The best of what to do in and around New York this month
Be the first to taste the newest craft beers from around the five boroughs—and enjoy some old favorites while you’re at it. Celebrate Mother’s Day early with a show full of original readings about parenting, or hit the freshest brunch in town at the Queens Botanical Garden.
AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
May 2 | Literature
PEN America World Voices Festival
With over 150 global authors and artists, PEN America World Voices Festival is this country’s only international literature festival, and it has become a highly anticipated annual event. This year’s festival will explore the theme of gender and power. Check out the dozens of readings, conversations, and performances from such noteworthy voices as Jamaica Kincaid, Patti Smith, Ani DiFranco, Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee.
Times and locations vary | From $0 | website
May 3 - 7 | Art
Art New York and CONTEXT New York
Kicking off New York Art Week are two concurrent art fairs that will feature more than 1,200 artists from over 120 contemporary and modern galleries from 50 countries. At Art New York there will be works for sale by modern masters like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Willem de Kooning, as well as installations like Welcome, which examines the refugee crisis and whose proceeds go toward the U.S.A. for UNHCR, which supports the UN Refugee Agency. CONTEXT New York, meanwhile, focuses more on emerging and mid-career artists.
Pier 94, 711 12th Ave., New York | From $40 | website
May 6 | Performing arts
Listen to Your Mother
With the tagline “giving motherhood a microphone,” the event Listen to Your Mother has become a national phenomenon with annual readings in dozens of cities. Now in its eighth year, the productions each boast a unique cast and set of original stories that celebrate motherhood in all its challenging glory. This year’s New York performance features stories from 10 people with a variety of backgrounds.
Ten percent of the proceeds from the New York show will go to support Safe Horizons.
6:00 PM | Broadway Presbyterian Church, 601 W. 114th St., New York | $20 | website
May 12 | Drink
Five Boro Craft Beer Fest
Join the craft brew revolution at the fourth annual Five Boro Craft Beer Festival in Brooklyn. Featuring over 100 beers (some of which have never been publically offered before!) from dozens of breweries, this festival allows each ticketholder unlimited two-ounce tastings. Local cult favorites, including Evil Twin Brewing and Bronx Brewery, will be there, and local restaurants will cater the event.
7:00 PM | The Well, 272 Meserole St., Brooklyn | $85 | website
May 14 | Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day Brunch
Whether you are a mom or want to treat your mother to a special event that shows your appreciation, the Mother’s Day brunch at the Queens Botanical Garden is an excellent place to celebrate the holiday. It will be serving two seatings of a delicious farm-to-table brunch with options like frittatas, grilled vegetables with lemon aioli, avocado toast, and a tomato, peach, and burrata caprese salad. Tickets include admission to the garden, so guests can enjoy a pleasant stroll after their meal to admire the foliage.
10:00 AM | Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Queens | $55 | website
May 1 - 16 | Last chance: Fashion
Black Fashion Designers
If you haven’t yet checked out the Black Fashion Designers exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), time is of the essence: It closes on May 16. The exhibit features 75 pieces by 60 designers from the permanent collection of the Museum at FIT, with works dating from the 1950s to the present. Reflecting on issues of diversity (and its lack thereof) in the fashion industry, the exhibit examines the experience of black designers over the decades and the challenges they continue to face, while highlighting the breadth and contribution of seminal designers like Anne Low and Patrick Kelly.
Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Seventh Ave. at 27 St., New York | Free | website
May 20 - 21 | Food
Vegetarian Food Festival
Whether you recoil at the thought of meat, are trying to have a more plant-based diet, or simply appreciate good food in all its forms, the seventh annual Vegetarian Food Festival is a must-hit two-day symposium of all things meat-free. A robust roster of speakers from chefs to doctors will be talking about and giving demonstrations on a range of veg-related topics, including dating as a vegan, diet tweaks for improved fitness, and how to veganize iconic New York foods. Meanwhile, sample and learn about animal-free products (not just food) from dozens of exhibitors, such as LuLaRoe, Holi Aioli, and Stanley’s Pierogi.
11:00 AM - 6:00 PM | Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St., New York | From $30 | website
May 23 | Benefit
Girls Write Now Awards
Girls Write Now is a nonprofit that pairs underserved high school girls with professional female writers as one-on-one mentors. Feel good about a great night out by attending the Girls Write Now Awards, which this year is honoring groundbreaking women like author Zadie Smith and Broad City cocreators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. The event includes a cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvres, the awards program, a performance, and a live auction. Proceeds will help the organization expand its reach and enrich its services.
6:00 PM - 9:30 PM | City Winery, 155 Varick St., New York | From $175 | website
May 28 | Food & culture
Passport to Taiwan
Celebrate Taiwanese American Heritage Week in New York with the annual Passport to Taiwan, the largest outdoor Taiwanese event in the United States. Spend the afternoon sampling Taiwanese cuisine, watching master calligraphers at work, observing sugar painting, playing games, and more.
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM | Union Square North, New York | Free | website
June 11 | Book ahead: Music
Hot 97 Summer Jam
Hot 97 is arguably New York City’s most iconic radio station, and its annual hip-hop festival is one of the city’s can’t-miss music events (although it’s actually in nearby East Rutherford, New Jersey). The Hot 97 Summer Jam has been attracting the biggest names in the genre for over two decades now—this year’s lineup includes D.R.A.M. and Lil Yachty—and tickets go fast, so don’t wait.
6:30 PM | MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ | From $50 | 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.