101 things to do in New York City: Fall 2012

Your essential guide to the season’s best things to do in New York City—festivals, parties, hot new spots and more—makes like a leaf and drops.



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  • © Belinda Lawley

    91. Expand your knowledge of Indian culture beyond Trader Joe’s frozen paneer during the Diwali Festival of Lights



  • Photograph: Randy Duchaine/Alamy

    92. Shop the Brooklyn Flea in grand surroundings

  • 93. Embrace your nerdy tendencies at the World Maker Faire

  • 94. Feed your mine at “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture”



  • Photograph: Sam Horine

    95. Screw the haters—sip a pumpkin-flavored brew at Bierkraft

  • Photograph: courtesy of MSG Entertainment

    96. Start the holidays early at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

  • Photograph courtesy Ultimate Air Dogs

    97. See dogs fly at Historic Richmond Town Fair

    Pictured: Ultimate Air Dogs

  • 98. Prove you can hold your liquor and hold forth during Lit Crawl NYC

  • 99. Never Sleep Alone (again)

  • Photograph: Nathaniel Tileston

    100. Celebrate 50 years of Judson

    Pictured: Lucinda Childs in DANCE, 1979, Judson Now

  • Photograph: Grace Chu

    101. Watch the sun go down

    Pictured: Sunset from Riverside Park

© Belinda Lawley

91. Expand your knowledge of Indian culture beyond Trader Joe’s frozen paneer during the Diwali Festival of Lights




Expand your knowledge of Indian culture beyond Trader Joe’s frozen paneer during the Diwali Festival of Lights

  • Critics choice

Commemorate the end of Hindu king and deity Rama’s 14 years of exile alongside hundreds of local Indian-Americans during this annual extravaganza that culminates in a spectacular fireworks display. Fashion, music, food, educational programming and other activities make this one of the largest culturally Indian events in the city, and it has been going strong for more than two decades.

  1. 19 Fulton St, (at Front St)
More info

Shop the Brooklyn Flea in grand surroundings

  • Critics choice
  • Free

After Thanksgiving, the indie market moves back to the spacious, regal Art Deco digs of Skylight One Hanson lobby and basement, so you can pick through vintage duds, funky jewelry, quirky furnishings and more handmade fare from a variety of local vendors without freezing to death. To find out who’s selling that weekend—as well as what food vendors will be on hand—check Brooklyn Flea’s site the Friday before doors open.

  1. 1 Hanson Pl, (at Flatbush Ave)
More info

Embrace your nerdy tendencies at the World Maker Faire

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Creators of all ages and stripes convene at this geeky gathering, which is now in its third year. During the two-day extravaganza, you can career through a life-size mousetrap, take workshops on lock-picking, watch a car-building competition, play a homemade instrument and find dozens of other quirky ways to sate your inner inventor. Visit makerfaire.com for more information.

  1. New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th St, at 47th Ave
  2. Sun Sep 21
More info

Feed your mine at “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture”

  • Critics choice

The American Museum of Natural History’s ongoing Adventures in the Global Kitchen series has explored molecular gastronomy, tequila, why French women don’t get fat and more. Next, prepare for an investigation into human nutrition at this wide-ranging showcase: Displays look at early diet staples and the history of agriculture, as well as current environmental, health and safety concerns relating to the food industry. While parts of the exhibit aren’t particularly appetizing—challenges of feeding the global population are more sobering—it’ll still satisfy your culinary curiosity.

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St
  2. Sun Aug 11
More info

Screw the haters—sip a pumpkin-flavored brew at Bierkraft

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Pumpkin beer is a divisive drink—some people love it; others find it cloying and gross. We’re staunchly pro-pumpkin, especially since there are several beers that buck the stereotype and skillfully incorporate the gourd. A perennial favorite is Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, a not-too-sweet variety sold at Bierkraft. Sixpoint will release this year’s batch of its seasonal quaff, Autumnation, on September 30. The brew, which is wet-hopped using Citra hops, will be on tap at bars throughout the city and will also be available in the brewery’s 16-ounce cans. And Greenport Harbor Brewing Company has already released its Leaf Pile beer, which is flavored with nutmeg and vanilla. You can find it on tap at Bierkraft, or head to the brewery’s headquarters (234 Carpenter Street between Bay Ave and Front St, Greenport, Long Island; 631-477-6681, harborbrewing.com) to pick up a growler.

