Calendar of Events

As with any schedule of events, the following information is always subject to change. Always confirm information before you make plans around an event. Call the venue or the citys visitors bureau at tel. 212/484-1222 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm EST), or go to www.nycvisit.com/cgi/calendar.html for the latest details on these or other events taking place within the span of your trip.
 
 

JANUARY

New York National Boat Show. Slip on your docksiders and head to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center for the 90th edition, which promises a leviathan fleet of boats and marine products from the worlds leading manufacturers. Call tel. 212/922-1212. January 8-16.
 
Winter Antiques Show at the Seventh Regiment Armory. This is New Yorks most important, prestigious, and expensive antiques show. If you can come by an invitation to the benefactors opening night, youll see high-society ladies swoop down like hungry raptors to pick up the cream of the crop before us regular folks get through the doors. Call tel. 718/292-7392. January 14-25 (preview January 13).
 
Antiques at the Other Armory. Younger, trendier dealers with more affordable collectibles show at the 26th Street Armory (at Lexington Avenue) during the first weekend of the Winter Antiques Show. A free shuttle runs between the two locations. Call tel. 212/255-0020. January 14-16.
 

FEBRUARY

Chinese New Year. Every year Chinatown rings in its own New Year (based on a lunar calendar) with two weeks of celebrations, including parades with dragon and lion dancers, vivid costumes of all kinds, and fireworks (though the city has been cracking down on using fireworks in recent years). The year 2000 (4698 in the Chinese designation) is the Year of the Dragon, and the Chinese New Year falls on February 5. Call the NYCVB hotline at tel. 212/484-1222 or the Chinese Center at 212/373-1800.
 
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The ultimate purebred pooch fest. Some 30,000 dog fanciers from the world over congregate at Madison Square Garden for the "World Series of Dogdom." All 2,500 dogs are American Kennel Club Champions of Record, competing for the Best in Show trophy. Call tel. 800/ 455-3647 for information. Tickets become available after January 1 through Ticketmaster (tel. 212/307-7171 or 212/307-1212; www.ticketmaster.com). February 14-15.
 
International Cat Show. More than 800 fabulous felines, from rare and exotic purebreds to household pets, also compete for Best of Show honors at Madison Square Garden. Lectures by vets, special competitions (including cat photo contests), and the largest "feline shopping mall" anywhere are all part of the fun. Call tel. 212/465-6741. Tickets usually become available after February 1 through Ticketmaster (tel. 212/307-7171 or 212/307-1212; www.ticketmaster.com). Late February or early March.
 

MARCH

Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo. The citys largest and most comprehensive antiques show takes place over two consecutive weekends, as more than 600 dealers exhibit their treasures, ranging from ephemera to jewelry to home furnishings, on three piers along the Hudson River between 48th and 51st streets. Pier 88 features 20th-century collectibles from the 20s to the 70s; Pier 90 has all manner of Americana, including country rustic, folk art, and Arts and Crafts; and Pier 92 houses 18th- and 19th-century formal European antiques. Call tel. 212/255-0020 or point your web browser to www.antiqnet. com/Stella for this years dates. Usually mid-March, and again in mid-November.
 

St. Patricks Day Parade. More than 150,000 marchers join in the worlds largest civilian parade, as Fifth Avenue from 44th to 86th streets rings with the sounds of bands and bagpipes, and an inordinate amount of beer is consumed (much of it green). The parade usually starts at 11am, but go extra-early if you want a good spot. Wear green and insist youre Irish if anyone asks--you are, at least for today. Call tel. 212/484-1222. March 17.
 

Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus. The circus comes to town in grand style as elephants and bears and other performing animals parade down the city streets from the railroad at Twelfth Avenue and 34th Street to Madison Square Garden early on the morning before the first performance (usually well before daybreak). Call tel. 212/465-6741 for this years dates, or Ticketmaster (tel. 212/307-7171 or 212/307-1212; www.ticketmaster.com) for tickets. Usually late March to early April.
 

New Directors/New Films. The kleig lights are turned on up-and-coming directors at this film series co-sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and screened at MoMA. Notable debuts in recent years have included Smoke Signals, Buffalo 66, and p. Call tel. 212/875-5610 or point your web browser to www.filmlinc.com for this years calendar.
 

