Now that spring is in full swing there’s certainly no shortage of outstanding NYC events in May 2017. We encourage you to find things to do outside, and take in all the greenery by visiting some of the best NYC parks while the flowers are in full-bloom. As for the month’s major holidays, don’t miss out on all the awesome things to do for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. There’s also incredible spring festivals showcasing some of the best art and music.
RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2017
Featured events in May 2017
You can do better than a dozen carnations for Mother’s Day this year to show Mom how much you love her and how well you know her. After all, she brought you into the world, so the least you can do is show your appreciation. Check out this list of things to do on Mother’s Day including the best restaurants in NYC to take her to, the best shops in NYC for gifts, spas in NYC for a relaxing day, flower shops for the perfect bouquet—basically, how to spoil the most important lady you know.
Summer is coming a little early to New York City Harbor this year as Time Out New York teams up with Hornblower Cruises & Events to throw an epic celebration on the Hudson! Wear your flippy-floppies and get psyched for this three-hour party cruise, which includes an open bar (drink up!), delicious hors d’oeuvres and killer local DJs playing across the yacht’s four floors. Let's not forget about the stunning views of the New York skyline—oh, and did we mention three hours of unlimited booze?
The season for things to do outside has arrived along with lush trees and blooming tulips at NYC parks. So what better way to spend an afternoon than by soaking up the sun during the annual celebration of Japan Day? NYC will bring Japan to you at this fun festival, and judging by the lineup of performances, activity tents and other attractions, it’s safe to say that this massive cultural event is certainly one of the best things to do in spring.
With a growing network of bike lanes and the ever-expanding Citi Bike program, Gotham is becoming ever more cycle-friendly. Here’s what you need to know in order to bike New York, from the best shops for a new set of wheels and how to make use of New York’s bike-share program.You can also get outdoors in New York or plan some weekend getaways and cycle to your heart’s content.
On Memorial Day 2017, NYC will kick off the start to summer with tons of events. Memorial Day isn’t just about day-drinking and savoring the long weekend—it’s also about honoring the men and women who have died while serving in our armed forces. So before you chow down on the best BBQ in the city and line up for the best Memorial Day sample sales, remember the sacrifices made for the red, white and blue.
Ahoy, sailors! Fleet Week NYC 2017 is a seven-day celebration in New York City, which honors the members of the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. Every year, the weeklong party kicks off with the Parade of Ships—a flotilla of visiting vessels and tall ships that cruise along the Hudson river—and continues with military demonstrations, a Memorial Day ceremony and more outstanding things to do around some great New York attractions.
Free NYC events in May 2017
Jeffrey Emerson, Jill Weiner and Brian Moran host this weekly night of stellar stand-up featuring a diverse range of comedians, including known names like Matteo Lane and Farah Brook and newcomers like Menuhin Hart and Melissa Diaz. The April 3 edition features Megan Walsh, Colin Lewis, Ja-Ron Young and Haley Sacks.
At this massive grub hub, there’s only one rule: Come hungry. The Brooklyn Flea spin-off draws more than 10,000 visitors per day with a slew of 75 to 100 incredible food vendors. Our pro tip? Make sure you peruse the lineup before you go—those mouthwatering scents and the bevy of choices can make you dizzy (and the dense crowds can make you hangry).
Nothing strengthens a relationship like wading into water and having to count on your partner to keep a skinny boat afloat, so bring your dad along to kayak on the Hudson. You'll get to go out on the water for 20-minute sessions, after a brief lesson, of course, which is just enough time to bond before your arms get tired.
This Lower East Side flea, now in it's eighth season, hosts one of the best collections of vendors in Manhattan, with more upstarts joining the fray each week. Standouts from recent years and who have gotten their start at the fair include include Macaron Parlour, Petee’s Pie Company, Melt Bakery, La New Yorkina, Arancini Bros and Cheeky Sandwich.
After spending nearly a year getting sequins and glitter out of their bedsheets, NYC’s mermaids and seamen are ready to undo all their hard work. Join a packed crowd on Coney Island’s streets for an epic procession of wild floats, barely clad revelers and beachside celebrating. Now in its 35th year, the world’s largest arts parade welcomes partyers of all ages to rejoice in kitsch, camp and craft, but those who are serious about their scales can register to win iconic titles, including best sea creature, best motorized float, King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.
