101 things to do in New York City in the fall 2013

Clear your schedule: Our fall calendar of things to do in New York—festivals, parades, shows, new activities and more—will fill your planner through November.



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  • Photograph: Courtesy Queens County Farm Museum

    21. Pick a porker to pull for at the Queens County Fair's pig races, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall

  • 22. Get your literary fill at the Brooklyn Book Festival, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall

  • Photograph: National Gallery of Victoria

    23. Prepare to blush "Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations" at the Met, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall. Pictured: Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski), Nude with Cat, 1949

  • 24. Bag a free ticket to a cabaret party, as part of "East Berlin: Film, Fashion, Fotography" at the National Arts Club, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall

  • Photograph: Francine Daveta

    25. Save your clams with the New York Burlesque Festival's new, free Burlesque bazaar, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall

  • Photograph: David Andrako

    26. Tickle your funny bone at the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall

  • Photograph: Courtesy Dumbo Arts Festival

    27. Explore a creative 'hood during the Dumbo Arts Festival, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall. Pictured: Immersive Surfaces by The Leo Kuelbs Collection at the 2011 Dumbo Arts Festival

  • 28. Watch big-ticket premieres at the New York Film Festival, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall. Pictured: Her

  • 29. See "Robert Motherwell: Early Collages" at the Guggenheim, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall

  • 30. Hear the Thom Yorke supergroup Atoms for Peace at Barclays Center, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall

Photograph: Courtesy Queens County Farm Museum

21. Pick a porker to pull for at the Queens County Fair's pig races, one of the best things to do in New York in the fall


Things to Do: Queens County Fair

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Get a little rural living without leaving the city limits at the 31st iteration of this down-home festival. For two days, the Queens County Farm Museum will become even more agrarian than usual with livestock competitions, pie-eating contests, awards for the fastest corn huskers and pig races, while Irish and German musicians will keep your feet stomping. While there, try to make your way through the Amazing Maize Maze ($9, children $5), a three-acre labyrinth, or take a spin on carnival rides. Glean tips on fashioning your own farm-to-table fare at a colonial cooking demo, or knock back a few at a Bavarian beer garden. To enter your own craft, vegetable, or baked or canned goods in one of the blue-ribbon contests, e-mail info@queensfarm.org.

  1. Queens County Farm Museum 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, between 73rd Rd and 74th Ave
  2. Sat Sep 21 - Sun Sep 22
More info

Books: Brooklyn Book Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Brooklyn Book Festival is one of those events that makes you thankful to live in New York: The free, massive collection of readings, panels and high-concept events overtakes Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn and spills into neighboring venues over the course of a very full day. Among those in the massive crew of participating artists: Tom Wolfe, Sharon Olds, Art Spiegelman, Albert “Prodigy” Johnson (of Mobb Deep) and Meg Wolitzer. Visit brooklynbookfestival.org for details.


Art: "Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Balthus (neé Balthasar Klossowski, 1908–2001) was one of the most controversial figurative painters of the 20th Century, an artist notorious for frankly erotic (if not somewhat pervy) full-length renderings of Lolita-esque subjects. His obsession with pre-teen female sexuality translated into to vaguely unnerving images, which were more redolent of thanatos than of eros. This show, the first major Balthus exhibition in the U.S. in 30 years features 35 canvases, dating from the mid-1930s to the 1950s.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Wed Sep 25 - Wed Jan 1
More info

Museums: "East Berlin: Film, Fashion, Fotography"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This exhibit and event series at the normally private National Arts Club celebrates ten artists who work in what was formerly East Berlin. On Sept 25, toast the opening of the art show with a live feed to the Friendly Society gallery in Germany. Four films will screen, including Comrade Couture (Sept 26), about fashion designers who worked in the then-socialist country during the 1980s, and on Oct 1, attend a gallery talk on the different forms of music and art considered "degenerate" by the postwar government. On Sept 27, the space hosts a cabaret party and fashion show, featuring music by swing band Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks and German singer Adrienne Haan (free tickets are required; visit NAC after Sept 18 at 1pm to reserve).

