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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Photograph: Lincoln Center

NYC events in April 2021

The best NYC events in April include much-needed outdoor activities at NYC parks, new exhibits and pretty flower shows

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Written by
Shaye Weaver
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The best NYC events in April 2021 are going to make you psyched for spring. Aside from celebrating major holidays like Easter in New York, take a moment to stop and smell the roses at outdoor events like sound walks at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and an Orchid Spotlight at the New York Botanical Garden or check out the newest museum exhibits that we love. Speaking of buds, take advantage of checking out the best NYC parks, while all the flowers and trees are starting to bloom. And there’s even more greenery fun for outdoorsy folks—Earth Day, duh!

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar in 2020

Featured events in April 2020

  • Art
  • Art

"Walk Through the Midst Bloom," a new walk-through pop-up at event venue Absurd Conclave in Bushwick. Put together by event planning company Euphoria, the experience seeks to help attendees "feel and get a glimpse of a field of new vision full of hope, optimism and positivity," reads the happening's official description. "[Our] goal is [for] you to leave this exhibit with a fresh outlook towards a brighter tomorrow." To put it simply, the organizers want you to forget all about the troubles that have defined the past 12 months and just spend some time relaxing, recharging and seeing things from a different perspective. Expect a wide variety of backdrops to define your experience, from a visually striking bed of roses to neon vines and a room filled with colorful balloons. The exhibit is set to run through May 31 and tickets run $15 for kids and $23 for adults. Grab yours right here.

  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife

Billy De Lace is the mastermind behind RebootNYC, a socially-distanced and masked dance party that takes over McCarren Park in Brooklyn every week. Spaced six feet apart around a speaker, hula hoops guarantee proper distancing between each dancer. The happenings are all substance-free and participants are not allowed bring alcohol, touch or talk to each other as the free-flowing dancing begins. In addition to following RebootNYC's official Instagram account, you can learn about the various dance happenings by joining a WhatsApp group.

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  • Art
  • Contemporary art
  • The Bronx

Celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's expansive 2021 exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden is finally set to open this April with outdoor installations across the garden's 250-acre landscape. Four of the projects will be making their NYC debut, the most exciting of which will surely be Infinity Mirrored Room—Illusion Inside the Heart, which will be housed in a cube-shaped structure located out in the open. Featuring mirrored sides, the exterior of the piece will reflect the changing skies while the interior will glow with a seemingly endless array of colored lights. To avoid long lines, timed tickets will be issued to get in. Elsewhere, there will be an interactive greenhouse installation, in which visitors will be invited apply stickers picturing coral-colored blossoms throughout the interior—thus taking part in one of Kusama’s signature "obliteration" pieces. Also on view will be two new outdoor monumental sculptures, the self-explanatory Dancing Pumpkin and a 13-foot high biomorphic form featuring a polka-dotted face called I Want to Fly to the Universe.  The NYBG itself will chime in with special flower bed plantings patterned on Kusama’s paintings and an allée of trees wrapped in polka-dotted fabric. Timed tickets will go on sale to the general public on March 16.

  • Art
  • Art

The first thing people tell you to do when you're stressed is to take a deep breath. Now, a futuristic new art installation in Downtown Brooklyn—at The Plaza at 300 Ashland—is reminding viewers to do just that through 20, nine-foot-tall columns that glow and change their brightness to lead them through a calming breathing technique. The installation is called "Breathing Pavilion" and its by artist Ekene Ijeoma. Visitors must step in the middle of the circle to participate in the experience. Ijeoma created the installation during the pandemic and while the U.S. struggled with systemic racial injustice this past year. The work is supposed to offer sanctuary during a time of "intense hardship and loss," and "suggests a paradigm shift towards communion and meditative stillness, and creates an accessible space of reprieve when the act of breathing itself is under siege," according to The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a not-for-profit local development corporation that collaborated with the Van Alen Institute to bring the work to this location. You can view the installation now through May 11, 2020 and take in some live performances there on Tuesday evenings.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Opening on April 9 at midtown's Lightbox, "Game of 1000 Boxes" isn't about packing up your apartment, it's part game show, part audio-visual thrill ride that offers teams of four a series of challenges. Using 360-degree digital projections, the game takes players through high-energy party games that tap into teamwork, reaction time, puzzle-solving, trivia, social strategy and more to bring teams to a mystery box. High scorers can check back weekly to see if they remain at the top of the game’s leaderboard at Lightbox. The game is open to the public from Friday-Sunday at various times, starting on April 9. You can purchase tickets, which is $140 for four people, at 1000boxes.game and on Instagram @1000boxesnyc.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Citi Field and other sporting arenas are finally opening so you can take in a game with hotdog in hand.  Beginning April 1, professional sports in large outdoor stadiums that hold 10,000 people or more will be allowed to reopen at 20% capacity. This means about 8,492 fans can attend the Mets’ home opener against the Miami Marlins on April 8 and similar numbers at the Yankees' home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 1.

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  • Theater
  • Theater & Performance

Could Blindness, a new Off Broadway performance set to take over the Daryl Roth Theater in Union Square starting April 2, be the future of the New York arts scene for the time being? Perhaps. The Walter Meierjohann-directed spectacle, which mounted a run in London this past August, is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning José Saramago. Before you start picturing yourself attending a traditional theater production, we should warn you that, although playing indoors, the show does not feature any live actors. Guests are invited to attend in pods of two while wearing masks and following temperature checks. Works for us. According to the show's official website, the socially-distanced sound and light experience will feature "state of the art design [that] unveils the gripping story of a world changed forever, reminding us that from the darkness, we will all emerge stronger." Given its topic and themes (including psychological trauma and assault), the 70-minute show is recommended for those who are 15 and older. 

