10 Things to do on President’s Day in New York

By Go City Expert

President’s Day was originally designed to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. It’s a federal holiday held on the third Monday of February. These days, it’s meant to celebrate the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln. But, it's often seen as a way to celebrate every U.S. president. It’s also a day of various happenings around the city. If you want to know how to celebrate the day, read on. Here are 10 of the best things to do on President’s Day in New York.

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan

President's Day coincides with the start of mid-winter break for public schools in the city. So, there are lots going on for families. The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has two new exhibits worth checking out. The first, 'Superpowered Metropolis: Early Learning City', is an interactive exhibit. It invites viewers into a comic-book-inspired New York, guided by a trio of pigeons. It's focused on early-learning brain skills. The other is called "Inside Art," and it features larger-than-life sculptures and installations with which visitors can interact. One of the 10 things to do on President's Day in New York!

Photo copyright January Stewart

The Intrepid

Next, it’s Kids Week at the Intrepid! From February 15-22, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is offering more than 120 family-friendly events centered around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Families can check out maker spaces, live shows, a pop-up planetarium, animal shows, and more. On President’s Day itself, families can catch a performance by the Gazillion Bubble Show, hear author Drew Brockington (CatStronauts) and watch a presentation by the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. Start checking off your list of the 10 things to do on President's Day in New York!

Monday Night Magic

Every Monday evening, the Players Theatre presents Monday Night Magic, with a special President’s Day show on February 17. Monday Night Magic (MNM) is New York’s longest-running Off-Broadway show; it’s been on the scene for more than 20 years. The show is characterized by its lack of Las Vegas-style frills—this is magic, pure and simple. Each show features four performers on stage; during the intermission, at least two magicians present close-up magic throughout the theatre. How does this tie into President’s Day? No idea. We imagine there's a little sleight of hand in there somewhere.

Brooklyn Bridge Bike Rental

If you were just thinking, ”I really need to get out more,” and by “out,” you mean an invigorating bike ride across the Brooklyn Bridge, you’re in luck. Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tours & Rentals offer both self-guided and guided bike tours; get yourself a set of wheels and go! The Brooklyn Bridge is a must-see spot (and a must-ride-across one as well.). Open in 1883, it’s now a national historic landmark with incredible views; it was once called the eighth wonder of the world. Grab some pals and get out there!

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

President’s Day is a great day to reflect on this country’s history—and no better place to do it than Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The former was once the entry point into New York; more than a third of all Americans can trace their ancestry to someone who arrived at Ellis Island. It’s now a historical museum with plenty of interactive exhibits. The Statue of Liberty, of course is, well, the Statue of Liberty. Inspired by Libertas, the Roman god of freedom, Lady Liberty was a gift from France to the U.S. and is a symbol of democracy and freedom from oppression.

Kingston Restaurant & Bar

Looking for a more unconventional way to celebrate President’s Day? How about one with lots of Mimosas? Every holiday Monday, The Alumni Group offers Mimosa Mondays to close out the holiday weekend. For an extra $20, patrons can add an hour and a half of cocktails including mimosas, to their brunch entrees at Kingston Restaurant & Bar. Specializing in Caribbean and jerk food (think pineapple mango salsa, jerk chicken, curry shrimp), it’s a great end to a cold winter weekend, and one of our 10 things to do on President's Day in New York.

Photo courtesy Kingston Bar & Restaurant

Carnegie Hall

The old adage says that the best way to get to Carnegie Hall is to practice, but you can also attend Who are the Brave, a program of patriotic and original works by American composers and conductors, including Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein. The Distinguished Concert Orchestra and Conductors perform; student and senior discount tickets are available at the box office.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s revolutionary Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat turns 50 this year (!) and Lincoln Center is celebrating with an anniversary concert on President’s Day, February 17, at Lincoln Center in David Geffen Hall. The concert will feature more than 200 singers from across the United States, as well as the New York City Chamber Orchestra.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

George (Washington, of course) couldn’t cross, or even gaze at,-the actual Delaware River in New York—but you can look at him looking at it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Located in the Museum’s American Wing, the painting Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze is one of the museum’s most well-known works of art. What could be more appropriate for President’s Day? You’ll find plenty of other depictions of George as well as Abe (Lincoln) and some other U.S. presidents as well. (And there’s a fun activity—a president hunt!)

