CITYSIGHTS NY BLOG
Each year, on the first Sunday in May, tens of thousands of cyclists and cycling enthusiasts converge on New York City for one of the most popular events in the world of cycling—the TD Five Boro Bike Tour. During the two days leading up to the Tour, the city hosts Bike Expo New York, an annual celebration of urban cycling and all things bicycle related.
In 2014, the Expo drew more than 100 exhibitors and 50,000 attendees, ranking the event as the most well attended consumer bike expo in the United States! And this year’s Expo promises to be even bigger, with more exhibitors and attendees than ever!
If you love cycling, especially urban cycling, this is your chance to meet and greet this year’s TD Five Boro Bike Tour competitors, talk shop with both cyclists and exhibitors, check out the latest gear, and shop everything from helmets to breaks, pumps to pedals and cycling wear galore! Exhibitors at this year’s Expo include Albabici, Bicycle Adventures, Campagnolo, CitiBike, Feedback Sports, Five Borough Bicycle Club, Kryptonite, Lazer Sport, Momentum Magazine, Nth Degree, Polar, SEI, Spinlister, Zwift, and many more!
Indoor events on Friday include…a bike fitting demo, lock-up demo (sponsored by Kryptonite), a class on repairing flats on the go, fastest mechanic competition (Fix a Flat), a beginners guide to urban cycling, and everything you should know about the upcoming TD Five Boro Bike Tour!
Indoor events on Saturday include a youth bike school panel discussion, a show of this year’s cycling fashions presented by Momentum magazine, youth mechanics competition (Fix a Flat), A rousing game of “Jeopardy!” (TD Five Boro Bike Tour Edition) to test your cycling knowledge, and a workshop on “Cyclepreneurs”—ways you can earn a living by bike.
Plus both Expo days will feature outdoor bike riding and repair lessons for all age groups, young and old alike! So if you love cycling in the city, the Bike Expo New York is a must!
If you go:
Bike Expo New York
May 1, 2015, 10am–8pm
May 2, 2015, 9am–6pm
Pier 36 at Basketball City
299 South Street, Manhattan
There’s no better way to get into the spring spirit than with a family-friendly outdoor celebration at the Queens Botanical Gardens. An oasis of green in the city the Gardens deliver a full-on celebration of the season—complete with food and craft vendors, a beer tent, petting zoo, pony rides, and face painting!
Stroll the garden paths, attend a workshop on gardening or composting, take a bird walk with one f the Garden’s guides and see all the species of birds that rely on green spaces like this one for their habitat.
The Festival is also a great way to connect with nature and enjoy some old-fashioned low-tech games from the days before screen time occupied all our free moments. The kids can get their faces painted, create some art of their own, or test their skills at the beanbag toss.
And there’ll e plenty of food and beverage vendors on hand to provide delicious and healthy drinks and snacks! Grown-ups, you may want to check out the beer tent for a frosty cup of brew.
The Queens Botanical Gardens are a great place to enjoy a spot of nature in the heart of the city all year round. From the Winter Bird Count and the Easter Egg Hunt to nature photography workshops, craft shows, summer concerts, and spectacular fall foliage — there’s always something happening at the Queens Botanical Gardens!
Looking for more? Check out some of the other great attractions in New York City!
If you go:
April 26, 2015
Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main Street
Flushing, Queens, NY
Admission: Adults $4, Seniors $3, Students $2
Anyone who grew up in or around a city remembers the classic childhood street games—like stickball, street hockey, hopscotch, and jump rope—that were popular before the tech revolution tied us all to our screens. Well now you can relive those great days and give your kids a chance to experience those great games too! New York City Parks has teamed with Disney Corporation to sponsor the 8th annual NYC Street Games at Thomas Jefferson Park in Harlem. The event is a celebration of childhood street games and offers families a great opportunity to get outside, exercise, and experience some low-tech fun!