APRIL

The Easter Parade. This isnt a traditional parade, per se: There are no marching bands, no baton twirlers, no protesters. Once upon a time, New Yorks gentry came out to show off their tasteful but discreet toppings. Today, if you were planning to slip on a tasteful little number--say something delicately woven in straw with a simple flower or two that matches your gloves--you will not be the grandest lady in this springtime hike along Fifth Avenue from 48th to 57th streets. Its more about flamboyant exhibitionism, with hats and costumes that get more outrageous every year--and anybody can join right in for free. The parade generally runs Easter Sunday from about 10:30am to 3pm. Call tel. 212/ 484-1222. April 23.
 
Greater New York International Auto Show. Hot wheels from all over the world whirl into the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center for the largest auto show in the United States. Many concept cars show up that will never roll off the assembly line, but are fun to dream about nonetheless. Call tel. 800/282-3336 or 212/216-2000. One week in early or mid-April.
 

MAY

Bike New York: The Great Five Boro Bike Tour. The largest mass-participation cycling event in the United States attracts about 30,000 cyclists from all over the world. After a 42-mile ride through the five boroughs, finalists are greeted with a traditional New York-style celebration of food and music. Starting line is at Battery Park in Manhattan; the finish line is at Fort Wadsworth Naval Station on Staten Island. If you plan on entering, expect a stop-and-start ride. (Ever been caught in bike gridlock? Another New York first.) Call tel. 212/932-0778 or visit www.bikenewyork.org to register. May 7.
 

Ninth Avenue International Food Festival. Cancel dinner reservations and spend the day sampling sizzling Italian sausages, homemade pierogi, spicy curries, and an assortment of other ethnic dishes. Street musicians, bands, and vendors add to the festive atmosphere at one of the citys best street fairs, stretching along Ninth Avenue from 37th to 57th streets. Call tel. 212/581-7217. One weekend in mid-May.
Fleet Week. About 10,000 Navy and Coast Guard personnel are "at liberty" in New York for the annual Fleet Week at the end of May. Usually from 1 to 4pm daily, you can visit the ships and aircraft carriersas they dock in at the piers on the west side of Manhattan, and watch some dramatic exhibitions by the U.S. Marines. The whole celebration is hosted by the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, and kids love it. But even if you dont take in any of the events, youll know its Fleet Week, since those 10,000 sailors invade midtown in their starched white uniforms. Its simply wonderful--just like On the Town come to life. Call tel. 212/245-2533, or visit www.uss-intrepid.com. Late May.
 

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibition. This Greenwich Village tradition, in its 69th year, features the works of 250 artists displayed on 20 blocks in and around Washington Square Park. Call tel. 212/982-6255. May 27-29 and June 3-5, and again in September.
 

JUNE

The Belmont Stakes. The third jewel in the Triple Crown is held at the Belmont Park Race Track in Elmont, Long Island. If a triple crown winner is to be named, it will happen here. For information, call tel. 516/667-5055 or 718/641-4700. Early June.


SummerStage. A summer-long festival of free or low-cost outdoor concerts in Central Park, featuring world music, pop, folk, and jazz artists ranging from Ziggy Marley to Yoko Ono to Morrissey. Call tel. 212/360-2777. June through August.
 

Metropolitan Opera in the Parks. Free evening performances are given in the city parks. Past performers have included the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Kathleen Battle. Call tel. 212/362-6000 or visit www.metopera.org. June through July.
 

Shakespeare in the Park. The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is the setting for first-rate free performances under the stars, often with stars on the stage. Recent visiting performers have included Patrick Stewart (The Tempest) and Andre Braugher (Henry V). Be prepared to line up hours in advance for tickets; youre allowed to collect two. For more details, see "Park It! Shakespeare, Music Other Free Fun" in chapter 9. Call tel. 212/539-8750 or 212/539-8500, or point your web browser to www.publictheater.org. June through August.
 

Restaurant Week. Dine for only $20 at some of New Yorks finest restaurants. Participating places vary each year, so watch for the full-page ads in the New York Times or call ahead to the visitors bureau, since they usually have a list of whos participating by mid- or late May. Reserve instantly. One week in late June; some restaurants extend their offers through summer to Labor Day.
 