BAM Oscar Movies

And finally, missed some of the Oscar-nominated movies? Bam, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, is offering you a chance to catch up on some of the nominees this President’s Day. The all-day screening includes Knives Out, the 2020 Oscar-nominated animated and live-action shorts, and even Best Picture Winner Parasite. You can even catch up on lesser-known films like Cane River, which was lost in 1982; the negative was recovered in 2013. The film tells the story of African Americans fighting class and racial tension in Louisiana. Pick and choose, or see them all!

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DUMBO Neighborhood Guide

[caption id="attachment_1170" align="alignright" width="1470"] Dumbo, Brooklyn[/caption] Brooklyn has been on the radar as a popular destination for a few years now. There are many fascinating neighborhoods with a rich history, full of cultural institutions, historical sights and national landmarks. One of the most picturesque Brooklyn neighborhoods is Dumbo. Dumbo stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass, clearly indicating the neighborhood's location. Dumbo is nestled between the two bridges, Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge, and offers amazing views of both. Dumbo is easily accessible by subway, but perhaps the best way to get there is to walk or bike across the Brooklyn Bridge, or the slightly less scenic Manhattan Bridge. If you plan to take public transportation, take the F train to York Street. For walking, the best option is the Brooklyn Bridge from Chinatown, offering amazing views and a truly unforgettable experience. For biking, the Manhattan Bridge is optimal, because of its spacious bike lane and no crowds. Dumbo is known for its cobble-stoned streets, industrial, brick buildings, factories and warehouses, and outrageously expensive apartments. Nestled between the rich brick-red buildings, you can find many artisanal coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. Food [caption id="attachment_1171" align="aligncenter" width="1300"] A pie from Julianas[/caption] Two of the most famous pizza shops in Brooklyn are located in Dumbo, very close to one another. One of them is Juliana's (pictured), a classic New York Style pizza joint, attracting customers from all over the world. The pizza is so good, usually there's a line outside. The second one is Grimaldi's, now a chain operating in multiple locations in the city, serving delicious brick-oven pizza right under the Brooklyn Bridge. To satisfy your sweet tooth, stop by Jacques Torres Chocolate, a sought-after artisanal chocolate and truffle shop. Art [caption id="attachment_1173" align="aligncenter" width="1107"] Robert Swain: Color as Color at Minus Space[/caption] Dumbo is home to one of the most vibrant art scenes in New York City. The neighborhood's spacious, lofty buildings make for perfect gallery space and the local crowd of hip, wealthy millennials creates the ideal clientele for new, provocative art. Art in Dumbo has put together the whole portfolio of local art galleries in an easy-to-navigate website. Head to Minus Space to admire minimalist contemporary art in a spacious gallery, or the Klompching Gallery for contemporary photography. Sites and Photo Ops [caption id="attachment_1169" align="alignright" width="6000"] Classic shot of Empire State Building peeking through Manhattan Bridge on Washington Street[/caption] Perhaps the biggest reason for tourists to flock over to Dumbo are the other-worldly views from its waterfront. Nestled between the two bridges, Dumbo offers incredible photo-ops and views of these engineering marvels, as well as the lower Manhattan skyline. Perhaps the most classic view is that of the Empire State Building peeking from under the Manhattan Bridge, from Washington Street and Water Street. If you prefer the Brooklyn Bridge, the opportunities for amazing shots are plentiful in this area, as soon as you descend the bridge, or are done with your pizza at Juliana's. Activities [caption id="attachment_1177" align="alignright" width="1500"] Janes Carousel | Photo via NYCGO[/caption] A trip to Dumbo would not be complete without riding the famous Jane's Carousel. Built in 1922 and originally located in Ohio, this carousel brings to life the classic feel of vintage amusement parks, right on the Brooklyn waterfront. Extending past the boundary of Dumbo is Brooklyn Bridge Park, a public park built right on the Brooklyn Piers, offering many opportunities for leisure, with the most magnificent views of Brooklyn Bridge and Downtown Manhattan. Walking through Brooklyn Bridge Park is an experience treasured by locals and visitors alike, with plenty of activities for both adults and children. If you wish to explore Dumbo with the help of knowledgeable tour guides, you can take the Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo walking tour (free with the New York Pass), or take Circle Line Cruises' Hello Brooklyn Tour, which focuses on Dumbo and the Brooklyn waterfront. Alternatively, you can rent bikes or take a bike tour with one of our bike partners and explore the area on two wheels.
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