10 Events to visit in NYC in May


Whether it’s picnicking along the city’s waterfronts, strolling among the trees and blooming tulips in a public park, or attending a great event, May is a wonderful time to visit New York.

(Photo: VOLTA New York)

With temperatures creeping up into the early 70s, New York in early spring is transformed into a city teeming with outdoor attractions. And whether it’s indoors or out in the open air, May is a particularly busy time of year for the city, with a whole host of fantastic events and exhibitions taking place here. If you’re visiting the Big Apple this coming May, here are 10 of the best for you to look out for.

VOLTA New York

Coinciding with the Frieze Art Fair, VOLTA Air Fair returns to the Big Apple this May, featuring a vibrant cohort of over 50 national and international galleries, both new and returning. Fostering galleries in staging ambitious solo and group presentations, the event is designed to refine the experience to its essential elements: the artists and their work. This focus on compelling visual statements by up-and-coming and established artists cultivates a vibrant and approachable environment of discovery for the engaged collector.

548 West / 18-22 May 2022

Fleet Week

(Photo: Official U.S. Navy Page via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

A week-long celebration honouring the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps, this action-packed event brims full of activities that let you learn all about America’s long and illustrious ocean-based military history. Highlights include a flotilla of ships on the Hudson River, military demonstrations, and a string of parties across the city. There’ll also be the chance for visitors to train like a marine aboard a 140-foot Bay-class icebreaking tug, getting to grips with all the gear and equipment required to operate such a vessel.

Venues across NYC / 25-31 May 2022

The Whitney Biennial

(Photo: Phil Roeder via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

A hallmark of the prestigious Whitney Museum since 1932, this year’s edition of the Whitney Biennial will once again feature artwork created in the preceding two years. Designed to both reflect and shape the cultural conversation, the 18th edition of the landmark exhibition is titled Quiet as It’s Kept, and will play host to an intergenerational and interdisciplinary group of some 63 artists and collectives whose dynamic works reflect the challenges, complexities, and possibilities of the American experience today.

Whitney Museum of American Art / Through 5 September 2022

Uptown Night Market

A fun-filled monthly event designed to support local businesses, Manhattans’ largest, most celebrated foodie series promises to be bigger and better than ever when it returns this May. More than 50 eclectic vendors representing the city’s best culinary, packaged goods, arts & crafts, jewellery and apparel offerings will assemble under the distinctive Arches of Harlem for the day-long open-air food market, which will also feature dozens of local musicians and performers from every genre.

Harlem / 12 May 2022

The Photography Show 

(Photo: The Photography Show)

Bringing together almost 50 galleries from cities across the world, the 41st edition of this acclaimed photo expo will offer a wide range of museum-quality work, including contemporary, modern, and 19th-century photographs as well as photo-based art, video, and new media. Some highlights for 2022 will include portraits of African Americans by Dawoud Bey, of actress Sarah Bernhardt by the famous photographer Nadar and of native residents of Taos Pueblo by Dorothea Lange. There will also be a solo exhibition devoted to the work of American documentary photographer Michael Jang.

Center415 / 20-22 May 2022

Japan Parade

Japan Day in NYC has always been a joyful celebration of Japanese culture, and the 2022 edition promises to be even more special than ever, featuring the event’s first ever Japan Parade. Taking place along Central Park West, the parade will see a whole host of authentic Japanese displays, including sword fighting, traditional folk dance, and more. Other Japan Day highlights will include a mini-marathon, incredible stage performances, sampling of popular Japanese cuisine, and a hotly-contested art competition.

Central Park West / 14 May 2022

Frieze New York

(Photo: Hrag Vartanian via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

One of four hugely prestigious international air fairs, Frieze New York focuses on contemporary and modern galleries, with more than 190 exhibitors from some 30 countries featuring. The event sees art collectors and connoisseurs from around the world come to peruse and purchase works by both leading and up-and-coming artists. Indeed, there’s a strong commitment to providing a platform for young artistic talents, with a special section, Frame, entirely dedicated to artists and galleries aged 10 years or younger.

The Shed, Hudson Yards / 18-22 May 2022

Blue Man Group

The comic musical and artistic Blue Man Group have been entertaining audiences across the world with their magical, multi-sensory performances for almost 25 years. Throughout May, they’ll be putting on their unique and long-running show at New York’s intimate Astor Place Theatre, featuring their distinctive brand of audience interaction with the famously blue-painted cast. Incorporating an eclectic mix of music and art, both popular and obscure, the show never fails to dazzle those who see it.

Astor Palace Theatre / 18 May 2022 

David Guetta

Multi award-winning French DJ, record producer, musician and songwriter David Guetta comes to the breath-taking open-air sanctuary, the Brooklyn Mirage, in the heart of the Avant Gardner complex, this May. With over 50 million record sales globally, the music superstar will be performing a strong of his most famous hists, including the newly released collaborative number “Crazy What Love Can Do”, within the immersive space of the venue’s inner courtyard, surrounded by towering walls lined with tropical plants and captivating video projections.

The Brooklyn Mirage, Avant Gardner, Brooklyn  / 20 May 2022 

Memorial Day

(Photo: Fort Drum & 10th Mountain Division (LI) via Flickr)

This federal holiday dedicated to honouring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the U.S. armed forces is marked in cities across the US each year – and nowhere more vociferously than in New York. At the heart of the NYC commemorations is the unfurling of a large American flag, the playing of taps, wreath-laying, and a rifle salute at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum Complex on Pier 86, which always draws huge crowds. There’s also a Memorial Day parade featuring Veterans, NYPD, and NYFD personnel, who march from 78th street and Third Avenue to 101st and Fourth Avenues, plus several other activities and events throughout the city.

Venues across NYC / 30 May 2022

By Paul Joseph