Mother, art, biking, books, films and festivals will fill up your May calendar. Expect an active month, which easily takes you into the beginning of Summer.
5/ 1 -2: See a diverse collection of boundary-pushing nonfiction films at Art of the Real at Lincoln Center.
5/ 1 – 7: Attend readings, discussions, and workshops with writers addressing contemporary cultural and political issues in other countries, with a special focus this year on the relationship between gender and power at PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.
5/ 1 – 7: NYC Independent Film Festival celebrates the independent filmmaker with screenings, panels, and parties at the Producers Club.
5/ 2-7: New York Polish Film Festival screens feature films, shorts, and documentaries, which all have English subtitles at Anthology Film Archives.
5/ 3: Enjoy unlimited tastes from 50 local restaurants plus open bars at the Taste of the Lower East Side in Metropolitan Pavilion for $195+ to support charity.
5/ 3 – 9: New York African Film Festival screens films about the societal transformation of Africa.
5/ 3 – 20: See creative plays, films, and more at the Downtown Urban Arts Festival (DUAF), which showcases urban artists and promotes diversity.
5/ 4 – 7: Harlem International Film Festival shows features, documentaries, shorts, youth projects, and animated works, and it includes panel discussions and awards.
5/ 4 – 7: Women of the World Festival features performances, talks, films, workshops, and music celebrating women’s talents at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
5/ 4 – 8: See exceptional modern and contemporary art from international galleries at the TEFAF New York Spring Fair at Park Avenue Armory. Repeats in October.
5/ 5 (7 to 10:30 p.m.): Enjoy good food and wine at Global Food and Wine Experience at Guastavino’s to support diversity in the hospitality and culinary industries.
5/ 5 – 6: Visit 100 bicycle and accessory exhibitors, and attend biking presentations and classes at Bike Expo New York at Basketball City, Pier36. Free. [Do not confuse with a different bike expo on May 19 to 20.]
5/ 5 – 7: Shop for art from 1000 contemporary artists, attend talks, and mingle with art-world celebrities at Frieze New York in tents at Randall’s Island Park.
5/ 6: Throw brightly colored powder, dance to the music, and buy Indian food to celebrate spring at Holi Hai festival at Governors Island. Buy non-toxic color on site, don’t bring your own. Free entry.
5/ 6: Listen To Your Mother celebrates and validates motherhood with short stories that are touching and humorous at Broadway Presbyterian Church.
5/ 6 (12 to 4 p.m.): Attend the grand opening of the Flow.17 outdoor art exhibit and meet the artists at Randall’s Island Park. Free.
5/ 6 – 8/ 20: Free Summer Movies are shown evenings at parks in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.
5/7: Bike 40 miles through New York’s five boroughs on Five Boro Bike Tour, starting in Lower Manhattan.
5/ 10 – 16: Columbia University Film Festival premieres short films, feature screenplays, and teleplays created by graduate MFA students of Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program at Lincoln Center.
5/ 11 – 14: Food enthusiasts, chefs, artists, writers, designers, and publishers attend Food Book Fair to celebrate, discuss, and sample fine food at Ace Hotel.
5/ 12 – 14: Do the dances you love with fun people, to live music and seasoned DJs at Big Apple Balboa, Blues and Lindy Exchange (BABBLE).
5/ 13: Hudson River Park Games has a Team Pentathlon competition, Healthy on the Hudson workouts & yoga, health and wellness stations, and a Games Village with live music, a beer garden, and family-friendly activities at Pier 26 in Hudson River Park. Mostly free.
5/ 13 – 14: Taste coffee, see exhibits, and attend classes at the consumer CoffeeCon at the The Metropolitan Pavilion.
5/ 13 – 14: Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party features live music, games, family activities, tours, food trucks, and casual picnicking at New York Botanical Garden.
5/ 14 (9 to 10:30 a.m.): A $75 ticket to Mother’s Day Celebration at Central Park Zoo includes baby animal feeding, a scavenger hunt, craft making, and treats for an adult and child.
5/ 14 (1:30 p.m.): Find hidden clues and complete fun tasks in a race around the city on The Amazing Mother’s Day Scavenger Hunt beginning at Slattery’s Midtown Pub.
5/ 14: Japan Day @ Central Park includes a four mile run and kids’ race, dancing and singing, calligraphy and origami, and food tents at Central Park Bandshell. Free.
