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WNYC's Complete Guide to Memorial Day

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As Memorial Day approaches, the familiar promise of picnics, warm weather, and days at the beach fills the air. While many New Yorkers flock from the City in search of greener pastures, they’ll be missing out on the abundance of events unique to the city this Memorial Day weekend.


Get loose in the park:

There’s nothing like a spring to help us forget about what a long, cold winter we’ve just lived through. As the temperatures begin to rise, and flowers bloom, Prospect Park is the perfect place to start off the weekend. Bring a mat and attend a free Pilates class at the Audubon center from 12-1. The class is introductory so any flexibility or, lack there of, is welcomed.

Shake it up:

Aspiring mixologists will learn how to make their own classic cocktails with a summer twist at Haven’s Kitchen. With the help of Todd Richman, a corporate mixologist who develops cocktail recipes for brands like Jagermeister, students will make an Herbal Vodka Gimlet, a plum variation on a Sherry Kobler -- called The Kyoto Cobler, and an Old Fashioned.

“All of these cocktails include some sort of cooling component that makes them perfect for sipping on summer nights,” explains Allison Poindexter, school coordinator for Haven’s Kitchen. “They are simple, delicious cocktails that are easy to make for big groups.”

The class begins at 7:00 and spaces fill up quickly so be sure to make a reservation.

Watch Top Gun on the Intrepid:

Take your wingman to an outdoor screening of Top Gun on the Intrepid’s deck. It’s an “awesome experience watching the opening sequence of Top Gun from an aircraft carrier’s flight deck,” says Luke Sacks, Director of Public Relations.For the full Memorial Day experience, bring a picnic basket, lawn chairs and a blanket. Doors open at 7:30 and the screening begins at sunset.

Shake it at the Freedom Dance Party:

Beginning at 11:00, Le Poisson Rouge hosts New York’s longest-running weekly dance party. DJs Herbert Holler, Cosi, and Marc Smooth spin R&B, hip-hop, soul, salsa, and house music hits that are guaranteed to make you want to dance.


Stuff your face in Greenwich Village:

For a food lover, a walk in Greenwich Village can be pretty overwhelming. There are so many amazing restaurants in such a small vicinity, that it’s hard to resist trying them all. With the Greenwich Village Food Tour, you can do just that. The tour stops at famed institutions like Murray’s Cheese, Faicco’s Italian Specialties, and Joe’s Pizza.

Pickle some Kimchi:

You no longer will have to depend on your local Korean restaurant for a dose of Kimchi. Learn how to pickle your own at The Brooklyn Kitchen. Whether you like it sweet, sour, or spicy, Victoria Oh of Ariang Kimchi will help you customize the Kimchi to your own tastes. If that isn’t enough to sell you, Brooklyn Brewery supplies the beer pairings. The class starts at 2:00.

Set sail on Queen’s salt marshes:

Out on Jamaica Bay, Don Riepe hosts a Sunset Ecology cruise. He describes it as a, “3-hour tour of the backwater marshes of Jamaica Bay” accompanied with wine, cheese, fruit, and snacks. On the 100-foot converted fishing boat, guests can get up close to Great Egrets, Ospreys, and Falcons in the city’s largest salt marsh. The trip departs from Sheepshead Bay Piers at 5:00. Don’t forget to bring Binoculars.


Food Truck Bonanza:

What could be better than having all of your favorite food trucks in one place? Having all of your favorite food trucks parked for the day in Prospect Park. On Sunday at 11:00, the New York City Food Truck association hosts a Food Truck Rally in Prospect Park. David Weber, president of the association explains that there is no shortage of options, “From fresh squeezed juices, to authentic Mexican tacos, to authentic Philly Cheese Steaks, to authentic Belgian Wafels, there is something at a food truck rally for everyone.” There’ll be 16 different food trucks at the park, including COOLHAUS, Mexicue, Souvlaki Gr, and Wafels & Dinges.

Bad Ass Reds and Roses:

At this wine tasting class, you’ll find more than just your basic red wines. New York Vinters offers a chance to learn about 6 different complex reds and roses from across the world. You can grab a slice of pizza across the street at Brick NYC before the class begins at 4:00.


The Upright Citizen’s Brigade hosts its weekly long-form improv show at 9:30. The show is free, and with a possibility of Amy Poehler and SNL cast performances, there’s sure to be a line. Tickets are handed out at 8:15, so plan to get there early.


March in the nation’s largest parade:

For those in search of a traditional Memorial Day, the Little Neck- Douglaston parade fits the bill. The parade touts itself as the largest Memorial Day parade in the nation, perfect for those in the patriotic spirit free hotdogs and burgers will be served all day in the St. Anastasia’s Church courtyard as army veterans march down the avenue.

Laugh, cry, and do a spit take at the Moth Story Slam:

Wrap up Memorial Day weekend with a round of compelling, passionate, and often hilarious stories. The Bitter End hosts the Moth Story Slam at 7:30. The night’s theme is Prestige.

Catch a free NY Philharmonic concert:

Music Director Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic in their annual free Memorial Day Concert at St. John of the Divine. The orchestra plays Bruckner’s symphony No. 3 at 8.