Start planning your summer now with our events calendar for May. This guide has all of the best things to do this month, including Memorial Day activities, Fleet Week, and the best arts and music events. Plus, get information about popular attractions like Governors Island.
RECOMMENDED: New York City events calendar for 2013
Featured events in May 2013
More than 30,000 bikers will be able to enjoy a scenic 42-mile, traffic-free spin through the five boroughs during this mass ride. Advance registration is required. Ride begins at Battery Park.
This L.A.-based comedy show is a big, boisterous spoof of old-time radio shows. The campy tales of hobos, robots and celebrities past (e.g., Amelia Earhart) feature soundtracks, sound effects and big-name performers hamming it up in the best sort of way. Tonight brings regular player Paul F. Tompkins, along with Paget Brewster, John Hodgman, Marc Evan Jackson and James Urbaniak.
Celebrate the diversity of the city in the best way possible—with your taste buds. Now in its 11th year, this festival that began as a handful of restaurants in a JFK terminal has made its home in Citi Field’s Caesars Club, a sprawling convention hall with views of Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. Fifty food vendors from the borough will be on hand, from Redwood Deli and Ottomanelli & Sons to Mama’s and Bourbon Street Café (let’s hope they bring the outstanding gumbo they’ve served every other year). Sip on Turkish coffee from the Turkish Cultural Center and wine from Long Island’s Borghese Winery—all included in your admission price. Plus, we have it on good authority that Mr. Met himself will be present. Visit queensny.org/queenstaste for more informaiton.
For serious connoisseurs, this annual festival is an opportunity to pay homage to Manhattan’s preeminent cocktail culture—and revel in five days of merry, mixology-fueled debauchery. The close to a hundred events range from scholarly lectures and conferences to parties and bar crawls that don’t lend themselves to retention of information. The crown jewel of the fest is the opening-night gala, held at the grand New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Though details for the ball are still under lock and key, in 2012 it featured mountains of oysters, ’20s-style burlesque dancers and more than 30,000 hand-stirred cocktails. Tickets sold out in just a few hours last year; be at the ready when they go on sale March 15 at noon. Visit manhattancocktailclassic.com for more information.
The cool-kid food-and-music extravaganza is back in Brooklyn for its second year, kicking off with a Friday night concert, headlined by NYC alt-rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Flaming Lips, and a marathon lineup of grub from a whopping 85 joints.
Slated to debut Memorial Day weekend, this new boardwalk destination aims to complement Coney Island’s kitschy, throwback vibe while offering modern touches. Most of the rides and attractions were selected with high action and a low carbon footprint in mind; look for a wind tunnel designed to simulate skydiving, a zip line spanning the length of a city block, rock-climbing walls and hot-air-balloon rides. The now-defunct Mega Whirl, a ride that was destroyed by Sandy, will find new life as a tropical-themed bar. And if you’re not in the mood for a hot dog (especially post–wind tunnel), the park plans to offer a variety of international, health-conscious fare. facebook.com/bigmarksactionpark. Mon–Thu 10am–11pm; Fri, Sat 10am–midnight; Sun 10am–11pm. $5–$25/ride.
The syndicated sex columnist brings his hilarious, often heartfelt observations to the New York Public Library’s Celeste Bartos Forum for a sure-to-be-lively chat. The engagement marks the release of his new book, American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics, in which the It Gets Better campaign cofounder sounds off on gun control, gay marriage, health care and other hot topics.
Never worry about cycle theft again with this new bike-share program perfect for making quick trips. Sometime in May, 6,000 seriously uncool-looking two-wheelers will appear at 330 stations along a corridor that runs downtown from 60th Street, across the East River and infto central Brooklyn. A pass affords you unlimited 30–45 minute trips—but beware, staying out longer incurs a penalty ($2.50–$12). To see how the ride handles, take a trial run with a gratis day pass, given out after free Street Skills classes at Bicycle Habitat in Soho or Red Lantern Bicycles in Fort Greene (locations, dates and times vary; visit bikenewyork.org for details; registration required). citibikenyc.com. Passes: day $9.95, week $25, annual $95.
Free events in May 2013
The car-free oasis in Upper New York Bay typically opens to the public each summer over Memorial Day weekend.
Hurricane Sandy threatened to put the kibosh on idyllic summer days of crashing waves, sun-drenched picnics and walks in the surf. Thankfully, the parks department has been hard at work rebuilding the devastated and debris-littered oceanfront areas. With the exception of Fort Tilden in storm-battered Breezy Point, all of the city’s public beaches will reopen on Memorial Day. Work on your tan at family-friendly standby Coney Island Beach (Surf Ave between Ocean Pkwy and W 37th St, Brooklyn), foodie and Ramones favorite Rockaway Beach (Boardwalk between Beach 9th and 149th Sts, Queens) or Orchard Beach, a mile-long stretch that’s been dubbed “The Riviera of New York” (Park Dr at Orchard Beach Rd, Bronx). Suck it, Sandy. Visit nycgovparks.org for details. Beaches are open for swimming May 25–Sept 2.
