The helicopters have started flying out to East Hampton already, but who needs a helicopter when you have all of Brooklyn at your fingertips this Memorial Day weekend? Luckily, there’s so much going on that there’s something for everyone: music, art, day drinking, and—yes—Memorial Day celebrations. We’ve got you covered. Here are ten ways to celebrate Memorial Day without having to leave Brooklyn.
1. Rooftop drinking at Berry Park, Northern Territory or The Ides: If you believe Memorial Day should be spent with a cold one in your hand while you laugh with your friends and watch the sun go up…and then down, there are enough rooftop bars in this borough to keep you happy all weekend. But Berry Park, Northern Territory, and The Ides stand out if you need both rooftop drinking and fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline. Pro tip: All three of these bars tend to get crowded really quickly, so getting there early to grab a seat is not a bad idea.
Berry Park (4 Berry St), Northern Territory (12 Franklin St), The Ides (80 Wythe Ave)—Williamsburg
2. Grilling at Prospect Park or Fort Greene Park or Red Hook Park: There is nothing that will transport you out of this concrete jungle (where dreams are made of) and right into nature like grilling at a Brooklyn park, and Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park and Red Hook Park are some of the best our borough has to offer. So gather your friends and family, bring your own coal-based grill, and stake out a spot in the grass with blankets (at least ten feet away from trees and overhead branches) for a full day of fun. I <3 the Chef apron is optional.
3. Visit Cypress Hills National Cemetery: The only United States National Cemetery in New York City, Cypress Hills has 21,100 interments of veterans and civilians, including 24 Medal of Honor recipients. The cemetery encompasses 18.2 acres, has several notable monuments, and is easily reached via the J line at the Cypress Hills station. There will be a Memorial Day Ceremony on May 24th at 11:00 a.m.
625 Jamaica Avenue, free
4. House of Vans Almost Summer Series: A 25,000 square foot renovated warehouse in Greenpoint is now part skate park, part rad music venue for the House of Vans. This month’s line up of free shows (with RSVP) features indie rockers Parquet Courts headlining with support from the Marked Men-related Radioactivity, sax-fueled punks Pill, and The Blackouts DJing.
May 23, 25 Franklin Street, free
5. Meow Day at The Silent Barn: Do you self-identify as a cat enthusiast or a cat lady? Have you been jonesing for a cat to adopt? Meow Day is your chance revel in the glory of all things cat: cat art, cat crafts, cat supplies, and cats themselves from Tail of Two Kittens that are just really hoping to be adopted. RSVP here (password=”rescuecats”)
May 24, 603 Bushwick Avenue, free
6. Fly a kite or go see the Coney Island Museum Sideshow: The good news is that New York City’s beaches officially reopen for swimming on Saturday. Woop! Woop! The bad news is that the water is probably ice-cold since it still feels like March outside. Luckily, Coney Island has always been a top spot for two things: flying a kite and the Coney Island Museum. Flying a kite on the beach is easy. You can buy one for around $20 on the boardwalk and take it out on the sand if the winds are strong enough. The Coney Island Museum is a rare gem that still puts on performances of the Coney Island Sideshow, a traditional “10 in 1” continuous performance with 10 acts each hour (think fire breathing, sword swallowing, contortion, and more). Pro tip: see if you can spot the Mayor of Coney Island on the boardwalk.
7. Go to a Bargemusic performance: Moored under the Brooklyn Bridge, this renovated coffee barge has been bringing world-renowned classical musicians to Brooklyn for decades. This weekend, you can hear music by Stravinsky, Mozart, Ravel, Schubert, and more, all within the comfort of your own borough (and stellar views of the city skyline).
2 Old Fulton Street, General: $35
8. Check out the new public art installations at Brooklyn Bridge Park: Celebrated Danish artist Jeppe Hein is now in Brooklyn—via his eighteen engaging, interactive, and whimsical public art works that just popped up in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Three bodies of work are represented in the exhibition, which include installations made with walls of water, funky benches, and mirror labyrinths that you and your kids/friends/frenemies are guaranteed to love.
9. Discover holography at the Holocenter House: If you can’t wait for the future to get here fast enough and you were disappointed by the “hologram” setting on your Samsung, the Holocenter is just the place for you. Dedicated to holograms and the holographic arts, this arts group has created a space full of neat installations, with workshops and talks to learn more about the science and practice of bending light.
Governors Island, free
10. Go to Brooklyn’s 148th Kings County Memorial Day Parade: One of America’s most cherished patriotic observances, Memorial Day is marked with a grand parade each year in Brooklyn, which includes marchers like the Patriot Guard Riders, the NYC Joint Military Service Color Guard, the US Coast Guard, Jewish War Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, and many, many more in the line of march. The parade will start on 78th Street and Third Avenue, and will work its way to John Paul Jones Park on 101st Street and Fourth Avenue for the memorial service.
If you want to help veterans but can’t make it to the parade, consider donating to or volunteering with Pets for Vets, which works to help heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing them with a specially selected shelter animal.
May 25, 78th Street and Third Avenue, free