  • Art
  • Art

A new public art installation in Long Island City is out of this world. Titled LIC is a Galaxy, the new neighborhood-wide installation from Long Island City Partnership features 20 fiberglass spheres placed in tree pits throughout the district. Five different Queens-based artists were selected to each paint four different “planets” for the installation which were all inspired by the vibrancy and creativity of the neighborhood. They were all manufactured by LIC-based fabricator Sculpture House NYC and the process for selecting the artists was overseen by Culture Lab LIC.

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  • Art
  • Art

Geometric Properties: An Immersive Audio-Visual Journey Through Fractal Dimensions,” is the first solo exhibition of Dutch artist Julius Horsthuis’ work to come to NYC. Previously, his work has been featured in Manchester by the Sea and through collaborations with musical artists like ODESZA, Meshuggah and Birds of Paradise. He uses fractals to create alternate science fiction-like realities using visual art and motion graphics, and they are a real trip, to say the least. The digital art destination on Manhattan’s west side (it’s literally located in Chelsea Market’s former boiler room) is opening the new show on March 1, and it will be on view through September 6. If you want to stop by and check out the endless geometric iterations and fractional dimensions for yourself—you frickin' fractal freak you—tickets cost $24 for adults and $17 for children. (Pro tip: New York and New Jersey residents receive a $5 discount on tickets on weekdays.)

  • Art
  • Art

"Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America," a new exhibition that has taken over almost the entirety of the New Museum and is set to stay put until June 6, explores the history of racist violence all throughout the United States. Back in 2018, curator Okwui Enwezor began working on the project, hoping to mount it by last year's Presidential election. Unfortunately, the curator's passing in 2019 and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced a shift in plans that delayed the show's opening to last week. In total, the work of 37 Black artists currently fills the museum's lobby, its three main viewing floors, the building's exterior and the South Gallery found in the building next door. Expect to browse through the amazing works of artists the likes of Kara Walker, who is the brain behind an entire wall filled with sketches and drawings; LaToya Ruby Frazier, who contributes over a dozen photographs from her "The Notion of Family" series; and Jean-Michael Basquiat, whose "Procession" can be glanced at as soon as the elevator doors open on the third floor. The show is a powerful one, with images ranging in style, theme and scope, but one that is necessary to delve into today more than ever. Given COVID-19-related guidelines, visitors have to purchase timed tickets ahead of their trip. Feel free to do so right here.

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  • Art
  • Art

As part of the much-discussed New York Arts Revival project, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts just announced its plans to create a giant outdoor performing arts center that will include ten different performance and rehearsal spaces. Dubbed Restart Stages, the effort was crafted with the help of medical and public health professionals, ensuring that all staff, future audiences and artists will be protected by COVID-19-related safety protocols. The initiative will officially kick off on April 7 with a special performance for healthcare workers. New Yorkers can expect a varied programming slate, including a concert and cabaret series by the Lincoln Center Theater, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's annual summer evening concerts, dance workshops led by the New York City Ballet and film screenings by Film at Lincoln Center.

The breadth and scope of the various outdoor spaces is sure to excite you as well: the organization has promised an outdoor reading room created in partnership with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, a cabaret-style stage on Hearst Plaza, a slew of rehearsal venues, dedicated family areas with arts activities for the youngsters and even a space for public school graduations. Talk about a memorable life event.

 

  • Things to do

Enjoy the (finally!) thawing weather by checking out these great things to do for Easter. NYC offers a range of things to do outside, from egg hunts—yes, even for adults—to a silly Easter Bonnet Parade and a boozy brunch cruise. In case the weather is lousy, head indoors to one of the city’s best New York attractions for the annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. 

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  • Movies

Robert De Niro and co.’s Tribeca Film Festival has long shown a spotlight on local indie features, documentaries, foreign films, the latest from big-name talent and the greatest from up-and-coming filmmakers. We’ve got your complete one-stop-shopping guide to this year’s festival: our personal must-see picks, showtimes, ticket info, a list of nearby bars and restaurants and oh-so-much more.

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

There’s nothing like a day of worshipping our planet to put an optimistic spin on dwindling resources, rising sea levels and the alarming acceleration of climate change. Head to this annual street fair to get familiar with dozens of environmental non-profits and green businesses, then kick back and enjoy some live performances while you plot how to up your eco-friendly game.

Looking for more things to do?

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  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

It’s no secret that New Yorkers are stressed, but when it comes to unwinding, we’re pretty competitive about that too—that’s where the best spas in NYC come in. The city boasts some of the most luxurious spas in the country, but affordable spa treatments also abound. So get inspired with birthday party ideas in NYC or date night ideas in NYC and book yourself a treatment at one of our favorite New York City spas.

RECOMMENDED: A complete guide to Spa Week in NYC

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  • Travel

With a long winter before us, escaping New York City on a secluded getaway is at the top of our list. We're craving a respite from the busy lives we lead in NYC and are seeking to snowshoe in the Adirondacks, walk solo in Rhode Island, roast marshmallows at an isolated campsite in the Catskills, and more. These spots make for ideal trips during times of global crisis and not. As fun-filled as camping sites, cycling and hiking trails are, there is something about going a bit farther away that makes for more memorable times—especially given the current travel restrictions in placeSo, without further ado, in no particular order, here are the best secluded getaways to take from New York to escape the crowds. 

NOTE: Although our list has been vetted, re-opening guidelines in the New York area are constantly changing. Reach out to specific venues and destinations before planning a trip. 

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