Now that my hometown is back on top of the must visit destination list, here are the top free and cheap things to do in NYC this month.
The NYC Culture Calendar for April includes $20 Off-Broadway theater tickets, FREE museum admission, special exhibits at top attractions including the Orchid Show at NYBG, Earth Day events, the Macy’s Flower Show and the New York International Auto Show, with the opportunity to test drive new electric vehicles.
Pick one or all, and enjoy the best of New York City on the cheap.
Who is a real New Yorker? It depends on who you ask.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter was interviewed recently by
Time Out New York.
Following our unusually warm and snow-less winter, cherry blossoms and spring flowers are arriving early this year. It’s always a brief season to enjoy the fragrant pink and white blossoms.
To track them, Central Park has a new cherry blossom map to see where in the park’s blooms are appearing.
The botanical gardens in both The Bronx and Brooklyn each have their own spring blossom maps, too.
NYC Parks Named for Women
Women’s History Month was in March, but you can celebrate famous NYC women year-round by visiting NYC parks, gardens and a reservoir named for women who grew up in NYC or lived here.
The list includes two First Ladies, an Olympic Champion, and the first woman to run for US President.
Women’s History Month @ New York Public Library
The NYPL has an extensive lineup of Women’s History Month events celebrating women past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling.
Join them for author talks, book discussions, and film screenings; book lists that highlight the contributions of women writers—and look back on the women who helped build NYPL, including Roberta Saltzman, the former Assistant Chief of the Dorot Jewish Division who developed the NYPL collection of Jewish cookbooks into one of the largest in the world.
Museum Exhibits Ending Soon
I’ll Have What She’s Having: The Jewish Deli
This exhibit will make your mouth water, and be hungry for the smells and tastes of matzo ball soup, briny pickles and pickled tomatoes, piles of latkes and mile-high pastrami and corned beef sandwiches.
The Jewish deli is more than a place to eat – it’s a cultural phenomena that moved west and south from NYC’s Lower East Side to Florida, California and points in between.
The New York Historical Society’s current exhibition, “‘I’ll Have What She’s Having’: The Jewish Deli.” honors the rich history of the deli in pictures, videos, and relics from restaurants, including 1940s menus when those mile-high smoked meat sandwiches cost less than $2.
On view through early April are old photos, menus, and neon signs; vintage uniforms and fake food dishes; even film clips from Seinfeld and that famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, which inspired the name the name of the exhibit.
Read a full review in ArtNet News.
Mahlzeit. That’s German and Yiddish for eat heartily.
March 20-April 9
See 20 Off-Broadway Shows for just $20
The annual 20at20 promotion is the best theater ticket deal in town. For 20 days, see 20 Off-Broadway shows for just $20 a ticket. Here’s how it works –
Show up at the box office 20 minutes before a matinee or evening performance, plunk down $20 cash or credit card, and get the best available seat. Easy peasy.
Participating shows include longtime hits such as family-favorite Gazillion Bubble Show and the hilarious but risque The Play That Goes Wrong.
In alphabetical order by name of play, not by name of theater –
- Red Bull Theater’s Arden of Faversham: A True Crime Thriller at the Lucille Lortel,
- Bereishit Dance Company’s Balance and Imbalance/Judo at NYU Skirball,
- Cowboy at The Actors Temple,
- Keen Company’s Crumbs from the Table of Joy at Theatre Row,
- Theaterworks USA’s Dog Man: The Musical at New World Stages,
- Audible Theater’s Drinking In America at the Minetta Lane,
- Drunk Shakespeare at The Garden at Selene,
- Easter Bunny HOP! Live at 53 Above,
- Fish In A Tree at Theatre Row,
- Friends! The Musical Parody at The Theater Center,
- GayLarious LGBT Laugh Festival at Broadway Comedy Club,
- Gazillion Bubble Show at New World Stages,
- Naked Boys Singing at AMT Theatre,
- Newsical The Musical at AMT Theatre,
- Perfect Crime at The Theater Center,
- Philip Glass & Phelim McDermott: Tao of Glass at NYU Skirball,
- Shake Rattle & Roll Dueling Pianos at The Cutting Room,
- Solo: A Show About Friendship at Soho Playhouse,
- Stranger Sings at Playhouse 46,
- The Little Mermaid The Musical at The Players Theatre,
- The Office A Musical Parody at The Theater Center,
- The Play That Goes Wrong at New World Stages,
- The Rose Room: Speakeasy at The Rose Room at Producer’s Club,
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar at The Daryl Roth Theater-DR2, York Theatre Company’s
- Vanities The Musical at Theatre at St. Jean’s and
- Walking With Bubbles at AMT Theatre. Additional shows to be announced.
Visit 20at20.com for more information.
