101 things to do in NYC in spring 2012

Your guide to New York's vernal pleasures.

  • Photograph: Eric Ratkowski/New York Outrigger

    81. Power through the water on the Hudson with the New York Outrigger Club

  • Photograph: Simon Biswas

    82. Hunt for a bargain at a New York institution before it disappears. Pictured: Antiques Garage

  • Photograph: Angie Cope

    83. Nurture your green thumb. Pictured: 3rd Ward gardening class

  • 84. Pound the pavement to fight cancer at the 15th Annual EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women

  • 86. Wander among masterworks at the Frick Collection. Pictured: Diana the Huntress

  • 87. See comedians wing it at the NYC Improv Fest. Pictured: 2-Man No-Show

  • Photograph: Toby Wales

    88. Enjoy a free concert

  • Photograph: Caryn Waechter

    89. Be a deviant for a night. Pictured: The Black Party

  • Photograph: Rebecca MB Pearson

    90. Buy from local artisans at the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

Photograph: Eric Ratkowski/New York Outrigger

81. Power through the water on the Hudson with the New York Outrigger Club

81. Power through the water on the Hudson
Every weekend starting in May, the New York Outrigger Club offers up to three free training sessions for the six-man Polynesian canoe. The lesson begins on land, where you'll familiarize yourself with the boat and its history, learning stroke work, safety protocols, and calls and commands; then you'll get 30 to 45 minutes of practice on the water with three expert shipmates who'll steer you in the right direction. Sessions are limited to six people each, so e-mail ahead to book your space. The club provides everything you need—boats, paddles and life vests—but it's up to you to bring drinking water, sunscreen and a lock for the provided locker. Grass skirts optional. Boathouse at Pier 66, W 26th St at the Hudson River (newyorkoutrigger.org). Sat 10:30, 11:15am, noon; Sun 12:30, 1:15, 2pm. Free. May--September, start date TBA. Reservations required, e-mail novice@newyorkoutrigger.org.

82. Hunt for a bargain at a New York institution before it disappears
The Antiques Garage is living on borrowed time, operating on a month-by-month lease since summer 2011 until the owner of the building finalizes development plans. Which is a shame, because the 100-odd vendors that fill the old two-story parking garage sell some of the best antique and vintage finds in the city. Go for an early-morning trip to raid the stalls before the hand-holding postbrunch hordes descend. 112 W 25th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-243-5343, hellskitchenfleamarket.com). Sat, Sun 9am--5pm.

83. Nurture your green thumb
Remember how much better your spaghetti Bolognese tastes when you use basil grown on your windowsill? If you've got a yard, sign up for the Chef's Garden 101 class at Brooklyn Kitchen (100 Frost St at Meeker Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-389-2982, thebrooklynkitchen.com; Apr 22 2--4pm; $55). Instructors will tailor an edible-plant selection to your available space, and school you on basics like germination and selecting soil. Territorially challenged New Yorkers can seed their supper too, find out how at the "Grow UP! Green Roof Gardening" workshop led by Eagle Street Rooftop Farm's Annie Novak (New York Botanical Garden Midtown Center, 20 W 44th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 718-817-8747, nybg.org; Mar 1 6:15--9:15pm; $47, members $42). Learn how to utilize the top of your building, plus which vegetables have the best per-square-foot value, among other tips. Even for the hopelessly metropolitan, there is a solution: Attend "3rd Ward's Urban Food Production for the Landless" (573 Metropolitan Ave between Lorimer St and Union Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-715-4961, 3rdward.com; Apr 3 7--10pm; $65) and equip your home with edible terrariums, coffee-grown mushrooms and other indoor-friendly items.

84. Pound the pavement to fight cancer
We're New Yorkers—we know how to power-walk. Put this innate skill to good use at the 15th Annual EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women, in which more than 20,000 participants will raise funds for women's cancer research, counseling and outreach. A confetti explosion replaces the starter's pistol in Times Square, and the three-mile route finishes in Central Park. You'll be done by noon with plenty of time left to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. (855-434-3779, revlonrunwalk.org) May 5 at 9am, registration begins at 7am; $40, advance $35.

