Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right 101 things to do in New York City: Fall 2012

101 things to do in New York City: Fall 2012

Your essential guide to the season’s best things to do in New York City—festivals, parties, hot new spots and more—makes like a leaf and drops.

Immersive Surfaces by The Leo Kuelbs Collection at the 2011 Dumbo Arts Festival
Photograph: courtesy Dumbo Arts Festival Immersive Surfaces by The Leo Kuelbs Collection at the 2011 Dumbo Arts Festival

It's not too hot. It's not too cold. In fact, the temperature's just right. Find out how to take advantage of fall in New York with these essential things to do in New York City. We've got events and activities that range from wholesome county fairs (pig-racing anyone? We've got a monkey on the pot-bellied swine.), to a veritable army of women your mother warned you about at the New York Burlesque Festival.

Tatzu Nishi: Discovering Columbus, artist's concept exterior
Courtesy: the artist and Public Art Fund

Get up close and personal with Christopher Columbus

With the help of the Public Art Fund, the Japanese artist is building a living room atop the monument in Columbus Circle. The elevated platform will give the public a previously unseen view of Central Park and midtown, along with the opportunity to look the statue in the eye, recline on couches to watch TV and admire Nishi’s custom-designed wallpaper of American pop-culture icons. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance for the chance to climb six stories to the home away from home. (Elevator access is available for those who require special assistance.) Registration opens September 12 via

Walkway Over the Hudson
Photograph: courtesy Walkway Over the Hudson

Go upstate to see the autumn leeeeeeaves (of red and gooooold)

Less than two hours’ drive from Manhattan, Walkway Over the Hudson (87 Haviland Rd, Highland, NY; 845-454-9649, is Poughkeepsie’s answer to the High Line. The former railroad overpass is more than a mile long, making it the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. And smack dab in the middle of that walkway—perched 212 feet above the Hudson River and surrounded by the Catskills—is where you’ll find a spectacular, 360-degree view of fall in all its colorful glory along the banks of the river. If hoofing it isn’t your style, board the Rip Van Winkle (1 East Strand St, Kingston NY; 845-843-7472,; ten-person minimum, $15 per person) for a two-hour narrated Fall Foliage cruise. Your guide will also point out some of the area’s stately mansions, photoworthy lighthouses and other historic sites. Find more places in New York state to see fall foliage.

39th Annual Village Halloween Parade
Photograph: Virginia Rollison
Things to do

March in the Village Halloween Parade

As the Mayan calendar counts down and humanity prepares to (maybe) clock out, don’t put off taking part in this huge masquerade—it could be the last. Every parade begins with a procession of macabre puppets, and organizers are certainly tempting fate with this year’s theme of time. While the spectacle is still being finalized, expect plenty of clocks with wings (time flies—ha!) and white rabbits frantically checking watches. The puppets and creations are made by famed groups such as Superior Concept Monsters, the Madagascar Institute, the Puppeteers’ Cooperative and Basil Twist’s studio, and music comes courtesy of the Hungry March Band. Sign up via now to volunteer to be a puppeteer or a performer in the procession. Spots are filling up faster than usual so hurry—tick-tock, tick-tock.… If time runs away with you, just turn up in costume on the night to walk with the throng up Sixth Avenue (start at Sixth Ave between Canal and Spring Sts; Oct 31 6:30–8:30pm).

Sports and fitness, Stadiums

Check out the Barclays Center

Prospect Heights

Some may have railed against the controversial Atlantic Yards development, but we must admit we're getting excited, especially for the first Brooklyn Nets home game against the Knicks on Nov 1. Jay-Z opens proceedings with a string of sold-out shows, and should challenge the Guinness World Record for the number of times an artist can say "Brooklyn" during a concert. Other highlights on the schedule include Kentucky versus Maryland in the stadium's first collegiate basketball game, the Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and concerts by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Justin Bieber, Journey, Rush, Barbra Streisand and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli (the possibility of highbrow fare presented by BAM is also a big plus).

"Imagining the LowLine" rendering

Preview the Lowline

It’s a daring idea: Build the world’s first underground park in a disused trolly terminal on the Lower East Side, using technology that funnels sunlight below street level so plants can photosynthesize. Since announcing the proposal, the project has raised more than $150,000 through Kickstarter (it met its initial target of 100 large in one week), signed up Audi as a corporate sponsor and got the city and the MTA’s ear, taking an important step towards saving us from death by Morlocks. This fall, it unveils “Imagining the Lowline,” demonstrating the solar technology it plans to employ with a small-scale indoor park in Essex Market Building D, an abandoned warehouse space. A range of programming is planned, including talks and a pair of indoor street fairs (Sept 16, 23) featuring local businesses. There will also be a companion exhibit, “Experiments in Motion” by Audi and Columbia University's School of Architecture, proposing new methods of urban transport and displaying a 50-foot-long model of Manhattan’s current subway system. Various times, see for details

Catch the next big thing in indie rock

For five days in October, the CMJ Music Marathon hosts more than 1,000 gigs throughout the city, offering music lovers a chance to see bands on the verge of a breakthrough. The initial lineup for this year’s onslaught is very promising. On the up-and-comers front, we suggest checking out King Tuff, a Cali outfit that delivers infectious garage-tinged songs and fun, sweaty live shows, and Baltimore’s grungey-rock crew Roomrunner. The fest also draws already-established favorites like local indie-rock heroes the Walkmen and upbeat folkies the Mountain Goats.


