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NYC events in May 2022

Plan your month with our events calendar highlighting the best NYC events in May 2022 including major holidays

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Now that spring is in full swing there’s certainly no shortage of outstanding NYC events in May 2022. 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 blooming. 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 are also incredible spring festivals showcasing some of the best art and music.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar and a guide to June in NYC for 2022

Featured events in May 2022

  • Things to do
  • City Life

The people will have their own gala at The Brooklyn Public Library. On May 1, the night before the Met Gala, BPL will celebrate The People’s Ball, a free event that invites New Yorkers "of all stripes to express their individuality and flaunt their unique style as they walk the runway and dance the night away in a safe, inclusive space." Anyone who attends the free event, which simply requires an RSVP, can wear their fanciest, most extreme or creative outfit that expresses who they are. The People's Ball is actually celebrating the library's 125th anniversary. Authors Isaac Fitzgerald and Scaachi Koul will host the night, which will have performances by Rimarkable, Inyang Bassey, Opera Gaga, and Paris the Hip-Hop Juggler. Special guests include fashion curator Souleo; Grandassa models from the historic African American fashion show, “Naturally '62;” Lenape Center co-founder, Joe Baker; models from the legendary Harlem institute of Fashion’s HARLEM WEEK runway shows; and multi-disciplinary artist and fashion designer, Damian Jöel—an alumnus of the BPL’s BKLYN Fashion Academy.

  • Art
  • Art

This major exhibition at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea has an advantage that many other shows do not have—it was organized and curated by Basquiat's family (with famed architect David Adjaye and design firm Pentagram), who have done a painstaking job of showing both the famous artist's intimate side and his genius. The exhibit, which features more than 200 rarely seen works, isn't merely Basquiat's work hung on walls, it immerses viewers in creatively designed spaces to give a sense of place and context. 

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

A giant outdoor dance floor is coming to Josie Robertson Plaza for a season of free dance, music and performance as part of Lincoln Center's second iteration of its Restart Stages program. Building on last year's success, "Summer for the City" will include 300 artistic and civic activations across 10 outdoor stages. Of the stages, "The Oasis" will be the city’s largest outdoor dance floor with a massive 10-foot disco ball. Costume and set designer Clint Ramos will create a blue, mural/installation with a sea of mirrors that reflect performers and dancers who will move to live music, silent discos, adapted dance lessons, dance parties, salsa, swing, soul and more under lighting designs by Andrew Grant. The dance floor will be free and open to the public during the day in case you'd like to take a mid-day dance break. There will also be a mini film festival from Film at Lincoln Center projected at the "Outdoor Cinema" in front of the under-renovation David Geffen Hall. Those who attend will get popcorn and drinks with movie audio transmitted via Quiet Event headphones. Following the hot trend of speakeasies in the city, "The Speakeasy" will be tucked under the driveway at the front southeast corner of campus. It's a pop-up bar designed by Clint Ramos set up for comedy, spoken word, poetry, jazz, and cabaret performances. Over the course of the summer, there will be hundreds of free performances that reflect the theme: "Rejoice, Reclaim, Remember." 

  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

Stranger Things fans, rejoice! The much talked-about immersive experience based on the Netflix show is officially launching at the Duggal Greenhouse within the Brooklyn Navy Yard on May 7. The destination makes for the ideal immersive experience space. In 2009, Duggal Visual Solutions decided to retrofit and reinvent the at-the-time dilapidated World War II facility. Across its 35,000 square feet, the facility now boasts 70-foot ceilings, glass paneling and waterfront views—basically, the perfect blank canvas to bring the Netflix series to life. Once inside, visitors will be catapulted back into the '80s. They’ll start off the experience—which is co-produced by Netflix and Fever—at Hawkins Plaza. Then, they’ll get to walk through Hawkins Lab and spend time in the Upside Down. The goal? To figure out a way to escape the Upside Down and save the entire town. After completing the mission, ticket holders will land in yet another immersive portion of the project, this one a "retail hub celebrating Stranger Things' most visually iconic locations." Expect to grab a USS Butterscotch sundae at Scoops Ahoy, rub shoulders with Demogorgons and trying to knock off Max's high score at the Palace Arcade. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

If binge-watching season two of Bridgerton on Netflix has got you in the mood for tea time, you're going to want to visit The Cauldron on Stone Street starting April 21 (National Tea Day!) through June 21, when the destination will launch a Bridgerton-themed tea experience complete with an in-house Lady Whistledown. The experience will last 1 hour and 45 minutes, during which participants will get to indulge in British macaroons, scones and mini sandwiches (make sure to indicate if you're vegetarian or vegan when booking a spot) while brewing two different teas. The series will be playing on a drop-down screen in the background as will the iconic Vitamin String Quartet songs that have peppered the second season of the show. (If you're anything like us, you've added them all to your Spotify playlist already.)

