curated by Sara Maher
A public service announcement for our most self-absorbed readers (and millennials everywhere)—Mother’s Day is tomorrow, BTW. If you’ve kinda, sorta, maybe forgotten to get something for whomever you consider the mommy figure in your life (or if that something you got was just a card…), here is a list of other options, in descending order of horror price.
Brunch alone ain’t enough to please mommie dearest? How about brunch PLUS? Italian restaurant Ai Fiori can provide a full day of fancy-pants fun fit for even the fustiest mum. Start the day with a three-course brunch, filled end-to-end with complicated foods like chilled pea soup with whipped ricotta, foie gras “au naturel,” ligurian crustacean ragù, and balsamic whipped Chantilly. After you’ve (daintily) eaten your fill, take a course in “creating unique floral art” with the team from L’Atellier Rouge.
F downtown to 34th St-Herald Sq and walk northeast to Ai Fiori (400 Fifth Av.) Brunch: Sun May 8, restaurant opens 8am; brunch only $75 per person. Flowers: Sun May 8, classes at 11am, 12:15pm, 1:45pm; brunch + flower course $258 per person. aifiorinyc.com
This one leads to treats you’ll both enjoy. If Ma likes to bake, take her to learn new icing techniques at Magnolia Bakery. For the beginner, there’s Classic Cupcakes, where you will learn how to recreate Magnolia’s signature swirl. The more frosting-forward can attempt the advanced Flower Cupcakes (the photographs are, frankly, terrifying.)
F downtown to 14th St and walk southwest to Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleecker St.) Flowers: Sat May 7, 2pm. Classic: Sun May 8, 12-1:30pm. $60 per person or $110 for two; includes six finished cupcakes and take-home kit with recipes, decorations, and a starter icing set. magnoliabakery.com
$75 and Under
The Central Park Zoo is hosting a family day to celebrate all sorts of flocks, litters, and herds. Make animal-friendly snacks to take on a scavenger hunt, where you will be tasked with finding all of the zoo’s mommies and babies, before meeting a special animal guest and enjoying snacks and crafts.
F downtown to Lexington Av-63rd St and walk northwest to enter Central Park at 64th St and Fifth Av. Sun May 8; sessions 10-11:30am or 1-2:30pm but zoo open 10am-5pm. $75 includes admission and activities for one child (ages 3-10) + one adult. centralparkzoo.com/programs
Is ta mère a Francophile? Treat her to a three-course brunch at Tocqueville featuring their spring and Mother’s Day specials, including oysters on the half shell, ramp and wild mushroom risotto, saddle of lamb, citrus cheesecake, bon-bons, and spring-themed cocktails.
F downtown to 14th St and walk northeast to Tocqueville (1 E 15th St.) Sun May 8, begins 11:30am. $75 per person. tocquevillerestaurant.com
$50 and Under
Whether Mama is a long-time tofu-taster or just considering a change in cuisine, the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival has something to put on her plate. With cooking demonstrations, restaurant samples, and speakers (including the keynote from author Dr. Michael Greger), it’s a full day for anyone interested in green living. Headlining the demonstration stage is Adam Sobel, chef and creator of beloved vegan food truck Cinnamon Snail. If you aren’t sure she’ll want to commit a full day to meatless mayhem, end-of-day admission tickets are available for only $5 starting at 4pm.
F downtown to 14th St and walk northwest to the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 W 18th St.) Sat May 7-Sun May 8, 11am-6pm. $32.23 single day/$53.02 both days in advance or $35 single day/$60 both days at the door (door tickets available beginning at 1pm both days.) End-of-day admission is $5 from 4-5:30pm both days; offer is cash-only and based on venue capacity. nycvegfoodfest.com
If eating fancy meals or going to kid-crazed activities do not fulfill Mom’s idea of a perfect day, let her spend a nice, quiet afternoon viewing library exhibits. 100 Years of the Picture Collection: From Abacus to Zoology shows samples from the Collection’s nearly 1.5 million specimens, organized into 12,000 subjects. Whether your mom prefers the artsy (Rear Views) or silly shots (Animals as Humans), the exhibit is sure to keep her occupied. For a more in-depth look at a part of history, check out Printing Women: Three Centuries of Female Printmakers, 1570-1900. The physically demanding and technical career of printmaking is usually depicted as “men’s work,” but this collection includes works created by both expert and amateur female printmakers and has woodcuts, lithographs, and engravings by everyone from participants in the family trade to Queen Victoria.
F downtown to 42nd St-Bryant Park and enter the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd St. Picture Collection: through May 15. Printing Women: through May 27. Schwarzman Building open daily; hours vary. Free. nypl.org/attend/exhibitions
You could just be nice to your mother figure, you know, all the time, and do what she asks. Or do things even before she asks. Or whatever.
You don’t have to take the F anywhere. Every day, all the time. Generally free, but you could also spend some money on her sometimes, too. Please don’t use a website for this.