Mingle with culinary stars at the NYC Wine & Food Festival

Food Network celebs join a slew of NYC’s top toques for this annual celebration, which consists of a nonstop stream of tastings, workshops, lectures and parties. Book now for sure-to-sell-out marquee events such as the Burger Bash with Rachael Ray (Oct 12; $225), Meatball Madness with Giada De Laurentiis (Oct 11; $175), Trucks and Tracks with Andrew Zimmern (Oct 14; $150) and the star-studded Grand Tasting (Oct 13, 14; $195 per day). Many of the panel discussions cost as little as $20, but if you’ve got cash to burn, the festival’s dinner series is as high-profile as ever: Feast on Korean barbecue prepared by Roy Choi with Jean-Georges and Marja Vongerichten (Oct 12; $300), or collect autographs at the Bouley Alumni Dinner, which features a dozen chefs including Dan Silverman, Anita Lo, Kerry Heffernan and Dan Barber (Oct 11; $400).

Fashion's Night Out, Uptown
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Cavort with the beautiful people at Fashion’s Night Out

For one night a year, shoppers can stay out late and mingle with some of the biggest names in fashion: More than 700 local shops will keep their doors open late, hosting sales and events, and enabling celebrity sightings ranging from Kim Kardashian to Anna Wintour.

Photograph: Francine Daveta

Be tantalized at the New York Burlesque Festival

The cream of the burly-Q world converges upon Gotham for this tenth annual four-day festival of tease. Visiting tassel-twirlers include Australia’s Imogen Kelly, Japan’s Cherry Typhoon and Italy’s Guiditta Sin, but there’s plenty of local talent to leer at, including Gin Minsky, Darlinda Just Darlinda, Harvest Moon and Angie Pontani. The action kicks off with the Teaser party at the Bell House (Sept 27 at 8pm; $15, advance $10), then moves to Brooklyn Bowl for the Premiere Party (Sept 28 at 8pm; $10), hosted by Scotty the Blue Bunny. Murray “Mr. Showbiz” Hill comperes the supper-clubby Saturday Spectacular at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (Sept 29 at 7:30pm; $30, advance $25; VIP $70, advance VIP $65), with 40 performers and a live jazz big band. The feathered fest ends with the Golden Pastie Awards at Highline Ballroom (Sept 30 at 8pm; $30, advance $25; VIP seating $45, advance VIP seating $40), hosted by Miss Astrid and featuring an appearance by Tempest Storm, a burlesque icon of the 1950s and ’60s.

Do good things, see a great show

Global Festival 2012 takes a novel approach to the benefit concert. Fans who want to see Neil Young, the Foo Fighters, the Black Keys, Band of Horses and rapper K’Naan in Central Park need to help out the Global Citizen Project, which combats extreme poverty, for a chance to win tickets. Register at to find out what the campaign wants you to do, such as watching an awareness-building video, sharing material on social media, donating to an affiliated nonprofit, signing a petition or writing a letter to Congress. Each deed earns you credits, and three credits enters you into a lottery to win a pair of tickets to the gig. Increase your chances by continuing to rack up credits—every five points yields one more entry into the lottery. If you’re cash rich but time poor, VIP tickets are available ($189.50–$489.50).

Joshua Light Show
Photograph: Linder Genz courtesy Transmedia
Music, Jazz

Freak out to the Joshua Light Show

“Liquid light” artist Joshua White provided consummately trippy backdrops for Fillmore East performances during the hippie-rock era (not to mention the memorable illuminations during that acid-party scene in Midnight Cowboy). This September, White aligns with some of today’s vanguard outfits for a downtown residency. Musical guests include percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and harpist Zeena Parkins (Sept 13); minimalist icon Terry Riley and his guitarist son Gyan (Sept 14 at 7:30pm); the heavyweight improv quartet of John Zorn, Lou Reed, Bill Laswell and Milford Graves (Sept 14 at 10pm); MGMT mainmen Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden (Sept 15); and international party-starters Debo Band and Forro in the Dark (Sept 16).

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait 
Photograph: © 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Admire Warhol's influence

The Pope of Pop’s enormous impact on contemporary art is examined in this blockbuster of a show, which brings together works by Warhol with those of 60 other artists he influenced. Organized into themes such as “Daily News: From Banality to Disaster” and “Portraiture: Celebrity and Power,” the survey features just about every contemporary art heavyweight you can think of: Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman are among the names topping the list. It’s a postmodern art blowout.

Health and beauty, Massage and body treatments

Find serenity in the city

Relaxation is yours for a mere $50 during Spa Week, when more than 100 venues throughout the city discount up to three services of their choosing. Specials include a 60-minute facial at SKN Spa, with a 24-karat gold masque (usually $130), a facial peel with cell-stimulating botanicals from exhale (originally $125) and a spiced eden pedicure from Red Door Spa (usually $85). Fair warning: Many services will be fully booked within hours after reservations become available on Sept 10.

New Yorker Festival 2011
Photograph: courtesy the New Yorker

Snag tickets to the New Yorker festival

Get your ticket-purchasing finger ready now: This collection of events featuring New Yorker writers, editors, cartoonists, and many of their subjects from television, music, film and literature sells out quickly. Details for this year’s schedule are announced on Sept 4 and tickets go on sale Sept 14. You can count on of-the-moment discussions and screenings similar to last year’s marquee events, which featured Amy Poehler, Zach Galifianakis, Andy Borowitz and Janet Malcolm. Here’s what we know for sure: The new lineup includes performances by three local acoustic ensembles or indie singer-songwriters who will be chosen to play at Joe’s Pub, the festival’s official hangout. Visit for details.