Through April 10
Macy’s Flower Show
It’s FREE and it takes over the ground floor of Macy’s Flagship store at 34th St. and Herald Square. Thousands of live flowers, plants and trees adorn store windows, merchandise countertops and special displays, such as alongside escalators. There also are special events, including flower arranging.
This is the 48th annual flower show, and this year’s extravaganza is s a collaboration with Dior, which is welcoming guests to learn more about the creation of their iconic fragrances, including J’adore, Miss Dior, and Sauvage. Dior is offering master classes with fragrance experts, customization options like bottle engraving, hand-painted bottles, charms, and more on the store’s balcony level. There also is a schedule of classes that include flower arranging
More information on events can be found here. It’s a flowery site (pun intended) that takes a while to load.
Earthfest at the American Museum of Natural History
Celebrate Earth Day at AMNH with a full schedule of family-friendly activities, performances, and lectures showcasing local and international efforts dedicated to preserving planet Earth.
EarthFest is FREE with museum admission.
Activities include –
- a birdwatching scavenger hunt,
- nature-inspired facepainting,
- nail-art, and hair-styling,
- a showcase of sustainable agriculture with giveaways,
- interactive presentations in Spanish about nature conservation with two museum conservation biologists,
- a lecture titled Back to the Future: Insights into Future Climate Change by a museum paleoclimatologist about how research into past climate conditions can help us better understand climate change, and a fly over our planet in the Hayden Big Bang Theater.
- A series of special interactive performances by Polyglot Theatre in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life will also be taking place throughout the day as actors dressed as ants invite children to explore their dynamic world through movement, sound, and play.
Please visit the AMNH online calendar for additional EarthFest activities and for more information.
Opening March 30 for the season
Prospect Park Carousel
Get ready to take one of Brooklyn’s favorite attractions for a spin.
The historic and beloved Prospect Park Carousel will be open Thursday – Sunday and holidays from 12 pm – 5 pm for the season for kids and the grown-ups who love them.
New Museum Exhibits
Housed in the former Barney’s space in Chelsea at 7th Avenue and 17th St., this is a world-class collection of Asian, Indian and Himalayan art and events.
The newest exhibit is “Death Is Not the End,” a cross-cultural exhibition exploring ideas of death and afterlife in the art of Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity with art spanning 12 centuries.
Admission is FREE on opening weekend, March 17-19, with a FREE Friday night celebration from 6–10 pm with tours, music from DJ Roshni Samlal, drinks and dancing in the K2 lounge, temporary tattoos, and the launch of the 2023 Spiral issue, which explores moments of change that propel us into the unknown.
- Reserve free tickets on the link.
Through Labor Day weekend, enjoy “Berenice Abbott’s New York Album,1929” a photographic exhibit of historic photographs by this award-winning and iconic artist who used a camera instead of a paintbrush.
- The Met is pay-what-you-wish admission for NYS residents and tri-state college students with a valid ID.
Tuesday, April 4 at 7PM
Harlem Hops & Swings
Learn to Lindy Hop and Swing dance in Harlem, where it began, for just $10 – 17 and under are FREE – every Tuesday in March and the first week of April.
Dance with professional instructors and locals who know the moves – some have been Lindy Hopping and Swing dancing for decades – then stay for social dancing. It’s a casual scene, where people come to dance to the music, which ranges from Duke Ellington and Glen Miller to more modern tunes. It’s not necessary to bring a partner – there are plenty of partners ready to dance with you.
The event is sponsored by the Harlem Swing Dance Society. More information here.
See you on the dance floor!
Through April 23
Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden
It’s a sure sign of spring, and an annual favorite. The popular orchid exhibition returns for its 20th year, bigger and better than ever.
Renowned landscape artist Lily Kwong’s immersive installations of thousands of orchids transport visitors to to ethereal, reverent landscapes inspired by ancient Chinese garden design and artistic principles.
The Orchid Show: Natural Heritage explores the diversity, adaptability, and worldwide cultural significance of these formidable flowers.
Inspired by classic paintings of Chinese mountain scapes passed down through her family from Shanghai, Lily Kwong utilizes an extraordinary array of orchids—including iconic and rare specimens—enveloping visitors in towering mountainous forms that blend ecology, culture, and fantasy.
Influenced by Kwong’s own heritage, medicinal traditions, and her artistic interpretation of nature as a healing force, the resulting experience will beckon visitors into an immersive world in which humanity and nature coexist peacefully.
- NYBG is just 20 minutes from Grand Central Terminal via the Metro-North Harlem local line to Botanical Garden Station.
Get ticket information here, plus information about such special events as an Orchid Dinner.
- Every Saturday and Select Sundays (February 26 and April 23); 12–4 p.m. In the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
- Orchid Basics Q&A – Weekends and Wednesdays; 1–4 p.m.
