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September 2015 events calendar for New York City

Plan your month with our events calendar of the very best activities, including Oktoberfest activities and our picks from theater, the arts and music

Photograph: Filip Wolak
West Indian-American Day Carnival 2013

New York’s arts and culture scene amps up in the fall, so best to start planning your season early. Our events calendar for September is chock-full of concerts and awesome things to do, including street festivals such as the West Indian American Day Carnival and the Atlantic Antic.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

Featured events in September 2015

Electric Zoo Festival

Look out New York City dance clubs, the Electric Zoo Festival is poised to take over Labor Day weekend, briging hoards of EDM fans to Randall's Island for the event's seventh summer. The festival has become an unmissable attraction on the electronic-dance-music circuit, featuring a wide range of artists both top name and underground. Get on your dancing shoes and best festival clothing and enjoy the tunes.

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By: Vivienne van Vliet

West Indian–American Day Carnival

The annual West Indian–American Day Carnival draws close to two million people to Crown Heights in Brooklyn each year. During the seven-hour New York carnival, steel-pan and calypso bands in elaborate costumes march down Eastern Parkway, and vendors sell homestyle island grub along the route. 

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By: Tazi Phillips

Labor Day weekend in NYC

Before you bid summer adieu, go out with a bang on Labor Day. Whether you want ideas for cool out-of-town spots or just want a staycation, we've listed all the best events and other unmissabale things to do, including ways to have the best summer ever before Labor Day weekend 2015.

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By: Tazi Phillips

Oktoberfest in NYC

One of the top things to do in New York this fall includes two weeks of drinking some of the best beer in NYC during Oktoberfest. Take in the beautiful fall foliage while drinking at one of the best beer gardens and beer halls in New York City. Oktoberfest New Yorkers, take advantage of this glorious holiday to sample fine Bavarian beer and food. Prost!

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Harlem Meer Performance Festival

Fill the dog days of summer with jazz, blues and Latin jams at this weekly lakeside performance series. Bring a blanket and picnic lunch to enjoy while you listen to Cuban charanga and salsa band Típica 73.

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Central Park, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, Lenox Hill Sunday September 6 2015

Atlantic Antic

More than 500 food and craft vendors and ten stages will close down a busy Brooklyn artery for the 40th annual Atlantic Antic. Spanning ten blocks and cutting through four neighborhoods, it's billed as NYC’s largest street fair, so there’s more to see than stands hawking pashminas and MozzArepas. The eclectic musical lineup brings together diverse local talent and you can graze on grub from a delicious variety of artisanal vendors—washed down some fab locally brewed ale, of course.

Read more
Various locations Sunday September 27 2015

Global Citizen Festival 2015

Returning for a fourth year with another big bash in Central Park, Global Citizen allows you to earn your way in to catch a starry bill—Beyonce, Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Ed Sheeran—by performing civic-minded acts, with a goal of eliminating extreme poverty around the globe by 2030. (Or you can, you know, shell out big bucks for VIP tix.) Get started by visiting globalcitizen.org.

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Central Park, Great Lawn, Downtown Saturday September 26 2015

Free events in September 2015

Harlem Meer Performance Festival

Fill the dog days of summer with jazz, blues and Latin jams at this weekly lakeside performance series. Bring a blanket and picnic lunch to enjoy while you listen to Cuban charanga and salsa band Típica 73.

Read more
Central Park, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, Lenox Hill Sunday September 6 2015

"Sinatra: An American Icon"

It’s the centennial birthday of Ol' Blue Eyes and the crooner still lives on as one of the most famous performers of all time. This multimedia exhibition tells the story of his life as an actor and singer, and displays memorabilia like personal letters, private photos, rare interviews and concert footage.

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Friday September 4 2015

NYC Unicycle Festival

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus presents three days of one-wheeled races, games and exhibitions. Demonstrate your cycling prowess on a 13-mile ride from City Hall to Coney Island in honor of Brooklyn Unicycle Day (Aug 31 at 3pm; unibridgetour.info). On September 1 and 2 join New York’s legendary King Charles Troupe for team activities—all on a cycle—including hockey, basketball and even sumo wrestling. Expect attempts to break Guinness World Records, DJ Sky King spinning and plenty of beginner lessons for newbies.