Things to do, Walks and tours

Go behind the scenes during Open House New York

This annual festival gives attendees access to some of the city’s coolest and most exclusive architectural sites and landmarks. This year, participants can check out new sites such as Williamsburg’s new Wythe Hotel (located in a converted factory building); Prospect Park’s Lakeside complex, which is scheduled to open in 2013; and the Public Theater, which will be showing off its renovated home. You can also check out old favorites such as the New York Marble Cemetery, which is rarely open to the public, and the High Line. The full lineup will be available on September 26, and you can start making reservations the following day. But take note: Tours and programs that require an R.S.V.P. ($5) fill up fast.

Things to do

Have the bejesus scared out of you at the Nightmare haunted house

If the usual Halloween rank and file (zombies, vampires, slutty angels) don’t set your knees knocking, perhaps an immersion into the world of real psychopaths who have lived—and are still living—among us will. Nightmare creator Tim Haskell joined malevolent forces with Steve Kopelman (producer of Arizona’s haunted house the Nest) for the most recent installment of his popular haunted house. Like Jersey Shore, Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House mines frightening entertainment from real-world events: This year’s theme focuses on historical and contemporary serial killers such as Ted Bundy, Albert Fish and the Zodiac killer. There’s even an associated exhibit of personal effects belonging to infamous murderers, sure to make your skin crawl.

Kevin Hart performs as part of the New York Comedy Festival, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in New York City in the fall
Photograph: Hannibal Matthews

Crack up at the New York Comedy Festival

The city’s largest stand-up celebration just gets bigger every year. This edition’s most-buzzed-about headliner has to be the confessional Kevin Hart, who’s playing a pair of shows at Madison Square Garden. But if you’d rather skip the tumult of the arena, check out solo shows, podcast tapings, a short-film contest, special editions of several local variety nights, and conversations with luminaries including Robin Williams and Ricky Gervais.

Photograph: Courtesy New York Botanical Garden
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Behold the colorful, slow death of the leaves

The Bronx

Natural death in the animal kingdom is a sad, heartrending thing, but when it comes to plants, it’s vibrant and photogenic. New York’s city parks contain a wealth of spots where you can witness the beautiful decay and crunch through piles of foliage, but we’re partial to the New York Botanical Garden’s Thain Family Forest, a 50-acre thicket near the Bronx River. The woodland space is the city’s largest patch of old-growth forest (with some trees dating to the 18th century), boasting numerous species, such as oak, hickory and maple. Keep an eye out for sweet gums, whose star-shaped leaves turn red and purple as autumn progresses, and tulip trees and hickories which display vivid golden yellows. Go during the Forest Weekends (Nov 3, 4, 10, 11) to take guided walks with NYBG docents and volunteers.

Not Fade Away

Watch big-ticket premieres at the New York Film Festival

This annual treat for cinéastes celebrates its 50th year this fall. The most buzzed about offerings at this cinematic feast are the world premieres of Not Fade Away, the first directorial feature by Sopranos creator David Chase, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and Robert Zemeckis’s Flight. Other notable showings include Austrian provocateur Michael Haneke’s Amour, which nabbed the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, which reunites the writer-director with Greenberg star Greta Gerwig, who cowrote the script. Visit for more information

Things to do

Cheer on thousands of New York City Marathon runners

More than 40,000 marathoners hotfoot it (or puff, pant and stagger) through all five boroughs over a 26.2mile course. Stake out a lively spot—we recommend along Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, First Avenue between 60th and 96th Streets in Manhattan or Central Park South near the finish line—to cheer on the passing throngs. Get there early to catch the elite competitors, who start at 9:10 (women) and 9:40am (men), or later in the day as amateurs flood the streets. Staggered starts begin on the Staten Island side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 8:30am.

Attractions, Parks and gardens

See the Manhattan skyline from a new vantage point

Roosevelt Island

It’s been 40 years since Mayor John Lindsay and Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller announced plans for a memorial to commemorate President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 address to Congress. Set to open this October, the four-acre FDR Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island was designed by renowned architect Louis I. Kahn and anchors a large waterfront space along the East River. History buffs will enjoy reading about Roosevelt’s leadership on a digital network accessible through the park’s Wi-Fi, while others can appreciate the serene grounds, dotted with 120 linden trees and offering sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.

Pogo during a rockin’ outdoor concert

Alfresco concert season might be winding down, but there are still a few choice open-air gigs worth checking out. Case in point: The daylong blowout Riot Fest, which goes down at the new Williamsburg Park and features gypsy-punk party-starters Gogol Bordello, first-wave pop-punkers Descendents, Florida punk-rock crew Hot Water Music and other sweat-inducing acts.

Things to do

Coo over dogs in costumes

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 the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade. The getups are remarkably elaborate and conceptual. Last year, we saw dogs dressed as Lady Gaga, a peacock and an A train (complete with a stuffed rat). Enterprising owners stand to win prizes if their pooch is selected Best in Show, so start planning Fido’s outfit now.

