Here are 10 things you can do to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in New York City

10th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is seen during an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the memorial in Washington, U.S., October 21, 2021.
REUTERS/Leah Millis

On Jan. 17, the country will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Though Monday is the official day of observance for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, there are in-person and virtual events throughout the city that New Yorkers can take part in. Here are a few ways that you can celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in New York City.

In-person events

MLK Day of Service with NYC Parks
Jan. 15-16

Every year, the NYC Parks Department hosts MLK Day of Service events for New Yorkers to take part in. Currently, the department has listed two opportunities for families to make quilting squares to honor Dr. King’s birthday at the Sally and Gilbert Kerlin Learning Center in the Bronx. 

MLK Annual Community Day of Service
Jan. 16, 2 to 5 p.m., 1585 Fulton St., Brooklyn. Free.

Give back to the community on Saturday during the annual MLK Annual Community Day of Service. Come by this outdoor event and volunteer, network, access resources and get some free giveaways.

The 36th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jan. 17, 10:30 a.m., 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, Free

Every year, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) hosts its annual celebration of Dr. King’s life. This year’s event will be led by Dr. Imani Perry and will focus on Dr. King’s radical spirit through talks and performances. If you don’t want to attend in-person, the event will be livestreamed as well! 

The World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Matinee
Jan. 17, 12:30 p.m., Sony Hall, 235 West 46th Street, Midtown. $18

Celebrate Dr. King through song on Monday with the World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir! During their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day matinee show, some of the finest gospel singers and musicians from Harlem’s Black Churches and the New York/Tri-State area will belt out tunes to celebrate Dr. King’s life.

MLK Day at Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Jan. 15-17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn. $13

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is celebrating MLK Day with three days of fun and service. On Saturday and Sunday, kids can join in the fun of shadow puppets and puppet-making with Nehprii Amenii and the creation of a community dream cloud in the museum’s ColorLab art studio. On Monday, kids can also take part in packing diapers and baby essentials for a volunteer project led by the non-profit Repair the World.

“Lil’ Maceo” MLK Day Music to Celebrate the King! Ft. Regina Martin
Jan. 17, 8:30 p.m. Birdland Theater, 315 West 44th Street.  Tickets start at $20

Like jazz? Lil’ Maceo is hosting a special MLK Day show that will have you vibing to contemporary jazz all night long. After a 12-year hiatus, Lil’ Maceo will take the stage with singer Regina Martin to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King through music.

Virtual events

Queens College MLK Day Celebration
Jan. 16, 3 p.m., Free

The Kupferberg Center for the Arts and Queens College are teaming up to host a free virtual event this MLK Day. The event will celebrate not only Dr. King’s legacy but also his 1965 appearance at Queens College, where in his address to the students, he emphasized the power of peaceful resistance. The event will also include a performance by Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar.

MLK Serve-a-Thon
Jan. 15- 17, Free

Hunger Free America is hosting their 21st Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Serve-A-Thon with three days of virtual workshops, volunteer opportunities and more dedicated to the intersectionality of food justice. There are also in-person activities available as well, so check out their calendar at hungerfreeamerica.org to see what fits for you! All participants must pre-register ahead of time online.

The Political Economy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Seminar
Jan. 17, 6:30 p.m., Free

In this seminar, the Henry George School of Social Science is taking Dr. King’s approach when it comes to ending poverty in the United States. Hosted by Edward Dodson, the seminar will address Dr. King’s thinking in terms of the issue of extreme poverty aas well as the ideas and events that influenced his life and work.

2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art & Essay Exhibition
Jan. 15-17, Free

Every year, New York State holds its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art & Essay Exhibition. Spend some time checking out art inspired by Dr. King’s legacy in a virtual gallery this weekend.