Labor Day 2013: Celebrate the last weekend of summer

Make the most of Labor Day 2013 and your three-day weekend with the best parties, beaches and barbecues in and outside NYC.

Labor Day 2010

ALIEN RACE Paranoia reigns in Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers

ALIEN RACE Paranoia reigns in Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Friday, September 3
Start with a scare

You may not be able to sleep after watching the creeptastic 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Rubin Museum, 150 W 17th St at Seventh Ave; 212-620-5000,; 8pm; $7 bar minimum). Australian author Georgia Clark (She’s with the Band) will introduce the film, in which “pod people” take over the earth, one sleeping person at a time. Tonight’s screening is the final one in the museum’s “Memento Mori” series, which features films that examine death. (We recommend finding a puppy to hug once the movie’s over.)

Send in the clowns, and the pies

The Brick theater starts it’s three-week-long clown festival with a pie right in the kisser. At today’s New York Clown Theater Festival (starts at Union Square subway station, Union Sq East at 14th St, and continues at the Brick Theater, 575 Metropolitan Ave between Lorimer St and Union Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-907-6189,; 5pm; free), a goofball crew of jugglers, stilt walkers and more perform, before hopping on the L train to stage a public pie fight outside of the Brick Theater. That’s right, a public pie fight! Once you’ve wiped the cream from your eyes, the evening finishes with festival highlights from Clown Cabaret. Thankfully, the festival runs through September 26, so you’ve got plenty of time to shower and wash your clothes.

Hey, you, come join the one-wheel ride

We hope you’re a balanced person, because that’s what you’ll need to take part in the epic Brooklyn Long Distance Ride (2--7pm, free) that kicks off the New York Unicycle Festival (locations and times vary; visit for details. Fri 3--Sun 5; free). If your unicycle riding is a tad rusty, join the ride at the Brooklyn Bridge, or later at Prospect Park to get back in the saddle away from cars. The festival takes over Governors Island on Saturday (noon--5pm, free) with freestyle displays, basketball and hockey games on unicycles, and a mass ride around the island. You’ll want to at least join in at the end of today’s ride, because that way you’ll end up at the...

...Coney Island’s firework finale

Is it just us, or is Labor Day a disappointing holiday? Where are the hours of colored, coordinated explosions? Have we fallen asleep and awoken in Communist Russia? Get your fill of fireworks at the last of the weekly Friday Night Fireworks at Coney Island (fireworks can be viewed from the boardwalk between 5th and 21st Sts, Coney Island, Brooklyn;; 9:30pm; free). Stake a spot at Beer Island ( and settle in, or fork over $26 for four hours of unlimited rides at Luna Park ( and see the fireworks upside down.

All Tomorrow’s Parties, today!

We, too, are tired of our bercool friends gushing about how excited they are about All Tomorrow’s Parties this weekend while we spend the weekend in the city. So indulge yourself in a little smugness by seeing Beak at the Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St between Bowery and Chrystie St; 212-533-2111,; 8pm; $20), before it hits ATP on Saturday. A three-piece from Bristol that includes Portishead’s producer and multi-instrumentalist, Geoff Barrow, the trio combines lockstep rhythms, psychedelic melody lines and a hard-edged, near-punk sensibility that will leave you texting your ATP-bound friend, “I can’t believe you missed this!”

Hunker down with some cool techno

DJ Spinoza’s regular, and regularly banging, night of house and techno, The Bunker, at Public Assembly (70 North 6th St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-384-4586,; 10pm; $20, before midnight $10), touches down with another installment, this time featuring Jan Krueger and Daze Mazim of the Hello?Repeat Soundsystem label, celebrating the imprint’s fifth birthday with machine funk all night long. The front room is given over to another great label—the Netherlands’ Clone—with Space Dimension Controller, Dexter and head honcho Serge joined by Bethany Benzur, of Brooklyn’s own Kiss & Tell shindig.

Photograph: Lisa Corson

Saturday, September 4

Block party number one

Get a taste of the Billyburg arts scene at the Monster Island Block Party (128 River St at Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn;; 2pm--midnight; free), which features live music from local bands like Oneida and Golden Triangle. Don’t miss Our Town Main Street Monster Island USA, an installation that depicts an idyllic community as imagined by many of the artists who call the space home.

Block party number two

Those who enjoy a block party with a more culinary bent should also head to Billyburg, but for the Snout ’N Stout Neighborhood Pig Roast and Sidewalk Party (50 North 3rd St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-388-6165,; 6--10pm; $23), to enjoy a North Carolina--style BBQ from Woody’s Pig Roasts. Your $23 ticket includes a plate packed with pork smothered in one of three sauces (NC barbecue, pineapple teriyaki or Cuban mojo), plus coleslaw and your choice of either potato, Caesar or fruit salad.

