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: Aline Shkurovich

    51. Get out of the museum and into the Art in Odd Places festival

    Pictured: Piero Passacantando, "I paint you. You paint me."

  • 52. Commune with other geeks during New York Comic Con

  • Photograph: Philip Scalia

    53. Spend a day (or three) at the New York State Fair

  • Photograph: Cristiano Laruffa

    54. Learn your A-B-Cs: Always. Be. Closing. at Glengarry Glen Ross

    Pictured: Al Pacino

  • Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

    55. Honor a saint, be gluttonous

    Pictored: Cannoli at the Feast of San Gennaro



  • 56. See a big music collaboration

    Pictured: David Byrne and St. Vincent

  • Photograph: Paul Kolnik

    57. Catch American Ballet Theatre and more at New York City Center

    Photograph: American Ballet Theatre's Chase Finlay

  • Photograph: Dixie Sheridan

    58. Catch the second run of top-notch Fringe Fest shows

    Pictured: Independents



  • 59. Become a collector at the Affordable Art Fair

    Pictured: Graham Lott

  • 60. Get your literary fill at the Brooklyn Book Festival

Photograph: Aline Shkurovich

51. Get out of the museum and into the Art in Odd Places festival

Pictured: Piero Passacantando, "I paint you. You paint me."


Get out of the museum and into the Art in Odd Places festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Responsible for thousands of only-in–New York moments, this annual fest brings work from more than 100 artists to 14th Street. This year’s theme is “model,” in varying senses of the word: In Piero Passacantando’s dueling-easels piece “I paint you. You paint me.” participants model for the artist and vice versa; “Swagger: The High Cost of Zombie Capital” will turn 14th Street into a runway. Visit artinoddplaces.org on Sept 1 for a full list of projects.


Commune with other geeks during New York Comic Con

Snag your tickets now for this annual celebration of all things nerdy, as they're likely to sell out long before the event happens. Although the schedule for 2012 is still under wraps, expect to see big names from TV and film (such as Adam West and Burt Ward—the original Batman and Robin—and Back to the Future's Christopher Lloyd), along with writers like Anne Rice and Brian K. Vaughan. After hitting a few panels, make sure to take a stroll through the Javits Center: Part of the fun of Comic Con is gawking at all of the revelers who've shown up in elaborate costumes. (We're expecting a lot of groups dressed as the Avengers getting into rumbles with armies of Dark Knights this year.) newyorkcomiccon.com

  1. 655 W 34th St, (at Eleventh Ave)
More info
New York State Fair, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in New York City in the fall

Spend a day (or three) at the New York State Fair

  • Critics choice

It may be a five-hour drive to Syracuse, but once you’re there, you’ll have a weekend’s worth of entertainment at your fingertips for just a Hamilton a day—from thrill rides to art exhibits and circus performances. Snap a picture of a giant sculpture made from hundreds of pounds of butter; walk through the new monarch butterfly garden, filled with hundreds of colorful insects; watch BMX stunts by world champion Mike Steidley; cheer on the contestants during the pig and dachshund races; try a doughnut bacon burger ($6) or deep-fried bacon-wrapped Snickers bar ($5); and catch free concerts by Karmin, Neon Trees, the Commodores and others. Separate tickets are required for entry to the State Fair Grandstand, an outdoor venue that is hosting big-ticket shows like the State Demolition Derby Championship (Sept 3; $10). nysfair.org. $10, advance $6, children under 12 free. Grandstand: $10–$65 (includes fairground admission).

  1. 581 State Fair Blvd, Syracuse, NY
  2. Through Mon Sep 3. 8am–midnight.

Honor a saint, be gluttonous

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Celebrate the martyred third-century bishop and patron saint of Naples during the Feast of San Gennaro, an 11-day festival that fills the streets of Little Italy every year. Watch the professionals in action at the cannoli-eating competition (Thu 13 2–4pm) and you won't feel so bad about indulging in calorific treats from the food vendors; return daily for live musical performances. On the last Saturday at 2pm, a statue of San Gennaro is carried in a Grand Procession outside the Most Precious Blood Church (109 Mulberry St between Canal and Hester Sts).


See a big music collaboration

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The team-up of affable art-pop kingpin David Byrne and brilliant St. Vincent mastermind Annie Clark is one of the year's most highly anticipated collaborations. The two present a mix of back-catalog material and music from a new joint LP, Love This Giant, over three dates.

  1. Williamsburg Park Kent Ave, at North 12th St
  2. Sat Oct 4
More info

Catch American Ballet Theatre and more at New York City Center

  • Price band: 2/4

The delight of ABT’s brief fall season is sure to be the premiere by Alexei Ratmansky: Set to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9, the new work marks the first of three one-act ballets to be unveiled at the Metropolitan Opera House in the spring. Other City Center highlights include the 70th anniversary of Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, Mark Morris’s Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. The last one, in particular, is a slice of heaven.

  1. 131 W 55th St, (between Sixth and Seventh Aves)
More info

Catch the second run of top-notch Fringe Fest shows

  • Price band: 2/4

If the 188 options in this year’s Fringe Festival lineup overwhelmed you, good news: The FringeNYC Encore Series, which runs throughout September, whittles the program down considerably. Plus, the dozen or so selections for the series are chosen because they were fan or critical favorites, so you know you’re seeing something good. This year, the selected productions include 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, a cult hit that TONY associate theater editor Adam Feldman said “functions well as a quick, tasty snack”; and Independents, which TONY theater editor David Cote praised for its “warm, honest aura” and “hauntingly beautiful singing.”

  1. Various venues
More info

Become a collector at the Affordable Art Fair

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Got a wall to fill? This walk-around expo brings more than 75 galleries under one roof to display painting, sculpture, photography and other artistic media. Don’t let the name fool you: If you’re coming to buy, you should be prepared to spend in the range of three or four digits; to qualify as “affordable,” the original artworks must be priced below $10,000 (half the work will cost less than $5,000). Even if you can’t find something within your budget, you'll still get to check out pieces by a bunch of international artists, such as Irish photographer Simon Watson and fashion-world darling Graham Lott, for just $12 (or for free if you visit between 5 and 8pm on Oct 5), which is less than most major art museums charge for admission.

  1. The Tunnel 269 Eleventh Ave, between 27th and 28th Sts
  2. Sun Oct 12
Buy tickets

Get your literary fill at the Brooklyn Book Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Helping to make Brooklyn even more ridiculously bookish than it already is, this daylong fest promises dozens of readings and panel discussions, as well as the chance to rub shoulders with literary luminaries and, yes, plenty of struggling scribes like yourself. While the full lineup of events hasn’t been revealed, organizers confirm that writers such as Paul Auster, Joyce Carol Oates, Pete Hamill and Billy Collins are on the docket.

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!!