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56 incredible things to do in NYC in October

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Things to Do

Greenlight Bookstore and The Atlantic Present Ta-Nehisi Coates Kings Theatre; Oct 4 at 7:30pm; tickets start at $165
Award-winning journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates returns to Brooklyn this month to launch his newest book We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. Listen to Coates discuss the Obama administration, the 2016 election and the ramifications for our democracy in a conversation with The Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg. Tickets from the venue are currently sold out, but secondary ticket sellers have a few left if you’re willing to pay extra.

Slice Out Hunger St. Anthony of Padua; Oct 4; $1
Gotham’s biggest do-good pizza party returns with one-buck slices donated by more than 50 primo pie makers, including Di Fara, Emily and Speedy Romeo. Fill your box with up to ten slices, with all proceeds donated to The Sylvia Center and City Harvest. Popular pies go fast, so queue up early or pledge a single Franklin for a line-hopping VIPizza Passport. Feeling lucky? Snag a dollar raffle ticket to score prizes from Blue Apron, Eataly and more.

New York Philharmonic: Star Wars Series David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center; Oct 4–7 at various times; tickets start at $108
If you thought John Williams’ epic Star Wars score sounded phenomenal in surround sound, wait until you hear the New York Philharmonic perform it in concert. The orchestra brings the music to life while the films play in the background. Superfans won’t want to miss the last four performances of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens this month.

Oktoberfest Under the Manhattan Bridge The Archway; Oct 6, Oct 7; free admission
The Dumbo Business Improvement District is throwing down under the Manhattan Bridge with crafts, food and music for this epic Oktoberfest celebration. Enter a pop-up beer hall replete with lederhosen-clad servers delivering brews, pretzels, brats and more from the Lighthouse. Get ready to gorge on classic German fare, and jam out to polka music by Melina and the Oompahs, Street Beat Brass and The Polka Brothers. Prost

The New Yorker Festival at various locations; Oct 6­–Oct 8; $65
The New Yorker is sending its finest staffers around town to talk with fascinating figures in literature, film, TV, music, theatre, tech, activism and beyond. Preview upcoming shows and films, hear concerts from star acts, one-on-one interviews with celebrities and enjoy panel discussions. Just be sure to do your research before taking the mic during the Q&A section. 

Into the Veil: An After Dark Exploration Green-Wood Cemetery; Oct 13, Oct 14; $80, VIP $150
Take a rare nighttime trip behind Green-Wood's cast iron fence on this mini-expedition, sponsored by both the cemetery and Atlas Obscura. But there's more to this evening than just strolling through the cemetery's 478 acres by flashlight: Musical events, live readings, stargazing gatherings and other cool activities are tucked away here and there, ready to be discovered at your own pace. And there's a cash bar, too! Just think: you could dance and drink with the dead! (What, too morbid? It worked for Lydia in Beetlejuice.)

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Overnight Experience Pier 86; Oct 14, 28 at 6:15pm; $109
Have a slumber party among the planes on the hangar deck of the aircraft carrier Intrepid. After check in, you’ll have time to check out the space shuttle, explore the museum and snack on cookies and fruit before it’s time for lights out. 

L.E.S. Pickle Day Orchard St; Oct 15; free admission
An area rich in history with more unique traditions than can be documented, the Lower East Side smiles back on the past today. In the heart of the old Pickle District, this Orchard Street fair features samples of the green delicacy from India to Haiti, from Malaysia to Brooklyn, and of course, those good old fashion kosher dills from the LES.  

Harvest Fest and Pumpkin Patch Queens Botanical Garden; Oct 15; $12, children $10
While haunted houses and ghost tours pop up all over town, Queens is keeping Halloween classic with this day of frolicking in the pumpkin patch. Head to the Botanical Garden and smell the fresh fall air in the arboretum, pinetum and circle garden, then join the shenanigans at this fest where you can check out live music, join nature walks and learn hipster-ready crafts like pickling. Hit up food vendors and a beer and wine garden to enjoy a cider on the crisp grasses. If you get tipsy, fear not! The only thing better than a petting zoo is a drunk petting zoo. 

New York Knicks vs Detroit Pistons Madison Square Garden; Oct 21 at 8pm; tickets start at $106
Ball hard at the New York Knicks’ first regular season home game against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden. Whether you’re a big basketball fan or not, you’ll have a blast cheering on New York’s team and chowing down on stadium grub like Hill Country Barbecue and Fuku Chicken.

Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade Tompkins Square Park; Oct 21 suggested donation $5
The Village Halloween Parade is fun and all, but does it have a plethora of puppies in adorable outfits? For that, you’ll have to head to the East Village for this annual dog parade. The getups are remarkably elaborate and conceptual.

Giant Pumpkin Weekend New York Botanical Garden; Oct 21, Oct 22; $23
Pour out some spiked apple cider for your soon-to-be picked pumpkin homies, which will become the main display at New York Botanical Garden’s pumpkin garden. These monstrous gourds—weighing up to 1,800 pounds—are available for your photo-taking pleasure. 

Louis Vuitton New York Exhibition; 86 Trinity Place; Oct 27 through Jan 7; free 
We may be biased, but New Yorkers are the savants of style (and have been for many years), which is why we can appreciate a fashion house that has styled many generations. Luxury brand Louis Vuitton, for instance, certainly has elevated and changed the material world since its debut in 1854, as presented in the French-born company’s new exhibition: “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez.” Located at 86 Trinity Place, guests are welcome to experience the rich history by viewing and interacting with various artifacts (from 1854 to 2017) sourced by historian Oliver Saillard. Wander through all three-levels of the exhibition to discover the brand’s past collaborations as well as trunks and luggage of years’ past. 

Fall Foliage Brunch Cruise Departs from Pier 62; Oct 28 at 10am; $111.55
Peep the changing leaves on this brunch cruise on the Hudson River. You’ll head north to the Palisades to spy fall foliage in all its golden, rusty and crimson glory. Each ticket also includes a buffet brunch, one mimosa or Bloody Mary and complimentary coffee and tea.  

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla Central Park, Harlem Meer; Oct 29; free
Celebrate the Halloween season at one of the best park’s in the city for fall foliage: Central Park. Listen to ghost stories, check out a costume parade and get creative by carving a pumpkin. After the festivities, the Central Park Conservancy will partake in a traditional Pumpkin Flotilla, where 50 gourds (possibly your creation) will take a sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight.  


Stand Up With Planned Parenthood Littlefield; Oct 4; $20
Show your support for the reproductive health of women across America at this comedy show benefiting Planned Parenthood. Funny ladies Christi Chiello and Giulia Rozzi host the event, which features the comic stylings of Janeane Garofalo, Josh Gondelman, Jo Firestone, Rebecca Vigil, Nore Davis and Yamaneika Saunders. DJ Zephyr Ann will be on hand to get the audience dancing between sets, and you can bet that's not the only movement this show is hoping to inspire.

No Such Thing as Love Q.E.D.; Oct 5; $5
Lovelorn New Yorkers Claire Burns and Jessie Jolles welcome comedian buddies to share tales of romance, heartbreak and weird sex at this hilarious and hopefully love-affirming show. Comedy Central's Tom Cowell and YouTube sensation Joanna Hausmann join for this month's installment. 

Janelle James Album Release Show Knitting Factory; Oct 9; $12
Deep, droll and in command of her deadpan vibe, James always guarantees a show of no-nonsense observations, subtle put-downs and killer punch lines. This year she opened for Chris Rock, and her world conquest has just begun. She takes the stage in Williamsburg to celebrate the release of her debut comedy album, Black and Mild. Joining her for the occasion are Roy Wood Jr., Cristela Alonzo, Nore Davis and Michelle Buteau. 

Nightcap by Ike Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; Oct 19; $15, plus $12 minimum
Stand up and musical dynamo Ikechukwu Ufomadu takes over Joe's Pub for a night of dry and witty sets, charming songs and special guests. After crushing it at UCB, Ars Nova and Under the Radar Fest, Ike is on a roll, and you don't want to miss him before he becomes a household name. His droll, murmuring delivery—delivered with a confidence as big as all outdoors—leaves audiences in a haze of laughter. 

Unitard: Tard Core–There Are No Safe Words Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; Oct 25; $20
Satanic and satirical sketch-cabaret trio Mike Albo, Nora Burns and David Ilku launch their twisted residency at Joe’s Pub. Delight in tongue-in-cheek chokes about Ann Coulter, protest culture and our current president from a crew of ball-gagged performers who have been at it for two decades. Time to submit to the masters.

