The rites of spring in New York City are many and splendid. If you’re planning a visit, or you live here and just need a nudge to get out and enjoy springtime in your magical city, here are 11 only-in-New-York and only-in-spring activities that the luxury class will be pursuing in the coming weeks (we set out to share our top 10, but there were just too many good ideas to limit them arbitrarily). Take these tips from the insiders, and you’re guaranteed to have a fine time.
Without question, you should visit the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Plaza; wander through Central Park and linger at the Bethesda Fountain, the Zoo, the Lake, or the Boathouse. You should definitely walk north to the hidden and lovely Conservatory Garden, officially part of Central Park, but a world unto itself. You have to do some spring retail shopping (’cause why not?)
Once you’ve done all of that, consider doing some of these:
1. Visit the Orchid Show and the Cherry Blossom Festival. The New York Botanical Garden’s annual orchid show is always spectacular. This year, it runs from March 3rd through April 22nd. The theme is the work of Belgian floral artist Daniel Ost. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is famous for its splendid weekend-long celebration of Japanese cherry blossom season. This year’s Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival is on Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th. There will be a Japanese tea room, an art gallery, Taiko drummers, samurai sword masters, and J-rock bands. Oh, and some lovely flowering trees to see.
2. Attend the spring round of galas and fundraisers. The society season in Manhattan has a series of annual events that bring out the glamour girls and guys and their fantastic clothes and jewels. On the list? The Save Venice Benefit; the Hot Pink party; the Hat Luncheon in Central Park; and the mother of them all, the Met Costume Gala.
3. Have a meal at an outdoor cafe (or a hot restaurant) and watch the fashion parade go by. If you love fashion and design, you can achieve a front-row seat just by settling in at a cafe in the right neighborhood and doing some intensive people-watching. The warmer temperatures will mean that the coats are coming off, so you can actually see how people have put their looks together. For classic Upper East Side elegance, you should do the chic Milanese Sant Ambroeus on Madison Ave. Flora Bar at the Met Breuer is a stylish space to dine al fresco. The still-red-hot Le Coucou draws a sophisticated New York crowd. Street style more your thing? Head for the newly-opened Gem on the Lower East Side, helmed by teen chef prodigy Flynn McGarry. We love Bryant Park for all kinds of reasons, and it’s a splendid place to while away a couple of hours just watching the New Yorkers go by.
4. Take in a ballgame at Yankee Stadium. Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge. That’s all you need to know. Click here to get your tickets now.
5. Head for the Hudson River. The High Line is an incredible, not-to-be-missed space all year round, with rotating installations of contemporary art and amazing views. In spring, its even better as the fresh green shoots start to pop up. The new Plinth will be opening soon. For something totally different but equally compelling, visit The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, located on a World War 2 aircraft carrier docked on the Hudson; you can view the original crew quarters, a Concorde, and one of the Space Shuttles, and talk with the veterans who volunteer there about their service experiences.
6. Experience the outdoor spaces at our iconic museums. The MoMA Sculpture Garden is never more magical than in spring; it’s an enchanting oasis in the middle of the city. The rooftop of the Whitney Museum is similarly stunning. And the Metropolitan Museum of Art will have its annual rooftop installation open starting April 18th — this year’s site-specific installation will be from Pakistani artist Huma Bhabha, and is entitled We Come in Peace. There are also lovely and serene gardens at the Frick and the Cooper Hewitt on the Upper East Side.
7. Catch the Frieze New York art show. This annual event, held on Roosevelt Island, is a highly notable see-and-be-seen opportunity for business and civic leaders in New York. It’s also, of course, a chance to see and buy modern and contemporary art from over 1,000 artists. The dates this year are May 3rd to 6th.
8. See a Broadway show. Spring is the perfect time to take in a Broadway show — the Tony Awards nominations will be announced on May 1, and the awards will be given on June 10th. In the weeks running up to the awards, you’ll find the stars of every show on stage as they demonstrate why they deserve to win. This spring, we’re definitely going to Children of a Lesser God; Three Tall Women; Saint Joan; Skintight; and The Iceman Cometh. Later in the spring, Shakespeare in the Park will be the red-hot ticket: the incredible Ruben Santiago-Hudson (of Jitney fame) will direct Othello.
9. Go to a concert. There’s an embarrassment of riches in terms of musical offerings in New York in spring. You could start with Carnegie Hall’s New York Sounds of Spring International Music Festival on March 27th. Then catch New Zealand pop star Lorde when her Melodrama tour touches down at the Barclay’s Center on April 4th with two opening acts: hip-hop duo Run the Jewels and indie-rocker Mitski Miyawaki. Jazz at Lincoln Center has two Landmark Concerts scheduled in April – Crescent City Monk April 6-7; and The Best of Basie April 26-28. The New York Philharmonic will present Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting two of Beethoven’s most popular works: the Eroica Symphony and his Piano Concerto No. 3, plus a World Premiere by Iceland’s Anna Thorvaldsdottir April 4-6.
10. Have a cocktail al fresco. Take advantage of the balmy weather and have a drink or dinner at a swanky rooftop bar or lounge. Our favorites? Salon de Ning at The Peninsula Hotel on Fifth Avenue; The Ides at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn; the Refinery Rooftop; The Roof at Public Hotel; Westlight; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden Café.
11. Escape the city. If you have time, get out of the city and explore some of the wonders of the nearby countryside. You could head north and visit the spectacular sculpture garden at the Storm King Art Center, opening May 19th. Or tour Kykuit, the historic Rockefeller Mansion on the Hudson River. Or you could choose to head east to the North Fork of Long Island or to the Hamptons — they won’t be crowded (yet) and you’ll find lovely shops, restaurants, beaches and wineries.
Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have the opportunity to revel in spring in New York. There’s absolutely nothing like it.
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