25 ways to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in NYC

May 1, 2023

Photo courtesy of 7beachbum on Flickr

During May, the country marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to honor and recognize the achievements and culture of Asian Americans. Throughout the month, many of New York City’s community organizations and cultural institutions will host activities and events celebrating the city’s diverse Asian communities, from learning about Chinatown’s historic monuments and making K-Pop-themed crafts to catching a set from an AAPI comedian and taking a virtual Vietnamese cooking class.

Japan Month
Through May 31
Running through the end of May, Japan Month aims to share Japanese food, culture, and charm with New Yorkers and even give participants a chance to win a trip to the country. To enter, all you have to do is visit a participating Japanese restaurant in the city, take a photo of yourself enjoying a meal, and post it on your social media with the hashtag #mayisjapanmonth. The grand prize is a pair of round-trip airline tickets to Japan. The project is sponsored by the Japanese government.

Image courtesy of Gemma Solomons

Tenement Apartment Tours: 100 Years Apart
Tours begin at 103 Orchard Street, Manhattan
The Tenement Museum’s year-round 100 Years Apart tour highlights the stories of the Wong and Gumpertz family, a Chinese American immigrant family, and a German-Jewish immigrant family who lived in one of the Museum’s landmark tenement buildings 100 years apart. Over the course of the 60-minute tour, guests will hear from members of the Wong family themselves as they share personal stories as Chinese American immigrants living in the tenements. Tickets cost $30 and can be purchased here.

LayeRhythm & Grooves: Mai Lê Hô and guests
Buttenwieser Hall at The Arnhold Center, 1395 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan
May 5 at 7:30 p.m.
Renowned improvisational street/club dance and music performance design team LayeRhythm is returning to 92NY for a series of performances co-created by audiences and artists. The exciting event will take guests on an adventure through creativity, community building, and artistic expression. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased here.

Asian Comedy Fest 2023
Sour Mouse, 110 Delancey Street, Manhattan
May 5 and 6 from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The annual Asian Comedy Festival is returning for its fourth year, putting a spotlight on some of the world’s best AAPI comics. Hosted at the Lower East Side’s Asian-owned Sour Mouse social club, this year’s fest includes 26 returning performers as well as 30 new acts. Tickets start at $28.77 and can be purchased here. Proceeds from this year’s event will go towards the Asian American Arts Alliance.

Image courtesy of Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Forgotten History of Chinese in New York
Chinatown, Manhattan

May 6 at 1 p.m.
Hosted by the Municipal Art Society of New York, this walking tour takes guests through historic Chinatown, pointing out landmarks like the Kimlau Memorial, Chatham Square, historic businesses, and important buildings. RSVP is required, and the meeting location and other tour details will be provided in an email before the tour date. The tour is led by Taylor Zhou, a former guide at the Museum of Chinese in America. You can sign up here.

Simone Porter
Buttenwieser Hall at The Arnhold Center, 1395 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan
May 6 at 7:30 p.m.
The violinist Simone Porter is making her debut at 92NY during AAPI Heritage Month. Her set includes the NYC premiere of Drishti, a piece written for her by famous Indian-American composer Reena Esmail, and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Lachen Verlernt, a piece that has become a beloved part of Porter’s repertoire. The show will also be streamed online for those who can’t make it to the city. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased here.

Commemorate the Birth of Gautama Buddha
725 Park Avenue, Manhattan
May 6 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Join the Asia Society as they celebrate the birth of Siddartha Gautama, one of the most important holidays for Buddhists worldwide. The event will include a storytelling session about Buddhism and Gautama, as well as meditation, momo tasting, music, and arts and crafts. Tickets cost $12 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, and free for members.

Gingko Tree Celebration
Crotona Nature Center, Crotona Park, the Bronx
May 6 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The NYC Urban Park Rangers are inviting New Yorkers on a journey in the Bronx’s Crotona Park to learn more about Ginkgo trees and their significance in Asian culture. The event ends with guests creating their own Ginkgo tree-inspired arts and crafts. Admission is free.

Image courtesy of AAPI 5K

Soho, Manhattan
May 6 at 9 a.m.
The AAPI 5K is a community-led run that promotes health, diversity, and unity while celebrating NYC’s Asian American community and organizations. One of the 5K’s main goals is to raise awareness and funds for local AAPI non-profit organizations. Passes cost $15 and can be purchased here. More information on the run can be found here.

Image courtesy of Terry Ballard on Flickr

Historic Flushing
Margaret I. Carman Green – Weeping Beach, Bowne Street and 37th Avenue, Queens
May 7 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
On this special event led by the Urban Park Rangers, guests will explore Flushing and learn about how it has blossomed into one of the largest and fastest-growing Asian communities in the country. The tour will celebrate the diverse culture and individual stories that make Queens, “the World’s borough,” so great. Admission is free.

#OwnVoices: AANHPI Story Time
Morrisania Library, 610 East  169th Street, Bronx
May 9 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Taking place at the Bronx’s Morrisania public library, this event gives New Yorkers a chance to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month by listening to stories written by Asian American and Pacific Islander authors.

Sofar Sounds NYC Concert – Celebrating AAPI Artists
Bushwick, Brooklyn
May 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Known for their intimate musical live shows in unique venues, Sofar Sounds is hosting an event showcasing some of the city’s vastly talented AAPI artists. The address for the special event is not revealed until 36 hours before the show, but the nearest subway station is Wilson Avenue.

