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Where to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the New York City Area

Where to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the New York City Area

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activities for kids in the New York City area


Here are some suggestions of where to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the New York City area with your family. From making crafts to watching documentaries to playwriting to listening to music, you're sure to find a way your kids will love to spend this historical day.

Martin Luther King Day Activities in Manhattan

FREE ONLINE Little New-Yorkers @ Home: We March
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 15, 3:30pm
WHERE: DiMenna Children's History Museum at New-York Historical Society
AGES: 3-6
WHAT: Celebrate Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday and talk about love, compassion, and community as we read “We March”, written and illustrated by Shane W. Evans. Afterwards, create a dove paper airplane with a special message to share the words of love and hope from MLK at home.
WANT TO GO? Advanced registration required.
 

FREE ONLINE Marching On: Celebrating The Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 15, 7pm
WHERE: SummerStage Anywhere
AGES: All
WHAT: Marching On: Celebrating The Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in association with Winter Jazzfest and Voices of a People's History of the United States celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and commitment to equity, freedom & peace for Black Americans and all people of this country and the world. With that clarion call as resonant today as it ever was, artists across disciplines will breathe their own passion and the power of our present time into Dr. King's vision. Featured artists include alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin (recorded at her studio); poet and organizer Mahogany Browne; vocalist and educator C. Anthony Bryant (recorded at Brooklyn's Sultan Room); actress and poet Linda Labeija; NAACP and OBIE-Award winning actor Ty Jones; R&B/soul singer Deva Mahal (recorded at her home); R&B singer-songwriter Tarriona "Tank" Ball and harpist Brandee Younger who was recently awarded Rising Star Harpist in Downbeat Magazine's 2020 Critics Poll (recorded at Brooklyn's Sultan Room). The performance will be narrated by curator and multidisciplinary artist Niama Safia Sandy.
WANT TO GO? SummerStage Anywhere

FREE ONLINE Storytelling Event: A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. by Yaffa Arts
WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 17, 1pm
WHERE: Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling
AGES: 0-8
WHAT: Join in a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as Yaffa Arts, in collaboration with the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, presents a musical choreopoem celebrating his life.
WANT TO GO? Advanced registration required.

IN PERSON MLK Gymnastics Camp
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 10:45am
WHERE: Jodi’s Gym, 244 East 84th Street, Upper East Side
AGES: 4-7
WHAT: Looking for a great activity when school is closed? Join Jodi's Gym for non-stop fun style! Your child will run, jump, tumble, balance, stretch, sing, create, move and groove all under the supervision and care of well trained and certified staff. Experience the joys of gymnastics, music and art. It's a mix that your child is sure to love. (Children must be potty trained, bring your own lunch).
WANT TO GO? $130. Call or email ues@jodisgym.com to register.

FREE ONLINE Workshops on the Civil Rights Movement in NYC for Families
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 9:30am or 11am
WHERE: Museum of the City of New York
AGES: All
WHAT: This virtual workshop will explore anti-racist activism in the Civil Rights Movement in NYC, from protests against employment discrimination to the 1964 boycott by NYC students against segregated schools. Dive into the stories of Civil Rights activists in New York, including Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to learn about New York’s major role in the Black freedom movement.
WANT TO GO? Advanced registration required.


FREE ONLINE New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Civil Rights Then and Now
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 10am
WHERE: New York State and PBS Stations
AGES: All
WHAT: This 1-hour tribute to Dr. King will showcase some of the people and organizations across New York State that embody the principles of one of America’s most significant leaders for social justice, freedom, and equality. Program times will vary by region, and viewers are encouraged to check their local TV listings. Through the eyes of New Yorkers from Buffalo to Albany, Lake Placid to New York City, the program will focus on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and dreams with music, art, and inspiring stories that reflect the fight for civil rights then and now across the state.
WANT TO GO? Watch online or on PBS stations.