Street Games is an all-ages event, so parents can show off their moves, and kids can test their Hula Hoop and skateboard skills! Featured games include…
• Pogo Sticks
• Hula Hoops
• Hippity Hop
• Four Square
• Street Hockey
• Ultimate Disc
• Roller Blading
There’s even a soapbox derby behind the main stage, plus skateboarding clinics and bike riding lessons if you bring your wheels with you! A fitness-agility ladder lets young and old test their climbing skills, and there’ll be wheelchair basketball for those who refuse to let a disability slow their game.
You’ll find more than just games at this year’s event. Local radio stations will be providing the music all day, with selected live broadcasts from the event. Plus, there’ll be plenty of live music, and dance performances by the Dance Theater of Harlem. There will be lots of vendors with delicious food and drink to keep you hydrated and energized.
Tips to Enhance Your Visit
When you arrive, be sure to stop at the NYC Parks booth and get your Street Games Passport. Attendees who complete 7 out of 10 of the activities on the passport will receive a prize! Bring your own helmet for the soapbox derby, bike riding lessons, skateboarding, and roller blade events. Participants must sign a waiver to participate in some activities. The waivers will be provided at the event. Participants under the age of 18 must have a legal guardian present with photo identification to sign the waiver.
If you go:
April 25, 2015
Thomas Jefferson Park
114th Street and First Avenue, Manhattan
The Tribeca neighborhood in Lower Manhattan is well known for its art galleries, restaurants, and of course the Tribeca Film Festival. But what you may not know is that once each spring it plays host to one of New York’s biggest street fairs! The Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair is an extravaganza of food, entertainment, shopping and kid-friendly fun the whole family can enjoy.
A selected array of Tribeca’s best chefs will demonstrate how they create their signature dishes is a specially designed kitchen, so you can learn from the masters! Presenters on the “show kitchen” stage will share their culinary secrets and offer a limited number of participants the chance to sample their creations! Participants include Baked Tribeca, Bubby’s Pie Co., Duane Park Patisserie, Grandaisy Bakery, Tribeca Treats, and Blue Marble Ice Cream.There will also be an ample supply of menus, recipes, and discount premiums so you can visit these fine dining establishments at your leisure. Some of the city’s best rolling restaurants will also be on hand to provide a delicious selection of hot and cold food!
There’s no shortage of talent at the Festival—with featured performances from magician/juggler Max Darwin, dancers from the Broadway Dreams Foundation and the Downtown Dance Factory, and cast members of Broadway shows including It Shoulda Been You, Phantom of the Opera, On the Town, Kinky Boots, Wicked, and more!
FOR THE KIDS
Kid-friendly events abound, including audience participation group Yo Re Mi, whose members use music and dance to get kids to exercise, learn about nature, appreciate other languages and cultures, and just have fun! Writopia Lab will be on hand to help aspiring writers to create their own screenplays—anyone ages 2 to 21 is welcome. There’ll also be puppetry from Puppetworks, Shadowbox Theater, Marcia the Musical Moose. Bill Gordh will tell stories and sing songs, Larissa will provide face painting, and the Children’s Museum of the Arts will feature its pop-up Clay Bart to teach you hoe to make your own clay creature! The Games for Change Public Arcade will provide a fun way to promote health and encourage positive social change, using the power of play!
So come out and bring your smiles and your appetites!
If you go:
Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair
April 25, 10am
Greenwich Street (from Hubert to Chambers Streets), Manhattan
Admission: This is a FREE event!
From Sustainable Agriculture To Investing In A Green Economy - Let The New York Green Festival Expo Show You How You Can Make A Difference
The largest expo of its kind in the world, the Green Festival in New York draws over 21,000 attendees annually from the city, state, and around the world—all eager to learn about the ways green tech, green living, and green investment are helping to create a sustainable and renewable future!
