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What to Do in New York City in April 2024

By The Center Magazine StaffMar 21 2024
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Grab your baseball hat and lace up your running shoes because March may go out like a lamb, but April is coming in hot. April in NYC is a time to celebrate, and it often feels like the whole city is in on it. Crocuses poke through the ground, and a sense of city-wide awakening brings a tide of events and activities. While there may still be some chilly days, the month of April ushers in more sunshine and brighter spirits.

It’s the perfect time to get outside and cheer on the Yankees, who start a fresh season in the Bronx on April 5, or to test your own athleticism in the Brooklyn Half Marathon. At Rockefeller Center, you’ll find plenty of programming — from art installations to free trips to The Beam at Top of the Rock for kids on spring break (see our full calendar here). In the area, you’ll also find exciting new shows to see, including The Great Gatsby on Broadway and Barry Manilow at Radio City Music Hall.

Of course, April is Earth Month. There are opportunities to help clean, protect, and celebrate our planet all month long, especially on Earth Day, April 22. Flower enthusiasts across the boroughs are already on cherry blossom watch, making this the best time of year to visit the city’s parks and botanical gardens. Breathe in the natural beauty and you might even forget, just for a minute, that you’re in the city at all. Read on to see our picks for the top six things to do in NYC in April.

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Photo by Matthew Murphy
Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Great Gatsby on Broadway

April 1-November 24

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” But in NYC, spring is the season that will usher in a new beginning for Fitzgerald’s beloved novel, as it takes the Broadway stage on April 1. Jeremy Jordan of Newsies will play Jay Gatsby while Eva Noblezada of Hadestown takes the role of Daisy Buchanan. Those who loved the 2013 film adaptation with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan will remember the moving soundtrack; expect this one to be different but equally epic, with an original score by Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen that blends jazz and pop tunes. And while we all love a Roaring ‘20s vibe, lucky for us, Prohibition is a thing of the past — so you can start your night with cocktails at Rockefeller Center. Just a 10-minute walk from The Broadway Theatre, aperitivo hour at Jupiter starts at 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and offers $12 cocktails, $9 Prosecco, and Italian snacks through April 5. Daisy would approve.

Photo by Pascal Amez via Unsplash
Photo by Pascal Amez via Unsplash

Cherry Blossom Season

All month long

Though their presence in the city is often fleeting, the advent of cherry blossoms throughout the five boroughs always generates a haze of spring fever. Head to Riverside Park’s Cherry Walk, where you can stroll among the fragrant trees planted from 100th to 125th street, or follow this map of Central Park to see where flowers can be found. Across the river, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Esplanade is on “cherry watch,” with regular bloom updates to help plan your visit and tours available to learn about the season’s highlights. In the Bronx, avid fans can track trees’ flowering status using the New York Botanical Garden’s cherry tracker. In Queens, Flushing Meadows Corona Park will be in bloom near the Unisphere, and Queens Botanical Garden boasts its own Cherry Circle. Not to be outdone, Staten Island’s Silver Lake Park and Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanic Garden have bright blooms to admire as well. At Snug Harbor, visitors can also experience the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, one of only two authentic outdoor Chinese gardens in the United States.

Photo by Dan Gold via Unsplash
Photo by Dan Gold via Unsplash

New York Yankees Home Opener

April 5

For Yankees fans, Opening Day in the Bronx may as well be a national holiday. And even for casual spectators, there’s no better way to spend a spring day soaking in an authentic New York moment. After a three-game series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks, the Yankees will take on the Toronto Blue Jays at home; expect plenty of pre-game revelry on River Avenue and electricity in the stands. April always brings new hope for baseball fans, and the Yankees are particularly excited to welcome Juan Soto, who’s projected to be the best hitter in the MLB this year — even ahead of fellow pinstriped slugger Aaron Judge. If that doesn’t get you pumped, top-tier stadium snacks will surely do the trick.

Photo by Harry Wad via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Harry Wad via Wikimedia Commons

Barry Manilow at Radio City Music Hall

April 17-21

Calling all Fanilows: It’s time to flock to Radio City Music Hall. Barry Manilow’s long and iconic career has included 39 previous performances at the NYC venue, most recently during the summer of 2023, when he crooned to a sold-out crowd. Now, the 80-year-old singer is back with a five-night mini-residency, which will surely have him performing his many chart-topping hits, including “Copacabana (At the Copa),” and “Looks Like We Made It.” After New York, Manilow will kick off “The Last Concerts Tour,” visiting eight other U.S. cities for what he says will be his final time. If this all makes you feel a little too nostalgic, plan a pre- or post-show dinner at Rockefeller Center for some comfort food. May we suggest Smith & Mills’ tagliatelle, roasted chicken, or pastrami short rib reuben?

Courtesy of Earth Day Initiative
Courtesy of Earth Day Initiative

Earth Day

April 22

While urban living can sometimes feel removed from nature, life in the concrete jungle reminds us how precious our green spaces really are. Earth Day is a chance to both celebrate planet Earth and do our part to keep her clean. From beekeeping at Queens Farm, to shopping for sustainable products at the NYC Earth Day Bazaar on the Upper West Side, to picking up litter on a Staten Island hiking trail, New Yorkers can give back in a variety of ways this year. And all the eco-friendly fun isn’t limited to just one day: On April 14, the Earth Day Festival will bring environmental non-profits, performances, and workshops to Union Square, and an Earth Day 5K Fun Run kicks off at Randall’s Island Park on April 28.

Photo by Marc A. Hermann via Flickr
Photo by Marc A. Hermann via Flickr

Brooklyn Half Marathon

April 28

Thousands of runners take to the Brooklyn streets for this now-iconic race. The NYCRUNS Brooklyn Half Marathon takes participants on a blood-pumping greatest hits tour of the borough. Starting off in North Brooklyn, runners continue along the waterfront for views of the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges. Then, they soar down the Fulton Street and Flatbush Avenue concourses and carry on toward Grand Army Plaza before ending in Prospect Park. This is not just a day for the runners among us; spectators are just as important and can participate in myriad ways all along the route. And like any good New York activity, the run will end with bagels and schmear. Carbs are a runner’s best friend, after all.

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