Sat., April 1
Wall to Wall celebrates the Women of Soul
This annual day of FREE concerts have a different theme each year. Performances are broken into “segments” and you must leave the theater and line up again for each one, so it’s not an all-day ticket.
Enjoy the music of the pioneering and/or under-appreciated work of Soul’s female artists, including Betty Davis, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Mavis Staples.
Segment One – 3pm: The rousing sounds of gospel soul with Marcelle Davies Lashley, a Celia Cruz-infused Latin soul set, and an unforgettable musical tribute to Chaka Khan by Xavier Smith and band
Segment Two – 5pm: A celebration of Whitney Houston by Grammy Award-winning artist J. Hoard and a mixtape of 90s soul music by The Soapbox Presents
Segment Three – 7pm: Martha Redbone celebrates Indigenous music’s influence on soul, A tribute to Anita Baker’s soulful ballads with lyric tenor Anthony Mills, and an iconic diva set by GLR¥A & The Rakiem Walker Project
Segment Four – 9pm: Singer, songwriter, producer, and Labelle member Nona Hendryx is joined by an all-women orchestra to perform the mind-blowing music of the trailblazing queen of soul and funk, Betty Davis
At Symphony Space, Broadway at 94th St.
- Local residents and businesses request that you do not block the sidewalk.
Coney Island’s Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park
Another sure sign of spring is opening day, and FREE rides on the world-famous Deno’s Wonder Wheel.
Opening day includes the Annual Blessing of the Rides at 11 a.m. and then free rides to the first 103 visitors to start the 2023 season
New York International Auto Show
The 123-year-old event is North America’s oldest and largest attended auto show, filling the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center with hundreds of new cars, SUVs, pick-up trucks and specialty vehicles, with an expanded focus on electric vehicles.
You can test drive more than a half-dozen EV models on the test track on the lower floor.
Camp Jeep also is returning, with the chance to test your driving skills on a unique off-road track in front of the convention center.
For more information: www.autoshowNY.com.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is attending the media preview days before the show opens to the public, when new models are introduced.
Full disclosure – ecoxplorer Evelyn Kanter is a longtime automotive journalist and currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Association (IMPA).
Black Comic Book Festival
2023 marks 11 years of bringing together animators, Blerds, bloggers, cosplay lovers, fans, families, illustrators, independent publishers, and writers to celebrate Black comic books and graphic novels and provides a platform to get the works directly to readers.
This annual FREE event at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – a branch of the NYPL – features panel discussions, workshops, and cosplay showcases, and highlights the work of creators from across the country. The schedule includes –
SchomCom Exhibitors will be onsite at the Schomburg Center on Friday, April 14 from 12 PM- 8 PM & Saturday, April 15 from 10 AM- 8 PM.
SchomCom panels and workshops will be held in person at the Schomburg Center. You can also view the programs at www.schomcom.org or stream them on YouTube.
The SchomCom Cosplay Showcase is open to attendees of all ages and skill levels. The showcase will take place on Saturday, April 15 at 6 PM. If you want to participate, you can sign up at the Schomburg Center on Friday, April 14 from 10 AM – 8 PM, or Saturday, April 15 from 10 AM- 3 PM. The last registration for the cosplay showcase is at check-in on Saturday, April 15.
You can find a complete list of our vendors here: www.schomcom.org. You can also purchase featured titles and merchandise from the Schomburg Shop: https://schomburgshop.com.
It’s FREE to attend, but registration is required to ensure space.
The Schomburg is at 135th St. and Malcolm X Blvd..
Also returning in April
The roller disco at Rockefeller Center is coming back for another season of – er – wheelie great fun.
Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace takes over at the famous ice skating rink on April 14 and the party continues daily through October.
FREE Museum Admission for Young People
The Frick Collection is extending free admission to all young people, ages 10 to 17, through the remainder of the museum’s temporary residence at Frick Madison.
Young visitors from the New York City area and beyond will enjoy complimentary access with a valid school ID or other proof of age. Thanks to this new initiative, the Frick is pleased to make the museum more accessible than ever before to middle and high school students.
Visit frick.org/visit to learn more about visiting the museum.
Explore Hudson River Park with the New FREE Digital Guide
Get four miles of discovery in the palm of your hand,
Download the Bloomberg Connects app to get to know the Park’s huge variety of green and blue spaces. Dig deeper into what interests you most.
Hudson River Park’s guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app, helps you find dozens of piers, docks, walkways, landscapes and fields, history, vital marine habitat, and also and takes you beneath the surface of the Hudson River to discover HRP’s 400-acre Estuarine Sanctuary.
Available for iOS and Android.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA) and is a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (C) Evelyn Kanter
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