  1. 191 Fifth Ave, (between Berkeley Pl and Union St)
More info

See dogs fly at Historic Richmond Town Fair

  • Critics choice

Grab the fam and head to Historic Richmond Town, a preserved museum-village dating from the late 17th century, for its 33rd annual county fair. Three stages of live music, puppetry, dance performances and rides are sure to keep the little ones occupied all day. Plus, watch sand man Matt Long create a giant sculpture over the course of three days (you can even pick up tips from the expert sand carver during one of his kid-friendly workshops), or check out former Detroit Tigers pitcher Milt Wilcox’s Ultimate Air Dogs. The athletic pups perform tricks while jumping off a dock into water, catching mad air (20 feet!) in the process.

  1. Historic Richmond Town 441 Clarke Ave, at St. Patricks Pl
  2. Mon Sep 1
More info

Prove you can hold your liquor and hold forth during Lit Crawl NYC

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This progressive event, an offshoot of San Francisco's Litquake, happens in three different phases of readings and parties, spread across two dozen venues in lower Manhattan. This year's offerings include events with Molly Ringwald and Irvine Welsh, along with a series of public apologies from the National Book Critics Circle. Check litcrawl.org/nyc for the full schedule.

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Sat Sep 14
More info

Celebrate 50 years of Judson

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The fall Platform, presented by Danspace Project, pays homage to the artists of the revolutionary Judson Dance Theater, which rejected the principles of modern dance in favor of a fresh, pedestrian approach. This year marks the organization’s 50th anniversary, and it’ll celebrate with a series of events and performances by postmodern luminaries including Lucinda Childs, David Gordon, Steve Paxton and Yvonne Rainer. Danspace will also host showings by current choreographers inspired by Judson ideas.

  1. 131 E 10th St, (at Second Ave)
More info

Watch the sun go down

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Have you ever noticed how fall produces the best sunsets? We have, and rounded up six of the best places to chill and watch the sky turn a pretty color, including Riverside Park on the Hudson, Gantry Plaza State Park for a view of the midtown skyline, and Historic Battery Park for an unfettered perspective come sundown. Grab your main squeeze and head to one of these best spots to watch a fall sunset.

Users say

Rod Carlysle
Rod Carlysle

I was really enjoying this list, I hadn't made plans for tonight, so I was sitting alone, in my apartment, with my tabby Max. He and I were especially excited about the Queens County Fair, but unfortunately I don't think we'll be able to make it since my mother will need to be taken to the doctor's that weekend and she likes knowing that I'm at home in case she needs me. It was an enjoyable evening, me and Max, but unfortunately when we came to the end of the list our pleasant evening was brought to an unexpected halt. I searched the entire length of this list, and the rest of your website, but I can't seem to find the 101st thing to do in NY. LIkely I won't be able to do it, I don't get out of the house that often because of my asthma, but I really enjoyed imagining myself doing those wonderful things with all those happy looking people. I hope you'll post the 101st item, if no please send it to the included email address, I don't have a computer with a printer, but that is my mother's email address, she'll print it out and deliver it to my apartment, Yours Truly, Rod


This list is awesome! I'm particularly jazzed about the LitCrawl and Halloween Parade. You left taking a language class off the list though. Fall is the perfect time to take an indoor class and keep your mind active. I took a Spanish class at Fluent City and it was awesome. The offer 10 languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Hebrew) and have affordable classes in Brooklyn and Manhattan. My teacher was Ricardo and he was really cool. Check out their classes at http://www.fluentcity.com Thanks for the list!!