By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com
Signs of New York’s normal, vibrant cultural life are returning to the New York area, as the state allows gatherings to resume, facilitated by COVID-19 vaccinations. Some of the area’s favorite events and celebrations that defined summer are resuming, like the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach over Memorial Day weekend, and the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island in June. Tickets for Broadway theater, scheduled to start performances in September, have just gone on sale (and being snapped up). Here are some highlights:
The thrilling Bethpage Air Show is returning to Jones Beach over Memorial Day weekend headlined by the US Air Force Thunderbirds and with such favorites as the GEICO Skytypers, U.S. Army Golden Knights and Pilot David Windmiller. But with 50-percent capacity controls in place, the main performances, on Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30 are already booked up, but some parking passes, $10 per car, for the practice event on Friday, May 28 are still available. (https://shop.parks.ny.gov/store/special-events); Air Show information, https://bethpageairshow.com/. (A livestream of the air show will be available on Saturday, May 29, 2021 with a rain day of Sunday, May 30, 2021 at https://abc7ny.com/ and on WABC-TV’s Connected TV Apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku.)
There is an alternative –or rather, an additional – experience, though: the American Airpower Museum (AAM) will not only fly its fabled “Arsenal of Democracy” warbirds in the Air Show events, but you can visit the museum where the planes are staged, and see many others. There is even the opportunity to have flying experiences on AAM’s AT-6 Texan and Waco Biplane.
AAM’s fleet of iconic and meticulously restored military aircraft flying in the Air Show to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country will include a B-25 Mitchell Bomber, Douglas C-47 Skytrain troop transporter, Grumman TBM Avenger Torpedo Bomber, Curtiss P-40 Flying Tiger, P-51D Mustang Fighter, AT-6 Texan Warbird and AT28D5 Nomad Vietnam Era Fighter. But if you come to the museum, you can watch the AAM pilots start their engines, taxi and lift off, performing exciting flybys with Republic Air Traffic Control permission, before leaving to join the Jones Beach Air Show and then when they return.
On May 29 and May 30, Hangar 3 opens at 10 a.m. Arrive there early, park your car, sign in and enjoy the exhibits. Watch the pilots, have lunch and later on watch as the aircraft return from Jones Beach in the afternoon, touch down and taxi back to Hangar 3.
Also on view at the museum are three visiting U.S. Navy EF/A-18 Super Hornets from May 27 through May 30. The supersonic combat jets will not be in the Jones Beach Air Show but will be on AAM’s ramp all four days. AAM’s WWII aircraft will also have practice fly days Thursday and Friday.
The Air Show also features a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II, “The Warthog,” flying over Jones Beach – you can see AAM’s own A-10, on display outside Hangar 3.
Even if you are lucky enough to snag a pass to see the Jones Beach Air Show, you can schedule time over the weekend to visit the museum.
Admission for adults is $15, seniors & veterans $10 and children 5-12 $8. Tickets and pre-registration is not required; admission first-come-first-serve. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on all four days, plus AAM is open Monday, May 31, Memorial Day.
American Airpower Museum , Hangar 3, 1230 New Highway, Farmingdale, NY 11735, 631-293-6398, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.americanairpowermuseum.com.
North Hempstead is hosting a drive-in Memorial Day Commemoration and Fireworks ceremony on Saturday, May 29. The fireworks display, produced by Santore, will begin at 9 p.m., and gates to North Hempstead Beach Park will open at 5:30 p.m. The fireworks will be synced to music that will be broadcast through the car radio. The event, open to North Hempstead residents only, is free but there is a $10 parking fee (cash only). The Town is encouraging attendees to bring non-perishable/canned foods to the events as part of North Hempstead’s donation drive. Vehicles will be admitted on a first come, first serve basis. Attendees are not required to register ahead of time. For more information, call 311 or 516-869-6311.
Summer Festivities With a Twist
New York City’s annual Jazz Age Lawn Party returns to Governor’s Island this summer, June 12-13. Highlighted by Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra and other entertainers, Gatsby-goers (who love to dress up in 1920s attire for the occasion) will enjoy music, dancing, dance lessons and food. Capacity controlled tickets are now on sale. Ticket holders from last year will be able to attend the festival with their unredeemed 2020 tickets, with no further action needed. To purchase tickets, visit www.jazzagelawnparty2021.eventbrite.com.
Governors Island is a stunning venue and a nearby getaway destination in its own right that can be visited throughout the season. This trip through time begins with a breezy ride aboard a ferry boat with breathtaking views of Manhattan and Lady Liberty. There is much to see and do on the island, from renting bicycles or a surrey to visiting Civil War-era fort, World War II-era military housing and a military prison that once housed Walt Disney and Wilbur Wright (for going AWOL during WWI) and Rocky Graziano (for going AWOL in WWII), as well as arts and cultural programs, an adventure center and even glamping.
The Public Theater is planning a return of Free Shakespeare in the Park beginning July 6 through August 29, with MERRY WIVES, “a fresh and joyous adaptation” by Jocelyn Bioh, of Shakespeare’s MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, directed by Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali. Set in South Harlem amidst a vibrant and eclectic community of West African immigrants, MERRY WIVES is a New York story about the tricks of the heart, performed in the heart of the City. (https://publictheater.org/programs/shakespeare-in-the-park/free-shakespeare-in-the-park/)
The annual Museum Mile Festival, always a special occasion to see the world’s finest art collections for free during extended evening hours, will apparently be virtual this year. The party normally takes place on Fifth Avenue between 82–110th Streets, a 23-block stretch that hosts eight participating institutions—The Africa Center, El Museo del Barrio, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Jewish Museum, Neue Galerie, and the Museum of the City of New York. The festival will take place on the websites of the participating museums between 9 am-9 pm. (https://www.ny.com/events/milefest.html)
By June 19, New York State will begin to pilot reduced social distancing at large-scale indoor event venues in assigned, seated sections that are designated solely for fully vaccinated individuals.
Also, New York State’s beaches and pools will operate with six-foot social distancing in anticipation of Memorial Day, with a state goal to reopen them to 100 percent capacity by July 4.
Being vaccinated eases your way to enjoy these events and facilities, and New Yorkers now have a way to easily provide proof. Interested New Yorkers can opt in to use Excelsior Pass and learn more at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/excelsior-pass; interested businesses can opt in and learn more at https://forward.ny.gov/excelsior-pass-business.
The CDC has just announced its new guidelines that allows vaccinated people to go maskless and gather outdoors and indoors, even as the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for youth 12-15. In New York State has increased availability to get the vaccine and the Biden Administration has created a way to text to find out a nearby location.
All New York State mass vaccination sites are now open to eligible New Yorkers for walk-in vaccination on a first come first serve basis. The walk-in appointments are reserved for first doses only with second doses to be scheduled automatically after administration of the initial shot. In addition, all vaccine providers are encouraged to allow walk-in appointments for eligible New Yorkers. People who would prefer to schedule an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site can do so on the Am I Eligible App or by calling 1-833-NYS-4-VAX. People may also contact their local health department, pharmacy, doctor or hospital to schedule appointments where vaccines are available, or visit vaccines.gov to find information on vaccine appointments near them.
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