The Sparkle Zone The Duplex; Oct 26; $8­–$13, plus two-drink minimum
Improv fireball and unflinching storyteller Philip Markle challenges you to affirm life at this totally positive, utterly bizarre variety hour. He's joined by Tim Platt, Catherine Cohen, Sally Burtnick, Douglas Widick, Brandon Gardener, Jessica Taylor, Hollye Bynum, Heather Harrison, Devin Bockrath, Adam Bangser, Kiran Jani, Amanda Xeller, Ashley Siebels, Linda Eliasen. Henry Koperski provides musical accompaniment.  


Queer/Art/Film IFC Center; Oct 2; $15
This fall's Queer/Art/Film series features monthly showings of films, followed by post-screening discussions. For the September edition, check out Rupert Everett and Colin Firth as boarding school Brits in the ’30s in the sumptuous Another Country, with an introduction by Alexander Chee. 

Snikt Rockbar; Oct 7; suggested donation $5
The gay nerds of Geeks OUT offer their annual dance party inspired by the inexplicably sexy mutant Wolverine. Check out high-volume drag and burlesque performances and dope beats courtesy of DJ Tikka Masala, and don't forget to work a super look for the cosplay contest.

Hocus Pocus: Queer Horror Stories Tilt; Oct 8; free
Join the Sanderson Sisters and a pack of stellar storytellers for a night of queer tales’ worthy of Salem's most deviant dark witches. Tonight's lineup of readers includes Ryan Houlihan, Patricia Theresa McCarthy, Jamison Daniels, Maggie Larkin, Kyle Turner, Howel Themage and Philip Alvin Henry III. 

Isaac Oliver Won’t Stand for This Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; Oct 10; $20, plus $12 minimum
If David Sedaris and Fran Lebowitz had a baby who wrote about subways, theater patrons and blow jobs, he might be a lot like Isaac Oliver. The hilarious and poignant comic essayist is also a deft deliverer of his own work; at Joe's Pub he shares new work as well as pieces from his compulsively readable debut collection, Intimacy Idiot.

Rupaul’s Drag Race Werq the World The Town Hall; Oct 26; $51
Get ready to gag the roof down the foundations as Latrice Royale, Valentina, Violet Chachki, Peppermint, Detox, Shangela and Alyssa Edwards attack the Town Hall stage with lip-syncs, reads and sickening looks. Michelle Visage hosts the spectacle. 

Dungeons & Drag Kings Talon; 8pm; $10–$15
Anja Keister and Lee Valone host this mad monthly night of gender-bending, kink and geek ecstasy at Talon. Witness inventive drag from Valone and JJ Sparks and gagworthy burlesque from Ms. Suki E, Trinity Starlight and Qualms Galore. As if the performances weren't enough, the wild night includes a demonstration in shibari—Japanese bondage—followed by drunk geek trivia. 

Food and Drink

NYC Vegan Festival Randall’s Island Park; Oct 1; 11am; $20
If you’re vegan and you know it, head to Randall’s Island Park to be among your fellow herbivores. This festival not only includes animal-product-free comfort food from V-Spot, Cinnamon Snail and Champs Diner, but also craft brews, wine and spirits. 

Dinner with Friends Wythe Hotel; Oct 4–Dec 6; 6pm; $75
“Bon Appétit” and Reynard restaurant in Wythe Hotel are teaming up to host east-meets-west dinner parties for those itching for some West Coast fare. For one night a month until December, LA, San Fran and Portland chefs will bring their culinary skills to serve at a dinner party celebrating the release of their new cookbooks.   

NYC Food and Wine Festival various locations; Oct 12–15; various prices
One of the largest food festivals is back again. In four blowout days, attend gastronomic happenings with celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray and Scott Conant. The biggest one will most certainly be the 10th anniversary party for Smorgasburg at Pier 92. 

New York Coffee Festival Metropolitan Pavilion; Oct 13–15; 9:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm; $24.50–$90
Try not to get too wired at this java jubilee with more than 100 vendors doling out brew samples. Try cups from Bluestone Lane, Devoción, Nobletree and Marzocco, along with participating in interactive demonstrations, workshops and a coffee cocktail bar. 

