There’s so much to do in NYC every weekend, including this weekend. Outdoor food and flea markets are back, there’s a food and arts festival in Lower Manhattan, a live music festival on Governors Island, and so much more.
We’re exhausted already from the possibilities, and the weekend has barely started.
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Top Events This Weekend
Japanese Dance, Music & Kimono Festival
Japan Performing Arts Inc. returns to Governors Island with traditional Japanese dances, kimono workshops, activities and more this weekend and next, 1-5PM, and 11AM-3PM on Memorial Day.
Head to Nolan Park to catch the festivities and jump into a socially distanced dance! Capacity is limited, with waitlist registration requested for full dates and walk-ups accommodated as space allows.
Downtown Live is a food and arts celebration of downtown NYC with FREE live in-person performances and dozens of outdoor dining options in the historic downtown district.
This is the second of two weekends.
More Outdoor Dining Options
Every weekend is a good weekend to support our local NYC restaurants by eating out or taking out, and supporting our local NYC businesses by shopping with them instead of the national chains, especially right now.
Restaurants and bars can stay open until midnight, one hour longer than before.
Indoor dining has expanded to 75% of capacity. Be sure to make reservations
- New Jersey and Connecticut are at 100% indoor dining capacity.
- Long Island, Westchester and Rockland are at 75% dining capacity
The popular al fresco dining experience has returned to the Bronx. A famous stretch of Arthur Avenue now closes to cars each weekend from 6-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 1-9pm on Sundays.
This Bronx Little Italy serves up authentic Italian favorites. Participating restaurants include Zero Otto Nove, Mario’s Restaurant, Enzo’s of Arthur Avenue, Estrellita Poblana III, Ann & Tony’s, and Pasquale’s Rigoletto Restaurant.
Reservations are recommended. Mangia!
Live Music Outdoors
David Ostwald Louis Armstrong Heritage Band
The band is back. Put on your dancing shoes, or just your listening ears.
David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Heritage Band has returned to Riverside Park for live concerts of classic music from the 30s, 40s and 50s, several days a week.
The band performed regularly last spring, summer and fall, and I’m happy they are back, now that the weather is warm enough not to freeze the fingers of the musicians.
Performances are FREE, but since these musicians have been out of work for more than a year, you are encouraged to drop a few dollars, or purchase one of their CDs.
Concert location is Riverside Park Promenade, at 84th St.
As many of you know, I’m a swing dancer, and I LOVE this band and also the opportunity to dance outdoors. Look for me on the dance “floor”.
This weekend’s schedule is Saturday and Sunday, Noon to 2pm.
A rotating roster of local musicians playing live music in the parking lot of this Long Island City arts group.
Saturday, May 22
Sunday, May 23
Saurday, May 29
Sunday, May 30
Get bites from food trucks and beers from Rockaway Brewery. Entry is free, and there’s also a art exhibit, Artists in Residency Exhibition 2021.
- 4pm-8pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Live Pop-Up Performance
Come “play” in Riverside Park with Prospect Theater Company!
Follow a group of artist guides as they direct you through the trees of Crabapple Grove.
Along the path, choose your own adventure from an array of 15 original stories penned by a line-up of imaginative theater creators, and engage with a tale created just for you.
- Saturday, May 22nd, 1 – 4:30pm
- Registration required.
Saturday and Sunday
Greenpoint Terminal Market
This popular outdoor market is back for the season on Saturdays and Sundays, with a full roster of vendors, including food, and also entertainment.
This season, Greenpoint Terminal Market expands with roller skate rental and lessons, Yoga, Capoeira,fitness, art and dance classes.
And there’s always the expansive and gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline.
There are more than 100 vendors, from vintage and antiques to local art and design, and fashion. International food vendors on hand reflect the multi-cultural diversity of Brooklyn.
- Subway – take the G Train to Greenpoint Avenue
- Ferry – take the East River Ferry to Greenpoint
This popular outdoor market, styled on popular street food markets in Asia and the Caribbean, is back with artisan vendors and family activities
There’s great food from two dozen vendors, serving up everything from everything from lobster rolls to yakitori to tostones—with cocktails to accompany. Celebrate culture and cuisine every Saturday from now through November.
At Fordham Plaza. Admission is free.
- Saturdays through November, Noon to 7pm.
Get Outdoors – Governors Island
Get Outdoors – It’s Cherry Blossom Season
Coney Island is back for the season.
Ride the world famous Cyclone and Deno’s Wonder Wheel, one of the world’s largest ferris wheels.
Advance timed reservations are required for the rides.
Nathan’s Famous is giving away a FREE hot dog to anybody who shows proof of vaccination.
KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature is the first-ever comprehensive exploration of the artist’s lifelong fascination with polka dots and with the natural world, at the New York Botanical Garden.
The exhibit includes monumental sculptures, paintings and other artifacts across the Garden’s 250-acre landscape, including material that has never been displayed publicly before. Plus, of course, one of the artist’s famous Infinity Rooms.
NYCOTC Editor Evelyn Kanter got a preview, and can report that the exhibit is truly magical, especially against the blooming cherry trees and dogwood, and there are still plenty of orchids left over from the recent Orchid Show.