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Build puppets for the Village Halloween Parade

Join parade organizers and the master puppeteers from Superior Concept Monsters for a day of hands-on crafting in a charming old barn upstate, near Rhinebeck. Jobs range from the mundane (there’s a lot of papier-mâché to be made) to the sophisticated (such as welding), depending on your skill set, but all get to enjoy the bonhomie and an automatic spot in the parade. A round-trip Zipcar ride is provided, and volunteers are treated to two homemade meals, a constant supply of coffee, hot apple cider and doughnuts. The day comes to a close with beers and a bonfire by the Hudson. Find out more with our report from last year’s Village Halloween Parade puppet raising. Sign up via

Frank Ocean headlines All Tomorrow's Parties, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in New York City in the fall
Photograph: Nabil Elderkin

Stay in town and go to All Tomorrow's Parties: I'll Be Your Mirror USA 2012

Formerly a premier out-of-town getaway, ATP has become a staycation opportunity. The vibe may not be as homey as in years past, but the booking is every bit as shrewd: Frank Ocean, the year's buzziest R&B eccentric, headlines, with support from darkly sensual Cincinnati alt-rockers the Afghan Whigs (whose frontman, Greg Dulli, curated the fest), inspired intergenerational composers' collabo Philip Glass and Tyondai Braxton, Montreal avant-prog orchestra Godspeed You! Black Emperor, hip-hop tastemakers the Roots and more. With a lineup like that, we'll happily be their mirror—whatever that means.

Comedy, Stand-up

See Jer in Staten Island

Though it’s been 14 years since the end of Jerry Seinfeld's beloved “show about nothing,” the affable New Yorker thrills fans this fall with a return to both his comedic and geographic roots. This series of headlining shows will take place over five Thursday nights in October and November, and Seinfeld has come up with the perfect gimmick: There’s one in each borough. By the end of the run, we expect he’ll have mined enough area-specific faux pas to do another new hour of material.

Things to do, Festivals

Follow the deliciousness to Governors Island

Now in its eighth year, the Vendy Awardss celebrate the city’s ever-growing ranks of mobile eateries doling out honors in categories such as Dessert, Rookie and—new this year—Market Vendor. More than 25 finalists will park on Governors Island and dole out their signature grub. Cast your vote for the People’s Taste Award alongside official judges such as Eddie Huang (Baohaus), Kate Krader (restaurant editor at Food & Wine) and Brooklyn rappers Das Racist. An open bar stocked with win and Brooklyn Brewery suds should help ease the time spent waiting in line. Visit for tickets.

Things to do, Talks and lectures

Visit a museum for free

Download a voucher from to receive two free tickets to one of 28 New York City museums and cultural centers during Museum Day Live! Participating big-name institutions include the Brooklyn Museum, which opens one of its major fall shows, “Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe,” on Sept 28; El Museo del Barrio and the Studio Museum in Harlem, two of the three museums hosting “Caribbean: Crossroads of the World”; and the New-York Historical Society, which premieres “Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School” on Sept 21.

Things to do, Walks and tours

Yell “Avast, ye scurvy dogs!” at PirateCon

Full seafaring attire is mandatory at this pirate-themed bar crawl, so don’t bother turning up without a cutlass, peg leg and talking parrot on your shoulder. (Those who do not meet the head-to-toe sartorial requirements will be booted out of the crew.) You’ll also be expected to talk like a bandit of the high seas; we suggest you bone up on your buccaneer lingo on International Talk Like a Pirate Day's website ( PirateCon is free to attend, but bring plenty of cash for rum and beer, and have a MetroCard handy (or hooky). Keep your one good eye on the website 24 hours before the event, when the treasure map detailing your route will be revealed.

Attractions, Monuments and memorials

Take a trip to Lady Liberty’s reopened crown

Liberty Island

In 2011, the interior of the Statue of Liberty was closed for a yearlong renovation project that included improvements to the monument’s stairs and elevators. Access will be reinstated in late October or early November (an exact date hasn’t been set yet). Visitors will once again be able to climb the 393 steps to the inside of the statue’s crown and marvel at the view of New York Harbor. In the meantime, Liberty Island is still open to the public, should you simply want to pose in front of the iconic copper lady.

Milliners Guild parade
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do

A parade of fancy hats, well fancy that

The Milliners Guild hosts its fifth annual homage to St. Catherine, the patron saint of hatmakers, with a promenade through midtown. Wearing a variety of handcrafted toppers such as fascinators, cloches and chapeaus, up to 50 guild members, clients and hat aficionados will gather at the Millinery Center Synagogue for the rabbi to bless the parade. From there, the group strolls to Bryant Park to mill about (geddit?) and pose for photos before heading for Rockefeller Center. (Check closer to the time for information on an after-party.) All are welcome—the only stipulation being you must wear a hat. Don’t try to pass muster in your new Brooklyn Nets cap; we recommend perusing the debonair wares at these New York hat shops first.
Pablo Picasso, Reclining Woman Reading on display at the Guggenheim's "Picasso Black and White" exhibition, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in New York City in the fall
Photograph: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Marvel at artworks by Picasso at the Guggenheim

As in every other category of art, Picasso dominated when it came to creating works in black and white. This show, which spans almost the entirety of his career (from 1904 to 1971), doesn’t include Guernica, but it does feature 118 works on loan from museum, private, and public collections across Europe and the United States—including numerous works from the Picasso family. Don’t miss this survey of the artist’s lifelong exploration of the unlimited possibilities to be found in a limited palette.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Lose your head during a visit to Sleepy Hollow

Those seeking a spooky experience at any time of year can find it here. Immortalized in Washington Irving’s story (and later Tim Burton’s film) about the murderous Headless Horseman, Sleepy Hollow is proud of its exceptionally creepy lore (to wit: the local high school’s athletics team is the Horsemen). The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (540 N Broadway; 914-631-0081,; Mon–Fri 8am–4:30pm, Sat–Sun 8:30am–4:30pm; free) gives day-trippers plenty of time to explore the 90-acre grounds. You’ll find almost as many famous New Yorkers there as at Brooklyn’s famed Green-Wood: Take your own self-guided tour (free maps are available), and look out for the graves of Elizabeth Arden, Brooke Astor and Irving himself. You can also opt for a guided tour during the day (Sat, Sun at 2pm; $19.99; reservations required; Sept 1–Oct 28), or a more bone-chilling one at night, when your host leads you through the grounds with a lantern (various times; $24.99; reservations required; Sept 1–Oct 31). Travel: Metro-North’s Hudson Line to Philipse Manor. Round-trip off-peak hours $9–$10, peak hours $12–24.