Cider Week NYC various locations; Oct 20–29; various prices
Pumpkin might be the king of fall, but cider is the queen. Celebrate the apple-based beverage by attending events across the city, like a grand opening party at Bad Seed Brooklyn Tap Room, a cider market in Union Square, and a talk and tastings at Fools Gold.


ParamoreOct 18pm; $39.50–$79.50
With its new album, After Laughter, Paramore pairs its emo-pop with a new '80s-inspired musical direction. The result is another inescapably catchy winner. 

METZOct 4, 5; 9pm; $20
Exuberantly unhinged Toronto noise-punk trio METZ brings its tight, thrilling show to town behind its new LP, Strange Peace.

Future IslandsOct 10–128pm; $30–$35
Eccentric Baltimore synth-pop crew hits town for a trio of gigs behind its affecting latest, The Far Field. Watch out for its athletic, disarmingly emotive vocalist, Samuel T. Herring, one of the most transfixing performers on the planet.

Japanese BreakfastOct 128pm; $15
One of our favorite rising indie-pop songwriters, Michelle Zauner plays a gig behind her stellar latest, Soft Sounds From Another Planet, which features a revamped sound that veers from shoegaze into ’80s synth-pop.

George Clinton and Parliament-FunkadelicOct 318pm; $45
The godfather of interplanetary funk lands the mothership in Times Square for a night of ass-liberating tunes...on Halloween no less. 


Blade Runner 2049
A Blade Runner sequel isn’t really a long-held dream of sci-fi fans; it’s more like a threat. Why ruin the reputation of a perfect movie? Still, if anyone’s going to pull it off with grace and depth, it’s Arrival director Denis Villeneuve, who, with the blessing of original filmmaker Ridley Scott, is doubling down on the dare of the year. Along for the ride is Ryan Gosling, hanging up his dancing shoes for a flatfoot’s gait. Some dude named Harrison Ford is in it too. Oct 6

The Florida Project
Following up his inspired Tangerine, indie wunderkind Sean Baker continues his celebration of communities on the margins. This time his gaze falls on the rambunctious, largely unsupervised children who live in a ratty motel on the outskirts of Disney World. Even as single parents struggle to make the rent, these kids dream big in a movie that vibrates with compassion and energy. Anchoring it all is Willem Dafoe as the building’s manager and Christ-like guardian; the role might be his Oscar ticket. Oct 6

Walking Out
Someone needed to take up the mantle of nature-inspired filmmaker Carroll Ballard (The Black Stallion), and codirecting brothers Alex and Andrew J. Smith are just the guys to do it. Suffused with Montana-shot gorgeousness, existential panic and hard-earned, bruised affection, this survival story—about a boy and his dad stuck in an unforgiving wilderness with a bear on their tail—will fill your heart to bursting. Oct 6 

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Noah Baumbach has become so expert at mining a certain brainy urban dissatisfaction, it's easy to underrate how wise his films have become. His latest, a penetrating under-dad's-shadow film, is in the same league as The Squid and the Whale but an evolution, too. As semi-estranged adult brothers, Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller have never been better, but the real star is the script: “You were both such middle-aged men in the making,” someone observes of them, and the comment sticks. Oct 13

Director Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, Carol) pays acute attention to the difficulties of outsiders railing against expectations. If his latest drama, based on the YA book by Hugo’s Brian Selznick about two deaf children having adventures in separate decades, feels a little tame for him, know that the movie’s compassion is voluminous. It also re-creates a grungy ’70s NYC with pitch-perfect accuracy; you have to see it for that alone. Oct 20 


“Max Ernst: Beyond Painting” Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); through Jan 1, $25, seniors $18, students $14, children under 16 free. For discounts, order tickets in advance at Fri 4–8pm free. Film tickets free with museum admission; screenings-only admission $12, seniors $10, students $8, children under 16 free
One of the giants of modern art, Ernst (1891–1976) was a pioneer of both Dadaism and Surrealism. His work, distinguished by its dark, dreamlike imagery, reflected the cataclysmic changes in Europe resulting from World War I. This survey focuses on his restless experimentation with unorthodox materials.

“Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” New Museum of Contemporary Art; through Jan 21; $16, seniors $14, students $10, children under 18 free. Thu 7–9pm pay as you wish with a suggested minimum of $2
As the 2016 election demonstrated, the United States’ culture wars, and the battle over identity politics, is far from finished. With developments like the ban on transgender people in the military hanging in the air, New Museum has assembled an intergenerational roster of more than 40 contemporary artists whose works explore the perennially contested issue of gender fluidity.

“Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Oct 6–Jan 7, $25, seniors (65+) and students with valid ID $18, children under 12 free. Sat 5:45–7:45pm pay what you wish. $25, seniors and students with ID $18, members and children under 12 accompanied by an adult free
The years between Beijing's Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 and the 2008 financial crises saw the rise of China as a global superpower whose emergence on the world stage was mirrored by the explosive growth of its contemporary art scene. This exhibit, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind to date, takes the measure of this period with a roundup of 150 works by more than 70 artists and art collectives from China. 

“Modigliani Unmasked” The Jewish Museum; through Feb 4, $15, seniors $12, students $7.50, visitors 18 and under free. Sat free. Thu 5–8pm pay what you wish
This selection of works tracks the early career of Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920) shortly after the Italian artist’s arrival in Paris in 1906. The show spotlights the role his Jewish background played in the evolution of his art.

“Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting” MoMA PS1; Oct 22–Mar 11, suggested donation $10, seniors and students $5
This doyen of New York’s downtown avant-garde during the ’50s and ’60s was an early performance-art pioneer known for fearlessly employing her own nude body as an artistic instrument—both on film and before live audiences. This retrospective revisits her often controversial 60-year career.


Junk at the Vivian Beaumont Theater; starts Oct 5; $87–$147
The latest from Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar (Disgraced) tracks the rise of ruthless corporate raiders and the weaponization of debt in the ’80s, with Rescue Me’s Steven Pasquale playing the leader of the ravenous pack. 

Strange Interlude at Irondale Center; Oct 6–Nov 18; $59, with dinner $75, VIP $99
David Greenspan brings his golden archness to a solo version of Eugene O'Neill's nine-act, six-hour stream-of-consciousness 1928 drama, a decades-spanning epic about love and mourning and insanity and abortion.

The Band's Visit at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre; starts Oct 7; $59–$189
Itamar Moses and David Yazbek’s gentle, humane musical, about Egyptian musicians stranded in a small Israeli desert town, racked up multiple awards last season. Now it moves to Broadway with most of its original cast, including Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk.

Butterfly at the Cort Theatre; starts Oct 7; $39–$227
Clive Owen plays a French diplomat who falls for a Chinese opera star with secrets up her long sleeves in a revival of David Henry Hwang’s groundbreaking 1988 play, directed by the visionary Julie Taymor (The Lion King).

Burning Doors at La MaMa Experimental Theatre; Oct 12–22; $30
Belarus Free Theatre, which has faced violent repression in its home country, returns to La MaMa with a play about art under dictatorship. The cast includes Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina, whose imprisonment in Russia drew international attention in 2012.


Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company: A Letter to My Nephew at BAM Harvey Theater; Oct 3–7; $30–$60
Jones returns to BAM's Next Wave Festival with an impressionistic piece that situates the history of his critically ill nephew, dancer Lance T. Biggs, within a larger sociopolitical context. 

Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center; Oct 2–14; $15
City Center's super-affordable festival is a smorgasbord for dance lovers. Each evening features a sampling of international superstars and local favorites: 20 companies and artists take part in five different programs. 

Marc Bamuthi Joseph: /peh—LO—tah/ at BAM Harvey Theater; Oct 18–21; $20–$55
Haitian-American poet, storyteller and performer Bamuthi draws connections between dancing and playing soccer in a piece whose choreography, by Stacy Printz, draws inspiration from South African and Brazilian traditions. 

American Ballet Theatre at the David H. Koch Theater; Oct 18–Oct 29; $25–$155
The venerable company returns for a two-week fall season. World-premiere ballets by Alexei Ratmansky and Benjamin Millepied are among the offerings, along with works by Jessica Lang, Frederick Ashton and Jerome Robbins.

The Red Shoes at New York City Center; Oct 26–Nov 5; $35–$135
Dance auteur Matthew Bourne (Swan Lake) returns to New York with his first new production in four years: an acclaimed adaptation of the beloved 1948 ballet weepie about a ballerina torn between love and art. Ashley Shaw and Sara Mearns alternate in the leading role.

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