5/ 14 (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.): Enjoy a catered Mother’s Day Brunch plus a stroll in the gardens at Queens Botanical Garden.
5/ 17 – 9/13: Enjoy outstanding music, comedy, theater, dance, lectures, and films during SummerStage in city parks. The (mostly) free concerts are popular, so arrive early.
5/ 19(7 p.m., VIP 6): Sample food from 50 restaurants and 35 nations as chosen by Village Voice food critics, plus drinks at Choice Eats at the Metropolitan Pavilion for age 21+.
5/ 19 – 20: Join 10,000 cyclists visiting exhibitors at the NYC Bike Expo at Penn Plaza Pavilion. Secure bike check. Free. [Do not confuse with the bike expo on May 5-6.]
5/ 19 – 20: Sample food from 40 restaurants, and taste wine, beer, and cocktails under a tent at Columbus Avenue & West 77th Street.
May 19 – Surf & Turf
May 20 – Best of the West
5/ 19 – 21: Bad Film Fest screens weird, wild, and outrageous films by new filmmakers that are supposed to be so bad they’re good at Cloud City.
5/ 20 (12 to 5 p.m.): Texas Chili Cook-off serves chili, beer, and a band, rain or shine at Pier 84 at Hudson River Park.
5/ 20 (1 p.m.): Watch colorful dancers perform ballet, break dance, disco, hula, and samba in the 1 p.m. Dance Parade beginning at Broadway & 21st Street and ending at DanceFest in Tompkins Park from 3 to 7 p.m. Free.
5/ 20: East Harlem’s Ethnic Festival has music, dance, arts and crafts, ethnic food, and children’s activities on E. 104th Street (from 2nd to 3rd Avenue). Free.
5/ 20: New York City Multicultural Festival promises diverse cultural music, dance, food, fashion, and a kids’ area on St. Nicholas Avenue (from 141st to 145th). Free.
5/20 – 21: Ninth Avenue International Food Festival features food from around the world, international music and dance, artists and vendors, and children’s rides and games on 9th Avenue (42nd to 57th). Free entry.
5/ 20 – 21: NYC Vegetarian Food Festival features food samples and meals from vegetarian restaurants, health and wellness vendors, vegetarian and animal-welfare groups, and talks and shows at Metropolitan Pavilion. Discount tickets $19.
5/ 20 – 21: Attend screenings, discussions, and jams with movie, TV, and music icons at the Vulture Festival, mostly at Milk Studios and run by Vulture, the culture and entertainment brand of New York Magazine.
5/ 24 (6:30 p.m., VIP 5): Sample handcrafted spirits and meet the makers at NY Indie Spirits Expo at the Penn Club of New York.
5/ 24: The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is a showcase for 500 exhibitors from May 21 – 24, 2017, and it opens to the public on the last day in Jacob Javits Convention Center.
5/ 26: See free movies outdoors at Summer Movie Series at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Arrive early. 5/26: Top Gun
5/ 26 – 28: Lower East Side Festival of the Arts features dance, film, music, poetry, theater, and visual art at the Theater for the New City. Free.
5/ 26 – 30: Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival screens dozens of unusual films “that challenge the viewers reality with ideas and concepts not normally found in conventional stories” at four different venues.
5/ 27: 152nd Street Cultural Festival celebrates Puerto Rican culture with live music, dancing, comedy, art and food vendors, celebrity appearances, and a children’s pavilion with storytelling, face painting, and crafts on 152nd Street (Jackson Ave. to Union Ave.). Free.
5/ 27 – 6/ 4: Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit features 120 artists on the sidewalks of University Place, May 27-29 and June 3-4. Repeats in Sept. Free.
5/ 28 (12 to 5 p.m.): Passport to Taiwan Festival features night-market foods, teas, Taiwanese crafts, and aboriginal music and dance in Union Square Park North. Free.
5/ 28: Mamapalooza offers music, art, kids’ activities, food vendors, and crafts for mothers and the people who love them at Riverside Park South. Free.
5/ 30 – 6/ 4: Attend 50 world-class lectures, films, and events on science and innovation at World Science Festival.
5/ 31 – 6/ 2: Book Expo America includes 1000 exhibitors, author lectures and autographing events, and publishing-industry sessions at the Javits Center.