Ignacio Mattos (Isa)
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Take a culinary tour of Brooklyn with Le Grand Fooding

Always one of the hottest culinary events of the season, this year’s Le Grand Fooding focuses on the borough of Brooklyn during a four-night dinner series in which Kings County chefs join forces with national and international talent. The teams consist of Brian Leth (Vinegar Hill House) with Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (L.A.’s Animal) on September 19; Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli  (Frankies Spuntino 457) with farm-to-table champion Sean Brock (Charleston, SC’s Husk) on September 20; and Neal Harden and Alain Senderens (Maimonide of Brooklyn) creating a vegan feast with Daniel Rose (Paris’s Spring) on September 21. The final dinner on September 22 invites currently kitchenless chefs—Ignacio Mattos (ex-Isa), Hugue Dufour (formerly of M. Wells), and from across the pond, Isaac McHale and James Lowe of the Young Turks—to collaborate on an art-and-dining experience at the Intercourse, artist Dustin Yellin’s new arts complex in Red Hook. TONY readers can access Mastercard presale tickets; each pass includes a dinner tasting menu and a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Theater, Off Broadway

Check out the Public Theater’s redone digs


On October 4, the cultural staple and TONY favorite rededicates its home in the East Village (10am; free; reservations required, via after a four-year, $40 million renovation. The grand opening is the start of eight weeks of programming to celebrate the revived building. Among the offerings are a Block Party and Open House (Lafayette St between Astor Pl and E 4th St; Oct 13 noon–5pm; free) with tours of the building, performances, information on the forthcoming season and food trucks. Additionally, there will be free movie nights and a series of "Public Forum Duets”: one-on-one chats between such luminaries as playwright par excellence Tony Kushner and MSNBC’s liberal-in-chief Rachel Maddow (Dec 2 at 7pm; $40, members $35). Check out the Public’s website now for complete listings—many of the events have limited space, so reserve tickets now.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5 (rendering)
Photograph: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Picnic on the new Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Heights

This waterfront park continues to expand and impress, and this fall, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy cuts the ribbon on the third of an eventual six piers, boasting a picnic area and three outdoor sports fields. While details regarding permits and league access for the (primarily soccer) pitches haven’t been finalized yet, there will be 73 picnic tables with umbrellas, 22 barbecues for warm days and two tetherball poles for a casual game—all with a million-dollar view of lower Manhattan across the East River.

Comedy, Stand-up

Chuckle at a festival celebrating comedy, Eugene Mirman

The annual Kings County Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, conceptualized by the titular Brooklyn comic, continues to be a fall highlight in the local comedy scene. The bells and whistles are still being affixed to this year’s fest, but come September, fans can look forward to a curated series of goofy gimmicks; last year’s lineup included a petting zoo and an “awkward party bus.” Already on the bill are the popular StarTalk Live! podcast taping with Neil deGrasse Tyson and an edition of Elna Baker and Kevin Townley’s Talent Show.

Bars, Beer bars

Hoist a stein (or two) during Oktoberfest

East Village

We’ve gotta hand it to the Germans: A two-week festival devoted to beer consumption is definitely our idea of a good time. Ring in Oktoberfest at East Village beer hall Zum Schneider, which celebrates the occasion with live music, special German and Austrian beers, and a selection of Bavarian goodies such as pretzels and all manner of wurst.

Phyllis B. Dooney
Things to do, Quirky events

Watch the Macy’s Parade balloon inflation

This pre–Turkey Day ritual, held near the American Museum of Natural History, has become almost as crowded as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but we prefer it to the main event. Why? We can’t stand still in one spot for hours to watch a parade—New Yorkers are like sharks in that respect; if we don’t keep moving, we die. We prefer to weave through the crowds, walking past the inflation stations to see Kermit the Frog, Julius the Paul Frank monkey, Sonic the Hedgehog, Buzz Lightyear, Santa on his sleigh et al. at our own pace. Arrive later in the evening, when the gigantic characters have taken shape; the crowds are at their peak, so you can also show off the famed New York sidewalk shuffle.

Cruise for a cause at Bike MS NYC

With the economy still in the doldrums, nonprofits need more support than ever. Raise funds for the National MS Society, which is helping to find the cause and a cure for multiple sclerosis, on this annual ride. Three routes are offered, the shortest being a 30-mile jaunt around Manhattan. Opt for the 50- or 100-mile rides, and you'll haul ass under the Hudson River through the Holland Tunnel before taking a scenic, traffic-free path that winds through New Jersey and upstate New York; you'll ride back into the city by way of the George Washington Bridge. Reservations required.