Read more
Governors Island, Governors Island Saturday September 5 2015 - Sunday September 6 2015

West Side County Fair

The Upper West Side gets countryfied with carnival rides, games, music, square dancing, sideshow acts, a petting zoo and a Greenmarket. In the Green Acre environmental corner, young fairgoers get some hands-on schooling in eco-friendly living and animal care. All ages.

Read more
Riverside Park South, Pier I, Upper West Side Sunday September 6 2015

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

Every year around Memorial day, hundreds of artists from New York and around the world gravitate to Washington Square to exhibit their wares. A spread of jewelry, metal work, ceramics, graphics, oils and acrylics are laid out for art lovers to choose from. Tourists, collectors, students and teachers crowd this sidewalk show from University Place at 13th St to the West 3rd St to immerse themselves in day full of craft and color.

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Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village Saturday September 5 2015 - Sunday September 13 2015

“Maurice Prendergast: Boston Public Garden Watercolors”

Prendergast was an American Postimpressionist noted especially for his mastery of watercolor. Like his contemporaries in France, he painted modern life as Baudelaire once advised artists to do, only Prendergast didn’t just “paint” his scenes of people frolicking at the beach or strolling through the park: He dissolved them in a solvent of liquid color, puddled into pointillist daubs. The show rounds up his series of languid aquarelles depicting the leisurely goings-on at the Public Garden in his hometown, Boston.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park Saturday September 5 2015 - Monday September 7 2015

West Indian-American Day Carnival

This Caribbean celebration, known for having lively music and lots of skin, is never short on costumed stilt dancers, floats blaring soca and calypso music, and plenty of flags from countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Look for vendors stationed along Eastern Parkway selling island eats like jerk chicken, curry goat and oxtail. Early risers can preparty at J’ouvert (pronounced “joo-VAY”), a predawn festival in which revelers throw powdered paint at each other. Head to Grand Army Plaza around 4am when the high jinks really get going. Eastern Pkwy from Schenectady Ave to Flatbush Ave, Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Subway: 3, 4, 5 to Crown Hts-Utica Ave.

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Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park Monday September 7 2015

Thee Oh Sees

A Thee Oh Sees show is a sure bet for anyone who likes their riffs big, bad, meaty and pogoworthy. The garage-rock group debuted a new four-member format, behind frontman John Dwyer, earlier this year and play behind their spring release, Mutilator Defeated At Last. At the rate Dwyer churns out material, odds are good they have another in the hopper. If you miss them at the Bowery, worry not—you'll have two more chances at Brooklyn's Warsaw the following nights.

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Bowery Ballroom, Lower East Side Tuesday September 8 2015 - Friday September 11 2015

Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival is one of those events that makes you thankful to live in New York: The free, massive collection of readings, panels and high-concept events overtakes Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn and spills into neighboring venues over the course of a very full day. Among those in the massive crew of participating artists: Emily Gould, Pete Hammill, Peter Kuper, Joyce Carol Oates and John Leguizamo, among many others.

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Various locations Sunday September 20 2015

Atlantic Antic

More than 500 food and craft vendors and ten stages will close down a busy Brooklyn artery for the 40th annual Atlantic Antic. Spanning ten blocks and cutting through four neighborhoods, it's billed as NYC’s largest street fair, so there’s more to see than stands hawking pashminas and MozzArepas. The eclectic musical lineup brings together diverse local talent and you can graze on grub from a delicious variety of artisanal vendors—washed down some fab locally brewed ale, of course.

Read more
Various locations Sunday September 27 2015
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Music events in September 2015

The Vaccines

Brash U.K. pop-rock stylists the Vaccines hit town behind a wildly hooky new disc, English Graffiti. The band has an outsize persona—"It makes me incredibly frustrated when people can’t see how honest I am and how good I am at writing songs," frontman Justin Young recently told NME—but the new songs are sleek, fun and effective enough to back up such claims.

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01 Sep 2015

Delta Rae + Liz Longley

Fronted by velvet-voiced singer Brittany Hölljes, the rootsy, harmonious ensemble Delta Rae brings its folksy power pop to celebrate its recent second disc, After It All.

