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MemorialDayTopTenFlag unveiling aboard USS Intrepid, plus more off-the-beaten path activities to do in NYC for Memorial Day 2016

Memorial Day in New York City marks the beginning of summer with rooftop barbeques and cornerstore beers sitting in a cooler of ice. People often forget the historical and cultural significance of this federal holiday. But if you want to break away from the norm, here are 10 unconventional ways to enjoy your three day weekend in NYC.

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Spencer Finch-High Line-Chelsea Market Passage-NYCSpencer Finch, The River That Flows Both Ways on the High Line. Photo via the High Line

You know Spencer Finch’s work, The River That Flows Both Ways on the High Line even if you don’t know its name. In fact, most people probably think the colored panes of glass in the Chelsea Market passage along the High Line are permanent because the work was already installed in partnership with Creative Time when the first section of the High Line opened in 2009. Sadly, The River That Flows Both Ways will come down from its West 16th Street home after this June, according to the High Line’s Tumblr blog

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The Roof Garden Psycho Barn Untapped Cities AFineLynePsychoBarn, the house from the movie Psycho is recreated on the rooftop of the Met Museum

May is the month to get back out into New York City’s parks (if you haven’t done so already), with a plethora of exciting art installations from Brooklyn Bridge Park to the High Line to Harlem. There will be pieces to see in plazas and public spaces from The Battery to 59th Street; from the roof garden at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center. Also don’t miss some of this past year’s best outdoor installations which will be coming down in May and June.

Here are 16 art installations not to miss this upcoming month!

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ArtsBrookfield Intrude Untapped Cities AFineLyneIntrude by artist, Amanda Parer

In the month of April, New York City’s exhibits and installations brings to the forefront pieces that ponder the state of our environment, and what we are leaving behind for those who will follow. One work lends an artistic eye towards leaving earth, with a fantastical view of our planet; another explores the meaning of self from the banners we fly, to the photos we hold dear. On the heels of Women’s History Month, you can continue to explore women in the arts. There will be art in many forms, from an upright swimming pool to a mosh pit. Spring also brings us back into our parks, in the form of an art exhibit at The Arsenal, a fort landscape exhibit at the Dana Discovery Center, and a DNA Totem Pole at the Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem. In your travels from exhibits to installations, remember to look both ways – so you won’t get hit by a giant bunny!

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Urban Cowboy-High Line-Meatpacking-West Side-NYCPhoto via Livin’ the High Line

The “West Side Cowboys” in New York City, one of the most fun secrets of the High Line, were city-appointed safety vigilantes on horseback that once prevented pedestrian accidents along 10th Avenue, a thoroughfare nicknamed Death Avenue due to the large number of accidents between freight trains and pedestrians. The original High Line, opened in 1934, was an elevated freight viaduct for the New York Central railroad, built in response to the accidents. Vintage video footage discovered by historian Annik La Farge while writing the book On the High Line: Exploring America’s Most Original Urban Park (Revised Edition) provides a rare glimpse into this once-popular symbol of the city’s west side.

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Green-Line-park-Manhattan-New-York_dezeen-untappedcities-001All renderings via Dezeen

Announced this past Friday, a proposal by Perkins Eastman for a “Green Line” is getting a considerable amount of buzz. The visionary concept, developed in the hopes of bringing more green space to New York, would combine two urban successes of the last decade – the High Line in Chelsea (2006) and the pedestrianization of Times Square (2009). Akin to the High Line, the Green Line would create a 40-block stretch of urban green public space, and like the pedestrianization of Times Square, it would close off even more of Broadway to vehicular traffic.

Dezeen, who first broke the story, points out that this project would be unique in the cityscape– rather than repurposing underutilized or unused areas, like the abandoned freight train track of the High Line or a trolley terminal for the proposed Lowline Park, the Green Line would convert one of the busiest streets in Manhattan into a park.

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