Things to do, Festivals

Forgo soda and stale popcorn and chow down at the NYC Food Film Festival

Food-obsessed cinephiles can eat and drink what they see on the big screen during this innovative film festival: Each viewing party matches a collection of cuisine-related documentaries, shorts and features with top-notch tastings seen in the screenings. The flicks include a documentary short about a Canadian-maple farm; behind-the-scenes looks at New York eateries Kasadela, Egg, Bark Hot Dogs and Wooly’s Ices; a lesson on making Vietnamese coffee; and an account of Daniel Boulud, Bill Telepan and David Bouley’s goodwill mission to Japan after last year’s tsunami. Check closer to the time for a full schedule and details of the events on offer, such as a Lowcountry oyster roast featuring South Carolina bivalves.

David Bryne is one of the speakers at Live from the NYPL, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in New York City in the fall
Photograph: catalina kulczar-marin
Museums, Natural history

Listen to luminaries at the New York Public Library

Midtown West

After a summer break, the speaker series Live from the NYPL returns with a killer fall lineup, including a number of free offerings. Highlights of ticketed events include: Paul Auster (Oct 1 at 7pm) discussing his most recent offering, Winter’s Journal; the Who guitarist Pete Townshend (Oct 8 at 7:30pm) reminiscing about his career on the day his memoir, Who I Am, is published; New Journalism trailblazer Tom Wolfe (Nov 28 at 7pm) looking back on his career and at his new work, Back to Blood; and the ever-creative David Byrne (Dec 5 at 7pm) holding forth on his much-anticipated release, How Music Works. Have your credit card ready: Tickets ($25, seniors and students $15) for all these events go on sale September 7.

Things to do, Quirky events

Avoid the slutty costume brigade at PhantasmaGorey Grand Victorian Halloween Ball

Shien Lee's Dances of Vice, never a crew to do things halfway, sets up shop in the grand Riverside Church for its annual All Hallows' Eve salute to the dark-tinged whimsy of Edward Gorey. Miss Astrid, Johanna Constantine, Cassandra Rosebeetle, Sequinette and Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra are but a small sampling of the uncommon performers and artists on hand.

Circle Line's Bear Mountain Cruise

Drink beer on Bear Mountain

Get out of the city and hoist a stein alfresco at Bear Mountain State Park. Starting in mid-September through the end of October, Circle Line is offering return cruises along the Hudson River, allowing day-trippers three hours to roam the park. Nature lovers can hike and bike more than 100 miles of trails; beer lovers can make a beeline for Oktoberfest festivities at Bear Mountain Inn, which include Bavarian entertainment, food and brews ($3–$23). (212-563-3200, $50, with bike rental $79.

Music, Rock and indie

Watch the Who perform Quadrophenia

Last summer, NYC was treated to Roger Waters’s (by all accounts stellar) performance of Pink Floyd’s The Wall at Yankee Stadium. This fall, another essential double album from the ’70s gets the live treatment: the Who’s Quadrophenia. In November and December, the band’s two surviving members (Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey) perform the smash LP in full—as well as a few other classic tracks—in Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey. Rock-opera nerds, rejoice.

Roast an author

The success of the ubiquitous comedy trend in the literary world might sound like a long shot; but this event, part of BAM and Greenlight Bookstore’s new ongoing collaboration, Unbound, has been impeccably cast. Who better to excoriate than Shteyngart, the self-effacing and amiable author of playfully satiric novels Super Sad True Love Story and Absurdistan? And with writers adept at slinging barbs on the dais—including Jay McInerney and Sloane Crosley—laughs are guaranteed. If you’re still not convinced, google Shteyngart’s book trailer for Super Sad—it reveals him to be a clever ham who knows how to take a joke.

Things to do

Get wild at the West Indian–American Day Carnival

Now in its 45th year, this Labor Day carnival is the largest outdoor summer event of its kind in the country, drawing close to two million people to Crown Heights in Brooklyn. It aims to preserve and celebrate Caribbean culture in New York, and this year there is even more reason to party: 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of Trinidadian and Jamaican independence. During the main parade, steel-pan and calypso bands in elaborate costumes march down Eastern Parkway, and vendors sell homestyle island grub along the route. There are also a number of lead-up events taking place at the Brooklyn Museum. Check out the Brass Fest concert, headlined by soca star Machel Montano (Aug 31 at 8pm; $45), watch 11 steel orchestras face off at the Steel Band Panorama competition (Sept 1 at 8pm; $40), and hear some of the best calypso artists in the world at the Dimanche Gras show, featuring Calypso Rose and King Ajamu (Sept 2 at 7pm; $30).

Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown
Attractions, Public spaces

Pull an all-nighter before the carnival

Prospect Heights

French for “daybreak,” J’ouvert is the irreverent predawn festival held before the West Indian–American Day Carnival. The tradition was started back in 1937 by the Trinidadians, who apparently really know how to party—why sleep before a seven-hour carnival when you could be carousing instead? Revelers often dress up as political figures or celebrities and throw powdered paint at each other, while steel drums and whistles provide the celebratory soundtrack. Word to the wise: Wear good walking shoes, since the preparade parade traverses more than two miles, starting at Grand Army Plaza and culminating at Nostrand Avenue and Linden Boulevard.

Things to do

Have an early Oktoberfest at the German-American Steuben Parade

Celebrate America’s rich German heritage at the 55th annual parade, where there will be no shortage of steins, pigtails and other reminders of our fun-loving Prussian cousins. A sold-out Oktoberfest in Central Park will follow the procession. But don’t worry if you didn’t nab tix, as NYC boasts plenty of places to hoist a huge German brew. Check our roundup of the best outdoor drinking destinations for a few ideas on where to hold court post-parade.