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

One of the coolest recent examples of outdoor dining in the city is coming back this summer to the Bronx’s Little Italy.  Piazza di Belmont is set to return to Arthur Avenue for the third year starting next month from East 186th St. to Crescent Ave. The popular thoroughfare will be closed to vehicular traffic from 6pm to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays and from 3pm to 9pm on Sundays. (The street will still be open to cars during the daytime on weekends to accommodate shoppers visiting the retail stores on the street, but outdoor dining will still be available.) In 2022, the street will be completely closed to traffic for weekend al fresco dining from Friday, May 6 until Sunday, September 25. Restaurants with outdoor dining available on the piazza include Zero Otto Nove, Enzo’s of Arthur Avenue, Emilia’s Restaurant, Mario’s Restaurant, San Gennaro Ristorante, Estrellita Poblana III and Gurra Café. The bar Azgardz of New York will also have outdoor dining available, as well as the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.

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  • Art
  • Art

A new immersive experience is about to hit New York, this one focusing on all things Korean. Presented by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) alongside the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Korean government, "Korea: Cubically Imagined" is set to open at Chelsea Industrial (549 West 28th Street) from May 2 through 14. The exhibition is comprised of 15 different immersive installations that include an up-close-and-personal look at performances by the wildly popular South Korean boy band BTS; a reproduction of the Parasite film set, Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning movie; and an augmented reality installation inspired by Korean folklore and the city life of Seoul.  Running the gamut in terms of genres explored and mediums used, "Korea: Cubically Imagined" will move to Washington, DC after its New York run. The show has already toured the world, having previously set up shop in Paris, Hong Kong, Moscow and Beijing to much fanfare back in 2021.

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

News about summer openings is slowly trickling in, including the announcement that those mini backyards that have been setting up shop on Pier 17 for a few years now are officially returning for the season on May 1. The Greens, as the space by the Seaport is called, will feature two popular concepts—the Lawns and the Restaurant—in addition to an entirely new area dubbed the Patrón Patio. Let's start with the Lawns. As usual, a total of 32, 10x10 square-foot mini backyards that sit up to eight people each will pepper the space. Expect a beautiful view of the water to define your experience alongside the multiple lounge chairs, love seat and sun umbrella that each backyard includes.  Although patrons can order small bites and cocktails at the Lawns, the Restaurant will function more like a traditional eatery. A total of two patios make up this specific space and the menu will feature delicacies the likes of a cheddar cheeseburger, a heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad and a whole lot of imbibing options.

 

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  • Shopping
  • Tech

Functioning both as a theater space and a production company, Super Secret Arts is basically a subscription theater service ("Netflix for theater," as the owners of the destination say.) Interested New Yorkers get to pick between two types of memberships. For $100 a month, they'll have access to the entire calendar of shows mounted in the warehouse and they'll also be able to enjoy a free drink during each performance and bring along a friend at no additional charge. The $25 per month membership—an incredibly affordable entry price into the entertainment world, especially when measured against the average cost of Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets—will also guarantee unlimited free access to shows, plus the ability to bring along a guest for $15. Currently, there are over 20 shows on the schedule for May.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Think!Chinatown, a non-profit based in Manhattan’s Chinatown, is throwing its first installment of Chinatown Night Market (formerly known as Chinatown Nights), a monthly summer series of art and food at Forsyth Plaza at the Manhattan Bridge. The first one is set for May 20 and will put Asian Pacific Islander vendors on display to showcase their traditional crafts and respective cuisines, including Cambodia Now, Choy Commons, Momo Delight, Pho Master, Twisted Potato, Xiang Mini Cakes, and local Chinatown favorites, Kopitiam and Alimama. The night will also invite artisans to show off their crafts, including paper cutting, sugar painting and braised straw figurines and will include live performances from the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans, who will put on its 43rd Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Festival, and Soh Daiko, the Japanese drumming ensemble—in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

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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