The three-day event at the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side features dozens of forums, speakers, events, and demonstrations addressing a broad range of topics relevant to environmentally conscious living. You’ll learn about the latest green transportation, sustainable and urban farming, how to built and maintain a green business, green diet and health, and more.
From the global to the personal, the Green Festival shows how you can integrate green concepts into every aspect of your life. Here’s just a sample of what the Green Festival offers…
• Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Investment topics include Big Green Opportunities in the Sharing Economy; Big Money, Clean Power, and PR; Creating and Expanding a Bulletpoof Business; and more!
• Green Global Community topics include Sustainable Travel; Sustainability and Human Rights; Saving Humanity from Itself; Achieving the Non-GMO Tipping Point, and more!
• Green Living topics include Personal Orcharding; Kumbucha Fermentation; Health and Fashion; The Greenest of Foods; plus workshops in Yoga and Vinyasa, and the Green Festival Saves Lives program will allow attendees to adopt homeless pets on site.
Exhibitors at this year’s festival include Arcadia Power, Blue Orange Games, Buchi Kombucha, Element Snacks, Green America, Hope Foods, Om Factory, Stromer cars and ebikes, and more! Whether you’re an entrepreneur, investor, or just someone looking to ways toward a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, now’s your chance to get involved.
If you go:
New York Green Festival Expo
Jacob Javits Center
655 West 34th Street (near the High Line), Manhattan
April 24–26, 2015
Hours: Friday noon–6pm, Saturday 10am–6pm, Sunday 10am–5pm
Admission: Day pass $12; 3-day Festival admission $32
Traveling to New York City but looking for an event away from the bustle of Manhattan? Check out the New Jersey Spring Wine Festival in Short Hills, NJ. From rich and full-bodied reds and crisp whites to specialty wines, the New Jersey Spring Wine Festival is a seasonal event that offers 150 fine wines sure to delight the palate of any oenophile! Carefully curated by the Wine Library, the selection of wines showcases some of the best vineyards around the globe.
Fine Food and Drink
Admission to the even t includes 3 hours of tasting 150 wines and delicious foods (including Farmstead artisan cheeses, crostini, ficelles, baguettes, crudite/dips, a selection of hot pastas, and a Chef’s Choice of desserts) prepared by the Hilton’s AAA Four Diamond award-winning culinary experts. Your tasting glass is yours to keep, complements of the event.
Live jazz by Elan Trotman sets the mood for an exquisite evening of fine food and drink! A native of Barbados and a rising star in the galaxy of jazz, Trotman was names Jazz Artist of the Year by both the New England Urban Music Awards and the Barbados Music Awards. Trotman is not only a seasoned performer, but also a composer and music educator.
The VIP Suite
A limited number of tickets to the VIP Suite are available by reservation only. VIP guests will enjoy 12 high-end wines chosen from a worldwide selection specifically for the event and ranging in price from $85 to $150. VIP wines include Caymus Special Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Quintessa, Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Louis Roederer Cristal, Arietta H Block Hudson Vineyard, Lindstrom Cabernet Sauvignon Stag’s Leap, Beringer Private Reserve, Clarendon Hills, Sassicaia, and Antinori Tignanello. A special selection of hors d’oeuvres accompanies the wines.
The Event’s Charity Partner
The New Jersey Spring Wine Festival has partnered with Family Promise of Bergen County and will donate net proceeds from the event to the organization dedicated to alleviating the plight of the homeless in Bergen County.
If you go:
April 24, 2015
New Jersey Spring Wine Festival
Short Hills Hilton
41 John F. Kennedy Parkway
Short Hills, NJ
Digital game designers have earned a reputation among the most innovative and forward-thinking minds in the Information Age. And while one might not immediately think of gaming as an instrument for social change, the virtual worlds of game design exert a powerful influence on the way we view the material world. So it’s no surprise that industry leaders, CEOs, designers, and innovators should come together in New York City to discuss and celebrate the ways in which digital games can help yield a more stable and productive future—both economically and environmentally.