Piero Passacantando, "I paint you. You paint me." Art in Odd Places: MODEL
Photograph: Aline Shkurovich
Things to do

Get out of the museum and into the Art in Odd Places festival

Responsible for thousands of only-in–New York moments, this annual fest brings work from more than 100 artists to 14th Street. This year’s theme is “model,” in varying senses of the word: In Piero Passacantando’s dueling-easels piece “I paint you. You paint me.” participants model for the artist and vice versa; “Swagger: The High Cost of Zombie Capital” will turn 14th Street into a runway. Visit on Sept 1 for a full list of projects.

Things to do, Event spaces

Commune with other geeks during New York Comic Con

Hell's Kitchen

Snag your tickets now for this annual celebration of all things nerdy, as they're likely to sell out long before the event happens. Although the schedule for 2012 is still under wraps, expect to see big names from TV and film (such as Adam West and Burt Ward—the original Batman and Robin—and Back to the Future's Christopher Lloyd), along with writers like Anne Rice and Brian K. Vaughan. After hitting a few panels, make sure to take a stroll through the Javits Center: Part of the fun of Comic Con is gawking at all of the revelers who've shown up in elaborate costumes. (We're expecting a lot of groups dressed as the Avengers getting into rumbles with armies of Dark Knights this year.)

New York State Fair
Photograph: Philip Scalia

Spend a day (or three) at the New York State Fair

It may be a five-hour drive to Syracuse, but once you’re there, you’ll have a weekend’s worth of entertainment at your fingertips for just a Hamilton a day—from thrill rides to art exhibits and circus performances. Snap a picture of a giant sculpture made from hundreds of pounds of butter; walk through the new monarch butterfly garden, filled with hundreds of colorful insects; watch BMX stunts by world champion Mike Steidley; cheer on the contestants during the pig and dachshund races; try a doughnut bacon burger ($6) or deep-fried bacon-wrapped Snickers bar ($5); and catch free concerts by Karmin, Neon Trees, the Commodores and others. Separate tickets are required for entry to the State Fair Grandstand, an outdoor venue that is hosting big-ticket shows like the State Demolition Derby Championship (Sept 3; $10). $10, advance $6, children under 12 free. Grandstand: $10–$65 (includes fairground admission).

Things to do

Honor a saint, be gluttonous

Celebrate the martyred third-century bishop and patron saint of Naples during the Feast of San Gennaro, an 11-day festival that fills the streets of Little Italy every year. Watch the professionals in action at the cannoli-eating competition (Thu 13 2–4pm) and you won't feel so bad about indulging in calorific treats from the food vendors; return daily for live musical performances. On the last Saturday at 2pm, a statue of San Gennaro is carried in a Grand Procession outside the Most Precious Blood Church (109 Mulberry St between Canal and Hester Sts).


See a big music collaboration

The team-up of affable art-pop kingpin David Byrne and brilliant St. Vincent mastermind Annie Clark is one of the year's most highly anticipated collaborations. The two present a mix of back-catalog material and music from a new joint LP, Love This Giant, over three dates.

American Ballet Theatre's Chase Finlay
Photograph: Paul Kolnik
Theater, Off Broadway

Catch American Ballet Theatre and more at New York City Center

Midtown West

The delight of ABT’s brief fall season is sure to be the premiere by Alexei Ratmansky: Set to Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9, the new work marks the first of three one-act ballets to be unveiled at the Metropolitan Opera House in the spring. Other City Center highlights include the 70th anniversary of Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, Mark Morris’s Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. The last one, in particular, is a slice of heaven.

Photograph: Dixie Sheridan
Theater, Off Broadway

Catch the second run of top-notch Fringe Fest shows

West Village

If the 188 options in this year’s Fringe Festival lineup overwhelmed you, good news: The FringeNYC Encore Series, which runs throughout September, whittles the program down considerably. Plus, the dozen or so selections for the series are chosen because they were fan or critical favorites, so you know you’re seeing something good. This year, the selected productions include 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, a cult hit that TONY associate theater editor Adam Feldman said “functions well as a quick, tasty snack”; and Independents, which TONY theater editor David Cote praised for its “warm, honest aura” and “hauntingly beautiful singing.”

Become a collector at the Affordable Art Fair

Got a wall to fill? This walk-around expo brings more than 75 galleries under one roof to display painting, sculpture, photography and other artistic media. Don’t let the name fool you: If you’re coming to buy, you should be prepared to spend in the range of three or four digits; to qualify as “affordable,” the original artworks must be priced below $10,000 (half the work will cost less than $5,000). Even if you can’t find something within your budget, you'll still get to check out pieces by a bunch of international artists, such as Irish photographer Simon Watson and fashion-world darling Graham Lott, for just $12 (or for free if you visit between 5 and 8pm on Oct 5), which is less than most major art museums charge for admission.

Things to do, Literary events

Get your literary fill at the Brooklyn Book Festival

Helping to make Brooklyn even more ridiculously bookish than it already is, this daylong fest promises dozens of readings and panel discussions, as well as the chance to rub shoulders with literary luminaries and, yes, plenty of struggling scribes like yourself. While the full lineup of events hasn’t been revealed, organizers confirm that writers such as Paul Auster, Joyce Carol Oates, Pete Hamill and Billy Collins are on the docket.

