Dynamite things to do
Electric Zoo Festival Randall’s Island Park; Sept 2–4; various prices
Look out New York City dance clubs, the Electric Zoo Festival is poised to take over Labor Day weekend, bringing hoards of EDM fans to Randall's Island for the event's seventh summer. The festival has become a can’t-miss attraction on the electronic-dance-music circuit, featuring a wide range of artists both top name and underground. Get on your dancing shoes and best festival clothing and enjoy the tunes.
West Indian-American Day Carnival Eastern Parkway; Sept 5; free
The annual West Indian–American Day Carnival draws close to two million people to Crown Heights in Brooklyn each year. During the seven-hour New York carnival, steel-pan and calypso bands in elaborate costumes march down Eastern Parkway, and vendors sell homestyle island grub along the route.
29Rooms 8 Ingraham Street, Buswhick; Sept 9–11; free
No tickets to the NYFW shows? No problem. After hosting an extremely successful interactive funhouse called 29Rooms last year, Refinery29 is throwing another all-inclusive party/exhibition/wonderland to kick off Fashion Week. This year’s concept—Powered by People—allows guests to experience the stylish affair first-hand, while exploring 29 rooms filled with art and immersive installations that push the envelope on global issues such as body positivity, mental health and self-expression. You’re guaranteed to leave feeling inspired.
Oktoberfest at various locations; Sept 17 through Oct 3; various prices
One of the top things to do in New York this fall includes two weeks of drinking some of the best beer in NYC during Oktoberfest. Take in the beautiful fall foliage while drinking at one of the best beer gardens and beer halls in New York City. Oktoberfest New Yorkers, take advantage of this glorious holiday to sample fine Bavarian beer and food. Prost!
Feast of San Gennaro Little Italy; Sept 15–25; free-various prices
Celebrate the martyred 3rd-century bishop and patron saint of Naples at this 11-day festival that fills the streets of Little Italy every year. Watch the professionals in action at the cannoli-eating competition, and you won't feel so bad about indulging in calorific treats from the food vendors; return daily for live musical performances. Mulberry St between Canal and Houston Sts; Grand St and Hester St between Baxter and Mott Sts.
Hilarious comedy shows
Saw Her Stand Up There Q.E.D.; Sept 1; $6
A lineup of outstanding all-female comedians take the stage, with hosts Caitlin McKee and Andrea Shapiro. If you want to give your own jokes a spin, show up at 7pm for the open mic. This week, V. Lince, Carolyn Bergier and Kara Buller take the Q.E.D. stage.
BUCKY: Thank F#@% It’s Friday! UCBEast; Every Friday starting Sept 2; $10
Unburden yourself of the quotidian weekday horrors of work, roommates and the MTA system with this insane anything-goes show featuring some of UCB's most prolific performers, some of whom you may recognize from their appearances on Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer and 30 Rock.
Nerd Is the New Black Q.E.D.; Sept 3; $5, day of $8
Fast-witted comic Charles McBee brings his glorious sense of self-deprecation to this solid showcase night. Get to the show early to catch happy hour, but be sure not to get too tipsy, or you may miss McBee's mile-a-minute jokes.
Tonight’s Special with Shane Shane Sid Gold’s Request Room; Sept 6; 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.
Nationals: An Amateur Comedy Dance Competition Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre; Sept 7; $5
Hosts Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney have recruited some of the city's most medicore dance crews to face off for eternal glory (and retribution for being picked on at middle school dances). Big name guest judges preside over the cabbage patches and stanky legs, all building up to the FINALS in November. Beware of sprains.
Can't-miss LGBT events
Horse Meat Disco Cielo; Sept 4; $35
The disco daddies of HMD come to us all the way from London for a bit of long-weekend revelry. Join hundreds of handsome men from all five boroughs and get ready to sweat. Joining the bill for this September shindig is Brooklyn DJ Ron Like Hell.
The Reunion Paradise Garage XL; Sept 4; $25
Relive one of the glory days of one of New York's most influential clubs, the Paradise Garage. Honoring the legacy of DJ Larry Levan and the music of 1976–1972 gay New York, this joyful party brings together generations of partygoers to turn back time and get down.
Habibi Harem Taj; Sept 4; $15, before midnight $10
This party for men of Arab descent (and their friends!) offers belly dancers and a sexy, sweaty crowd dancing to Mediterranean dance tunes by DJ IZ.
The Sparkle Zone Annoyance Theatre; Sept 1; $5
Philip "Sparkle" Markle hosts this joyous variety hour, in which pairs of comics, cabaret artists and performers take the stage for cheerful sets.
Lunes Picantes Club Evolution; Every Monday starting Sept 5; free
Among this club night’s selling points are host Laura Martinez, DJs Freddy and Joss, tequila drink specials and sexy sombrero-wearing bartenders. There’s no better place in town to shake to reggaetón and cumbia.
