Memorial Day and More: Talks and Events Around NYC

By Alison Durkee

Memorial Day is nearly here, and while the three-day weekend may mark the official start of summer, it’s also a time to honor our armed services and those who have sacrificed their lives for the country. Honor these heroesand usher in the warm weatherwith these upcoming talks and events.

Parades throughout the city will mark Memorial Day on Monday, May 28, as groups gather in honor of the armed services. Head out to Queens for the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day parade, or spend your Monday in Brooklyn taking in the 151st year of the Brooklyn Memorial Day parade, which kicks off at 10am in Bay Ridge. Parades will also take place in Staten Island and the Bronx. In Manhattan, observe the holiday at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on Riverside Drive, where a commemoration ceremony takes place at 10am.

This year, Memorial Day will also coincide with Fleet Week, when the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard make their way to New York City. Kick off the week with the Parade of Ships, which will take place along the Hudson River from Battery Park to the George Washington Bridge on May 23. Other fleet-focused events taking place include several Navy Band Concerts, public ship tours, and drill team performances. The Intrepid Museum will  the occasion with their own slate of Fleet Week activities, including interactive displays, performances, talks, a special Memorial Day ceremony, and more.

By 1ericmiller1 [CC BY 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

Those hoping to celebrate Memorial Day more musically can head to the Green-Wood Ceremony for their annual Memorial Day concert, which will include a tribute to current Green-Wood resident and legendary composer Leonard Bernstein, or celebrate in Manhattan with a free concert by the New York Philharmonic.

Photo credit: Adela Loconte

Memorial Day weekend is also the perfect time to head out to the city’s parks. Prospect Park will host a special Memorial Day celebration on the 28th, complete with family-friendly nature activities and more. In Central Park, join tour guides for a walking tour through the park on the 28th, which will focus on how memorials and other features throughout the park have honored veterans. Earlier in the weekend, head out to Bryant Park for a special outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the 25th, or enjoy Mamapalooza, a festival honoring mothers and their families with special activities, including stargazing, live music, and chair yoga. The celebration will take place May 27 by the Hudson River on Riverside Drive South. Governors Island will offer a special Family Fun Day Festival on May 27 as well, with performances, workshops, ice cream, and a build-your-own playground.

Before your Memorial Day celebrations begin, prepare for your summer barbeque with How to Grill Everything, a talk with food writer Mark Bittman and celebrity chef Carla Hall in which audiences will learn the secrets to perfect grilling, from steak to pound cake. The appetizing conversation will take place at the 92nd Street Y on May 24.

This May and June will also offer plenty of chances to learn more about the wars whose soldiers are being honored on Memorial Day. Go back to where it all began with a walking tour of Revolutionary War-era New York on Memorial Day, or delve into the Civil War and its aftermath with a talk on how the U.S. merged its competing militaries after the war on June 15. The New-York Historical Society will offer two looks into World War II this May, as they offer a talk on May 17 focused on World War II at Sea and discuss Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s role in the war at a talk on May 22. For a look at the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, head to a talk on the future of al-Qaeda on May 22.

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