The best of what to do in and around New York City this month
This month, the city that never sleeps will satiate your cravings for food and drink with several events, including the highly anticipated Brisket King NYC, where one chef will be named king of the meats. Plus, join in on a giant pillow fight, and catch the city’s coolest film fest.
AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
April 1 | Outdoors
Pillow Fight NYC
With all the depressing stuff going on in the world, we could use a bit of silliness to help us remember how to have fun. Thankfully there’s the annual Pillow Fight NYC, in which hundreds of strangers gather in a public place for a good old-fashioned pillow fight. Bring your own soft, feather-free pillow and join a global movement of pillow fights (the founders have dubbed it International Pillow Fight Day, and there will be similar public events in dozens of cities from Bangalore to Warsaw). At the end of the fight, participants have the option to donate their pillows to charity.
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM | Washington Square Park, New York | Free | website
April 4 | Food
Taste of Fifth
Celebrate the diverse and delectable foods and beverages of Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue at the annual Taste of Fifth celebration. With dozens of participants, there will be no shortage of food and drink (admission tickets include unlimited beer, wine, soda, and vodka). MS 51 Jazz Band and a DJ will be providing the live musical entertainment, and a portion of every ticket goes to a local charity of your choice.
6:30 PM - 9:30 PM | The Grand Prospect Hall, 263 Prospect Ave., New York | $60 | website
April 8 | Drink
Brooklyn Wine Fest
If you want to learn more about wine, there’s no better way than to taste a wide range of styles, and the Brooklyn Wine Fest is just the place to do it. Featuring hundreds of new wines from around the world, guests will have four hours to sample vino to their hearts’ content. There will also be live entertainment, food, and games. Even if you can’t partake in the alcohol, you can still join friends; the fest offers a designated driver ticket for only $15.
Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble St., New York | From $65 | website
April 16 | Parade
Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival
Whether you celebrate Easter or not, you can enjoy the annual New York Easter Parade, which has been a city tradition since the 1870s. The parade got a kick in popularity after Irving Berlin wrote a song about it, and Fred Astaire and Judy Garland immortalized it in film. Anyone can join in to walk the route; the only requirements are fancy dress and, preferably, an outlandish or particularly fabulous bonnet or hat. If you just want to watch, try to snag a spot near St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM | Fifth Ave. from 49th St. to 57th St., New York | Free | website
April 19 | Food
Brisket King NYC
Now a New York tradition, Brisket King returns for another gluttonous year. This competition and tasting event brings together a dozen or so chefs and craft butchers to show off their best meats. Competition categories include smoked, cured, innovation, and, of course, Brisket King of NYC. This year Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor of Texas Monthly, will serve as the celebrity judge. Tickets include all the brisket, beer, wine, and spirits you care to ingest.
6:30 PM - 9:30 PM | Food Science Academy of LIU Brooklyn, 1 University Plaza, New York | From $75 | website
April 19 - 30 | Film
Tribeca Film Festival
Established in 2001 in the wake of the attack on the Twin Towers, the Tribeca Film Festival has become one of the world’s premier movie events. With dozens of film screenings covering every genre at theaters across the city, it’s impossible to catch everything—but you can certainly try. Opening night kicks off with a celebrity-studded event at Radio City Music Hall: the world premiere of the feature-length documentary Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, followed by a concert with performances by Aretha Franklin and others. In addition to film (and a few television) screenings, there will also be talks and events, such as a conversation between Patti Smith and Ethan Hawke and a discussion with JJ Abrams and Chris Rock.
Times & locations vary | From $12 | website
April 22 - 23 | Food
Hot Sauce Expo
Calling all pepperheads! If you’re one of those people who carry a bottle of hot sauce with you to every restaurant and like to challenge your taste buds, then head to the fifth annual Hot Sauce Expo. You can sample spicy sauces from 45 vendors from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South America, and England, and watch (or take part in) eating challenges and Guinness World Record–breaking attempts. There will also be craft beers and spicy mixed drinks. The basic ticket gets you unlimited hot sauce tastings, while additional tiers get you more food and drink.
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM | Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble St., New York | From $10 | website
April 28 - 30 | Music festival
Brooklyn Folk Festival
For a laid-back weekend full of fine tunes, check out the ninth annual Brooklyn Folk Festival, presented by The Jalopy Theatre and School of Music. The festival explores a complete range of folk music from around the globe, with performances by groups as disparate as Ukrainian Village Voices, Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues, and The Freakniks. There will also be a harmonica contest, an instrument building workshop, and film screenings.
St. Ann’s Church, 157 Montague St., Brooklyn | From $20 | website
April 29 - 30 | Outdoors
Daffodil Celebration and Wine Weekend
What better place to celebrate spring than at the New York Botanical Garden? And what better way to do it than with a glass of wine in hand? Get a sneak peak at the 300,000 newly bloomed daffodils while enjoying a flight of local wines to the sound of live music. Experts will be on hand to talk about the science of making wine and guided tours will be available. Tickets include entry to the gardens and a souvenir wine glass to take home.
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM | NY Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., New York | $38 | website
June 2 - 4 | Book ahead: Music
The Governors Ball Music Festival
It’s not until June, but don’t sleep on tickets to the highly anticipated Governors Ball Music Festival. With three days of music of every genre on four stages, this festival has something for everyone. This year’s headliners include Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Beach House, Wu-Tang Clan, Mark Ronson, Childish Gambino, and many more. Attendees have a choice between one-day passes or an all-inclusive three-day pass, and there are also tickets available for shuttles and ferries to get to Randall’s Island if you don’t want to worry about transportation.
11:45 AM | Randall’s Island Park, New York | From $105 | website
A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.