Mother's Day

All mothers are not created equal. You can do better than a dozen carnations this year to show your mom how much you love her and how well you know her.

  • Dee Milo

  • Angie Pontani

  • Free fitness programs at Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Survival of the Prettiest: Evolution, Beauty and Human Happiness

Dee Milo

RECOMMENDED: All Mother's Day ideas

The foodie mom

Godiva’s not as fancy as chocolates get. Just ask Jacques “Mr. Chocolate” Torres, whose West Village chocolate factory (350 Hudson St at King St, marks the starting point of Walkin’ New York’s Chocolate Walking Tour (for reservations, call 212-349-7916 or visit; Sat 8, Sun 9 1--2:30pm; $45). “Jacques is famous for his high-end truffles,” says Walkin’ New York founder Bob Gelber, “[but] most people get a kick that he dips ordinary items, like Cheerios and Corn Flakes, in chocolate, for a very unique experience.” The 90-minute sweet-tooth trek includes stops—and tastings—at four of Soho’s most talked-about confectioners, including MarieBelle, Kee’s Chocolates and Vosges Haut-Chocolat.

Some people want their home cookin’ just like Mom used to make it; others wish the family matriarch had taken a cooking class. At the Mother’s Day Brunch Cooking Party at Vintage Irving (118 E 15th St at Irving Pl; 212-677-6300,; Sat 8, Sun 9 noon; $40, brunch buffet only $25), a chef from Hot Pot Culinary Events (, which hosts fun and informative cooking parties, will teach you how to channel Martha Stewart and prepare the perfect brunch, from elegant omelettes to the tastiest French toast. You’ll eat what you make—and then you’ll eat again during the brunch buffet, which includes all the Bloody Marys and mimosas you can drink.

In her new book, Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, New York Times food writer Kim Severson recounts how eight cooks—her mom included—helped her overcome alcoholism and take control of her professional life. Two of her subjects, the omnipotent Rachael Ray and Julie and Julia author Julie Powell, will join the award-winning writer as she shares her personal journey at “The Cooks Who Saved My Life” at the Times Center (242 W 41st St between Seventh and Eighth Aves,; Fri 7 at 6:30pm, $30). “All of us were greatly influenced by our mothers,” says Severson. “But what daughter isn’t, for better or worse? So we’ll all be on stage talking about it. Kind of like therapy, except it will be in front of hundreds of people and we don’t have to write a check at the end.”

The academic mom

An afternoon stroll through a cemetery might seem a morbid way to honor the woman who gave birth to you; not so when that final resting place is Green-Wood Cemetery (500 25th St at Fifth Ave, Sunset Park, Brooklyn;; Sun 9 1--3:30pm, $10) and the walk in question honors the great women who are now permanent residents. Urban historian Ruth Edebohls tells the tales of some of the pioneering women of the 19th and 20th centuries who are buried here on the “Green-Wood’s Great Women” tour, including Susan McKinney Steward, the first African-American woman to earn a medical degree in New York. (Be sure to wear comfortable shoes—the walk may be hilly.)

We’re not saying Mom is old or anything, just that she might enjoy a little throwback to a kinder, gentler time via Sing It with Flowers: A 19th-Century Serenade to Mother at the Merchant’s House Museum (29 E 4th St between Bowery and Lafayette St; 212-777-1089,; Sun 9 at 5:30pm, $25). Lounge amid the museum’s Greek Revival double parlors as members of the Bond Street Euterpean Singing Society (the museum’s artists-in-residence) regale you with live 19th-century music, performed in honor of Mama. “The music performed will be classical arias, ballads and sentimental songs from the mid--19th century,” says the museum’s education and communications manager, Eva Ulz. “Many songs of the period refer to the sacred duties of motherhood—glorifying the 'cult of domesticity’ in the days before female suffrage.”

Learn about the science behind physical attractiveness with the woman who passed hers on to you: Harvard Medical School professor, psychologist and author Dr. Nancy Etcoff brings neuroscience to the masses with “Survival of the Prettiest: Evolution, Beauty and Human Happiness” at the New York Academy of Sciences (7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St at Barclay St, 40th floor; 212-298-8600,; Tue 11 6:30--8pm; $25, students $20). From flowers to faces, Etcoff—who literally wrote the book on the topic with Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty—will use neuroscience, psychiatry and evolutionary psychology to explain how the ongoing pursuit of beauty could very well be a basic instinct, and how achieving that universal ideal in both oneself and one’s surroundings can make you happier.

The outdoorsy mom

Take in the city’s beauty from the Hudson River during Spirit of New York’s Mother’s Day Cruises (Chelsea Piers, W 23rd St at the Hudson River; 866-483-3866,; Sun 9; times and prices vary, check website for details), which feature full buffets, live DJs and dancing. Get Mom in the mood to party with a free Bloody Mary or mimosa, and bring the whole family to partake in a huge buffet that includes a variety of salads and entres like wild Alaskan salmon and apricot-glazed pork loin for the lunch crowd, and full salad and carving stations for dinner guests.

Mother’s Day also, coincidentally, marks the end of NYC Wildflower Week. Take some time to learn about why those pretty, petaled blooms are the universal symbol of love with a Wildflower Walk at Alley Pond Park (Union Tpke at Winchester Blvd, Bayside, Queens; 718-846-2731,; Sun 9 at 11am, free). Manhattanites can do the same at Union Square’s Native Plant Garden (E 15th St at Union Square West; 917-439-3669,; Sun 9 1--2pm, free), with an hour-long, interactive experience of what the life of a native plant is truly like. (In both cases, heed Mom’s long-heralded rule: no picking.)

For those who want to commune with Mother—and nature—in an active way, exercise outdoors as part of the free fitness programs at Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens; 718-956-1819; Sat 8, Sun 9; for a full schedule, visit No matter your experience level, comfortable clothing is all that’s required to take part in yoga, Pilates, tai chi or capoeira lessons.

The partier

Bring out Mom’s wild side during the Mother’s Day Burlesque Brunch at the Highline Ballroom (431 W 16th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-414-5994,; Sun 9 at 1:30pm; $25--$50 plus $10 minimum). The World Famous *BOB* and Jo Boobs salute their foremothers in seduction, including legendary burlesque queens Dixie Evans and Dee Milo, with more than a half dozen performances. But we’re kind of hoping it doesn’t inspire Mom to connect with her inner Gypsy Rose Lee.

If your mom used to stay out dancing with Truman Capote at Studio 54, take her to the Underground Network’s Soul Party NYC at midtown’s Park Central Hotel (870 Seventh Ave at 55th St,; Sat 8 midnight; $30--$40), a late-night, pre--Mother’s Day party featuring live performances by Tower of Power’s Lenny Williams and A Taste of Honey. DJ Don Welch will keep the hits spinning until the clock strikes four, and Mom will get to relive her disco heyday. (And maybe bust out that Halston jumpsuit again.)

Show your mother how much you love her by dressing like her (but not in a creepy Norman Bates sort of way) at interactive performance space HiChristina’s Come as Your Mothers Are party (163 Eldridge St at Delancey St,; Sat 8 at 10pm, $10--$20). Part pageant, part dance party and 100 percent wacky (with bizarro sideshow performances that incorporate Jazzercise and marshmallows), this BYOB event rewards you for dressing like your mom (you’ll pay $10 instead of the full $20 cover charge). And if Ma is partial to granny panties, you might just walk away with the award for Best Old-Lady Underwear.

The best Mother's Day meals in NYC

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