudson Mohawke; Irving Plaza
The young producer—known for his work with Kanye—takes center stage behind a new album, Lantern.

INTERESTING AUTHOR EVENTS

May 2
Free Comic Book Day; Various locations
This year, Bergen Street Comics hosts a Superman-themed comic book event where you can nab the superhero's classic stories completely gratis from various NYC shops.

May 4–10
PEN World Voices Festival; Various locations
This massive festival, now in its 11th year, brings together 100 writers from 30 countries to contemplate change, international politics and the value of free speech. 

May 8
Karl Ove Knausgaard with Rivka Galchen; 92nd Street Y
Knausgaard’s six-part memoir My Struggle is a literary phenomenon, and it’s not a secret—this is his only NYC event with seats still available.

May 11
Brooklyn Poets Yawp; 61 Local
Think you can’t write poetry? Give instructor Natalie Eilbert one hour for a verse lesson, and your talent might surprise you.

COMEDY SHOWS TO CHECK OUT 

May 6-14
John Leguizamo; The Creek and the Cave
The actor reminds us of his stand-up roots with his no-doubt-intriguing curation of a week’s worth of shows at the Creek and the Cave.

May 7-10
Jeff Garlin; Carolines on Broadway 
The Curb Your Enthusiasm star brings his likable stand-up to Carolines for four nights—expect a big bowl of laughs.

May 21-24
Craig Robinson; Carolines on Broadway 
Prepare to be blown away by the Hot Tub Time Machine star’s musical and comedy talents at Carolines.

May 25-29
Ted Alexandro; The Creek and the Cave
The delightfully measured Alexandro presents a week’s worth of handpicked shows at the Creek and the Cave.

May 29, 30
Richard Lewis; Carolines on Broadway 
The man with more than 100 appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman brings his trademark brand of comedic kvetching to Carolines.

WONDERFUL LGBT EVENTS

May 1
Dream: Spunk No. 10 Launch; The Eagle
Aaron Tilford fetes the latest edition of his queer arts zine with a night of dancing, performance and more.

May 2
Amber Martin: The Days of My Live; Joe's Pub at the Public Theater
Downtown superstar Amber Martin charts her journey from Texas beauty queen to New York artist in this night of music and stories.

May 8–9
Fourth Annual New York Boylesque Festival; Multiple venues
Male bumpers and grinders strip down (in an artistic way!) at this two-night flesh fest.

May 14–17
Urban Bear Weekend; Various locations
Woof! Burly guys (and their many friends and admirers) frolic in the concrete forest at parties, drink-ups and a very fuzzy street fair.

May 24
Horse Meat Disco NY Residency; Cielo
No work Monday! The London DJ collective comes to NYC for your long-weekend dancing pleasure.

ACE PLACES TO SHOP

May 1
Quinn sale
Light, breezy garb for spring trimmed up to 80 percent off? Yes, please!

May 1–2
Khirma New York sale
You wouldn’t jump at the chance to spend a month’s rent on a swanky designer handbag, but when that snakeskin clutch is slashed 80 percent off, you'd better pounce on it.

May 1–3
Maje sample sale
This brand’s first-ever sample sale abounds with last year’s trends, but since leather jackets never go out of style, you’ll want to snag one while it's wallet-friendly.

May 1–4
AG Jeans sample sale
Alexa Chung gave this already-popular denim brand her seal of approval, so you should totally stock up on jeans while the price is right.

May 4–5
Nine Threads & KC Signatures sale
Want to nab cute baubles and accessories for five bucks a piece? Of course you do!

Recommended

    Popular on Time Out

      Latest news

        Read next

          Advertising