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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  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    31. A parade of fancy hats, well fancy that

    Pictured: Milliners Guild St. Catherine's Day Parade 2011

  • Photograph: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

    32. Marvel at artworks by Picasso at the Guggenheim

    Pictured: Pablo Picasso, Reclining Woman Reading

  • 33. Lose your head during a visit to Sleepy Hollow

    Pictured: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    34. Take a culinary tour of Brooklyn with Le Grand Fooding

    Pictured: Chef Ignacio Mattos

  • 35. Check out the Public Theater’s redone digs

  • Photograph: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

    36. Picnic on the new Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Pictured: Rendering of Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park

  • Photograph: David Andrako

    37. Chuckle at a festival celebrating comedy, Eugene Mirman

    Pictured: The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival

  • 38. Hoist a stein (or two) during Oktoberfest

    Pictured: Zum Schneider

  • Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

    39. Watch the Macy’s Parade balloon inflation

     

     

  • 40. Cruise for a cause at Bike MS NYC

Photograph: Filip Wolak

31. A parade of fancy hats, well fancy that

Pictured: Milliners Guild St. Catherine's Day Parade 2011

31

A parade of fancy hats, well fancy that

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Milliners Guild hosts its fifth annual homage to St. Catherine, the patron saint of hatmakers, with a promenade through midtown. Wearing a variety of handcrafted toppers such as fascinators, cloches and chapeaus, up to 50 guild members, clients and hat aficionados will gather at the Millinery Center Synagogue for the rabbi to bless the parade. From there, the group strolls to Bryant Park to mill about (geddit?) and pose for photos before heading for Rockefeller Center. (Check millinersguild.org closer to the time for information on an after-party.) All are welcome—the only stipulation being you must wear a hat. Don’t try to pass muster in your new Brooklyn Nets cap; we recommend perusing the debonair wares at these New York hat shops first.

32

Marvel at artworks by Picasso at the Guggenheim

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

As in every other category of art, Picasso dominated when it came to creating works in black and white. This show, which spans almost the entirety of his career (from 1904 to 1971), doesn’t include Guernica, but it does feature 118 works on loan from museum, private, and public collections across Europe and the United States—including numerous works from the Picasso family. Don’t miss this survey of the artist’s lifelong exploration of the unlimited possibilities to be found in a limited palette.

  1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Ave, at 89th St
  2. Wed Jan 29
More info
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Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in New York City in the fall

Lose your head during a visit to Sleepy Hollow

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Those seeking a spooky experience at any time of year can find it here. Immortalized in Washington Irving’s story (and later Tim Burton’s film) about the murderous Headless Horseman, Sleepy Hollow is proud of its exceptionally creepy lore (to wit: the local high school’s athletics team is the Horsemen). The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (540 N Broadway; 914-631-0081, sleepyhollowcemetery.org; Mon–Fri 8am–4:30pm, Sat–Sun 8:30am–4:30pm; free) gives day-trippers plenty of time to explore the 90-acre grounds. You’ll find almost as many famous New Yorkers there as at Brooklyn’s famed Green-Wood: Take your own self-guided tour (free maps are available), and look out for the graves of Elizabeth Arden, Brooke Astor and Irving himself. You can also opt for a guided tour during the day (Sat, Sun at 2pm; $19.99; reservations required; Sept 1–Oct 28), or a more bone-chilling one at night, when your host leads you through the grounds with a lantern (various times; $24.99; reservations required; Sept 1–Oct 31). Travel: Metro-North’s Hudson Line to Philipse Manor. Round-trip off-peak hours $9–$10, peak hours $12–24.

34

Take a culinary tour of Brooklyn with Le Grand Fooding

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Always one of the hottest culinary events of the season, this year’s Le Grand Fooding focuses on the borough of Brooklyn during a four-night dinner series in which Kings County chefs join forces with national and international talent. The teams consist of Brian Leth (Vinegar Hill House) with Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (L.A.’s Animal) on September 19; Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli  (Frankies Spuntino 457) with farm-to-table champion Sean Brock (Charleston, SC’s Husk) on September 20; and Neal Harden and Alain Senderens (Maimonide of Brooklyn) creating a vegan feast with Daniel Rose (Paris’s Spring) on September 21. The final dinner on September 22 invites currently kitchenless chefs—Ignacio Mattos (ex-Isa), Hugue Dufour (formerly of M. Wells), and from across the pond, Isaac McHale and James Lowe of the Young Turks—to collaborate on an art-and-dining experience at the Intercourse, artist Dustin Yellin’s new arts complex in Red Hook. TONY readers can access Mastercard presale tickets; each pass includes a dinner tasting menu and a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Sat Sep 28
More info
35