The summer warm-down

As we all know, but probably ignore, you should do some gentle stretching after exercising. But take our advice and engage in some hard-core raging after a hot summer of partying, at the final Warm Up shindig at PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave, Long Island City, Queens; 718-784-2084,; 2--9pm; $15). This year’s art installation, Pole Dance, features a pool, sand, inflatable balls and water misters, but today’s highlight will be the freaky disco from Brooklyn duo Holy Ghost! Don’t believe us? Check out this hour-long DJ mix (in two parts) from DFA’s remix royalty.

An all-day rager

The two-day dance music festival Electric Zoo returns to Randalls Island (Randalls Island Park,; 11am--11pm; $86--$142) after last year’s successful debut. Today’s lineup is sure to keep you flitting between stages, with dance-music heros the Chemical Brothers (check out TONY’s interview) and Major Lazer rocking the main stage, Richie Hawtin on the Sunday School Groove stage, and glitch-hop supremo Flying Lotus and Erol Alkan on yet another stage. If you need to do some extra research so you can make an appropriate schedule of fun, check out these seven DJ mixes from Electric Zoo performers.

Take it easy at a museum

If the hedonist in you is on vacation, take today at a slower pace at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (2 E 91st St at Fifth Ave; 212-849-8400,; Sat 10am--6pm, Sun 11am--6pm, Mon 10am--5pm; free) with free admission over Labor Day weekend (normally $15). Check out innovative solutions to human problems in the "National Design Triennial: Why Design Now?," and then take it easy kicking back in Cooper-Hewitt’s sumptuous private garden, one of TONY’s most relaxing museum spaces in NYC.

Greet the dawn at a warehouse party

Winkel & Balktick host the third installment of their Stranded series at their Forbidden City (location TBA; visit for details and to R.S.V.P.; $20, advance $15), a temporary art playground in a warehouse. If the thought of partying till dawn blows your tiny mind, fear not: Winkel & Balktick gave TONY a guide on how to survive the shindig, which involves a 15th-century Chinese imperial palace theme, costumes and the chance to send a postcard to your mom, along with the trippy art installations, performances and music we’ve come to expect.

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck.

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck.

Sunday, September 5

Good prospects for a great day in the park

There’s a fair chance you may be meeting friends to grill in Prospect Park (one of TONY’s recommended barbecuing spots, no less), so why not get up early (before anyone is up to spot you) and go bird-watching at the Fall Migration event at the Prospect Park Audubon Center (enter at Ocean Ave and Lincoln Rd, Prospect Park, Brooklyn; 718-287-3400,; 8am; free), where you may spot warblers, nighthawks, sparrows and hummingbirds. Later in the day, take a tour on one of the Audubon Center’s electric boats (12:30--4:30pm; $4). For those of you who get a nosebleed crossing the river, try this Central Park guide.

Brunch on wheels

If you want to avoid the line for a seat at brunch, head to Governors Island, where you don’t have to wait for a seat on the grass to chow down on delicious treats like ice cream and dumplings at the Parked Food Truck Festival (Governors Island;; noon--5pm; free). Some of the city’s best food truck vendors will camp out along Colonels Row on Governors Island, offering plenty of opportunities for face-stuffing. Sample delectable goodies, including pierogi and assorted types of wurst from Hallo Berlin ($10), and chicken-and-Thai-basil dumplings from Rickshaw Dumpling Truck ($6).

Brasil em festa!

Whenever we need some party inspiration, we turn to those who know best: the people who put on Carnival in Rio. Today, our cousins in South America host a Brazilian Day street fair (Sixth Ave between 43rd and 57th Sts; 212-382-1630,; 11am--7pm; free). More than 400 vendors will line Sixth Avenue so you’ll be able to totally immerse yourself in Brazilian culture through its music and food. Groove to Brazilian country music from Zez de Camargo and Luciano and tropicalia from Carlinhos Brown. Refuel by seeking out a vendor selling acaraj, a fried cake made with shrimp and beans.

Unlock hidden places around New York

One of Creative Time’s most participatory art programs, Key to the City (Broadway between 43rd and 44th Sts;; 2--8pm; free), closes on Labor Day, so head to Times Square to engage in a key-giving ceremony, designed by Paul Ramrez Jonas to democratize the time-old honoring system. The fun is only beginning, though, as your key unlocks 24 spots around the city. Check out what’s in store at Cabinet magazine with this video, but you’ll need to get going to discover the other 23 yourself.