Awesome live music and concerts
Kanye West Madison Square Garden; Sept 5, 6; $29.50–$226
Pyrotechnics, elaborate stage scenes, eerie Abominable Snowman outfits… A Kanye concert is always sure to be an event, and as we learnt this summer, one with staggering drawing power (the mere suggestion of a GovBall makeup show from Mr. West prompted the apparition of a 4,000-fan horde outside the venue.) Join the extravagant fun as he returns to the city to air his messy, evolving, god-dream, The Life of Pablo.
Beyoncé MetLife Stadium; Sept 7; $45–$355
Queen Bey continues the year's hottest, highest-grossing tour with a night at East Rutherford's MetLife megastage. Alongside tunes from her emotionally complex, meme-generating Lemonade, expect a roster of hits running all the way back to her Destiny's Child days.
AC/DC Madison Square Garden; Sept 14; $99-$140
Despite the recent medical leave of both Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson, this legendary crew continues to peddle its meat-and-potatoes hard rawk without losing a step, picking up a surprising heavy-weight replacement in their absence: Guns n' Roses loose cannon Axl Rose. With his explosive snarl on board, the quasi-supergroup is sure to demolish even New York's biggest stage.
Death Grips Terminal 5; Sept 16; $32.50
We should preface this concert with a warning: this is the same crew of rabble-rousers that's canceled whole tours without warning, projected suicide notes instead of performing, and disbanded entirely more than once. Assuming everything goes to plan, though, you can expect a noise-rap mosh pit of mythological magnitude.
Angel Olsen Webster Hall, Sept 17; Warsaw, Sept 18; $20
The old-soul-sounding young artist delivers unsettled apparitions of folk-tinged Americana from her upcoming, My Woman, to Webster Hall. The new songs "Intern" and "Shut Up Kiss Me" find the singer-songwriter exploring a newfound glam rockstar persona to showcase her supple voice, which can transform from muted whisper to pained warble in an instant.
Delicious food and drink opportunities
Great Big Bacon Picnic The Old Pfizer Factory; Sept 24–25; $99 general admission, early entry brunch $149, VIP brunch $249
For those who can just never get enough bacon, head to the festival of unlimited bacon and booze, where you can nosh on all sorts of bacon-filled brunch delicacies and enjoy free-flowing booze from over 100 of the best chefs, brewmasters and craft distillers in New York.
Pig Island Ikea Erie Basin Park; Sept 10; $85 all inclusive
Porcine enthusiasts head to the waterfront once a year for this feast of local hogs, all sourced from small farms and cooked up in innovative dishes by over 25 chefs. Everything from pulled pork to whole roasted hog, hot dogs and pork sliders aplenty get washed down with cider, wine and New York-crafted beer.
Vendy Awards Governor's Island; Sept 17; $90 general admission, VIP $135
In the ultimate (and first-ever) street food competition in the country, over 25 of the most popular sidewalk-peddling trucks and carts in New York show off their best grub, in a battle for the Vendy Cup, from the famous raindrop cake to shrimp and grits from Harlem Seafood Soul and organic cruelty-free treats from the Vegan Bandwagon. There's only one supreme winner, chosen from a panel of distinguished judges, but the people's choice award lets NYC foodies cast a vote for their own best-loved food truck.
Harvest in the Square Union Square; Sept 22; $125 general admission, VIP $400
For over two decades, this farmers market-loving food fest has been celebrating the local community by bringing together some of the city's best chefs, including Union Square Cafe's chef Carmen Quagliata and Tarallucci E Vino's chef de cuisine Francesco Gallo to cook innovative, signature dishes with fresh produce from the Union Square Greenmarket.
New York Coffee Festival 69th Regiment Armory; Sept 16-18; $20 standard, VIP one-day $45, VIP multiple days $60
New York's flagship coffee event converges lovers of the bean and the brew from near and far for two days of demos, workshops, tastings of the best grinds out there—and the coffee masters barista competition where some of the world's best baristas compete in a range of disciplines including cupping, brewing and latte art to be named champion of all things roast-related.
Major movie and theater premieres
The secret is out! A brand-new, bloodcurdling Blair Witch lurks in (what was formerly titled) The Woods for another round of found-footage freak-outs. Its real plot was tightly kept hush-hush until recently, but You’re Next director Adam Wingard’s latest is indeed a direct sequel to the 1999 found-footage found-footage horror sensation. And the early word out of Comic Con has us giddy with anticipation—shaky cam and all. Sept 16
Snowden is to Citizenfour what The Walk is to Man on Wire—you know, a big-budget retelling of an acclaimed documentary. Plus, both share a risk-taking Joseph Gordon-Levitt attempting a tricky accent. And who better than Oliver Stone, a veteran of high-minded epics and daring political biopics, to do right by the controversial NSA whistle-blower? We’d love to see the maker of Platoon and JFK return to his former glory. Sept 1.