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01 Sep 2015

Electric Zoo Festival

Look out New York City dance clubs, the Electric Zoo Festival is poised to take over Labor Day weekend, briging hoards of EDM fans to Randall's Island for the event's seventh summer. The festival has become an unmissable attraction on the electronic-dance-music circuit, featuring a wide range of artists both top name and underground. Get on your dancing shoes and best festival clothing and enjoy the tunes.

Read more
By: Vivienne van Vliet

Thee Oh Sees

A Thee Oh Sees show is a sure bet for anyone who likes their riffs big, bad, meaty and pogoworthy. The garage-rock group debuted a new four-member format, behind frontman John Dwyer, earlier this year and play behind their spring release, Mutilator Defeated At Last. At the rate Dwyer churns out material, odds are good they have another in the hopper. If you miss them at the Bowery, worry not—you'll have two more chances at Brooklyn's Warsaw the following nights.

Read more
Bowery Ballroom, Lower East Side Tuesday September 8 2015 - Friday September 11 2015

Death Cab for Cutie + Explosions in the Sky

Key exponents of the earnest, easy-listening school of indie rock that flourished in the early aughts, Death Cab for Cutie are still going strong. Here, Ben Gibbard and his Washington State crew gig behind their eighth LP, whose title, Kintsugi, references a Japanese art form that, according to Death Cab bassist Nick Harmer, "[makes] the repair of an object a visual part of its history" and also nods to the 2014 departure of DCFC cofounder Chris Walla. In keeping with the bands M.O., fans shouldn't expect too radical a shift; the new material just sounds like good, old Death Cab to us. Texan epic-instrumental-soundtrack-rock specialists Explosions in the Sky set the stage.

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Madison Square Garden, Midtown West Saturday September 12 2015

Madonna

Madonna may not be a New York native, but at this point, she's been repping NYC for more than three decades. Catch the pop diva here in support of her latest LP, Rebel Heart. The album contains some of her best work in a while, and she’s been doing this for long enough that she knows how to pull off big-league pop razzmatazz. Expect cutting-edge videos and dizzying choreography—in short, one hell of a show.

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Madison Square Garden, Midtown West Wednesday September 16 2015 - Saturday September 19 2015

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

Led Zeppelin may be in the midst of a snazzy, full-catalog reissue campaign, but don't get your hopes up for a U.S. tour. Leonine lead man Robert Plant is on the road with his current cross-cultural concern, the Sensational Space Shifters, touring behind a sensuous African-tinged soul-meets-rock set, lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar.

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Hammerstein Ballroom (at the Manhattan Center), Hell's Kitchen Friday September 18 2015

Joyce Manor

Unhinged Cali emocore types Joyce Manor did the impossible with their last three albums, reinvigorating pop-punk with a sound both comfortingly familiar and refreshingly original. And if punk-bro machismo turns you off, worry not—frontman Barry Johnson instituted a stage-diving ban at his concerts after witnessing flying punks crush unsuspecting showgoers.

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Webster Hall , Downtown Saturday September 19 2015

Alabama Shakes + Drive-By Truckers

Athens, AL, quartet Alabama Shakes plays timeless Southern soul made fresh by an infusion of energetic rock & roll, as buoyed by the tremendous vocals of Brittany Howard. Here the group appears behind its spring-released sophomore album, Sound & Color, which builds on the buzz generated by its 2012 debut.

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Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, Forest Hills Saturday September 19 2015

Youth Lagoon

A signee of the rapidly diversifying Fat Possum roster, Youth Lagoon—the one-man project of 24-year-old Boise, ID, singer-songwriter Trevor Powers—fashions an eerie appeal out of reedy vulnerability, nostalgic pop hooks and hazy, dreamlike distance.

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Rough Trade NYC, Williamsburg Monday September 21 2015
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Arts events in September 2015

"Warriors and Mothers: Epic Mbembe Art"

The Met brings together wood carvings created between the 17th and 19th centuries by the Mbembe people of southeastern Nigeria. These artifacts, which could sometimes measure several feet in height, were believed to have originally adorned monumental drums used in spiritual ceremonies.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park Until Monday September 7 2015

Louise Lecavalier: So Blue

The astonishing star dancer of La La La Human Steps has long since herself become a choreographer, and this first full-length creation by the 56-year-old Canadian dynamo (and her collaborator France Bruyère) opens the New York Live Arts fall season with a bang.