Part of the famous Tribeca Film Festival, the 12th Annual Games for Change Festival is a four-day event that draws thousands from not only the tech and gaming communities but also from those interested in promoting messages of social change through gaming innovation. The festival’s broad array of panels, workshops, and seminars features something to spike the interests every gamer. Topics include choosing your own hybrid platform, cross-platform interaction, the Arab world and its digital now, reclaiming culture through game design, culture war and video games, games and social interaction, and many more!
You’ll also find a wealth of mini-talks on topics from designing games with scientists to post-Colonial thought in games. Plus, festival demos will include some of the more exotic and little-known digital games from around the world to spark your imagination. And don’t worry, there will be plenty of chances to network with others in the field.
Presenters include Morgan Spurlock (of Supersize Me), Colleen Macklin (Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Design and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City), Karen Helmerson (Program Director for Electronic Media, Film & Visual Art at the New York State Council on the Arts), Philip Tan (research scientist at MIT Game Lab), Peter Vesterbacka (brand ambassador for Rovio, creator of Angry Birds), Dan White (co-founder, Filament Games), Jesse Schell and Jake Witherell (of Schell Games), and many more!
The annual Games for Change Awards will also be presented at the festival, honoring the year's best digital games for change. The finalist games will all be available to play at the Festival, and the official Awards presentation will occur on April 22nd.
If you go:
Games for Change Festival
April 21–25, 2015
The Center for Architecture (main festival space)
536 LaGuardia Place, Manhattan
The Uncommons Game Café (networking, games, sessions)
230 Thompson Street, Manhattan
NYU Kimmel Center (networking, sessions, topic tables)
60 Washington Square South, Manhattan
1-day pass $299
2-day pass $399
All-access pass $550
Celebrate The Blooms Of Spring At "Sakura Matsuri" - The Cherry Blossom Festival At Brooklyn Botanic Gardens!
An appreciation for the beauty of the cherry blossom is deeply embedded in Japanese culture, and the annual return of these breathtaking blooms is an eagerly anticipated event throughout Japan. “Hanami”—the Japanese term for the viewing of the blossoms— rests at the heart of long-honored customs and traditions that include dance, music, and trapping fallen petals in cups of sake.
Each year the Brooklyn Botanic Garden kicks off cherry blossom season with a grand celebration called Sakura Matsuri (the Japanese term for Cherry Blossom Festival). Each spring the Garden’s unmatched collection of cherry trees—the largest and most diverse outside Japan—-displays a stunning canopy of blossoms that form the centerpiece for the celebration.
While cherry blossom season extends from late March though late April, Sakura Matsuri is a two-day event, occurring this year on the weekend of April 25–26. Here are just a few of the events scheduled for the festival…
Music and Dance
Music and dance takes to the Main Stage with thunderous taiko drumming, elegant Kabuki Buyo dance, the Awa Odori dance and narimono drum ensemble from Shikoku, Japan, and much more!
Comedy, Cosplay and Games
You’ll also find stand-up comedy, cosplay crafting, illustration demonstrations, and more on the J-Lounge Stage at Osborn Garden. Traditional arts and games will feature tea ceremonies, doll displays, Shogi Chess and the game of Go.
Learn to Draw Like the Manga Masters!
The popular art of Japanese comic illustration (or Manga) will be a big part of the celebration, with illustration workshops and demonstration for both adults and kids!
Bonsai and Ikebana
Discover the world of traditional Japanese Bonsai, as well as the art of flower arranging with tours and demonstrations.
There will be plenty to keep the kids entertained—with workshops in Manga illustration, origami, and tea-making. Kids can even get their photo taken posed in Samurai warrior cutouts!
If you go:
Annual Cherry Blossom Festival
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn
April 25 and 26, 2015
Admission: Adults $25, Students and Seniors $20, kids under 12 FREE
Anyone who’s read the headlines knows that our global environment has been in the news quite often lately. Climate change, overpopulation, and sustainability have gone from academic discussions to real and practical concerns. So it’s no surprise that the 25th Anniversary of Earth Day has taken on special importance.