All-you-can-eat barbecue

Yes, you may wish to take it easy today, sleeping off any hangover you’ve managed to acquire over the past few days, but haul your ass out of bed and get thee to Queens—yes, Queens—for Hell Gate Social’s Labor Day BBQ and Pie Eating Contest (12-21 Astoria Blvd between 12th and 14th Sts, Astoria, Queens; 718-204-8313,; 2pm--4am; $10). DJ Rue the Day will spin as you scarf down the usual barbecue fare, plus corn dogs, in Hell Gate Social’s leafy backyard, and if you’re one of the first 12 people to sign up, you can compete for free in the pie-eating contest. Once the sun sets, sit down and take in a double feature of atrocious films. First, The Room, a shockingly bad romantic tragedy that—along with writer, director, star and culprit Tommy Wiseau—has attained cult status, and then the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man, in which Nic Cage dresses in a bear costume and decks a virgin. We would like to dress up in a bear costume and deck whoever conceptualized that scene, then shake their hand.

Wear white while you can

Electric Zoo (with Moby headlining) is not the only huge party in New York today. Matinee NYC: The Fashion White Party (Water Taxi Beach, Governors Island;; 6pm--midnight; $84, advance $44) hits New York for the second time this summer, offering a reprise of their huge Gay Pride bash on the water. The gay-leaning bash that’s also big in Ibiza promises an over-the-top spectacle, thumping house beats from DJs J. Louis and Theresa, and a special surprise performance.

Brooklyn Bowl

Brooklyn Bowl

Monday, September 6

Asian food in Queens

If you’ve always meant to explore the eclectic culinary traditions of Queens (and have ignored our entreaties), the nice people at the Asian Feastival (Sheraton LaGuardia East, 135-20 39th Ave between Main and Prince Sts, Flushing, Queens;; noon--4pm; advance $55, at the door $60) have brought more than 20 of the borough’s restaurants into one place for you, so you can taste one or two specialty dishes from each. There are also panels and lectures so you can come to grips with the finer points of Asian cuisine; and for those who wish to work up an appetite, an early-morning bike tour (8:30am--noon; free; registration required at of spots in Queens with chef Youngsun Lee that finishes, conveniently, at the Sheraton.

Fly the red flag

Yes, having a day off is awesome, but don’t forget what Labor Day is really about: honoring the country’s workers. On Big Onion’s We Built New York walking tour (meet at the northeast corner of Fifth Ave and Washington Sq North; 888-606-9255,; 1pm; $12--$15), you’ll learn about the labor movement in New York City and its key players, like Samuel Gompers and Clara Lemlich.

Pig racing

If horse racing is the sport of kings, are we to deduce that pig racing is the sport of Staten Island? No, that’s just the location of the Richmond County Fair (Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave at St. Patrick’s Pl, Staten Island; 718-351-1611,; Sat 4--Mon 6 11am--8pm; $10--$15), the venue where the speediest swine will be found. It’s not only the porky participants who draw thousands to Staten Island. There are also carnival rides, a live performance from doo-wop group Vito Picone and the Elegants, and pie-eating and hot-dog-eating contests.

The weekend’s big parade

Brazilian Day yesterday may have been a hot party, but for a huge Mardi Gras experience, you can’t beat the West Indian--American Day Carnival today (from Eastern Pkwy and Schenectady Ave to Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn;; noon--6pm; free). More than 2 million people are expected to descend on Crown Heights for the 43rd annual parade, to watch dancers in sparkling attire boogie to reggae and calypso down Eastern Parkway.

A Coney Island beauty pageant

Yes, we also have a little problem with beauty pageants, but Coney Island naturally does things a little differently at The 2010 Miss Pin Up Coney Island Contest at Cha Cha’s Coney Island (1229 Riegelmann Boardwalk at 15th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn; 718-946-1305,; 2pm; $15, advance $12), the raucous, cheeky finale to the Coney Island Rockabilly Festival (locations, times and prices vary; visit for details. Fri 3--Mon 6). Like all of the shows throughout the weekend, there’s live, lip-curling rock & roll from the likes of Matty B and the Dirty Pickles, while modern gals channel the sass of classic pinups. For the biggest laugh of the evening, just turn away from the stage and watch the crowd’s pompadours magically stick straight up in the air.

Big hits at Brooklyn Bowl

Andre 3000’s flamboyant style may have attracted the OutKast spotlight, but Big Boi’s no slouch when it comes to music, as his ingenious new album, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, attests. Tonight he performs at Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave between North 11th and 12th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-963-3369,; 9pm; $40) and as he revealed to TONY this week, he’ll be breaking out crowd-pleasing songs from his entire back catalog, including OutKast jams.

Events calendar for New York City

  1. Socrates Sculpture...

    It’s harder to justify indoor art-peeping once the...

  2. Space Shuttle...

    In 1977, NASA conducted a series of tests on a new...

  3. Coney Island Circus...

    One of the last of its kind, this ten-act extravag...

21 more events »

Time Out videos

Subscribe to Time Out New York on Spotify for playlists and recommendations from our Music team.

Check out New York's best restaurants, hottest street style, cool apartments and more.