Give a salute to our troops and the unofficial start to summer at one of these festive Memorial Day weekend events and attractions in NYC. The holiday is technically Monday, May 28, but the celebration begins in New York City at the start of the three-day weekend. If you’re in NYC, take a moment to remember and honor those who have died while serving in our armed forces.
Here are some of the best events going on during Memorial Day weekend:
Kings County Memorial Day Parade is celebrating its 151st year! The famous parade will take place in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn starting at 11 am on Third Ave. and E. 78th St. The parade features floats, marching bands, bagpipe bands, veterans groups and present military members, sailors and marines from Fleet Week ships. The event also includes a memorial service to honor those who lost their lives while defending this country.
9/11 Memorial Museum is a testament not only to the inner strength of New Yorkers but also to the idea that a great city that can still stand strong. It's a memorable institution to visit, hardly what one could call fun, but it's a truly beautiful and moving tribute to the events that took place, especially when visiting during Memorial Day weekend.
Spirit Cruises New York and New Jersey Fleet Week Cruises: Through Tuesday, May 29, you can book a Fleet Week dining cruise. Fleet Week is a time-honored tradition where the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard active military ships dock in a variety of major cities for one week and visit its tourist attractions. In addition to a two- to three-hour cruise along the Hudson and East rivers, generous buffet, drinks, entertainment from a live DJ and the best views of NYC’s iconic skyline, guests will get to meet sailors, marines and coast guardsmen and experience the capabilities of today’s maritime services.
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: In honor of Fleet Week, the Intrepid has hosted several days of specials events, performances and activities on top of its continuing displays about the ship’s history as a formerly active vessel. All activities on the pier are free to the public, including photo ops with special wax figures (sailor, astronaut, pilot or spy), a SeaPerch pool demonstration, a Memorial Day Ceremony at 11 am and a bubble garden by the “Gazillion Bubble Show” from 2-6 pm. Intrepid's Fleet Week events are subject to change.
Memorial Day Concert at Green-Wood Cemetery: This free concert—though reservations are recommended—takes place from 2:30-5:30 pm on Memorial Day. The ISO Symphonic Band plays works of composers and musicians who are laid to rest at Green-Wood. Local vendors will be selling food and drinks and there are special Memorial Day walking and trolley tours after the performance that feature memorials and monuments with veteran connections.
BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) African Festival The nation’s largest African dance festival returns for its 41st year! This year’s performance offers a taste of the rhythm and spirit of South Africa, acknowledging Nelson Mandela’s centennial birthday and the contributions of freedom fighters past and present. South African supergroup Ignoma Kwazulu Natal Dance Company brings traditional movement idioms alongside the contemporary stylings of Durban-based Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre. They are joined by the BAM/Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble and, together, rejoice in the transcendent power of movement and music in a range of forms and traditions. This year’s performance draws parallels between South African anti-apartheid and American civil rights movements, portraying the struggles for justice and, ultimately, serving up triumphant celebrations of culture.
Washington Square Art Exhibit on May 26, 27, 28 and June 2 and 3 showcases fine artists and craft artisans from around the NYC, the nation and the world. This city tradition feels fresh every spring when artists following in the footsteps of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning who, in 1931, created an outdoor art exhibition, modeled on those in Europe, in Washington Square to help struggling artists make a living. Today, hundreds of exhibitors, from NYU students to artists who remember the Village as a creative enclave, display their paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry and woodcraft. The show takes place on University Place starting at E. 13th St.