What better way to celebrate the emerging sun and not-yet-oppressive heat than by spending time outdoors? And if you can do so while celebrating New York’s most vibrant neighborhoods and getting a cultural kick for free, so much the better. Luckily, the next couple of weekends have got you covered.
Lower East Side Cultural Festival
May 24 from noon to 5 p.m.; East 10th Street at First Avenue, East Village
This coming Memorial Day weekend, Friday through Sunday, The Theater for the New City presents the 19th annual Lower East Side Festival for the Arts. In homage to the greats who made this ‘hood the gritty darling of the art world, the festival brings a cavalcade of theatre, poetry, music, dance, cabaret, video and film to venues across the LES and the East Village. There’ll be performances of all sorts, but the event not to miss is the Cultural Festival, held outside on Saturday. Food trucks, vendors and performers will converge on 10th Street between noon and 5 p.m., for a sun-soaked afternoon of sensory overload.
Bushwick Open Studios Community Day
May 31 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maria Hernandez Park, Bushwick
Brought to you by Arts in Bushwick, this eighth annual three-day bonanza is NYC’s largest open studios event. This year’s installment promises to offer up plenty of great gallery shows, special events and panel discussions, but make sure to check out the BOS 2014 Community Day, held in Maria Hernandez Park on Saturday, May 31. Designed to give Bushwick residents (and curious visitors) access to the artistic riches of the neighborhood, and to spread the word about the work of local organizations, the Community Day focuses on collective art that deals with issues of social, environmental and community justice. The eclectic 2014 line-up includes rap, spoken word, dance and theatre — as well as child-friendly interactive activities like community mural-making, neighbourhood history recording, face painting, jewelry making, and even yoga.
Bushwick Block Party
June 1 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Troutman St, between St Nicholas and Wyckoff, Bushwick
June 1 from noon to 3 p.m.; Orchard Street, between East Houston and Delancey Streets, LES
The third installment of the annual street-fair-that-doesn’t-suck will once again throw down the Astroturf for bocce ball, DJ lessons, live music, and pet portraits by Carlos Arteaga. Oh, and food. Lots of food. See the full lineup here.