Outdoor festivals: The season is upon us
Just outside Our Lady of Mount Carmel on 115th Street between 1st and Pleasant Avenues the Giglio Boys performed their annual Dance of the Giglio where roughly 100 men carry a wooden, five story, hand-sculpted tower while a brass band plays Italian folk songs. (RJ Mickelson/amNY)
By Elaine Paoloni
The scent of pulled pork wafting through a park. Jazz music softly bouncing off brownstone facades. Performers entertaining all ages in the middle of a usually bustling street. While the warm weather is cause alone for celebration, theres nothing better than bringing the party outdoors. Here are a few of our favorite upcoming al fresco festivals:
May 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Greenwich St., btwn Chambers and Hubert sts.
Tribecas annual family day is a two-part event featuring a family-themed film festival and an outdoor celebration full of games, family activities, food from local restaurants and stage performances. Were partnering with American Express for a cool cooking demonstration stage, said Nancy Schafer, executive director of the Tribeca Family Festival. And at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival [occurring simultaneously with the fair] there are interactive sports displays for kids of all ages.
Ye Old Village Fair
May 16, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Bedford St., btwn Morton and Christopher sts.; Barrow St., btwn Seventh Ave. S. and Hudson St.; Commerce St., btwn Seventh Ave. S. and Barrow St.
This neighborhood festival couldnt be more picturesque, with a backdrop of quaint brownstones on winding West Village streets. The main stage, where varying acts of live music swap out during the day, is surrounded by a dance area. There may be the requisite street fair kebabs and lemonade, but there are also homemade baked goods and beer and wine. The lineup of hawkers likewise has a neighborhood bent: In addition to tube socks and pashminas are arts-and-crafts vendors offering limited-edition work.Museum Mile Festival
June 9, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Fifth Ave., btwn 82nd and 105th sts.
Its not every day you can visit nine of the citys top cultural institutions for free. Its also not every day you can spill out onto Fifth Avenue for 23 traffic-free blocks. Its one big block party, said Robin Schatell, festival coordinator. Its the only time the avenue is closed to traffic and its not a parade. Whether you start at the top at El Museo del Barrio or at the bottom at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, theres lots of fun along the way: chalk drawing, live music, clowns, jugglers, drawing classes and more.
June 13-14, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Madison Square Park
From the Carolinas to Texas, 14 pitmasters from around the nation showcase their talents alongside some local favorites at this tribute to sweet, smoky meats. You can taste authentic pit barbecue from some of the best pitmasters for $8 a plate far less than what it costs to travel to their hometowns, said Kenny Callaghan, co-founder of the event. Buy a $100 FastPass in advance and you can cut the lines it includes $100 worth of food credit. Live music, seminars and cooking demonstrations round out the day.
July 12, procession starts about 1 p.m.
275 N. 8th St., Williamsburg
If youre fascinated by rituals, Our Lady of Mount Carmels Dance of the Giglio is tradition at its best. The giglio is a 4-ton, 65-foot tower that sits atop a float flanked by poles, which burly Brooklyn men hoist into the air periodically, making the float dance. They inch their way to the intersection of Havemeyer and North 8th streets, where the giglio meets another float known as la barca. The whole dance lasts into the evening. In between the strongman show, you can enjoy Italian food, drink and music.
May 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park
$15 advance tickets only, includes one-year subscription to Self magazine
Runners and cyclists arent the only ones who can take their workout to the park. At this womens magazine-sponsored event, New Yorkers come out not only for killer classes such as Stiletto Strength, Beach Body and Rock Bottom, but there are beauty treatments and product samples to be had. Jump to your hearts content in the Rebounding Zone. Yoga and Pilates instruction are offered in the Quiet Zone.
Tastes around town
If your main craving is for food, then head to these culinary festivals, where you can sample the flavors of each neighborhood:
Taste of the Lower East Side (May 7), grandstreet.org
Taste of Tribeca (May 16), tasteoftribeca.org
New Taste of the Upper West Side (May 30), newtasteuws.com
Taste of Times Square (June 8), timessquarenyc.org
Taste of LIC (June 9), licnyc.com