101 things to do in NYC in spring 2012

Your guide to New York's vernal pleasures.

  • 31. Go on an art-shopping spree. Pictured: Fountain Art Fair

  • 32. Chow down and shop at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market

  • 33. Ramble around Manhattan

  • Photograph: Courtesy Hudson River Park Minigolf

    34. Capture that elusive hole in one. Pictured: Hudson River Park Minigolf

  • 35. Watch college hoops during March Madness. Pictured: Professor Thom's

  • 36. Take a ride at Coney Island

  • 37. Soak up suds and sun at the Frying Pan and Pier 66

  • Photograph: Anya Garrett

    38. Laugh with NPR nerds in Brooklyn. Pictured: Ophira Eisenberg, host of Ask Me Another

  • Photograph: Courtesy Lomography

    39. Capture the city on film. Pictured: Lomography's bus tour of Coney Island

  • Photograph: Jerry L. Thompson

    40. Get out of the city. Pictured: Menashe Kadishman, Suspended at Storm King Art Center

31. Go on an art-shopping spree. Pictured: Fountain Art Fair

31. Go on an art-shopping spree
You may not have the cash to spring for the works being sold at the slew of art fairs in early March, but there's a wealth of eye candy to enjoy. Among the six fairs that run between March 7 and 11, make sure to visit the event that kicked off New York's seasonal art-fair crush, the Armory Show (Mar 8--11), which features approximately 120 international exhibitors in both contemporary and modern art categories. We also recommend the edgier Fountain Art Fair (Mar 9--11), which throws in two parties on Friday (featuring Fab 5 Freddy) and Saturday for ticket holders. For a full rundown of all your options, consult our spring art-fairs guide.

32. Chow down and shop in Hell's Kitchen
The Hell's Kitchen Flea Market welcomes a mini fleet of mobile eateries back for the Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar. The lineup has yet to be confirmed, but city staples like Calexico, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck and the Treats Truck have all parked there in the past. We advise arriving early to make a first pass at the secondhand wares and avoid missing out on the limited quantities of grub. Check the website later in the spring for announcements on more special events. W 39th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves (212-243-5343, hellskitchenfleamarket.com). Sat, Sun 9am--6pm. Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar: Every second Sun Apr--Oct 11am--5pm; free.

33. Ramble around Manhattan
Your shoes were made for walking, so take in the city at a leisurely pace on the Shorewalkers 27th annual Great Saunter, a rewarding, if punishing, 32-mile, 12-hour amble around Manhattan's waterline. You'll enjoy views of all four outer boroughs and out-of-the-way spots like the Little Red Lighthouse from the eponymous children's book, while chatting to fellow wayfarers. You don't have to tackle the whole course to take part (we recommend the final leg, leaving Carl Schurz Park at 4pm, so you can finish by sinking a cold one at the Heartland Brewery). Starts and ends at Heartland Brewery, 93 South St at Fulton St (shorewalkers.org). May 5 at 7:30am; $20, advance $15, members free.

34. Capture that elusive hole in one
At the southern end of Hudson River Park, you'll find glorious views of the river, the Jersey City waterfront and an 18-hole professional-grade miniature-golf course. Decked out with a cave, two waterfalls, footbridges and a pond, it's a great place to perfect your putt while taking in the splendid vista. For more options, try these places to play minigolf in NYC. Pier 25, Hudson River at North Moore St (manhattanyouth.org). Hours vary, see website for details; $5, children under 14 $4.

35. Watch college hoops during March Madness
Catch this year's NCAA tourney—and pray that your alma mater goes all the way—at one of these prime watering holes for watching college ball. Upper East Side sports bar Manny's on Second (1770 Second Ave between 92nd and 93rd Sts; 212-410-3300, mannysonsecond.com) boasts a whopping 40 TVs, and serves $1 drafts and $4 pitchers of Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light on Fridays between 7pm and 9pm. Professor Thom's (219 Second Ave between 13th and 14th Sts; 212-260-9480, professorthoms.com) in the East Village offers two floors with divergent atmospheres: upstairs is low-key with couches to lounge on, while the full bar downstairs generates a rowdier scene. If your team crashes (and you're decked out in their colors), a bartender will pour you a free shot to help you cope with the loss. But don't hang your head, with $4 pints of Professor Thom's Hardwood Ale whenever a tournament game is on, everyone's a winner.

