April is a buzzing month in New York City. Spring weather is in the air and some exciting events and festivals are definitely worth a visit.
The Tribeca Film Festival is one of the city’s most successful cultural events, and is held each year as a tribute to Manhattan’s contribution to film. The festival was created in a post-911 era as a means to contribute to the long-term recovery of the city and its morale. The Festival features an impressive line up of independent films, including documentaries and family-oriented movies, many of which will be premiering for the first time during the event (April 23rd to May 4th, 2008). In addition, there are many activities around the city that are geared towards children and families during the time of the Festival, making this a not-to-be-missed event. Some hotels in the Tribeca area include the luxurious Tribeca Grand Hotel and the moderately priced Cosmopolitan Hotel.
What would New York City be without its baseball action? Each year in April, the city celebrates Opening Day at two of its home team stadiums – Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium. Yankee Stadium was officially opened on April 18th, 1923 after less than a year of construction work. The Opening Day back then featured an inaugural game between the home team and the Boston Red Sox. Throughout the years, the stadium has undergone major construction and renovations to handle the crowds that come each year to watch their favorite teams. In 2006, ground was broken to construct a new Yankee Stadium, which is due to open in 2009. This year therefore marks the last Opening Day at the present stadium.
Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets, opened up on April 17th, 1964 with a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, before nearly 50,000 fans. Over the years, Shea Stadium has hosted spectacular baseball games, as well as non-baseball events. The stadium served as a relief center in the days following September 11 and is seen by many to be a true symbol of New York’s spirit and energy.
April is a fantastic time to visit New York City. The weather is in the process of turning warmer, outdoor activities become more inviting and the general mood is one of moving one step closer to spring. Despite better overall climate, there are still no major crowds in the city and visitors can still enjoy shorter lines, great deals and good travel weather.
Average highs in April are a comfortable 60°F (16°C), while low temperatures average at 45°F (7°C). While it may still rain in April, the warmer weather makes it that much more bearable. Of course, it is still highly recommended to pack a long trench coat or rain jacket, as well as an umbrella. The weather also justifies packing sweaters and long pants for cold nights. Closed-toed, waterproof and comfortable walking shoes are also a must to take in all the great sights in New York.
April is one of the most beautiful months in the city, when the largest collection of cherry blossom trees outside of Japan comes into full bloom, creating a magnificent display of nature. The Cherry Blossom Season kicks off in the second week of April and lasts an entire month, with interesting Japanese cultural activities planned for its duration.
The Tribeca Film Festival is another event that begins in April, and is an event that celebrates New York City as a major filmmaking center. Over 200 movies, many of them premieres, will be screened during the festival, and visitors are sure to bump into several top stars during the 10 day event.
Baseball season kicks off in New York City during the month of April with Opening Days at both the Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium, the official home of the Mets. This is the last season that the Yankees will play at their present stadium, making 2008 a bitter-sweet curtain call for this majestic sports center.
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The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a historical event that has been taking place in New York since 1762 and has been marching for 256 consecutive years. The original St. Patrick’s Day marchers would gather at their local churches or their organizations’ headquarters and proudly march to the Old St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Archbishop would greet the groups, followed by speeches by politicians and other notables. Once the official ceremony was over, the marchers would disperse and possibly continue their celebrations at a pub.
The parade is traditionally honored by a Grand Marshal and this year the title goes to Tommy M Smyth. The parade will be reviewed by His Eminence Cardinal Edward Eagan, Archbishop of New York from the steps of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral as well as from the Official Reviewing Stand located on 64th Street and 5th Avenue.
This year, the parade takes place Monday 17th March and begins at 11am. The 150,000 strong crowd will march up 5th Avenue, starting at 44th Street and proceeding to 86th Street. The marchers gather in groups of clans, and clad in green, they proceed down 5th Avenue.
Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day Parade does not allow any floats, cars or any other commercial aspects to taint the festivities. Those who have the privilege of looking on will be entertained by bagpipes, bands and orchestras, as well as an opportunity to see many strange items of green attire.
The best spots to catch a glimpse are towards the north end of the parade route, removed from the throng of shoppers and workers that crowd the sidewalks below 59th Street. The best position is sitting on the upper steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art where one can grab a great view and even a close up of the marchers when they turn east on 86th Street.
A couple of hotels near the St. Patrick’s Day Parade include the Algonquin Hotel and the Roosevelt Hotel.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an icon of the diversity of New York’s culture and is one day in the year that everyone in the city becomes Irish!