We know—if you’re traveling to New York to cheer for your favorite NYU grad, your itinerary is pretty packed already. There are the school ceremonies, the cultural and identity-based graduation celebrations, Grad Alley (our big Commencement Eve block party for grads and their families, under the violet glow of the Empire State Building), and, of course, the main event up at Yankee Stadium—and that’s before you figure in all the photoshoots and dinner reservations. It’s exciting! And, you know…a lot. Which is why we recommend getting out for a breather when you can. 

NYC is in peak bloom (and as fresh smelling as it ever is?) in the spring, and it’s prime strolling and people-watching season around Washington Square Park and Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons. You could take a gander at the shiny John A. Paulson Center—NYU’s new academic, arts, athletics, and residential hub—or hop on a CitiBike and see how many sight-seeing destinations you can cross off of NYU Faculty Housing’s Bike Week bingo card.

Further afield, there’s Broadway and Museum Mile and all the rest, but with so many performances and exhibitions at NYU in a given week, you don’t even need a Metrocard to get your culture fix. Heck, sometimes you don’t even have to go inside—thanks to the abundance of window displays and other street-level public art! More offerings are being added to our calendar every day, but below are some of NYU News’ current picks for low-stress, easily accessible entertainment to be found between valedictory events around campus in mid-May.


Mostly New: Selections from the NYU Art Collection, on view at the NYU Grey Art Gallery (100 Washington Square East) through May 20, highlights strengths in the collection's holdings, including works by modern and contemporary artists from the Middle East.

On view at the Kimmel Windows (outdoors at LaGuardia Place and West Third), Fighting Fascism: Visual Culture of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) examines the use of posters, postcards, advertisements, and other visual materials to influence public opinion and rally support for the conflict. It also spotlights the stories of some of the 2,800 U.S. volunteers, including 22 NYU students, who served.

“A library is a growing organism,” reads the fifth “rule” of library science as penned in 1931 by S.R. Ranganathan, widely considered to be the father of library science. Created by Amanda Belantara & A.M. Alpin, Rule No. 5 centers the voices of library workers as they reveal to listeners the magical, mysterious, complicated, and controversial world of libraries. Experience the six interactive sculptures and audio components at Bobst Library (70 Washington Square South, first floor atrium). 

And if you're at Bobst around sunset, bathe in the meditative RETU(R)NINGS sound installation, which projects a brief cascade of electroacoustic tones of varying timbres, frequencies, and durations, unfolding in kaleidoscopically changing patterns in the atrium's vast, resonant space.

370 Jay Street in Brooklyn—home to programs from Tisch, Steinhardt, Tandon—is where technology and arts meet. Get a sampling of work by faculty, staff, and students currently on view in its windows.

Also at 370 Jay, students in NYU’s ITP, IMA, and Low Res programs present a spring show of their creative interactive projects on May 14 and 15. 

re:tratos urbanos (urban portraits)—on view at NYU Wagner (Puck Building, 295 Lafayette) features work informed by Nuyorican painter and collage artist Rodríguez Calero's heritage and the diverse communities of NYC's Lower East Side. This two-decade survey exhibit showcases techniques that fuse painting, printmaking, photography, and collage to create surrealist portraits that combine religious iconography, classical and Byzantine patterns, and elements of hip hop and street art.

At the Broadway Windows Gallery (at Broadway and East Tenth) 80WSE presents Up The Illusion, a survey exhibition celebrating the 90th birthday of moving image artist Ken Jacobs, called “one of the most extraordinary unknown personalities in the history of American movies” by critic J. Hoberman.

In the Tisch building at 721 Broadway, SHOW TWO (on view through May 19) features works in photography, digital imaging, and multimedia by 19 Department of Photography & Imaging students who graduate this year. 

Or catch it all through a self-guided walking tour of NYU’s many galleries and other public art spaces!


NYU Skirball (566 LaGuardia Place) hosts a live screening of the National Theatre’s production of Othello on May 11. 

Also at Skirball, on May 22: the 2023 Chita Rivera Awards recognize dance and choreographic excellence on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in film. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the ​​NYC Dance Alliance Foundation College Scholarship Program.