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: Michael Ratliff

    71. Feel the burn at the Chile Pepper Fiesta

  • Photograph: Nathan Rawlinson

    72. Pig out on Randalls Island

    Pictured: Meatopia

  • 73. Fist-pump to punk rock at Irving Plaza

  • 74. Celebrate a milestone with FOUND magazine

    Pictured: Davy Rothbart of FOUND Magazine

  • Photograph: Lucie Jansch

    75. Get cultured at BAM

    Pictured: Production still from the 2012/13 revival of Robert Wilson/Philip Glass collaboration Einstein on the Beach

  • Photograph: Courtesy The Paley Center for Media

    77. Beware the Paley Center’s roaming hands during its Mixtape series

  • Photograph: Courtesy the Bard Graduate Center Gallery

    77. Learn how the circus changed New York City at "Circus and the City: New York, 1973–2010"



  • 78. Eat funnel cake at the Atlantic Antic

  • 79. Warm up this fall at a knitting class

  • Photograph: Kevin Tachman

    80. Think outside of the cultural box at Crossing the Line

    Pictured: Jack Ferver

Photograph: Michael Ratliff

71. Feel the burn at the Chile Pepper Fiesta


Feel the burn at the Chile Pepper Fiesta

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Heat-seeking capsaicin lovers won’t want to miss this spicy celebration. Tour the pepper plants in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Herb Garden, catch fire shows by circus performers Robbins and Ringold, and listen to a performance by Brooklyn’s own Chicha Libre, whose tunes are informed by South American psychedelia. Vendors like Mast Brothers Chocolate and Nunu Chocolates will offer gratis samples of their most incendiary snacks. If you want to experiment with the fiery veggie on your own time, stop by the Chile Pepper Farm Stand, which will feature goods from local purveyors such as East New York Farms.

  1. Brooklyn Botanic Garden 990 Washington Ave, at President St
  2. Sat Sep 27
More info

Pig out on Randalls Island

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

More than 45 high-profile chefs will roast, grill and smoke meat of all varieties at red-blooded cookout Meatopia. The outdoor tasting will feature stations serving unlimited portions of dishes such as grilled veal brisket with charred garlic scapes from Noah Bernamoff (Mile End), whole Hampshire hog from April Bloomfield (the Breslin) and grilled pork cheeks with summer vegetable mostarda from Michael White (Marea). Amstel Light will be pouring gratis brews all evening, and Jeni’s will dish out free scoops of ice cream to cool you down.

  1. Randalls Island Park Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, at Randalls Island
  2. Sat Sep 13
More info

Fist-pump to punk rock at Irving Plaza

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Relive your moshing days during the four-day Revelation Records 25th Anniversary. A slew of bands hit town to toast the seminal punk label, which was an instrumental part of the NYHC (New York hardcore) movement in the ’80s and ’90s. The bill boasts tuneful emo progenitor Texas Is the Reason, straight-edge Cali crew Chain of Strength and Staten Island post-hardcore supergroup Into Another.

  1. Irving Plaza 17 Irving Pl, at 15th St
  2. Sat Oct 13 - Sun Oct 14
More info

Celebrate a milestone with FOUND magazine

  • Critics choice

Old love letters, weird drawings and diary entries: These are just some of the materials that have made their way into the pages of FOUND magazine. Launched in 2001 by writer Davy Rothbart, the publication collects random objects, many of which are submitted by readers. To celebrate the mag's tenth anniversary, Rothbart is taking his favorite ephemera and artifacts on tour, making two stops in NYC this September. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own found items, and will be treated to a reading from Rothbart’s new essay collection, My Heart is an Idiot, as well as live music from his brother, Peter.

