Timeout New York Kids

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26 fun and free things to do in NYC in September 2012

From a sneak peek at a new city park to a kite festival at Port Authority, the end of September is jam-packed with free things to do in NYC with kids.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Appleseeds UWS

  • NYC Fire Museum

  • Morningside Lights

  • Photograph: Kathryn Kirk

    Brooklyn Book Festival

  • Photograph: Nancy Adler


  • Photograph: Photo Bureau


  • Photograph: Jane Kratochvil

  • Photograph: Tom Callan

    Atlantic Antic

Photograph: Marielle Solan

Appleseeds UWS

Fall arrives on Saturday, September 22, and with it comes a slew of gratis family events around the five boroughs. We've rounded up the 26 best free things to do in NYC through the end of September, including storytimes with famous authors, block parties at cultural institutions and outdoor festivals at city parks. Scroll through our list, then mark your favorite activities on your family's calendar.

All-Day Family Party at Apple Seeds
To celebrate the grand opening of their children's toy and book boutique, the Apple Seeds flagship is hosting a family extravaganza. While you shop (with discounts on brands like Playmobil, Lego and Klutz), little ones can get their faces painted, watch an artist make balloon animals and even get a free haircut. Jan Helson, author of The Global Game Changers, will host a special reading. Sat Sept 22 10am--4pm. Apple Seeds. Ages 6 months to 5 years.

As part of the Williamsburg International Film Festival, kids can meet the new Brooklyn Nets at their mobile "Experience" station and watch as Buckets Blakes of the Harlem Globetrotters slam-dunks for the crowd during the Blockbuster Block Party (Sat Sept 22 at 10am; Grand St between Driggs Ave and Roebling St). Also part of the festival: a special concert for kids at El Puente (Sat Sept 22 at 2pm). Kids can rock out to everything from "The Wheels on the Bus" to "Sweet Home Alabama" with Brooklyn trio the Z Brothers. Sat Sept 22; various times and locations. All ages.

New York City Fire Museum Family Day and Muster
Kids learn what it takes to put out a fire at this happening, where firefighting teams from the northeast compete to see who can generate the longest stream of water from an antique hand-pumped fire engine. Throughout the day, New York's bravest will also lead safety tours of a simulated apartment blaze and teach kids how to put out real flames using an extinguisher. Sat Sept 22 10am--5pm. New York City Fire Museum. All ages.

Meet the Author and Illustrator: Dennis Markell and Melissa Iwai
In the husband-and-wife team's latest picture book, Hush, Little Monster, a monster father helps his monster child fall asleep. Markell brings his guitar along to sing the lullaby, and Iwai will enlist kids in the audience to help her create a customized monster. Sat Sept 22 at 11am. Greenlight Bookstore. Ages 3 to 8.

BAM Fisher Block Party
BAM toasts the opening of its new Ashland Place facility with a neighborhood fiesta. The soulful family band Shine and the Moonbeams kicks off the outdoor concert lineup at noon, follwed by the multigenerational Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls All-Star Band. Speed chess, silk-screening, postcard making and food—from vendors like Ample Hills Creamery and Brooklyn Moon Caribbean Tacos—complete the street-level celebration. Meanwhile, in BAM's Hillman Studio, families can discover percussion instruments from around the world and help Pilobolus create a human alphabet. Sat Sept 22 noon--6pm. BAM Fisher. All ages.

Morningside Lights Parade
Families can light up the streets with their own unique illuminated puppets and lanterns at this evening parade in Morningside Park. The September 29 parade, whose theme is Imagined City, is the culmination of a weeklong series of workshops at the Miller Theatre (Sept 22--28), where creative types of all ages can use paint, papier-mch and other crafts to create the illuminated sculptures featured in the parade. The coolest part: Artists from the Processional Arts Workshop (PAW)—the team whose creations lead the annual Village Halloween Parade—will be on hand to help out. Workshops: Sat Sept 22, Sun Sept 23 noon--6pm; Mon Sept 24--Fri Sept 28 2--8pm. Miller Theatre. Parade: Sat Sept 29 at 8pm (7pm to join the procession). Morningside Park. All ages.


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