Best NYC Events and Things to Do in May 2014

A picture of last year's Frieze Art Fair  taking over a big chunk of prime waterfront territory on Randall's Island with a gigantic balloon animal

April showers bring May-great-stuff-to-do here in NYC. So before every weekend becomes a beach weekend for you, get out there and enjoy all that this big beautiful city has to offer. Here are just a few of our top suggestions…

Image of a couple of kids enjoying the artwork at last year's NADA: New York in NYC

May Art Fairs and Events in NYC

Frieze Art Fair is back for its third iteration in NYC, from May 9 to 12, once again taking over a big chunk of prime waterfront territory on Randall's Island (top, from last year). This is a blast, with nearly 200 galleries from around the world showing off their best stuff in a huge, soaring tent, with a fun sculpture garden making good use of all the outdoor space. The glitz level here is off the charts. The event is also featuring premium food vendors like:

In a nice counterpoint to Frieze, the far more down-to-earth NADA: New York returns to Basketball City near the South Street Seaport on that same weekend. NADA (pictured above, from last year) is also in its third year here, and it's also a lot of fun with, usually, lots of interesting art.

Image of the flyer for BRIC's Celebrate Brooklyn dance parties in NYC

Test Your Physical and Mental Abilities

If you're looking for something a bit more physically (as opposed to aesthetically) active, May marks the return of:

  • BRIC's epic dance parties at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. For three Thursday in a row–May 8, 15, 22–the spectacular outdoor space will be jumping, thanks to a truly first-rate selection of bands and DJ's like: Balkan Beat Box, Cibo Matto, and Sierra Leone's Refuge Dance Party. Consider it a kick-off to all of the great free summer concerts around the city starting in June. 
  • The Great Urban Race comes to town in May, on the 17th, a unique event that tests your puzzle-solving prowess as well as your speed and stamina. Here's how it works: show up at the starting point, receive a dozen crazy-cryptic clues for the locations of the day's checkpoints, race around town trying to get them all by 5:00, enjoy lots of drinks at the after-party.
  • Additionally, May means Internet Week, from the 19th to the 22nd, with speakers, panel discussions, workshops, and networking events every day, all over town, for anyone and everyone interested in "the innovators building the new economy and creating opportunity".

Image of the official event information for Madison Square Park Spring Kid's Fest in NYC

Kid-friendly Events in NYC

Here's a couple of events that you can bring your kids to, especially Madison Square Park's annual Spring Kid's Fest on May 17, three hours of free performances, music, dinosaurs, arts and activities and general all-around family fun. If you just want to eat (and who doesn't?), on May 17 and 18 the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival stretches out over three-quarters of a mile in Hell’s Kitchen, with literally hundreds of vendors serving almost every kind of cuisine imaginable. Good to see this still going strong even in the age of the weekly Smogasburgs in Brooklyn. 

What other fun outdoor activites in NYC will you be checking out this May? 

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