This city tradition feels fresh every spring when artists following in the footsteps of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning set up shop in the park. Hundreds of exhibitors, from NYU students to artists who remember the Village as a creative enclave, display their paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry and woodcraft.
One and One hosts this local talent showcase every Friday, with Phil Stamato, Daniel Raderstrong and Fume Abe wrangling acts from across town to headline the bill. Past guests have included Myq Kaplan, Shane Torres and Aparna Nancherla. After the show, performers get the weekend started by joining the audience for a lively afterparty. This week features Brooklyn fan-favorites Alingon Mitra, Anna Drezen, Sonia Denis and Nick Vatterott.
Music events in May 2017
Back around 2004, pop songstress Jojo penned a megahit that charted No.1 on Billboard‘s mainstream Top 40, signed a a seven-album deal with Blackground Records and released a platinum-selling debut album. Most impressive about those stats? She was 12. After a decade-long struggle with label woes and legal snafus, the star recently returned to the spotlight with a hook-heavy third studio album, Mad Love—and it sounds like the time away has only matured her R&B pipes.
You already know Carter is an iconic bassist. And, well, even if you don't, chances are you own a record that features his playing—the guy continues to hold the title of "most recorded jazz bassist" (Miles Davis! A Tribe Called Quest!). The vet's been leading several sparkling ensembles the past few years, but no word yet as to who's on hand here at his 80th birthday celebrations. Regardless, you can rest assured the talent will be world-class.
Get yourself to Greenwich Village for this show, featuring Syrian star Omar Souleyman, whose fame has been fueled by three Sublime Frequencies compilations, a hit YouTube video and a potent endorsement from Björk on NPR. His manic electronic take on the Syrian dabke is designed for frenzied dancing at weddings, and attracted the attention of venerable electronic whiz Kieran Hebden—a.k.a Four Tet—who produced Souleyman's Wenu Wenu.
Mastodon tempers its doom-thrash onslaught with prog, boogie and psychedelic pop, as heard to great effect on 2015's Once More ’Round the Sun. The hard-rocking Atlanta juggernaut plays alongside instru-metal technicians Russian Circles, who construct towering riffscapes that occasionally veer from brutal to cinematic, and California rock dudes Eagles of Death Metal.
San Francisco songwriter Ty Segall typically follows a timeworn formula, in which welcoming pop melodies come layered in antisocial fuzz. Thankfully, his newly released ninth studio album—and second self-titled record, following his 2008 debut—doesn't stray from those tendencies. Grab some Polish sausage while you catch the prolific glam-psych mastermind live at Brooklyn's Warsaw.
The xx manages to communicate volumes in its elegant, subdued and understatedly sensual songs. The last time the deservedly fussed-over London trio touched down in the city, the transmissions were fittingly intimate: a 25-show residency with 40 people at each gig. In support of the newly released third studio album, I See You, though, the band notches the volume back up as it returns to the stadium stage.
Intense young English neofolk singer Laura Marling emerged from the celebrated London scene that gave us Mumford & Sons and Noah and the Whale and released her first album just days after her 18th birthday. Armed with a bigger sound and a bolder voice, Marling makes that case that her tunes are more timeless than they are old-fashioned with her sixth album, Semper Femina.
Headed by guitarist Max Kakacek and singer-drummer Julien Ehrlich—of Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, respectively—this Chicago indie-rock outfit has been filling bigger and bigger spaces with each NYC visit. No wonder: Its 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake, is a deeply satisfying album steeped in ’70s country and soft rock and bouyed by Ehrlich's honeyed falsetto vocals.