  1. UCBEast 155 E 3rd St, between Aves A and B, 10009
  2. Wed Sep 19 - Thu Sep 20
Buy tickets
Production still from the 2012/13 revival of Robert Wilson/Philip Glass collaboration Einstein on the Beach, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in New York City in the fall

Get cultured at BAM

  • Critics choice

BAM’s Next Wave Festival turns 30 this year and, as always, the institution has cooked up an intriguing blend of dance and musical performances, plays, discussions and more. This year’s big draws include the revival of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s masterful four-plus-hour opera Einstein on the Beach (BAM Howard Gilman Opera House; Sept 14–23; various dates and times; $40–$180) and a tribute to model, singer and hipster icon Nico curated by the Velvet Underground’s John Cale (BAM Howard Gilman Opera House; Jan 16 at 8pm; $20–80). BAM Howard Gilman Opera HouseBAM Harvey Theater. See bam.org for details.

  1. Various BAM venues
  2. Wed Sept 5 - Sat Jan 19

Beware the Paley Center’s roaming hands

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

We don’t know if the Paley Center thinks we just got off the bus from Hicksville, but we do know one thing: Mixtapes are only—only!—ever given as a ploy to get in someone’s pants. So we’ll consider the TV-loving institution’s monthly series of visual mash-ups as something of an extended overture. And it’s working: We’re swooning over September’s edition, Dueling Star Treks, which is pegged to the 25th anniversary of The Next Generation’s first season. Curator David Bushman cuts and pastes clips together to back up a ten-point argument about Picard & Co.’s superiority, culminating in a screening of TNG’s celebrated season-five episode “The Inner Light.” The Paley Center continues its courting in October with a series entitled Dreams, where we assume we’ll discuss our hopes and fears about building a life together before Paley tries to bed us with Bond at 50 in November. Our friends keep telling us December will include “Why won’t they return my calls?” or “Gone before we woke up; didn’t even leave a note.”

  1. 25 W 52nd St, (between Fifth and Sixth Aves)
More info

Learn how the circus changed New York City

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Whatever your feelings on the circus—is it a family-friendly diversion or an exploitative, animal-abusing travesty?—there’s no denying that the clowns-and-animals spectacle has shaped the evolution of American entertainment. In a new exhibit, “Circus and the City: New York, 1793–2010,” the Bard Graduate Center Gallery examines the controversial pastime and its influence on commerce and showbiz in New York City. More than 200 artifacts—including posters, photographs and costumes—will be on view, illustrating the stories of figures such as John Bill Ricketts, who staged the first circus in New York, and the legendary P.T. Barnum.

  1. Bard Graduate Center Gallery 18 W 86th St, between Central Park West and Columbus Ave
  2. Sun Feb 3
More info

Eat funnel cake at the Atlantic Antic

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In a city full of street fairs, this is one of the largest. It spans ten blocks of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue, and features live music, food and pony rides. Start at the Fourth Avenue end and walk the length of the Antic, and finish by admiring the New York Transit Museum’s collection of vintage hot rides at the 19th Annual Bus Festival (Boerum Pl between Atlantic Ave and State St, Downtown Brooklyn; 718-694-1600, mta.info/museum; Sept 30 11am–5pm; free). As a bonus, the museum waives its entry fee for the day.

Knitting, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in New York City in the fall

Warm up this fall at a knitting class

  • Critics choice

Create your own seasonal accessories at Knitty City (208 W 79th St between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway; 212-787-5896, knittycity.com), where instructor Maxine Levinson leads monthly beginners courses. (Next event: Sept 8 noon–2pm; $30.) Brooklyn General Store (128 Union St between Columbia and Hicks Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 718-237-7753, brooklyngeneral.com) also offers beginners classes over three consecutive Wednesday evenings every month. Veteran instructor Heather Love caters to all skill levels, including absolute novices who have never held a pair of needles (series begin Sep 12 and Oct 3; $130).

  1. Various venues

Think outside of the cultural box at Crossing the Line

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This interdisciplinary festival—presented by the French Institute Alliance Française—is one of the season’s great joys. For this sixth installment, Lili Chopra, Gideon Lester and Simon Dove have chosen work that defies genre, including pieces by choreographers DD Dorvillier, Sarah Michelson and Jack Ferver, as well as the return of Raimund Hoghe and the French director Pascal Rambert. Forget about categories; this is a whirlwind of art.

  1. Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement 466 Grand St, at Pitt St
  2. Until Sun Oct 13
More info

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!!