Open on Weekends
Now open weekend with new safety precautions, advance online ticketing, changes to the way guests explore the building, and new activities in the exhibits.
Rising sea levels affect us all, and this new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York explains it all, opening now to coincide with Earth Day next week.
In Rising Tide: Visualizing the Human Costs of the Climate Crisis, Dutch documentary photographer Kadir van Lohuizen illustrates the dramatic consequences of climate change across the world through photographs, video, drone images, and sound. Experience the effects of rising sea levels in Greenland, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Fiji, Amsterdam, Panama, Miami, and our own neighborhoods here in New York City.
- Open Friday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm.
- Purchased timed tickets here
Follow NYC on the Cheap on Facebook
NYC movie theaters are open again, with reduced capacity, up to 50 people per theater.
See our list of what’s playing, and which theaters are serving popcorn and other snacks, and which theaters open later in March.
The Queens Drive-In is back, at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, with films to please the entire family.
This weekend –
- Friday, April 30 | Gravity + Shorts (Nose Hair & Distemper)
- Saturday, May 1 | Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
- Sunday, May 2 | Groundhog Day
As of April 1, New York dropped its quarantine requirement for visitors.
If you need a Covid-19 test, find one by zip code or address on the official NYC location finder site, or text “COVID TEST” to 855-48.
There are now Covid-19 vaccination sites open 24/7 in each NYC borough, plus additional sites.
NYC vaccination sites, including those at hospitals and pharmacies, are by appointment only. No walk-ins are accepted at any time.
Museums Opened Recently – Plan a Visit
The famous aircraft carrier on the Hudson River is again welcoming visitors.
The Intrepid is a National Historic Landmark, which served tours of duty in World War II and the Vietnam War.
Explorer Enterprise, the world’s first space shuttle, plus historic aircraft collection on the flight deck and in the hangar deck.
New spaces and experiences include the bomb elevator and the ship’s pilot escalator.
Hayden Planetarium at AMNH
The iconic Hayden Planetarium Space Theater is open again, with its newest Space Show, Worlds Beyond Earth,
Narrated by Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, the show about outer space features immersive visualizations, groundbreaking space missions, and breathtaking scenes depicting the evolution of our solar system.
It’s all in state-of-the-art 8K on the most advanced planetarium projection system in the world.
The new museum is now open.
There’s space enough for some works to be displayed for the first time. and for the museum’s signature The Progress of Love by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, to be shown together in its entirety for the first time in the Frick’s history. The installation also debuts new acquisitions.
NYC on the Cheap Editor Evelyn Kanter got a preview tour before the museum opened. Here’s my review: it’s fabulous.
Full information about new exhibit formats and ticket information here.
FREE Online Every Friday – Cocktails with a Curator
- Join a Frick curator for an in-depth tour of a particular artwork and the artist. Cocktails with a Curator also includes a recipe for an appropriate cocktail. There’s a different artwork and a different cocktail each Friday at 5pm.
Several NYC museums have brought back free admission for certain days and times.
The Rubin Museum of Art offers a collection of art, sculptures and tapestries from India, Nepal, Tibet, China and other Asian nations.
Free Friday Nights are a great time to explore, but timed entry tickets go quickly.
All gallery tickets become available for reservation two weeks in advance.
- FREE Friday nights are 6pm to 10pm
The Guggenheim Museum of Art
- Pay-what-you-wish Friday and Saturday, 4pm to 6pm
- Reservations are required.
This is a great time to be a tourist in your hometown.
More staycation suggestions
Smell the flowers:
The New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Queens Botanical Garden are all open.
Take a cruise:
The Staten Island Ferry is a 20 minute delight, even in winter, with picture postcard views of the Statue of Liberty, and it’s FREE.
Take a hike:
High Line, the popular elevated park is now open its full distance, from 14th to 30th Street, with FREE timed reservations for social distancing.
Make reservations here to visit the High Line.
Welcome NYC’s newest park, Pier 26 on the Hudson River.
This is the city’s first park focusing on ecology, with an elevated walkway over the Hudson, landscaped walking paths, open green lawns, areas to interact with local wildlife, and plenty of benches to rest and enjoy the view, including to enjoy a sunset.
Weekend Street and Bridge Closures
Check the official NYC Dept. of Transportation list so you don’t get stuck in traffic or are forced to make a humongous detour.
Alternate Side of the Street Parking
Check the official NYC Dept. of Transportation updates so you don’t get a ticket.
Anytime – Virtual Jazz Concerts
Sadly, the iconic jazz destination Birdland has closed, due to financial issues caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic, and this popular weekend jazz concert is no longer available.
However, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance is streaming concerts on its Facebook page, including concerts by Arturo O’Farrell and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra
Anytime – Streaming Now
Live From from Lincoln Center:
The renowned Metropolitan Opera, continues to live stream operas each night of the week, FREE.
Each stream becomes available at 7:30 p.m. EDT and remains accessible for on-demand viewing until 6:30 p.m. the following day.
Find more things to do this weekend
Saturday, May 22, 2021
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Monday, May 24, 2021
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Rubin Museum, 150 W. 17th St.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
5 Noble Street, Booklyn
Macy’s Herald Square, 34th St. and Broadway
Fordham Plaza, Bronx