Have some fucking dinner during the Omnivore World Tour

The globe-trotting Omnivore World Tour returns to New York, celebrating jeune (“young”) cuisine through a series of free master classes and two “Fucking Dinners” ($76). The meals will be created in teams: Dominique Crenn (San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn) joins Alexandre Couillon (La Marine of Noirmoutier, France) to create their take on French cuisine at Dekalb Market; while locals Carlo Mirarchi (Roberta’s, Blanca), Brooks Headley and Mark Ladner (both Del Posto) collaborate at Blanca. The classes are equally high-profile, with Jose Ramirez (Chez Jose, ex-Isa), Christophe Dufau (France’s Les Bacchanales) and Ivan Shishkin (Moscow’s Delicatessen) among those leading workshops. This year also sees the first Omnivorous Party (Sept 23 at 1pm, free) at Dekalb Market, featuring DJs and creative riffs on American street food available for purchase.

Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire - The Arcadian or Pastoral State
Photograph: Courtesy the New-York Historical Society
Museums, History

See gorgeous masterpieces in “Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School”

Upper West Side

The New-York Historical Society created this traveling exhibit to showcase iconic paintings by artists such as Thomas Cole and Asher Brown Durand. They were part of a group called the Hudson River School, whose work depict pastoral landscapes throughout New York state. After a year on the road, the exhibit, which includes Cole's five-painting series The Course of Empire, is back at N-YHS. Visitors can see 45 of these bucolic images, which portray locales such as Niagara Falls, the Catskills and Lake George. It’s a perfect taste of the countryside for the urbanite who’s wary of wide open spaces.


Get your thrills at Fairgrounds

Reality stars Reichen Lehmkuhl (The A-List: New York) and Greg Bennett (The Real Housewives of New Jersey) are your special hosts at this all-homo night at the Six Flags amusement park, brought to you by Mark Nelson and Out In Events. Get cheap thrills on the rides, indulge in greasy food and flirt with fellow revelers without the risk of mistaking some dad from Philly for a daddy from Chelsea. Some tickets include transportation or unlimited food. Check for details.

William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, one of Time Out's 101 things to do in New York City in the fall
Photograph: Philippe Matsas

Explore loftier thoughts at the White Light Festival

Lincoln Center’s annual series explores music’s transcendental qualities, and this fall brings another month’s worth of events that invite audiences to unplug and consider the human condition. Among the highlights is Les Arts Florissants, William Christie’s globally renowned ensemble of Baroque singers and instrumentalists (Oct 19 at 7:30pm; $45–$77); recitals by acclaimed pianist Emanuel Ax (Nov 4 at 5pm; $40–$100); and Heiner Goebbels’s staged concert I went to the house but did not enter, based on texts by T.S. Eliot, Maurice Blanchot, Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett (Nov 13, 14 at 7:30pm; $25–$75). Visit for a complete lineup.

Coney Island Film Festival
Photograph: Norman Blake
Attractions, Arcades and amusements

See indie flicks in Coney Island

Coney Island

Cinéastes can consider the Coney Island Film Festival a smaller, more laid-back and community-focused alternative to the star-studded New York Film Festival. The three-day fest, which kicks off just a week before the NYFF takes over the Upper West Side, screens a variety of micro-budget features, animation, shorts, documentaries, music videos and ’hood-centric flicks. But perhaps the biggest draw? Watching movies in the punk-meets-freak environs of Sideshows by the Seashore while imbibing plenty of Coney Island brews.


Get out and vote!

You already know how important it is to cast your vote in this year’s presidential election on November 6, but consider this a reminder of your duty as an American citizen. If you haven’t registered to vote yet, there’s still time: The deadline to register in New York City is October 12, and you can do so in person at any Board of Elections office. For more information—including what forms of ID you need and locations—visit

Michael Steele
Photograph: Courtesy 92nd Street Y
Things to do, Cultural centers

Catch election fever at the 92nd Street Y

Upper East Side

Get a primer on the most hotly debated political topics at one of the 92nd Street Y’s Campaign for the American Conversation events: The series kicks off September 9 with “The Unconvention: A Soundbite-free Evening of Political Talk from Left, Right and Center” (7pm; $10). Speakers include former Indiana Governor and U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, ex–Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele, HuffPost Live host Abby Huntsman (daughter of former presidential candidate Jon) and BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith. Legendary Watergate reporter Bob Woodward (Sept 27), economist Joseph Stiglitz (Oct 3) and lawyer-commentator Alan Dershowitz (Nov 16) also make appearances during the four-month run. Also at 92YTribeca. Visit for a complete schedule.

Restaurants, Street vendors

Eat like a king during Harvest in the Square

Union Square transforms into a giant outdoor buffet for this annual tasting event. Try unlimited samples of signature dishes from more than 50 restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern and Hill Country Chicken; local producers and suppliers, among them Wolffer Estate Vineyard and Heartland Brewery, will provide wine and beer pairings. Tickets are dear, but proceeds go to a worthy cause: to help the Union Square Partnership maintain the park. VIP preview 6–7:30pm

Things to do, Classes and workshops

Feel the burn at the Chile Pepper Fiesta

Heat-seeking capsaicin lovers won’t want to miss this spicy celebration. Tour the pepper plants in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Herb Garden, catch fire shows by circus performers Robbins and Ringold, and listen to a performance by Brooklyn’s own Chicha Libre, whose tunes are informed by South American psychedelia. Vendors like Mast Brothers Chocolate and Nunu Chocolates will offer gratis samples of their most incendiary snacks. If you want to experiment with the fiery veggie on your own time, stop by the Chile Pepper Farm Stand, which will feature goods from local purveyors such as East New York Farms.