End-of-summer hot list: Essential things to do before Labor Day

Don't let the season pass by without enjoying these top things to do. Plus, the one highlight to catch at each of NYC's big series before the end of summer.

  • Photograph: Scott Kowalchyk

    End-of-summer hot list: Adidas presents: Fool’s Gold Day Off. Pictured: A-Trak

  • Photograph: wagz2it

    End-of-summer hot list: Afropunk Festival. Pictured: Straight Line Stitch at the Afropunk Festival 2012

  • Photograph: Whitney Lawson

    End-of-summer hot list: ¡Arriba! Community Dance Parties at the High Line. Pictured: The adjacent Terrior on the Porch

  • Photograph: Shervin Lainez

    End-of-summer hot list: Kaki King, pictured, performs at Blues BBQ

  • Photograph: Jack Vartoogian

    End-of-summer hot list: Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

  • Photograph: Terri Nguyen

    End-of-summer hot list: Beach Fossils, pictured, appears at CT5: Five Years of Captured Tracks

  • Photograph: William Thoren

    End-of-summer hot list: George Clinton

  • Photograph: David Kimelman

    End-of-summer hot list: An Intimate Evening with Carol Channing and Justin Vivian Bond, pictured

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    End-of-summer hot list: New Music in Bryant Park

  • Photograph: Joe Demby

    End-of-summer hot list: Seahouse at Topsider

Photograph: Scott Kowalchyk

End-of-summer hot list: Adidas presents: Fool’s Gold Day Off. Pictured: A-Trak

RECOMMENDED: Summer in New York guide

Concerts and parties before the end of summer

Adidas presents: Fool’s Gold Day Off

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Last year, A-Trak (pictured) and Nick Catchdubs’s record label, Fool’s Gold, was midway through a raucous free party when the cops shut ’em down, due to overeager gate-crashers pushing the space beyond capacity. This edition should avoid that problem, as it’s relocating from the West Village to the more accommodating Williamsburg Park. Although the lineup is still under wraps, we’ll wager it’ll be thoroughly stacked with some of the best DJs and MCs from the imprint’s roster and beyond, plus a handful of surprise guests (last year, A$AP Rocky joined Flatbush Zombies). We have our fingers crossed for an appearance by El-P and Killer Mike; Fool’s Gold released their collaborative album, Run the Jewels, this summer as a free download.

  1. Kent Ave, (at North 12th St), 11211
  2. Mon Sept 2 at 2pm
More info

Afropunk Festival

  • Critics choice

This two-day bash fuses music with art, food, skate culture and fashion. The bill includes Public Enemy’s Chuck D, performing the entire album Fear of a Black Planet with DJ Lord, plus Questlove, Sacramento punk band Trash Talk and local rappers Danny Brown, Theophilus London and Le1f. There’s also live painting at an art wall, a skate park, two beer gardens, a thrift market of local vendors, and food trucks including Rickshaw Dumplings, Takumi Taco, Mac Truck and Wafels & Dinges. Simply put, it’s a feast for all the senses.

  1. Commodore Barry Park Navy St, between Flushing and Park Aves
  2. Sat Aug 24 - Sun Aug 25
More info

¡Arriba! Community Dance Parties at the High Line

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Velvet-rope rooftop wingdings may not be your thing, but one elevated party you should count on attending is this come-one-come-all fiesta. This third and final evening of the summer features danceable, samba-inspiring guajiro music performed by Nu D’Lux, one of the city’s most dynamic Cuban bands. Dancers of all skill levels are welcome to get down, or just watch well-practiced partners and try out their steps by the side of the stage. The seasonal open-air wine bar Terroir at the Porch, pictured, and a clutch of concessions, including the Taco Truck and Delaney Barbecue’s SmokeLine, are located on the party’s periphery, in case you find yourself in need of a snack or a bit of liquid courage.

  1. Washington St at Gansevoort St, (to Tenth Ave at 30th St)
  2. Wed Aug 21 7–9pm
More info

Blues BBQ

  • Free

Stuff your face with summer’s last rack of ribs at Hudson River Park’s annual food-and-music fest. The free shindig welcomes barbecue heavyweights Brother Jimmy’s, Delaney Barbecue and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, who are bringing their own smokers to the pier and doling out tons of smoked treats, like sauce-slathered chicken, pulled-pork sandwiches and ’cued beef ($8–$15), along with brews from the likes of Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo and Pacifico Clara. Entertainment comes courtesy of local guitar whiz Kaki King, Grammy-nominated nine-piece the Heritage Blues Orchestra, blues belter Tracy Nelson and gutsy roots vocalist Nikki Hill.