This four-day affair combines scientific innovation with cutting-edge arts and culture. Past special guests have ranged from super genius Stephen Hawking to downtown darling Maggie Gyllenhaal, and discussions have covered everything from string theory to the cultural importance of beer. This year’s events remain under wraps, but expect Saturday-night stargazing in Brooklyn Bridge Park and a display of new inventions at the festival’s “Innovation Square.” Visit website for schedule (212-352-3101, worldsciencefestival.com). $10–$40.
Theater events in May 2013
Music events in May 2013
Though Rihanna typically doesn't get tossed up on the Lady Gaga tier of all-encompassing superstardom, she may have a claim to be there, as she's consistently dominated the radio with songs like "Umbrella," "Don't Stop the Music," "Disturbia" and "SOS." And it's surely a sign of her burgeoning megastar status that, like Gaga, Rihanna is selling tickets now for a 2013 event at Brooklyn's Barclay's Center.
It’s comeback time for Paramore, currently gearing up to release its first LP sans founding members Josh and Zac Farro. Superfans might be bummed, but for the rest of us, the heart and soul of this Tennessee emo-pop powerhouse will always be the mammoth-lunged Hayley Williams, who’s stayed firmly put in her starring role. If appropriately titled lead single “Now” is any indication, a record of arena-sized anthems is on the way.
It’s not such a surprise that director Tim Burton is a fan of Brandon Flowers’s Vegas crew the Killers, since both artists share a penchant for drama and darkness—check out the Burton-directed video for the band’s latest single, “Here with Me,” for evidence. At these two arena dates, the group toasts Battle Born, its grandiose, back-to-form 2012 album.
Building on the momentum of last year’s electronica-drenched WIXIW, this popular, provocative California art-punk trio returns for a glitzy exclusive at the Met’s Temple of Dendur, and a more conventional romp at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple.
Arts events in May 2013
The gorgeous Royal Ballet of Cambodia presents The Legend of Apsara Mera, which is choreographed by Her Royal Highness Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, in collaboration woth Proeung Chhieng and Soth Somaly.
Expect to see studded jackets, safety-pin accessories and a lot of black at this exhibit, which examines the origins of punk fashion and how that look was co-opted by high-end designers. In addition to photos of icons like the Sex Pistols and the Ramones, the show will feature pieces by designers like Vivienne Westwood, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen and Anna Sui.
This bill features two of the best playwrights working today, both New Yorkers. Guirgis nails the impassioned yearning of the city’s desperate, repentant sinners (in their own vernacular), in plays that include prison drama Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train and Broadway's The Motherfucker in the Hat. Nottage channels the struggle and pain of black women, be they a turn-of-the-20th-century seamstress (Intimate Apparel) or a Mother Courage–like business owner in the Congo (Ruined). Don’t be surprised if some of their actor friends show up to help out.
Last year’s debut of the London superfair’s New York edition was a splashy affair that stole much of the Armory Show’s thunder. It’s setting up on Randall’s Island again in a twisting, winding tent along the waterfront and making use of the sylvan location with commissioned outdoor projects. This year’s fair includes a tribute to the legendary artist-run restaurant, Food, which in early-’70s Soho provided sustenance to the neighborhood’s loft-dwelling creative class–back when the term actually referred to making art. $42, students $26, with catalog $75. Visit friezenewyork.com for more information.
One of the godfathers of L.A. art (or at least the branch that treats pop culture as one big wallow in sexual abjection), McCarthy has certainly made his contribution, with sculptures of cute Santa figures wielding butt-plugs and depictions of the Seven Dwarves with flacid penises for noses. But more than that, his work sends up America’s glorification of masculinity. With two galleries at his his disposal, expect something big and disturbing.
ABT returns to the Metropolitan Opera House with the premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Shostakovich trilogy, as well as the company debut of Frederick Ashton's A Month in the Country and a new production of Le Corsaire. Dancers include Roberto Bolle, Irina Dvorovenko—in her final season with the company—Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Cory Stearns, Ivan Vasiliev, Natalia Osipova and the newest principal, Hee Seo.
Poets, playwrights, puppeteers and other performers in and around the Lower East Side will partake in this annual gathering centered at the Theater for the New City.
More than eight decades ago, New York artists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning propped up a few of their paintings in Washington Square Park and called it a show. A lot has changed since then: Now, more than 100 artists and artisans—including painters, sculptors, jewelers and glassblowers—exhibit their wares at the Washington Square Park Outdoor Art Exhibit.