36. Take a ride at Coney Island
Luna Park always opens on Palm Sunday, so this year we get an extra few weeks of thrills, thanks to an earlier Easter. Last year, the Scream Zone annex expanded the theme park with two modern roller coasters, the Soaring Eagle and the Steeplechase, as well as the Sling Shot, which hurls two people 150 feet high into the air, and a spinning disc called the Zenobio. But for our money, the rickety Cyclone remains the scariest, especially because it celebrates its 85th birthday this summer. 1000 Surf Ave at W 10th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-373-5862, lunaparknyc.com). Times and prices vary. Opens Apr 1.

37. Soak up suds and sun at the Frying Pan and Pier 66
This "lightship"—a floating lighthouse once used by the Coast Guard—sank and spent three years underwater before she was salvaged and converted into a floating bar. Now docked near Chelsea Piers, this nautical beer garden attracts formidable weeknight and weekend throngs of would-be revelers. Starting in April (on weekends and days the weather is forecast to reach 60 to 65 degrees or higher) and officially after May 1, you can drink on deck—that is, if you can find room on the beer-soaked boat, jetty or the prime real estate: the jetty roof. If you're fortunate enough to nab a seat, order a burger. Pier 66A, West Side Hwy at 26th St (212-989-6363, pier66maritime.com). Noon--midnight. Opens April; check the website or follow @Pier66Maritime for updates.

38. Laugh with NPR nerds in Brooklyn
Attend a live taping of new radio show Ask Me Another, hosted by comedian Ophira Eisenberg and featuring humorous troubadour Jonathan Coulton. Expect to be treated to trivia, brainteasers, music and special guests (comedian David Cross popped up at a recent show), among other geeky bits. Although it's free, advance tickets are required (register at thebellhouseny.com). Be sure you nab those quickly; every show since the first, on January 23, has sold out. The Bell House, 149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn (718-643-6510, thebellhouseny.com). Various days at 7pm, doors 6pm; free. Mar 5--Apr 29.

39. Capture the city on film
Instead of using Instagram to give your photos that cool, vintage-y look, learn to use an analog camera. To celebrate Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day (pinholeday.org) on April 29—devoted to the most basic photographic method—the Lomography store will organize a bus tour to Coney Island. Participants will meet at the brand's West Village shop (41 W 8th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-529-4353, lomography.com; Apr 29 at 1pm; $10; R.S.V.P. to shopnyc@lomography.com) and ride to the waterfront on a school bus. Once there, you'll be lent a Diana F+ camera (along with a free roll of film) and the opportunity to let your imagination run wild. The shop also hosts other workshops throughout the spring; visit the website for more details.

40. Get out of the city
Dia:Beacon doesn't have a monopoly on arty day trips. In the Hudson River Valley, Storm King Art Center boasts more than 100 post-1945 sculptures—many of them monumental in stature—on 500 acres of land. Stroll at your leisure or rent a bike ($10 per hour, minimum two hours; full day $40). On May 12, the exhibit "Light and Landscape" opens; it features 20 pieces that play with the idea of natural light, ranging from videos and installations in the institution's museum to site-specific works by Peter Coffin, Katie Holten and William Lamson. Coach USA Short Line runs one service a day between Port Authority Bus Terminal (625 Eighth Ave between 40th and 42nd Sts; 212-564-8484, coachusa.com/shortline; departs NYC 10am, departs Storm King 5:02pm; $44) and Storm King on the Mountainville Line. 1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, NY (845-534-3115, stormkingartcenter.org). Apr 4--May 27: Wed--Sun 10:30am--5:30pm; May 28--Sept 1: Wed--Fri, Sun 10:30am--5:30pm, Sat 10:30am--8pm; Sept 2--Nov 18: Wed--Fri, Sun 10:30am--5:30pm, Sat 10:30am--5pm; open holiday Mondays. $12, seniors $10, students $8.