FREE IN PERSON MLK Day of Service: Harlem Street Tree Care
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 9am
WHERE: 117th street and Malcolm X Boulevard, Harlem
AGES: All
WHAT: Volunteers will help care for local street trees and learn how to aerate, cultivate, mulch, and identify street trees. They will also learn about the important roles street trees play in New York City. Volunteers should dress in clothes that can get dirty and closed toe shoes. Face masks are required and volunteers are also encouraged to bring their own water bottles. Space is limited.
WANT TO GO? Registration is required. Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by a chaperone.

 

Martin Luther King Day Activities in Brooklyn

FREE IN PERSON MLK Day of Service: Canarsie Park Forest Restoration
WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 17, 9am
WHERE: Canarsie Park, Seaview Avenue and East 108th Street, Canarsie
AGES: All
WHAT: Join NYC Parks Stewardship to celebrate the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.! Volunteer with the Stewardship Team to protect the forested areas in Canarsie Park! Volunteers will help remove debris and learn how to identify and safely remove invasive plants. Come dressed in sturdy boots or shoes, long pants, and clothing that can get dirty. Please be sure to wear a face mask and bring your own water bottle to this event. Space is limited.
WANT TO GO? Registration is required. Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by a chaperone.

FREE ONLINE The 35th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 11am
WHERE: Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
AGES: All
WHAT: The Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., brings together artists, activists, civic leaders, and the public for a communal commemoration and reflection on the life and legacy of Dr. King, Jr. Audience members around the world are invited to join BAM for the virtual edition of New York City’s largest public celebration of Dr. King’s legacy featuring a keynote speech by Alicia Garza, author of The Purpose of Power, principal at Black Futures Lab, and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, performances by Grammy Award-winning gospel and R&B artist and Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton, Tank and the Bangas lead vocalist Tarriona "Tank" Ball, Vy Higgensen's award-winning choir Sing Harlem!, Brooklyn-based poet and 2020-2021 BAM Artist Resident Timothy DuWhite, spoken word artist Ashley August, and presentations by leading artists, civic leaders, and changemakers. The 2021 event draws inspiration from Dr. King’s words, his life, and the actions of those around the nation who continue the fight for equality and justice.
WANT TO GO? Watch live on BAM.org. Following the stream, the event will be available on BAM’s YouTube and Vimeo through Feb. 28.

IN PERSON Celebrate MLK Day
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 10am, 12:30pm or 3pm
WHERE: Brooklyn Children's Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave., Crown Heights
AGES: All
WHAT: Celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.! Explore shadow puppets with Nehprii Amenii, create community art, and pack winter warmth packages for people in need with Repair the World!
WANT TO GO? $13, $12 grandparent; Purchase tickets in advance.


Martin Luther King Day Activities in Queens

FREE IN PERSON and ONLINE MLK Day of Service
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 8:45am-7:15pm
WHERE: Commonpoint Queens Sam Field Center, 58-20 Little Neck Parkway, Little Neck
AGES: All
WHAT: Choose from a variety of virtual and in-person opportunities that will empower all members of the community to make a difference this MLK Day and beyond.
WANT TO GO? Advanced registration required.

IN PERSON Take In Your Takeout!
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 8am-6pm
WHERE: Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing
AGES: All
WHAT: The Queens Botanical Garden is open on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and encourages visitors to support local Flushing businesses by picking up take out and enjoying it in the garden (just be sure to discard your trash in proper receptacles). They are conveniently located on Main Street, Flushing, where so many local restaurants like Dumpling Galaxy, Nurlan, HK Cafe, and more, offer up the cuisines of the world! Check out Yelp to find an eatery that fits your taste buds!
WANT TO GO? Admission is free.
 

Martin Luther King Day Activities in Long Island

IN PERSON Light the Way to Love
WHEN: Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 16-17, 12:30pm
WHERE: Long Island Children's Museum, 11 Davis Avenue, Garden City
AGES: All
WHAT: Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader in the civil rights movement. In 1964, at the age of 35, he was the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. His powerful speech of equality and peace entitled “I Have a Dream” is still echoed today. Celebrate Martin Luther King’s legacy, and light the way to love, by creating a battery operated votive holder inspired by his words, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This is a free drop in program. This craft takes approximately ten minutes to complete and it's yours to keep! Available while supplies last.
WANT TO GO? $14, $13 ages 65 and older; Reserve your daily admission ticket for an opportunity to take part.


