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5 Festivals and Events To Check Out This Memorial Day

Category General

|by Mark Robinson |


Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to explore the city

Memorial Day Weekend is almost upon us, and there is plenty to do in the Big Apple to enjoy a full weekend of festivities. Whether you prefer a reverent experience steeped in patriotism, a family-centric day of fun and bonding, or an evening of partying, there is something for everyone. Here are a handful of the offerings to be found around the city for the occasion, many of which are either free or relatively low-cost.

Enjoy NYC’s many Memorial Day events this holiday weekend (Photo: iStock)

Enjoy NYC’s many Memorial Day events this holiday weekend (Photo: iStock)

Intrepid Museum’s Fleet Week
From May 22 to 27 in 2019, The Intrepid Museum will celebrate Fleet Week, an annual lineup of presentations, activities and concerts that honor U.S. Military servicemen and women. The event is free, and provides visitors with a tour of the ship, a chance to meet NASA astronauts and the opportunity to witness a patriotic Memorial Day commemoration ceremony underlining the holiday’s purpose. Also of note is the Battle of the Big Bands, held on the ship’s flight deck. 

The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts
Theater for the New City offers a lineup of young, emerging and established talents with The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts. Free to the public, the event includes dance, music, theatre, poetry readings, standup comedy and film. Running from May 24 – May 26 (Friday 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.; Saturday noon – 6 p.m. outside 6 p.m. – 1 a.m. inside; Sunday 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.) at 155 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets, there will be something for everyone. On Saturday, there will also be a street fair amidst the event on East 10th, featuring food and shopping.

Memorial Day Weekend Hip Hop vs. Reggae Booze Cruise Yacht Party 2019
For those who like to celebrate the weekend with great music accompanied by great libations, the Memorial Day Weekend Hip Hop vs. Reggae Booze Cruise Yacht Party 2019 will most likely be your speed. Departing from the Skyport Marina at 2430 FDR Drive, this cruise departs at 11:45 p.m. and returns at approximately 4:00 a.m. For an all-night excursion with the city’s hottest DJs, enjoy a festive evening of music and dancing with New York’s glittering skyline as your backdrop. For more ticket information on MDW Sunday Hip Hop vs. Reggae Cruise NYC Yacht Party, call or text 347-985-4412.

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit
From May 25 to June 2, Washington Square Park will play host to a thrilling display of paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry and woodcraft, all crafted by some of the city’s finest artists. Hundreds of exhibitors will be represented, from NYU students to emerging and regionally renowned artists. Stop by the park at University Place at E 13th St. for an afternoon of artistic discovery. 

Create Your Own Coney Island Adventure
For those adventurous enough to get on the subway and head toward Brooklyn, Coney Island is a New York institution for outdoor fun. The Coney Island Circus Sideshow, Burlesque at the Beach and Magic at Coney are just a few of the events you can enjoy there this weekend. Walk the boardwalk and grab a hotdog from the popular Nathan’s stand, enjoy some time on the sand looking out over the water, then head to Luna Park to ride the Cyclone. Finally, top it all off by feasting on cotton candy and popcorn. Coney Island is a great way for the whole family to enjoy some Memorial Day Weekend fun in the sun. Just hop the D, F, N or Q from Manhattan toward Brooklyn.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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