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New York Live Arts, Chelsea Wednesday September 9 2015 - Saturday September 12 2015

Mark Dendy Projects: Whistleblower

Dixon Place commissioned theater-minded dance maker Mark Dendy to make this complex, dreamy docu-portrait of Chelsea Manning, whose mind roils as she is sentenced for her role in exposing state secrets.

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Dixon Place, Lower East Side Friday September 11 2015 - Saturday September 26 2015

Tree of Codes

Wayne McGregor's treatment of Jonathan Safran Foer's cut-up novella places dancers from both his company and the Paris Opera Ballet into an Olafur Eliasson environment that transmutes them into a kind of performing geometry. The stark music is by electro-pop adventurer Jamie xx.

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Park Avenue Armory, Lenox Hill Monday September 14 2015 - Monday September 21 2015

Miguel Gutierrez: The Age & Beauty Series

Miguel Gutierrez's reflective, hilarious dance trilogy about the dancer's body, queer aesthetics, aging and the ins-and-outs of administration appears in its full-blown, tripartite form. All of the work's three parts appear in rep, so be sure to check the website for the full schedule.

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New York Live Arts, Chelsea Wednesday September 16 2015 - Saturday September 26 2015

"Gilbert & George: The Early Years"

MoMA delves into its holdings of the early career of the famed Brit "living sculptures" for a show of works completed between 1969 and 1980. Photos, videos, drawings and assorted ephemera are on tap.

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Midtown West Until Sunday September 27 2015

More events in September 2015

NYC Unicycle Festival

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus presents three days of one-wheeled races, games and exhibitions. Demonstrate your cycling prowess on a 13-mile ride from City Hall to Coney Island in honor of Brooklyn Unicycle Day (Aug 31 at 3pm; unibridgetour.info). On September 1 and 2 join New York’s legendary King Charles Troupe for team activities—all on a cycle—including hockey, basketball and even sumo wrestling. Expect attempts to break Guinness World Records, DJ Sky King spinning and plenty of beginner lessons for newbies.

Read more
Governors Island, Governors Island Saturday September 5 2015 - Sunday September 6 2015

Richmond County Fair

Grab the fam and head to Historic Richmond Town, a preserved museum-village dating from the late 17th century, for its 34th annual county fair. Three stages of live music, puppetry, dance performances and rides are sure to entertain. Plus, check out the Ultimate Air Dogs: These athletic pups perform tricks while jumping off a dock into water, catching serious air (20 feet!) in the process.

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Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island Saturday September 5 2015 - Monday September 7 2015

West Side County Fair

The Upper West Side gets countryfied with carnival rides, games, music, square dancing, sideshow acts, a petting zoo and a Greenmarket. In the Green Acre environmental corner, young fairgoers get some hands-on schooling in eco-friendly living and animal care. All ages.

Read more
Riverside Park South, Pier I, Upper West Side Sunday September 6 2015

The Amazing Maize Maze

Assemble clues and solve puzzles to find your way out of this playfully named three-acre corn maze in Queens. On Oct 5 and 12, the cereal labyrinth shuts at 9pm instead of 4:30pm—test your navigational skills and see if you can use the stars to find the exit.

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Queens County Farm Museum, Queens Saturday September 19 2015 - Sunday October 25 2015

World Maker Faire

Creators of all ages and stripes convene at this geeky gathering, which is now in its fourth year. More than 650 creators will show off their inventions—such as origami earrings and a battery-less universal remote—while instructing visitors on how to replicate them at home. The super-charged science fair also offers demonstrations of emerging technologies, talks with head honchos from NASA and Disney, and hundreds of DIY projects that you can try yourself, because you never can have too many 3-D–printed water-bottle carriers that convert into dog bowls.

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New York Hall of Science, Queens Saturday September 26 2015 - Sunday September 27 2015

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Bobby
Bobby

Come see and hear the new MGMT album via playbacks of the "Optimizer," an innovative and immersive audio and visual experience @ The Knitting Factory, tonight - 9/11. Free pizza and drink specials. 21+. MGMT is available September 17. All commercial formats include download of the "Optimizer." Drink Specials: $3 PBR and Rolling Rock, $5 Wells, $6 Beer/Shot Combos