Arts events in May 2017
Dona Nelson has an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to painting, having never met a convention she wouldn’t happily upend. She uses both sides of her canvases, which are often bolted upright to various structures like freestanding sculptures. She stitches colored string through her compositions, leaving the ends hanging. She builds rough impasto with wads of fabric—in essence, turning the support into the surface. With all this and more going on in this busy, raucous exhibition, it seems almost like an afterthought to add that she also commingles figuration and abstraction with abandon. A number of the works here feature images of people in various degrees of naturalistic representation—and, seemingly, to varying degrees of success. Despite the breathtaking boldness of her experimentation, Nelson’s more traditional abstractions are the most satisfying. Lavender Lion gleefully mashes up several decades of Abstract Expressionist and Color Field painting in its layering of techniques: Poured swirls of glossy color conjure Jackson Pollock as they pool atop a loose grid stained into the canvas by strips of cheesecloth glued to the back of the painting. A slashing linear pattern throughout also appears to be the result of applied fabric painted over before it was ripped off as a kind of negative drawing. Another painting, titled 309, hangs demurely on the wall, its surface covered in primary colors and green, with an overlay of clear gel that, again, has been stripped aw
Back in 2010, Los Angeles artist Michael Williams began a series of “puzzle paintings,” subjecting his previous imagery to a playful reshuffle. This led to the “noodle paintings” the following year, in which he layered images atop one another. A year later, the latter pieces led, in turn, to another group of compositions painted over inkjet prints. For his first exhibition at Gladstone Gallery in New York, Williams remains on this self-deconstructing trajectory by using Photoshop to create large-scale mash-ups of abstraction and figuration to serve as backgrounds for his latest canvases. It’s an exchange between mediums and modes that he stages in a distinctly postmodern fashion, stressing both commonality and difference while employing an endless diversity of references. The nine paintings here recall works from the ’80s, pieces that share a propensity for visual and conceptual clutter. Trying to sort out which marks come from which source in 2016’s New Field is challenging enough even before attempting to parse the significance of its self-disassembling architectural iconography. But take on the details one by one, and they become a more manageable, if no less teasing, proposition. Check out the inverted COEXIST bumper sticker in Vertical Composition (2017), for example. From a maddeningly self-satisfied original, Williams wrests a pictorial hook that is equally—if differently—confounding.
As absurdists go, Erwin Wurm displays an especially dry sense of humor while messing with our perceptions of and relationships to the objects that share our lives. The purist expression of his wry aesthetic comes in the form of his “One Minute Sculptures,” an ongoing series of viewer-activated pieces that began 20 years ago. Their premise is simple: Following instructions posted as a diagram or a text, a person interacts with an item or items for exactly 60 seconds. Manifestations of said works have included kneeling in prayer with a lemon stuffed in your mouth, taking off your jeans and pulling them over your head, and holding a shoe to your ear à la Maxwell Smart. The point is plain enough: By subjecting yourself to looking ridiculous, you too can become a work of art. While this show highlights other sculptures in a similarly puckish vein—a perilously balanced arrangement of pickles, a bubblegum-pink building model that looks like it’s deflating—the main attraction is another group of “One Minute” projects made from pieces of midcentury modern furniture. An opening cut in the top of an entertainment console invites you to substitute your head for the TV. A coffee table has two holes—one for each leg—punched through it so the piece comes up to your thighs like a snow drift. It’s all harmless fun that, if not particularly deep, is easy on the eyes. Wurm’s refined style manages to make you look good, even while you look silly.
Exhibition announcements, art magazine covers and auction house catalogs and some of the source materials that Mullen, who is both autistic snd self-taught, draws upon to create his thickly painted canvases. They're charged with an ineffable, visual presence that gives the efforts of many so-called insider artists a run for their money.
During the 1980s, the veteran sculptor switched dramatically from hanging abstract sculptures to the pre-Columbian–inspired wall reliefs presented here.
A painter, sculptor and installation artist, Marisa Merz was the sole female member of that otherwise all-boy’s club known as Italian Arte Povera. The late-’60s movement took a somewhat nihilistic approach to form and material, with works that often looked like they’d been made out of refuse. Merz followed suit but added some definite feminist flavor to the recipe. This show covering her 50-year career represents her first major retrospective in the United States.
Thanks to Donald Trump, the decade of greed is back, so naturally there’s renewed interest in art from the Ronald Reagan era. The Whitney dusts off some prime examples from its collection, including works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf and Ross Bleckner.