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.
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. This week, catch Kevin Sean, Brian Park, Catherine Cohen, Hannah Boone, May Wilkerson, David Angelo and Cat Zini.
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).
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.
This Lower East Side flea hosts one of the best collections of food vendors in Manhattan, with more upstarts joining the fray each week. Standouts from recent years include Adirondack Creamery, an upstate outfit that makes ice cream using local dairy, and Wonder City Coffee & Donut Bar stand—a spin-off of the Brindle Room’s morning java service.
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.
RECOMMENDED: Full coverage of Gay Pride You know those street fairs that pop up around the city whenever the weather is nice? The ones everyone pretends to hate, but secretly can't resist walking into? Pridefest is one of those—but with way more sequins. In addition to enjoying the usual street-fair fare—tube socks, hilarious T-shirts, greasy treats—you can pick up information about public health, collect swag from corporate sponsors, and mingle with a crowd full of Pride revelers and shell-shocked Village residents. After things wrap up, you can work off that street food at the Dance on the Pier. Hudson St between Abingdon Sq Park and W 14th St. Subway: A, C, E to 14th St; L to Eighth Ave.
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
View over 100 works made by creators outside of the artistic community, including inventive self-taught sculptors in New York City and illustrators who found their passion in prisons and psychiatric hospitals. Explore the inner lives of unknown artists through works made in private and often discovered after the artists' passing, with pieces like Steve Ashby's Rocking Bed Cunnilingus Whirligig and Henry Darger's watercolor At Sunbeam Creak/At Wickey Lansinia.
It’s been actually three years since the last Whitney Biennial. Since then, the museum has moved into its current MePA home, making this edition of the show the first to take advantage of the building’s considerable increase in space over the Whitney’s previous digs. As usual, the show is an eclectic affair which collects some 63 artist in a subjective snapshot of contemporary American art.
The Brooklyn Museum’s look at Georgia O’Keeffe, the artist famed for painting desert landscapes and barely disguised vaginas (which, she vociferously denied doing), takes a different tack by examining the artist’s carefully constructed image as a throughly modern, independent woman and style icon. The show presents components that played a part in crafting her persona, including artworks, photographs and examples of her wardrobe.
As one of the giants of 20th-century photography, Irving Penn (1917–2009) was known for his fashion photography, portraits and still lifes. His stunning large format, black-and-white images of models and celebrities helped to define the look of midcentury America. This retrospective mounted on the occasion of Penn’s 100th birthday features some 200 examples of his work, which remains as indelible now as when he first began to create it more than 60 years ago.
Lygia Pape (1927–2004) was a seminal figure in Brazil’s postwar art scene, a participant in the Concrete and Neo-Concrete movements of the ’50s and ’60s whose work evolved from geometrically abstract paintings and sculptures to videos and installations that engaged social issues—including satirical jabs at the military government that ruled the country between 1964 and 1985. This show is Pape’s first retrospective in the United States.
The raw and the cooked is ongoing theme in the work of this year’s recipient of the fashion brand’s annual $100,000 arts award. Anicka Yi’s sculptural installations explore the boundary between biology and technology, often employing such unorthodox materials as tempura fried flowers, peta-dish grown molds and funguses to create futuristic forms that resemble lab experiments gone wrong.
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.
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.