This year, Earth Day not only celebrates our environment and the importance of preserving our natural world, but also looks at ways our global community can work toward achieving sustainability in both energy and food resources through our shared economy.
Earth Day celebrations will be held at Union Square in the heart of Lower Manhattan, where representatives from environmental campaigns and nonprofits will share their ideas for moving forward. You’ll also learn from local businesses that are spearheading green initiatives and about the latest environmentally conscious transportation with an exhibit of prototype green vehicles!
This year’s Sharing Economy Exhibition offers you a chance to learn about the variety of business and nonprofit opportunities in the new sharing economy, as well as new avenues for sustainability for our global future. Booths will be staffed by informed representatives from a range of organizations to help explain how the actions we take today can shape tomorrow’s collaborative economy. To further foster the spirit of cooperation, join in our Earth Day Book Swap! Bring a book to swap and share ideas with others!
Best of all, Earth Day is your chance to learn how you can help—from recycling and energy use plans, to volunteerism and entrepreneurship. Remember too that Earth Day is a family-friendly event—with live music, delicious food, and green activities galore—so be sure to bring the kids!
If you go:
Earth Day NYC
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Union Square (between 14th and 16th Street), Manhattan
Each year New York City draws millions of visitors from around the world. And that’s no surprise — New York City attractions are seemingly boundless, and include museums, music, art, food, and nightlife. Experienced travelers know, however, that there’s a lot more to travel than accommodations and restaurants. Travel is a cultural experience.
The New York Travel Festival, sponsored by The New York Times, is committed to examining critical sociocultural aspects of the travel experience. This year’s festival includes two fascinating discussion forums—Traveling While Black and An Afroprean Odyssey—exploring the experiences of travelers of color in two contexts. Discussion forums feature experienced African, African-American, and African-European travel writers, journalists, editors, and filmmakers.
TRAVELING WHILE BLACK
This dynamic forum examines the ways in which the travel landscape has changed for black travelers and for writers who cover it. The panel includes three journalists and an editor, moderated by New York Times Travel editor, Monica Drake.
Monica Drake. Monica Drake is a veteran editor at The New York Times, and heads its Travel section, overseeing the weekly print section, the digital report and directing its digital and mobile initiatives.
Charlise Ferguson. Charlise Ferguson is head of social media at The Daily Beast. She is a superb storyteller and contributes to the site's travel and music coverage.
Evita Robinson. Evita (Evie) Robinson is the founder of the Nomadness Travel Tribe, an online social community for travelers worldwide who share a similar urban background.
Yolanda Sangweni. Yolanda Sangweni is a South-African-born writer/editor and cultural curator. Currently, she is the entertainment editor of ESSENCE.com—the online portal of ESSENCE Magazine—and the founder of afriPOP, an online outlet focused on trends in global African culture.
Zim Ugochukwu. Zim Ugochukwu is the founder of Travel Noire, a digital publishing platform that helps the unconventional traveler discover new destinations, plan journeys, and experience travel.
AN AFROPEAN ODYSSEY
Join Johny Pitts on an exploration of Europe’s African diaspora and the identities those of African heritage have forged on the European continent. Through words and street photography, Johny shares his experiences as a traveler in London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Moscow, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, and Lisbon.
Melvin Estrella. As a noted Director of Photography and Producer, Melvin Estrella has worked in independent film as well as in commercial, TV, and nonprofit production.
Johny Pitts. Johny Pitts is a British writer, photographer, and BBC host. He is the founder and editor of the award-winning online journal afropean.com, exploring the interplay of the black diaspora with Europe.
Terrell J. Starr. Terrell J. Starr is a Senior Editor at AlterNet. His journalism experience includes public radio, social media, magazines, photography and online reporting.