Leave the long underwear at home, because as Simon and Garfunkel once said, “April come she will.” And even if streams are ripe and swelled with rain (it’s from the song, people!), NewYork.com still has 15 reasons to laugh in the face of April showers and come out and play. Read on for the best things to do in New York City this April, from feasting on Brooklyn’s primo street food at the kickoff to spring’s Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, to drooling over the hot wheels on display at the New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center.
1. THEATER: Bullets Over Broadway at the St. James Theater on April 1
Celebrate April Fool’s Day by tickling your funny bone at this preview performance of the brand-new musical adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1994 film, scripted by Allen himself. With five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman (The Producers) choreographing and directing a cast of Broadway veterans led by Scrubs star Zach Braff, you’ll want to be part of the lucky few who find out what all the fuss is about before opening night on April 10.
DETAILS: 8pm; from $107 (get tickets!); 246 W. 44th St.
2. SPORTS: Knicks v. Nets at Madison Square Garden on April 2
Nothing says spring like a little crosstown grudge match as the Knicks take on the Nets in a sure to be brutal Battle of the Boroughs at the Garden. Just because the Big Apple’s basketball squads tend to disappoint us against other cities doesn’t mean they won’t bring their A-game against each other. We wonder who Mayor de Blasio will be rooting for now that he’s decided to move to Gracie Mansion.
DETAILS: 7pm; from $113.15; 4 Pennsylvania Plaza; thegarden.com
3: ART: Affordable Art Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion from April 3 to April 6
“Affordable art” may sound like an oxymoron, but this bi-annual Big Apple extravaganza aims to elevate your living room walls by making provocative contemporary works accessible to even the likes of under-employed philistines. With 78 galleries providing a diverse range of pieces starting at $100, there’s no excuse for keeping that Dogs Playing Poker poster above your dining room table anymore.
DETAILS: 11am to 8pm from April 3-April 5, 11am to 6pm on April 6; $15 a day; 125 W. 18th St.; affordableartfair.com/newyork
4. MUSIC: Miley Cyrus at the Barclays Center on April 5
The last time America’s favorite shock queen rocked the Barclays Center, her provocative performance started a national conversation about female sexuality (and ensured that even grandparents now know what twerking means). While we can’t guarantee a similar uproar over April’s show, we are pretty sure it will involve a scantily-clad Miley sliding down a giant model of her own tongue. Kids, hide your teddy bears just in case.
DETAILS: 7:30pm; tickets may be available on resale websites; 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn; barclayscenter.com
5. FOOD: Smorgasburg opening weekend at East River State Park on April 5 and Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5 on April 6
Have you been subsisting on takeout and microwaved Trader Joe’s meals all winter long? Treat yourself to some open-air feasting while taking in dazzling waterfront views at the opening weekend to the Brooklyn Flea’s outdoor food fest. Sure, Smorgasburg has an indoor winter market too, but we happen to think snacks from Asia Dog, Dough, Mighty Quinn’s BBQ and Ramen Burger taste better when you’re looking out at the Manhattan skyline.
DETAILS: 11am to 6pm; free; East River State Park at 90 Kent Avenue (Saturdays) or Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5 at Joralemon Street (Sundays); smorgasburg.com
6. SPORTS: Yankees Home Opener at Yankee Stadium on April 7
Take yourself out to the ballgame for opening day at Yankee Stadium where the Bronx Bombers face the Baltimore Orioles in an afternoon hit-off. Munch on peanuts and crackerjacks during a game that promises to be all the more bittersweet as it marks the final home opener for Derek Jeter, who’ll retire at the end of this season.
DETAILS: 1:05pm; tickets may be available on resale websites; 1 E. 161st St., Bronx; newyork.yankees.mlb.com
7. MUSIC: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Barclays Center on April 10
Rock and roll all night at the Barclays Center with 2014 Hall of Fame inductees KISS, Nirvana, Cat Stevens, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, The E Street Band and our personal favorites, Daryl Hall and John Oates. Since this is the first induction with tickets released to the public, it sold out immediately, so prepare to shell out some StubHub cash or wait to watch John and Daryl perform “Maneater” on the HBO broadcast in May.