85. Satisfy your comic cravings
The MoCCA Festival, a celebration of cartoons and comic art, turns ten this year, but shows no sign of growing out of graphic art (thank goodness), filling the Lexington Avenue Armory with the latest mainstream, indie and super-rare comics. The gathering doesn't tend to stray into costume-wearing territory, instead it offers stimulating panels and the MoCCA Live Strip Show, in which actors and comedians performed live versions of comic strips (geddit?). 68 Lexington Ave between 25th and 26th Sts (212-254-3511, moccany.com) Apr 28, 29 11am--6pm; $TBD.

86. Wander among masterworks at the Frick Collection
Once the stately residence of Gilded Age industrialist Henry Clay Frick, this Upper East Side institution is now home to its patron's world-class collection of art, particularly paintings by Old Masters (including Johannes Vermeer and Giovanni Bellini). Once you've perused the museum's galleries, head to the Portico Gallery, a small space that opened in late 2011. The narrow room houses a collection of Meissen porcelain, but you can also admire the flowers blooming in the adjacent Fifth Avenue Garden. Beginning in March, the Frick will also host classical-music concerts ($25--$30) in its circular Music Room. 1 E 70th St between Fifth and Madison Aves (212-288-0700, frick.org). Tue--Sat 10am--6pm, Sun 11am--5pm; $18, seniors $12, students $10, Sun 11am--1pm pay what you wish.

87. See comedians wing it at the NYC Improv Fest
Given the Peoples Improv Theater's dramatic new Gramercy digs—including two performance spaces and a welcoming bar—it follows that the staff would want to invite improvisers from around the country to take part in a few days of performances, workshops and panels. This inaugural festival has plenty of New Yorkers on the bill, including a reunion of improv troupe Neutrino, along with appearances from Chicago star Jet Eveleth and Toronto's vaunted 2-Man No-Show. Peoples Improv Theater, 123 E 24th St between Park and Lexington Aves (212-563-7488, thepit-nyc.com). Times and prices vary. Mar 21--24.

88. Enjoy a free concert
Still paying off your credit card bill from the excess of the holidays? Us too, but there's still plenty of shows the broke can see. Close out your workweek at the American Folk Art Museum, where the Free Music Fridays series features performances from Americana, folk, indie-pop and other acts (2 Lincoln Sq, Columbus Ave at 66th St; 212-265-1040, folkartmuseum.org; Fri 5:30--7:30pm; free). On most Fridays and Saturdays, BAMcaf hosts sets of envelope-pushing jazz, world music, R&B, hip-hop and rock (30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-636-4139, bam.org; times vary; free). "Dirty gospel" outfit Reverend Vince Anderson and His Love Choir takes over Williamsburg hot spot Union Pool (484 Union Ave at Meeker Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-609-0484, union-pool.com; Mon at 11pm, 1am; free) every Monday. Consult our roundup of no-cover venues for more gratis gigs.

89. Be a deviant for a night
Once upon a time, the Saint at Large's Black Party, its biggest annual event, was merely one of the city's brazenly hedonistic celebrations of debauchery. These days, it's practically an industry, complete with a vendor-packed exposition and a international-escort awards ceremony, the Hookies. The main event, though, remains the 18-hour dance party, which always attracts top-notch DJs (this year's have yet to be announced—keep an eye on the website for details) and a variety of eye-popping performances. Roseland Ballroom, 239 W 52nd St between Broadway and Eighth Ave (212-674-8541, blackparty.com). Black Party Expo: Mar 23 8pm--1am, Mar 24 noon--7pm; the Hookies: Mar 23 at 11pm; Black Party: Mar 24 at 10pm through afternoon of Mar 25. Prices vary.

90. Buy from local artisans
The Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit is a long-standing springtime tradition in Greenwich Village, founded in part by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning in 1931 as an opportunity for up-and-coming artists and photographers to showcase and sell their work. This 183rd edition stretches from University Place at East 13th Street all the way down to West 3rd Street and features more than 125 vendors. University Pl between W 3rd and E 13th Sts (212-982-6255, wsoae.org). May 26-28, June 2, 3 noon-6pm; free.