Taste of the Lower East Side – April 6
Be sure to arrive hungry to the 16th Annual Taste of the Lower East Side where over 46 local restaurants will serve up their best-known dishes. Participating restaurants range from the long-lived Ukrainian greasy spoon, Veselka, to modern, upscale eateries like The Stanton Social and Blue Ribbon Sushi. The festival’s proceeds benefit the Grand St. Settlement, a 100-year old community outreach group that was founded on the Lower East Side and now also serves Brooklyn neighborhoods.
New York Antiquarian Book Fair – April 7-10
For anyone who steps into a library and gleefully inhales that singular “old book” aroma, the New York Antiquarian Book Fair is your bliss. This vast expo features an incredible selection of rare books, manuscripts, first editions and relics of literature. Plus the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America officially sanctions every vendor, so you know that everything for sale is the real historical deal.
The Art of Real – April 8-21
Now in its third year, The Art of Real film festival showcases hard-hitting nonfiction films. The various documentaries zero in on the uncelebrated and marginalized pockets of society: Japanese fishermen in Oyster Factory, Louisianan junkies in The Other Side, and a nomadic Roma family in Tales of Two Who Dreamt. Learn more about these films’ raw subject matter and screen times here.
Holi Hai Color Festival – April 30
New York’s Holi Hai Color Festival is based upon the Hindu Holi (or Phagwa) celebration of the arrival of spring. Just as in the Hindu tradition, Holi Hai attendees playfully toss colored dyes and water at fellow revelers—think of a “Color Run” but with dancing in lieu of jogging—to create a gloriously sprightly crowd. Once you’re sufficiently covered in colored powder, take a break with some delicious traditional Indian treats like potato samosas, onion bahji (fritters) or mysore bonda (fried rice and yogurt dumplings).
Sakura Matsuri – April 30 - May 1
The Brooklyn Botanical Garden kicks off the start of cherry blossom season with Sakura Matsuri, a festival that pays homage to Japan, the original cherry blossom country. This weekend-long celebration includes traditional Japanese taiko drumming, elegant Kabuki Buyo dance performances and Samurai sword demonstrations. If you cannot attend the actual festival weekend, you can take in the cherry blossoms’ tranquil and lush landscape until mid-May.