DETAILS: 7pm; tickets may be available on resale websites; 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn; barclayscenter.com
8: FILM: Tribeca Film Festival in Lower Manhattan on April 16-27
Every spring since 2002, cinephiles have flocked downtown for Robert De Niro and his co-founders’ celebration of movie-making and New York City. Highlights on a long lineup of documentaries, feature films, shorts and lectures include the closing screening of Begin Again, a comedy from writer/director John Carney (Once) starring Keira Knightley, Adam Levine and Mark Ruffalo, and Tribeca Talks events with the likes of Kevin Spacey, Ron Howard and Michael Douglas.
DETAILS: Various times; $9-$30; various locations in Lower Manhattan; tribecafilm.com
9. COMEDY: Give a Dog a Home Laugh-a-Thon at Broadway Comedy Club on April 17
Flex your chuckle muscles while lending a helping hand to abused or homeless hounds at this stand-up comedy fundraiser supporting local animal aid groups Stewie to the Rescue and Earth Angels. With a lineup of raising talents like Sergio Chicon (who’s appeared on Comedy Central and MTV Tr3s) and Moody McCarthy (an alum of The Late Show with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live), you’re sure to smile even if you’re allergic to dogs.
DETAILS: 8pm; $20; 318 W. 53rd St.; broadwaycomedyclub.com
10. MUSIC: Harlem Gospel Choir at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on April 18
Turn Friday into an even more fun-day by worshiping at the altar of soul (aka B.B. King Blues Club & Grill) while listening to the music of the internationally renowned Harlem Gospel Choir. Burn calories stomping your feet to spiritual standards while enjoying an a la carte brunch (everything from Creole chicken to Atlantic salmon). There’s a $10 per person, per table minimum, and it’s first come, first seated, so get there early for the best view.
DETAILS: doors at 11:30, show at 1pm; $17 (get tickets!); 237 W. 42nd St.
11. CARS: New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center from April 18-27
Ever since 1900, the Big Apple has played host to this epic automotive extravaganza where the general public can scope out all of next year’s hottest wheels — from Aston Martins to Lamborghinis to Volvos — and everything in between. This year’s show also features special events like Jeep outdoor off-roading ride-alongs and an exhibition of custom and exotic vehicles. Speaking of which, is it too much to ask to finally see a real flying DeLorean?
DETAILS: 10am-10pm Monday-Saturday, 10am-7pm on Sundays; $15; 655 W. 34th St.; autoshowny.com
12. PROCESSION: The Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival on Fifth Avenue on April 20
Spend some of your Easter Sunday hailing the city’s most colorful headgear at this laid-back annual parade where well-dressed wanderers put on their very best (or most outlandish) bonnets to march up Fifth Avenue. The tradition dates back to the 1800s, but these days you’ll probably see more craftsy hipsters wearing elaborate models of New York City landmarks than you will posh ladies in pink.
DETAILS: 10am to 4pm; free; Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets
13. LITERATURE: World Book Night 2014 at the New York Public Library on April 22
On Shakespeare’s birthday, thousands of volunteers throughout the country will share their love of reading by giving away 500,000 paperbacks as part of World Book Night. This year, the party starts on the 22 with a free launch panel featuring some of the authors whose works have been selected, including Garrison Keillor, Tobias Wolff, Walter Dean Myers and Malcolm Gladwell. Get there well before 6:30 to snag a seat next to all the other bookworms.
DETAILS: 6:30pm; free; Stephen A. Schwarzman Building,42nd Street at Fifth Ave.; nypl.org
14. ENVIRONMENTALISM: Earth Day at Union Square on April 22
Enjoy an outdoor spring party while learning about how to protect the planet at this annual celebration of all things green. With eco-conscious product samples, a green vehicle runway show, kids’ activities, an evening concert and maybe even a tree-hugging celebrity or two, you’re sure to be inspired to at least do a better job of separating the recycling from now on.
DETAILS: 11am to 7pm; free; Union Square (14th Street through 17th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue South); earthdayny.org
15. FOLIAGE: Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on April 26 and 27
Celebrate Japanese culture (and witness surefire evidence that spring has sprung) at this annual floral fest timed for the peak blooming of the pink, cherry tree blossoms. With more than 60 weekend events including plenty of music, dance, food and drink, soon you’ll be too distracted to wonder why these cherry trees don’t actually grow fruit.
DETAILS: 10am-6pm; $25; 150 Eastern Parkway; bbg.org