Don’t miss out! NewYork.com picks the five best things to do in New York City each and every day. Read on for May 20’s best events, from Conor Oberst at Rough Trade to a free morning yoga class in Bryant Park.
1. MUSIC: Conor Oberst record release show at Rough Trade
Over the course of his 20-year-long career, Conor Oberst has become something of an icon for certain sensitive, indie rock inclined Gen Y-ers who grew up alongside him. While he no longer deals in raw, angsty outbursts, he’s still a writer of searching, poetic folk songs, and his latest effort Upside Down Mountain is a more mature (but still Oberstian!) exploration of themes like death, love and loss. See the master of emotions sing some songs in his unmistakable love-it-or-hate-it quaver at tonight’s album release show … if you’re into that sort of thing.
DETAILS: 8pm; $20; 64 N 9th St.; roughtradenyc.com
2. ART: Black Eye at 57 Walker St.
“Race” as we know it in America today is a complex set of social constructions with specific historical origins, but its practical effects are powerfully real. With a name that recalls injury as well as agency, star curator Nicola Vassell’s latest show brings together work from 26 influential African-American artists that engage with race as a force in the 21st century. With such straight-shooting and critically admired participants as Nick Cave, Wangechi Mutu and Jayson Musson, it’s bound to be a thought-provoking experience.
DETAILS: 10am-6pm; free; 57 Walker St.; blackeyeart.com
3. YOGA: Bryant Park Yoga
Get your yoga on bright and early (and hopefully under a tree) at this free, public yoga class in Bryant Park. Taught by YogaWorks instructor Lindsay Ashmun, this Vinyasa Flow session will get you feeling centered as hell as you breathe deeply and focus on flexibility and strength. Mats are provided by Athleta, so all you need to bring is your good vibes. Om.
DETAILS: 10am-11am; free; Bryant Park; bryantpark.org
4. BOOKS: Daniel Mendelsohn with Choire Sicha at BookCourt
Widely hailed as one of the greatest writers around, Daniel Mendelsohn is a critic and essayist whose impressive list of credits includes The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and The New York Times Book Review. In his latest essay collection Waiting for the Barbarians, he tackles everything from Rimbaud to Mad Men with knowledge, humor and clarity. See the intellectual heavyweight in conversation with Choire Sicha, that eternally sharp fellow who used to work for Gawker and now runs The Awl. Should be a good mix of entertaining and highbrow!
DETAILS: 7pm; free; 163 Court St.; bookcourt.com
5. TOUR: The New York Icons
The Statue of Liberty! Ellis Island! The World Financial Center! Breeze by (and learn about) several of New York City’s top tourist attractions on this edutaining river cruise. This particular deal includes admission to the Empire State Building as well, so you can strike “spitting off New York’s tallest building” from your to-do list. At 75 minutes, the cruise should be long enough to rest your feet but not so long that the kids get bored. Free up the rest of your trip to do the less well-known stuff!
DETAILS: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm; $38 (get tickets!) ; Pier 83 (W 42nd St. and 12th Ave.)