The Magnificent Seven
More a 21st-century adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai than John Sturges’ 1960 Western (its writing credits embrace Samurai scribes), this remake reunites Training Day director Antoine Fuqua with costars Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke through the story of a group of gunmen tasked with protecting a deprived village. Gear up for a diverse cast of dudes and some good old-fashioned badassery. Sept 23.
Acutely perceptive British writer-director Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank) hits the Midwestern road in her Cannes Jury Prize–winning film about a bunch of impulsive thrill-seekers who go wilding. Its festival reception and electrifying trailer signal an existential epic starring Sasha Lane (in a breakthrough debut) and Shia LaBeouf, who will whisk you away in his ride. The prospect of seeing LaBeouf as an actor again is intriguing enough. Sept 30
The 54th New York Film Festival
Easily one of the best things to do in the fall, the New York Film Festival stretches back to 1963, when it established a mission of bringing the best work from around the world to Lincoln Center. Selma director Ava DuVernay’s race-related incarceration documentary The 13th opens 2016’s edition, followed by numerous high-profile movie screenings and events. Sept 30–Oct 16
Spectacular art shows
Os Gêmeos, “Silence of the Music”Lehmann Maupin; Sept 8–Oct 22; free
Twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo have been tearing up the international street-art scene since the 1980s. For their gallery debut, the Brazilian collaborative duo moves indoors, bringing with them their signature, yellowed-faced characters as part of a kinetic installation that combines drawing, painting, collage, mixed media sculpture and audio.
Kai Althoff Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); Sept 18–Jan 2; $25
Working in ceramics, textiles, drawing, painting and sculpture, this German artist weaves together dreamy, surreal amalgams of Expressionist and Symbolist motifs that seem to spring from his fantasies, reveries and personal memories. This career survey is his first in an American museum.
“Ryan Gander: I see straight through you”Lisson Gallery; Sept 16–Oct 15; free
This British Conceptualist prankster brings his considerable wit to bear for his first solo show in New York since 2008, including one piece featuring a huge pair of wall-embedded animatronic eyes that follow you around the room.
“Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight,”Whitney Museum of American Art; Sept 16–Jan 2, $22; seniors, students $18
After laboring in obscurity for decades, this Cuban-born geometric abstractionist has been finally recognized as an important precursor to Minimalist painting. Astonishingly, she recently turned 101 and is still going strong.
"Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918,”Neue Galerie New York; Sept 22-Jan 16; $20
When Klimt wasn’t busy working his 1907 Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (recently immortalized in the Helen Mirren film, Woman In Gold) he was creating likeness of other female patrons during Vienna’s cultural heyday before World War I. This show brings together 12 such compositions, including another Adele Bloch-Bauer image done in 1912.
Marvelous theater experiences
Holiday Inn Studio 54; Sept 1–Jan 1; $47–$152
The Fred Astaire-Bing Crosby movie musical makes the leap to the stage, thanks to Roundabout Theatre Company.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Ethel Barrymore Theatre; through Sept 4; $27–$129
A teen student on the autism spectrum goes on a heroic journey in this long-running Broadway drama, which closes soon.
Spamilton The Triad; opens Sept 8; $49, plus 2-drink minimum
Seasoned spoofer Gerard Alessandrini (Forbidden Broadway) takes on Broadway biggest hit in years, the hip-hop juggernaut Hamilton.
Fun Home Circle in the Square Theatre; through Sept 10; $75–$150
It won the Tony Award for best musical, but this wry and tragic family tale must come to an end in September.
The Wolves Duke on 42nd St; opens Sept 11; $40
Sarah DeLappe's sportive play looks at the life goals of nine teen girls on an indoor soccer team.
Brilliant dance performances
New York City Ballet Fall 2016 David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center); Sept 20–Oct 14; $30–$175
The company's fall season includes 14 works by George Balanchine, including the full-length Jewels and two programs of shorter pieces. Also on the schedule are a collection of dances by Jerome Robbins (including Glass Pieces) and world premieres of ballets by Lauren Lovette, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Justin Peck and Peter Walker.
John Jaspers: Remains BAM Harvey Theater; Sept 21–24; $24–$50
Veteran dancemaker Jasperse returns to BAM's Next Wave Festival with a new work that investigates questions of legacy in modern dance—which he should know about, after several decades as a leading figure in the downtown dance scene. The piece is set to a score by John King.
NY Quadrille Joyce Theatre; Sept 27–Oct 9; $41
Inspired by a rectangular form of 18th-century dance, conceiver-director Lar Lubovitch invites four choreographers—Pam Tanowitz, RoseAnne Spradlin, Tere O’Connor and Loni Landon—to create modern variations on the form, presented in rep over two weeks. A specially constructed stage at the Joyce will allow the works to be viewed from all four side.