Check out the Public Theater’s redone digs

  • Price band: 1/4

On October 4, the cultural staple and TONY favorite rededicates its home in the East Village (10am; free; reservations required, via publictheater.org) after a four-year, $40 million renovation. The grand opening is the start of eight weeks of programming to celebrate the revived building. Among the offerings are a Block Party and Open House (Lafayette St between Astor Pl and E 4th St; Oct 13 noon–5pm; free) with tours of the building, performances, information on the forthcoming season and food trucks. Additionally, there will be free movie nights and a series of "Public Forum Duets”: one-on-one chats between such luminaries as playwright par excellence Tony Kushner and MSNBC’s liberal-in-chief Rachel Maddow (Dec 2 at 7pm; $40, members $35). Check out the Public’s website now for complete listings—many of the events have limited space, so reserve tickets now.

  1. 425 Lafayette St, (between Astor Pl and E 4th St)
More info
36

Picnic on the new Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This waterfront park continues to expand and impress, and this fall, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy cuts the ribbon on the third of an eventual six piers, boasting a picnic area and three outdoor sports fields. While details regarding permits and league access for the (primarily soccer) pitches haven’t been finalized yet, there will be 73 picnic tables with umbrellas, 22 barbecues for warm days and two tetherball poles for a casual game—all with a million-dollar view of lower Manhattan across the East River.

  1. Enter at Furman Street (at Joralemon St)
More info
37

Chuckle at a festival celebrating comedy, Eugene Mirman

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The annual Kings County Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, conceptualized by the titular Brooklyn comic, continues to be a fall highlight in the local comedy scene. The bells and whistles are still being affixed to this year’s fest, but come September, fans can look forward to a curated series of goofy gimmicks; last year’s lineup included a petting zoo and an “awkward party bus.” Already on the bill are the popular StarTalk Live! podcast taping with Neil deGrasse Tyson and an edition of Elna Baker and Kevin Townley’s Talent Show.

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Sun Sep 21
More info
38

Hoist a stein (or two) during Oktoberfest

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

We’ve gotta hand it to the Germans: A two-week festival devoted to beer consumption is definitely our idea of a good time. Ring in Oktoberfest at East Village beer hall Zum Schneider, which celebrates the occasion with live music, special German and Austrian beers, and a selection of Bavarian goodies such as pretzels and all manner of wurst.

  1. 107–109 Ave C, (at 7th St)
More info
39

Watch the Macy’s Parade balloon inflation

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This pre–Turkey Day ritual, held near the American Museum of Natural History, has become almost as crowded as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but we prefer it to the main event. Why? We can’t stand still in one spot for hours to watch a parade—New Yorkers are like sharks in that respect; if we don’t keep moving, we die. We prefer to weave through the crowds, walking past the inflation stations to see Kermit the Frog, Julius the Paul Frank monkey, Sonic the Hedgehog, Buzz Lightyear, Santa on his sleigh et al. at our own pace. Arrive later in the evening, when the gigantic characters have taken shape; the crowds are at their peak, so you can also show off the famed New York sidewalk shuffle.

40

Cruise for a cause at Bike MS NYC

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

With the economy still in the doldrums, nonprofits need more support than ever. Raise funds for the National MS Society, which is helping to find the cause and a cure for multiple sclerosis, on this annual ride. Three routes are offered, the shortest being a 30-mile jaunt around Manhattan. Opt for the 50- or 100-mile rides, and you'll haul ass under the Hudson River through the Holland Tunnel before taking a scenic, traffic-free path that winds through New Jersey and upstate New York; you'll ride back into the city by way of the George Washington Bridge. Reservations required.

  1. Pier 94 Hudson River, at 55th St
  2. Sun Oct 26
More info

Users say

3 comments
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

Mandy
Mandy

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!!