Memorial Day weekend isn't just any long weekend in Brooklyn. There are things to do on this federal holiday that happen only once a year. There is a fun family concert in a historical cemetery (that looks like a park). There are beaches opening for the first time all summer. There is even a famous African market and dance show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Here's your guide to having a great holiday in one of New York City's most fun boroughs.
Every year the Brooklyn Academy of Music hosts a week long celebration of all things African. Part of the fun is a global marketplace that takes place on the street. You'll love meandering the stalls, looking at the crafts and artwork. There are also food vendors and street performers. It's an event New Yorkers look forward to all year.
In 2019 it's taking place May 25 to May 27. It's located at Ashland Pl / Lafayette Ave. Check the website for more information.
Brooklyn's Memorial Day Parade, known as the Kings County Memorial Day Parade, is one of the oldest in the countries. This year it's celebrating its 152nd anniversary. The idea is to remember all those who gave their lives in the service of our country, and marching bands, first responders, and borough leaders participate. All armed services veterans are invited to be part of the parade whether they belong to a veterans' organization or not.
The 2019 parade will take place on May 27, 2019 at 11:00 AM. The parade route is from 78th St. and Third Ave., along Third Ave. to Marine Ave., up to Fourth Ave. and over to John Paul Jones Park on 101st St. and Fourth Ave. for the memorial service.
Jamaica Bay is located on the southern side of Long Island on the coast. It is a wildlife preserve, and during Memorial Day weekend the animals are awake, and nature is in full swing. The park puts on a lot of free programming from nature talks to tours to other public events. If your schedule allows learn about the South Marsh osprey pair, a rare bird of prey that makes its home here part of the year. Check the events calendar for other events happening during the weekend.
Brooklyn is the home to numerous beaches. There's Coney Island where there is an amusement park and historic boardwalk. Brighton Beach is not far away and a bit quieter. Manhattan Beach is a favorite amongst locals because it's small and peaceful. On Memorial Day all of them open. If the weather is nice be one of the first people to hit the waves in Brooklyn this summer (But go early to get a good spot before the crowds.)
Green-Wood cemetery is one of New York City's most distinguished historical attractions. It's annual Memorial Day concert has become a true neighborhood favorite. Each year the concert features the works of such prominent members of Green-Wood’s permanent residents' roster as Fred Ebb, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Leonard Bernstein, and many others. Bring a blanket and enjoy this early summer performance. Food and refreshments will be on sale all day. The concert is a free event. Groups should register in advance.
A trolley “mini-tour” begins right after the concert, featuring highlights of Green-Wood, including De Witt Clinton’s bronze statue, Battle Hill and the Civil War Soldiers’ Lot. Seating is limited. Reservations recommended. There is also a walking tour.
Get Up Close to Fish at the New York Aquarium
While the New York Aquarium doesn't hold any specific events for Memorial Day, it is the perfect place to welcome in summer. You can see a variety of fish including a sharks in a newly opened exhibit (there are tunnels where you can crawl underneath the tanks!) Then, at the end of your visit, you can go outside and see the Atlantic Ocean where they all live. The aquarium is located on the Coney Island boardwalk, so save some daylight hours for strolling.
While the main 9/11 museum is in Manhattan Brooklyn has many tributes of its own. They range from the Wall of Remembrance at Coney Island's MCU Stadium (For details of how to get there check the website) to modest street name changes in honor of a lost neighborhood resident. There is no better day to pay your respects and remember the lost lives than Memorial Day.