FREE ONLINE MLK Day of Service 2021 Virtual Art Project and Read Aloud for Families
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 11:45am
WHERE: Friedberg JCC, Online
AGES: All
WHAT: The Friedberg JCC honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by serving those in need and inviting families to create a project, discuss and listen to a story about Martin Luther King Jr. Day and its meaning. Please have ready crayons and markers and plain paper and be ready to draw and discuss MLK Day and its meaning.
WANT TO GO? Advanced registration required.

ONLINE Courage, Compassion & Wisdom: A Martin Luther King Day Meditation Retreat
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 10-11:30am, 12:30-2pm, 2:30-3:30pm
WHERE: Kadampa Meditation Center Long Island, Online
AGES: Teens and Adults
WHAT: Learn how to ground yourself in the practice of meditation: a simple practice which can have a profound impact on your daily life. Integrating meditation into life helps to deal with stress, anger, illness, fear, grief and discouragement. Evelyn will explain a traditional Buddhist meditation practice known as “transforming adverse conditions into the path.” Through this training, rather than just feeling discouraged or enraged by the problems and pain we see around us and within us, we learn how to transform our difficulties into the energy to make positive change. Learn how to transform negativity into clarity and courage, compassion and wisdom. This class will include talks and guided meditations with plenty of time for questions. No meditation experience is necessary.
WANT TO GO? Admission by donation. Advanced registration required.


Martin Luther King Day Activities in Westchester

FREE IN PERSON MLK Day of Service: West Farms Street Tree Care
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 16, 9am
WHERE: Bryant Ave. & E. Tremont Ave., Bronx
AGES: All
WHAT: Join NYC Parks Stewardship to celebrate the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.! Volunteers will help care for local street trees and learn how to aerate, cultivate, mulch, and identify street trees. They will also learn about the important roles street trees play in New York City. Volunteers should dress in clothes that can get dirty and closed toe shoes. Face masks are required and volunteers are also encouraged to bring their own water bottles. Space is limited.
WANT TO GO? Registration is required. Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by a chaperone.

FREE ONLINE African American Men of Westchester 20th Annual MLK Youth Legacy Awards
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 12pm
WHERE: African American Men of Westchester, Online
AGES: All
WHAT: Join the AAMW to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy of peace, hope and unity. This special awards presentation will recognize outstanding students of Westchester County who represent the spirit of Dr. King by being beacons of light in their communities for their service and leadership. In addition, four additional students will be presented with the Albertina Bloom Scholarship for academic achievement and community service in memory of the award's namesake and sponsored by Westchester Community Foundation.
WANT TO GO? Watch on YouTube.


Martin Luther King Day Activities in Rockland

FREE ONLINE MLK Jr. Day Celebration: Breaking Down Barriers
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 10am-5pm
WHERE: The Newark Museum of Art, Online
AGES: All
WHAT: Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King with a full day of virtual events including a workshop on hair art, MLK, Jr. trivia, and more.
WANT TO GO? Programs are on ZOOM and live on social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram. Register in advance for Zoom programs.

FREE ONLINE Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards
WHEN: Friday, January 15, 6pm
WHERE: New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Online
AGES: Adults
WHAT: NJPAC and the Newark Branch of the NAACP salute the spirit of the nation’s most beloved civil rights leader at the Arts Center’s 24th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards. Both NJPAC and the Newark Branch of the NAACP are proud to host this annual celebration and to recognize the leaders in the community who exemplify the ideals and principles espoused by Dr. King.
WANT TO GO? Watch on NJPAC’s Facebook page.

FREE IN PERSON Coding Workshops on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
WHEN: Monday, Jan. 18, 10am, 11:30am and 1pm
WHERE: Code Ninjas, 383 Market Street, Saddle Brook
AGES: 7-10
WHAT: Children will experience creative and analytical challenges and opportunities as they build, mod, and create 'Minecraft' like games in Scratch. Participants will be able to choose their own characters and actions inside the games and learn to control and manipulate those characters.
WANT TO GO? Registration is required.

 

Main image courtesy Museum of the City of New York

 

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