  1. The National Arts Club 15 Gramercy Park South, at 20th St
  2. Wed Sep 25 - Tue Oct 1
More info

Nightlife: 11th Annual New York Burlesque Festival

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A cavalcade of local luminaries and international stars converge on NYC for four days of performances, dance parties and, for the first time, a free Burlesque bazaar at the Slipper Room (Sept 28 at noon) that features vendors (in case your pasties collection needs an update), a roundtable with burly-Q legend April March and a live photo shoot conducted by Don Spiro. Otherwise, the fest treads in the glittery footsteps of year's past, with a Teaser Party (Le Poisson Rouge; Sept 26 at 7pm; $20, advance $15), Premiere Party (Brooklyn Bowl; Sept 27 at 8pm; $12, advance $10), Saturday Spectacular (B.B. King's; Sept 28 at 7pm; $35, advance $30; VIP: $70, advance $65) with free after-party, and a Golden Pastie Awards closer (Highline Ballroom; Sept 29 at 8pm; $30, advance $25; VIP $45, advance $40).

  1. Highline Ballroom 431 W 16th St, between Ninth and Tenth Aves
  2. Thu Sep 26 - Sun Sep 29
More info
Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival

Comedy: Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival

  • Critics choice

As in years past, Brooklyn comedy stalwart Mirman has invited a bunch of his friends to do a bunch of shows at the Bell House and Union Hall. Some of the events are familiar: Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler bring their sorely missed Hot Tub back from Los Angeles, while Mirman himself will be onstage for another edition of StarTalk Live! with Neil deGrasse Tyson. New shows include Comics We Hope Don’t Move to L.A. (Though We Understand There Is Much More Work There), with Jena Friedman, TONY contributor Josh Gondelman, Dan St. Germain and Claudia Cogan; and the Urbane Comedy Hour: Nontop Courtesy and Culture Through the Prism of Comedy, featuring Ira Glass, Jim Gaffigan, Wyatt Cenac and special surprise guests. Plus, there'll be a special celebration of the fourth season of Bob's Burgers, which premieres Sept 29. Visit eugenemirmanfestival.com for details.

  1. Various venues
  2. Thu Sep 26 - Sat Sep 28

Art: Dumbo Arts Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The already art-forward northern Brooklyn ’hood pulls out all the stops during this three-day fest, featuring works by 300-plus contemporary artists. Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Lillian Gerson’s pop-up recording studio, Radio Wave, gives attendees the chance to dictate their storm stories; in The Ship of Tolerance, Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov will pilot a ship along the waterfront whose sail is made of stitched-together paintings by NYC schoolkids; the Bubbles of Hope performance-art processional will see 20 dynamic sculptures swooping down on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 for an interactive parade; and festgoers can bring their own possessions, skills, stories or even abstracter holdings to trade in Bartertown. Visit dumboartsfestival.com for a full schedule.

  1. Various locations
  2. Fri Sep 27 - Sun Sep 29
More info

Film: New York Film Festival

  • Critics choice

The premier event of any NYC filmgoer’s calendar returns, and it’s sure to be stocked with new works from big-name art-house auteurs and award-season heavy hitters. The announced title that we’re really salivating over: Her, Spike Jonze’s love story about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) and the Siri-like voice on his phone’s operating system, which isn’t due in theaters until late December. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Sept 8. Visit filmlinc.com or buy in person at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office.

  1. Various venues
  2. Fri Sep 17 - Sun Oct 13

Art: "Robert Motherwell: Early Collages"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Although somewhat younger (and WASPier) then the Abstract Expressionists he associated with, Robert Motherwell was a noted figure of The New York School (a term which he, in fact, coined), thanks largely to his role in introducing his peers to “automatic” drawing—a concept he’d picked up from the Surrealists on his travels to Europe. Painterly free association, coupled with existentialism, thus became the linchpin of AbEx, though Motherwell’s own work was defined more by formal stylishness than by strum und drang. While Motherwell produced large canvases, the collages he created throughout his career were particularly beautiful and elegant. The Gugg offers up a choice selection from the first decade of his output, during the years in which he helped to lay the foundation for New York’s art world ascendancy.

  1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Ave, at 89th St, 10128
  2. Fri Sep 27 - Tue Dec 31
More info

Music: Atoms for Peace

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Of course you're curious about Thom Yorke's other band, the all-star busman's holiday with Nigel Godrich, Flea, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco. The group's debut album, Amok, has an understatedly funky shimmer, a bit like Radiohead summoning Fela and Curtis Mayfield, while Brian Eno and Kip Hanrahan wrestle over the mixing board. If you followed that reference, you've probably got your tickets already.

  1. Barclays Center 620 Atlantic Ave, at Flatbush Ave, 11217
  2. Fri Sep 27
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