JVC Jazz Festival. The biggest names in jazz play sites like Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Beacon Theater, and Town Hall; free concerts at Bryant Park may also be in this years mix. Call tel. 212/501-1390, or point your web browser to www.jvc-america.com/jazz. Late June to early July.
 

JULY

Independence Day Harbor Festival and Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular. Start the day amid the patriotic crowds at the Great July Fourth Festival in Lower Manhattan, watch the tall ships sail up the Hudson River in the afternoon, and then catch Macys great fireworks extravaganza (one of the countrys most fantastic) over the East River (the best vantage point is from the FDR Drive, which closes to traffic several hours before sunset). Call tel. 212/484-1222, or Macys Special Events at 212/494-2922. July 4.
 

Lincoln Center Festival 2000. This festival celebrates the best of the performing arts from all over the world--theater, ballet, contemporary dance, opera, even puppet and media-based art. Recent editions have featured performances by Ornette Coleman, the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet, and the New York Philharmonic. Schedules are usually available in mid-March, and tickets go on sale in late May or early June. Call tel. 212/546-2656, or visit www.lincolncenter.org. July.
 

Midsummer Nights Swing. Dancing duos head to the Lincoln Center Fountain Plaza for romantic evenings of big band swing, salsa, and tango under the stars to the sounds of top-flight bands. Dance lessons are offered with the purchase of a ticket. Call tel. 212/875-5766, or visit www.lincolncenter.org. July and August.
 

Mostly Mozart. World-renowned ensembles and soloists (Alicia de Larrocha and André Watts have performed in the past) are featured at this month-long series at Avery Fisher Hall. Schedules are usually available in mid-April. Call tel. 212/875-5103 or 212/546-2656, or visit www.lincolncenter.org. July and August.
 

AUGUST

Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors. This series of free music and dance performances is held outdoors at Lincoln Center. Schedules are available in July. Call tel. 212/875-5108, or visit www.lincolncenter.org. August to September.
New York Fringe Festival. Held in a variety of tiny Lower East Side venues for a mainly hipster crowd, this arts festival presents alternative as well as traditional theater, musicals, dance, comedy, and all manner of performance art, including new media. Literally hundreds of events are held at all hours over about ten days in late August. The quality can vary wildly (lots of performers use Fringe as a workshop to develop their acts and shows) and some performances really push the envelope, but youd be surprised at how many shows are actually good. Call tel. 888/FRINGENYC or 212/307-0229, or point your Web browser to www.fringenyc.org. Mid- to late August.
 
U.S. Open Tennis Championships. The final Grand Slam event of the tennis season is held at the slick new facilities at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. Tickets go on sale in May. The event sells out far in advance, since many of the tickets are held by corporate sponsors who hand them out to customers. (Its worth it to check the list of sponsors to determine if anyone you know has a connection for getting tickets.) You can usually scalp tickets outside the complex (an illegal practice, of course), which is right next to Shea Stadium. The last few matches of the tournament are most expensive, but youll see a lot more tennis early on, when your ticket allows you to wander the outside courts and view several different matches. Call tel. 718/760-6200 or Telecharge at tel. 800/524-8440 for tickets as far in advance as possible; visit www.usopen.org for additional information. Two weeks surrounding Labor Day.
 

Harlem Week. The worlds largest black and Hispanic cultural festival actually spans about two weeks, including the Black Film Festival and the Taste of Harlem Food Festival. Expect a whole slate of music, from gospel to hip hop, and lots of other festivities. Call tel. 212/862-7200 or 212/484-1222 for this years schedule of events and locations. Mid-August.
 