Photo courtesy of 7beachbum on Flickr

Japan Parade
Central Park West between 70th Street and 71st Street
May 13 at 12:30 p.m.
The Japan Parade is returning for a second year after a successful debut during last year’s AAPI Heritage Month. The parade’s grand marshal is Kristi Yamaguchi, a former professional figure skater and the first Asian American to win a gold medal in a Winter Olympics competition. The spectacular parade will feature live dance performances, live music, and much more. The event’s opening ceremony starts at 12:30 p.m. and the parade kicks off on Central Park West between 70th Street and 71st Street at 1 p.m.

Nature Calligraphy
Van Cortlandt Nature Center, Bronx

May 14 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Learn about the intricate connection between nature and the art of Chinese calligraphy at this event hosted by NYC Parks. Guests will learn about how calligraphy symbols have evolved to represent the natural world and will be able to take a shot at writing their own. Admission is free.

AANHPI Heritage Month: All Things K-Pop
West Farms Library, 2085 Honeywell Avenue, Bronx
May 16 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The New York Public Library is hosting a special AAPI Heritage Month event with K-Pop fans in mind. Taking place at the West Farms public library in the Bronx, guests can come and create DIY photo cards, eat Asian snacks, and watch music videos from some of the world’s most famous K-Pop groups.

South Asian Women Trailblazers
725 Park Avenue, Manhattan

May 18 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hosted at the Asia Society, this special event shines a spotlight on four exceptional South Asian Women. Moderated by Kanika Chadda Gupta, the panel guests include Anu Aiyengar, Global Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at J.P. Morgan, NY State Assemblywoman Jennifer Rajkumar, Kirin Sinha, Founder & CEO of Illumix, and Snigdha Sur, Founder & CEO of The Juggernaut. The panel discussion will be followed by a cocktail reception with a dessert bar hosted by some of the city’s finest South Asian culinary experts. You can buy tickets here.

Let’s Talk Cooking with Mercedes: Vietnamese Cooking
Virtual session
May 18 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
This virtual event teaches participants delicious recipes from Uyen Luu’s Vietnamese: Simple Vietnamese Food to Cook at Home. The virtual lesson will be held using Google Hangouts. You can register for the event here.

Celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander Design
144 West 14th Street, Manhattan
May 18 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hosted by the Pratt School of Architecture, this special event features short presentations from up-and-coming AAPI design firms. The event will also serve as a space for interior designers, architects, and creators to network with one another. Sponsored food and drink vendors working the event are Momofuku, Fly by King, Umamicart, Junglee, Lunar, and Om Som.

Image courtesy of the Asian Creative Foundation

Asian Creative Festival 2023
Industry City, 220 36th Street, Brooklyn
May 20 and 21 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The first-ever Asian Creative Festival is coming to Industry City. Hosted by the Asian Creative Foundation, the festival is a two-day celebration of AAPI culture and creatives, with this year’s theme being “Be Colorful.” For this year’s festival, some of the city’s largest AAPI creative organizations are taking part, including ACE, Mixed Asian Media, East Side Story, and Asian Creative Network. ACE will be curating a marketplace featuring handmade artwork, home decor, clothing, accessories, floral arrangements, food, and more by AAPI-owned small businesses. Additional programming includes Asian Creative Talks with keynote speakers including designer and artist Rich Tu, and founder of mission-driven organizations Steven Wakabayashi.

AAPI Heritage Month Silent Disco
Al Oerter Recreation Center, Queens
May 20 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Led by Shape Up NYC dance fitness instructors Masayo and Shizuyo, this special silent disco event celebrates AAPI Heritage Month through a combination of movement and music. Admission is free and you can register here.

Mayor Eric Adams joined the first AAPI Heritage Month Parade in 2022.  Photo Credit: Benny Polatseck/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

AAPI Cultural and Heritage Parade
6th Avenue, between 44th Street and 53rd Street, Manhattan

May 21 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The second annual AAPI Cultural and Heritage Parade is returning to Chinatown in celebration of AAPI culture. Hosted by Better Chinatown U.S.A, the parade will feature a wide variety of live performances, including singing, dancing, marching, and a plethora of artistic displays created by the AAPI community.

Historic Chinatown Parks and Monuments
East Broadway & Essex Street, Seward Park, Manhattan
May 21 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
This informative tour led by the Urban Park Rangers takes guests through Chinatown and highlights significant events and commemorations that have taken place in the historic neighborhood. Admission is free.

Chinese Scholar Garden Stewardship and Tour
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island

May 21 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The Urban Park Rangers and Snug Harbor Cultural Center are hosting a stewardship event in Snug Harbor’s Scholar’s Garden in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month. Visitors will go on a tour through the garden while helping maintain the bioswales that surround the garden. Cleaning tools and gardening gloves will be provided. Admission is free.

Evergreen Cemetery
Highland Park, Jamaica Avenue, Brooklyn

May 21 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
This Urban Park Rangers-led tour through Brooklyn’s Highland Park will teach visitors about the park’s important connections with the city’s Asian-American population. Tour guests will learn about the lives and activism of many important Asian-American figures that are buried in the Highland Park cemetery. Admission is free.

Image via WikiCommons

Brooklyn First’s Chinatown
Sunset Park Playground, Sunset Park, Brooklyn

May 28 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with NYC Parks alongside 8th Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn’s first established Chinatown. On this tour, guests will learn more about the rapid growth of Asian immigrants throughout Sunset Park and all of Brooklyn. Admission is free.


Get Inspired by NYC.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *