West Indian-American Day Carnival Eastern Parkway; 11am; free
This Caribbean celebration, known for having lively music and lots of skin, is never short on costumed stilt dancers, floats blaring soca and calypso music, and plenty of flags from countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Look for vendors stationed along Eastern Parkway selling island eats like jerk chicken, curry goat and oxtail. Early risers can preparty at J’ouvert (pronounced “joo-VAY”), a predawn festival in which revelers throw powdered paint at each other. Head to Grand Army Plaza around 4am when the high jinks really get going. Eastern Pkwy from Schenectady Ave to Flatbush Ave, Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Subway: 3, 4, 5 to Crown Hts-Utica Ave.
Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit Washington Square Park; noon; free
This city tradition feels fresh every spring when artists following in the footsteps of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning set up shop in the park. Hundreds of exhibitors, from NYU students to artists who remember the Village as a creative enclave, display their paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry and woodcraft.
Twelfth Night Delacorte Theater; 8pm; free, reserved seats $75
The Public continues its civically ambitious Public Works program, devoted to collaborating with multiple New York communities to create large-scale theater, in a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's ever-popular comedy of cross purposes, cross-dressing and cross-gartered socks. Director Kwame Kwei-Armah coordinates a huge pageant that includes seasoned performers—Nikki M. James, Jose Llana, Jacob Ming-Trent, Andrew Kober and composer Shaina Taub—alongside more than 200 other actors and residents of all five boroughs.
YES Labor Day BBQ Extravaganza House of Yes; 2pm; free, after 4pm $10
Throw together your most patriotic getup and bring your holiday to a thrilling end with 12 hours of all-American raging in House of Yes’s yard, where hot dogs and patties (with veggie options!) are doled out all day, barely clad partyers dance to house beats and the alcohol keeps coming.
Leslie Odom Jr. Joins Sessions at the Circle The Shops at Columbus Circle; 6pm; free
If tickets to see Hamilton still remain out of your reach, this is your chance to see one of its stars—for free! Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Shops at Columbus Circle host a weekly concert series, and for the final installment, Hamilton’s OG Aaron Burr, Leslie Odom Jr., will perform jazz tunes from his self-titled album. The singer and actor recently beat Lin-Manuel Miranda himself to win the Tony for best actor, but if that’s not enough of an incentive, the event also offers discounts at nearby shops and snacks during the show.
US Open USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; various times and prices
For two weeks each summer, New York becomes the capital of the tennis world as the sport's final Grand Slam thwacks its way into Queens. Watch stars play under the lights during the popular evening sessions.
Comedy Show in a Pizza Shop Two Boots Williamsburg; 8pm; free
This show sets itself apart from the rest by featuring pizza from the beloved Two Boots and free draft beers from 8–8:30pm. Beyond the doughy goodness, you can enjoy solid sets from hosts David Piccolomini, Lucas Connolly and Jake Fromm, along with a wide range of guests like Myq Kaplan and Kerryn Feehan.
MoshFit Ottos’s Shrunken Head; 6:30p; $10 suggested donation
We're not unaccustomed to sweating in bars, but it's usually because the DJ just played our jam and we fell face-first into a twerk hole. Work out your whole body at this bi-monthly class that goes down in the back room of a tiki bar, features all your fave punk tunes and is followed by—what else? A happy hour.
Tonight’s Special with Shane Shane Sid Gold’s Request Room; 8pm; suggested donation $5
This bizarre improv-variety show puts you in complete control over hard-working one-man act Shane. At the start of the night, audience members are given a “menu” of jokes, songs, video clips and shticks for Shane to perform in the order and style of their choosing. The night ends with piano karaoke. Make sure you give this guy a tip—and a drink.
Justin Vivian Bond: The Golden Age of Justin Vivian Bond Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; 9pm; $30 plus $12 minimum
Caustic wit, witchy charisma and subversive queer wisdom have made Bond one of New York’s essential performers. Now the alt-cabaret superstar and transgender icon wraps up a year-long "tranniversary" at Joe's Pub with a set that focuses on original material.
Dance Now Festival Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; 7pm; $20 plus $12 minimum
Dance Now's 21st season offers a massive festival of short works by 40 dance makers of every stripe, all challenged to create five-minute pieces for the teeny stage at Joe's Pub. TruDee, the comedic alter ego of Deborah Lohse, emcees each show. Participating artists include Boomerang, LMnO3, Jane Comfort and Company, Jordan Isadore and Raja Feather Kelly / the feath3r theory. The best of the fest (chosen by the producers) return for a special encore performance on Sept 29.
Barely Making It The Creek and the Cave; 8pm; free
Meghan O’Malley, Erick Hellwig and Adrian Davidson invite comedians to Long Island City every week to try out their freshest material. Past guests have written for and appeared on Broad City, Master of None, The Daily Show and more.
Karaoke Grand Prix Freddy’s Bar; 9pm; free
Sing your heart out with H-Bomb and Emma C. Hammer, who bring you the "lowest of lo-fi karaoke" (song lyrics are delivered via a sheet of paper, not a screen) at this monthly event. They've got over 1,000 tunes to choose from, and if your signature karaoke jam isn't among them, don't fret: request it and it will be added to the catalog by the next month.
Mortified Littlefield; 8pm; $10
Most of us wouldn’t relive our teenage years if you paid us. But at this reading, bold volunteers share their most embarrassing—and hilarious—childhood diary entries.
Sleigh Bells + Miya Folick Le Poisson Rouge; 8:30pm; $25
Brooklyn's bombastic boy-girl punk group Sleigh Bells has announced a newie, Jessica Rabbit, due out in November. Expect to hear the duo's recent singles, including the spacey, subdued synth ballad "Hyper Dark," and probably a couple album sneak peeks as well.
The House of Peroni; 2pm; free
Peroni Nastro Azzurro's U.K.-based pop-up experience, which opens stateside for the first time from September 8–10, channels the "very heart of the Italian home" through various realms of style including film, music and fashion. Debuting during New York City's Fashion Week, the three-day affair has been curated and designed by famed Italian photographer-director Francesco Carrozzini. Performances and presenting talent include the likes of Italian contemporary artist Vanessa Beecroft, lauded costume designer Catherine Martin and LCD Soundystem musician and DJ Nancy Whang. The House is open daily from 2pm to 10pm to guests over 21 years old.
Triumph Hotels x Laura Kay Cosmopolitan Hotel; 5pm; free
If you’re a diehard fashion fan, it’s likely that you already have your outfits planned for NYFW, but make sure to save your best ensemble for Triumph Hotels fashion-sketch event. The hospitality chain teamed up with illustrator and Instagram influencer Laura Kay, and the Instagram star will be sketching complimentary style selfies at the Cosmopolitan, Iroquois and Hotel Chandler. Avoid the line and book your appointment in advance here: www.facebook.com/triumphhotels.
TRESemmé Runway Studio Spring Studios; 8am; free
Whether or not you have invitations to shows, TRESemmé wants you to look fierce for Fashion Week—like, just stumbled off the runway fierce. Grab your girlfriends and head to Spring Studios to watch exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from NYW and nab the latest hair styles and trends from the second they hit the catwalk. Complimentary java and charging stations will be available while you wait for an open chair, but you can book an appointment time at email@example.com.
Full House! The Musical! Theatre 80; 8pm; $25–$50
Bob and Tobly McSmith, the auteurs behind previous unauthorized musical goofs on Saved by the Bell and Showgirls, take on the cheesy family sitcom Full House.
Home Brew Opera Freddy’s Bar; 9pm; free
There'll be nary an evening gown or tux in sight during this evening of theatrics, where performers with the collective Opera on Tap share scenes and songs with the audience while wearing jeans and sipping Stella. Attendees are encouraged to get into the comical, laid-back spirit, so feel free to throw on that Viking helmet you bought for Halloween.