SEPTEMBER

West Indian-American Day Parade. This annual Brooklyn event is New Yorks largest street celebration. Come for the extravagant costumes, pulsating rhythms (soca, calypso, reggae), bright colors, folklore, food (jerk chicken, oxtail soup, Caribbean soul food), and 2 million hip-shaking revelers. The parade runs down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Call tel. 212/484-1222 or 718/774-8807. Labor Day (September 6 in 1999, September 4 in 2000).
Wigstock. Come see the Lady Bunny, Hedda Lettuce, Lypsinka, and even RuPaul--plus hundreds of other fabulous drag queens--strut their stuff. The crowd is usually wilder than the stage acts. A true East Village event, Wigstock outgrew its original location, Tompkins Square Park, and has been held on the pier at 11th Street on the Hudson River in recent years, but another move could be in the offing. For a preview, see Goldwyns Wigstock: The Movie. For information, point your web browser to www.wigstock.nu or call tel. 800/494-TIXS or the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center at tel. 212/620-7310. Labor Day weekend.
Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibition. The May event returns for Labor Day, when the works of 250 artists are displayed in and around Washington Square Park. Call tel. 212/982-6255. September 2-4 and 9-10.
Broadway on Broadway. This free afternoon show features the songs and casts from virtually every Broadway production performing on a stage erected in the middle of Times Square. Call tel. 212/768-1560. Early or mid-September.
 
Feast of San Gennaro. An atmospheric Little Italy street fair honoring the patron saint of Naples, with great food, traditional music, carnival rides, games, and vendors set up along Mulberry Street north of Canal Street. Expect big crowds. And who knows? You may even spot a Godfather or two. Usually mid-September.
 
New York Film Festival. Legendary hits Pulp Fiction and Mean Streets both had their U.S. premieres at the Film Society of Lincoln Centers two-week festival, a major stop on the film fest circuit. Schedules in recent years have included advance looks at The Sweet Hereafter, Gods and Monsters, and Rushmore. Screenings are held in various Lincoln Center venues throughout the days of the festival; advance tickets are a good bet always, and a necessity for certain events (especially evening and weekend screenings). Call tel. 212/875-5610, or point your web browser to www.filmlinc.com. Two weeks from late September to early October (Sept 24-Oct 10 in 1999, Sept 22-Oct 9 in 2000).
BAM Next Wave Festival. One of the citys most important cultural events takes place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The months-long festival showcases experimental new dance, theater, and music works by both renowned and lesser-known international artists. Recent celebrated performances have included Astor Piazzollas Maria de Buenos Aires (featuring Piazzolla disciple Gidon Kremer), the 25th anniversary of the Kronos Quartet, and choreographer Bill T. Joness We Set Out Early . . . Visibility Was Poor (set to the music of Stravinsky, John Cage, and Peteris Vask). Call tel. 718/636-4100 or visit www.bam.org. September through December.  


OCTOBER

Ice-Skating. Show off your skating style in the limelight at the diminutive Rockefeller Center rink (tel. 212/332-7654), open from mid-October to mid-March (youll skate under the magnificent Christmas tree for the month of December), or at the larger Wollman Rink in Central Park, at 59th Street and Sixth Avenue (tel. 212/396-1010), which usually closes in early April.

Feast of St. Francis. Animals from goldfish to elephants are blessed as thousands of Homo sapiens look on at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. A magical experience; pets, of course, are welcome. A festive fair follows the blessing and music events. Buy tickets in advance, because they can be hard to come by. Call tel. 212/316-7540 or visit www.stjohndivine.org. Early October.
 

International Fine Arts and Antiques Dealers Show. Considered by many as the opening of the fall arts season, this show attracts dealers and collectors from all over the world to the Seventh Regiment Armory. Call tel. 212/642-8572 or 212/877-0202. Mid-October.
 
Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. This is Halloween at its most outrageous. You may have heard Lou Reed singing about it on his classic album New York--he wasnt exaggerating. Drag queens and assorted other flamboyant types parade through the village in wildly creative costumes. The parade route has changed over the years, but most recently it has started after sunset at Spring Street and marched up Sixth Avenue to 23rd Street or Union Square. Check the papers for the exact route so you can watch--or participate, if you have the threads and the imagination. October 31.
 

NOVEMBER

New York City Marathon. Some 25,000 hopefuls from around the world participate in the largest U.S. marathon, and at least a million fans will cheer them on as they follow a route that touches on all five New York boroughs and finishes at Central Park. Call tel. 212/860-4455, or point your web browser to www.nyrrc.org. November 7 in 1999; call for the 2000 date (most likely to be November 4 or 11).
Ice Skating at the South Street Seaport. The rink is petite, but the waterfront setting is grand. Call tel. 212/SEA-PORT or 212/809-6080. November through March.
 

Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. A rather gaudy extravaganza, but lots of fun nonetheless. Starring the Radio City Rockettes and a cast that includes live animals (just try to picture the camels sauntering in the Sixth Avenue entrance!). For information, call tel. 212/247-4777 or visit www. radiocity.com; buy tickets at the box office or via Ticketmasters Radio City Hotline (tel. 212/307-1000). Mid-November to early January.
 
Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo. The citys largest antiques show takes place over two consecutive weekends, usually just before Thanksgiving; for details, see March, above. Call tel. 212/255-0020 or visit www.antiqnet.com/Stella for this years dates.
 

Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The procession from Central Park West and 77th Street and down Broadway to Herald Square at 34th Street continues to be a national tradition. Huge hot-air balloons in the forms of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Snoopy, Underdog, the Pink Panther, Bart Simpson, and other cartoon favorites are the best part of the fun. The night before, you can usually see the big blow-up on Central Park West at 79th Street; call in advance to see if it will be open to the public again this year. Call tel. 212/494-5432 or 212/494-2922. November 25 in 1999, November 23 in 2000.
 
Big Apple Circus. New York Citys homegrown, not-for-profit circus is a favorite with children and the young at heart. A tent is pitched in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center. Call tel. 212/268-2500. November to January.
 

The Nutcracker. Tchaikovskys holiday favorite is performed by the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Tickets are usually available starting in early October. Call tel. 212/870-5570, or point your web browser to www.nycballet. org. Late November through early January.
 

DECEMBER

Lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. The annual lighting ceremony is accompanied by an ice-skating show, singing, entertainment, and a huge crowd. The tree stays lit around the clock until after the new year. Call tel. 212/632-3975. Early December.
 
Holiday Trimmings. Stroll down festive Fifth Avenue, and youll see doormen dressed as wooden soldiers at FAO Schwarz, a 27-foot sparkling snowflake floating over the intersection outside Tiffanys, the Cartier building ribboned and bowed in red, wreaths warming the necks of the New York Public Librarys lions, and fanciful figurines in the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord Taylor. Throughout December.
 
Christmas Traditions. In addition to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and the New York City Ballets staging of The Nutcracker (see November, above), traditional holiday events include A Christmas Carol at the Theater at Madison Square Garden (tel. 212/465-6741 or www.thegarden. com, tel. 212/307-7171 or www.ticketmaster.com for tickets), usually featuring a big name or two to draw in the crowds (Roger Daltrey in 1998). At Avery Fisher Hall is the National Chorales sing-along performance of Handels Messiah (tel. 212/875-5030; www.lincolncenter.org). Dont worry if the only words you know are "Alleluia, Alleluia!"--a lyrics sheet is given to ticket holders.
 
Lighting of the Hanukkah Menorah. Everything is done on a grand scale in New York, so its no surprise that the worlds largest menorah (32 feet high) is at Manhattans Grand Army Plaza, Fifth Avenue and 59th Street. Hanukkah celebrations begin December 4 in 1999 and December 22 in 2000 with the lighting of the first of the giant electric candles.
 

New Years Eve. The biggest party of them all happens in Times Square, where hundreds of thousands of raucous revelers count down in unison the years final seconds until the new lighted ball drops at midnight at 1 Times Square. I personally dont understand it, since its always a crowded, cold, boozy madhouse, but hey! Call tel. 212/354-0003 or 212/484-1222. December 31.
 
Theres also First Night, a liquor-free gala celebration held at venues all around town. Just purchase a button for admission to any of these; theyre available throughout December at various locations around the city. Events include swing dancing in the magnificent concourse of Grand Central Terminal, taking in the view at the Empire State Building observation deck, world music concerts, childrens events, and more. Call the First Night Hotline at tel. 212/922-9393.
  
Other unique events include fireworks followed by a 5-mile midnight run sponsored by the New York Road Runners Club (tel. 212/860-4455; www.nyrrc.org) in Central Park. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (tel. 212/316-7540; www.stjohndivine.org) is known for its New Years Eve concert.