  1. Hudson River, (at 44th St)
  2. Aug 24; 2–9pm
More info

Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This perennial August favorite brings some of the most talented jazz musicians in the world to pay homage to one of the most influential improvisational sax players in history. The three-day event is split between uptown and downtown, beginning in Harlem with the evening premiere of Jimmy Heath’s big band orchestration of Parker’s work, “Bird Is the Word.” Saturday’s lineup boasts Grammy-winning sax player and flutist Kenny Garrett and French-American singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, before the action moves to the East Village and Lee Konitz, an innovative altoist who played in the Parker era, blows with his quartet.

  1. Tompkins Square Park Ave A, between 7th and 10th Sts
  2. Fri Aug 23 - Sun Aug 25
More info

CT5: Five Years of Captured Tracks

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

A valuable contributor to the indie music scene, this vibrant Brooklyn label celebrates its fifth anniversary with a two-day Labor Day weekend blowout in the Well’s 11,000-square-foot backyard. Catch Montreal songman Mac DeMarco’s irresistible, jangly lo-fi pop and goofy stage antics on Saturday, before local reverb-heavy headliners DIIV take the spotlight. The next day, bliss out to the exceedingly dreamy and totally gorgeous sounds of Jack Tatum’s outfit Wild Nothing; he’s joined by psych-rock faves Beach Fossils and captivating indie-poppers Widowspeak, among others. Two-day passes score you a ten or 20 percent discount at the label’s new record shop and trading store (195 Calyer St between Leonard St and Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-609-0870, capturedtracks.com).

  1. 272 Meserole St, (between Bushwick Pl and Waterbury St), 11206
  2. Sat Aug 31, Sun Sept 1 at 3pm
More info

George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic

  • Critics choice
  • Offer

Situated in a picturesque spot at the base of the East River, with views of the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, Beekman Beer Garden is a sandy summer standby (albeit a slightly fratty one). But free your mind of judgment and follow your ass to a concert by music legend George Clinton and his band Parliament Funkadelic, who set the foundations for hundreds of groovy hip-hop samples. Clinton may have now eschewed his rainbow-colored ’do and wild getups for natty suits, but the 72-year-old is as vital as ever, recording with Sly Stone and dance-music duo Soul Clap this year.

  1. Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club north side of Pier 17, Beekman St, at South St
  2. Thu Aug 22 at 7pm
Buy tickets
Justin Vivian Bond

An Intimate Evening with Carol Channing and Justin Vivian Bond

  • Critics choice

It was going to take a lot to outdo last year’s marquee show from gay-party promoter Daniel Nardicio’s debut Icon Series. After all, it doesn’t get much better than Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming. But Nardicio refuses to rest on his laurels, pairing Broadway legend and three-time Tony Award winner Carol Channing with downtown chanteuse Justin Vivian Bond for a one-night-only cabaret at Fire Island’s charmingly ramshackle Ice Palace nightclub. The adjacent Grove Hotel still has occupancy starting at $369, for those looking to make a beach weekend of it. 631-597-6600, danielnardicio.com. $70.

  1. Ice Palace, 1 Bayview Walk at Dock Walk, Fire Island, L.I.
  2. Sat Aug 24 at 8pm

New Music in Bryant Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The revered Monday-night movie series isn’t the only reason to make a postwork pilgrimage to this midtown oasis. The green space hooks up with celebrated classical and jazz artists to air mind-expanding compositions commissioned by Chamber Music America. Jazz ensemble Matt Wilson’s Carl Sandburg Project (Fri 16) performs a piece that incorporates recordings of poet Sandburg reading his work; the Jane Ira Bloom Quartet (Aug 23) plays Mental Weather, which explores Bloom’s interest in neuroscience and the unconscious; and the Dorian Wind Quintet (Aug 30) blows through David Del Tredici’s Belgian Bliss, which began as a play on Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Performances take place on the upper terrace, so there may be space in the adjacent outdoor patio of the Bryant Park Grill for a tipple and view of the action.

  1. Bryant Park Sixth Ave, between 40th and 42nd Sts
  2. Fri 6pm; through Aug 30
More info
Seahouse at Topsider


  • Free

The Brooklyn Flea’s invasion of Manhattan has given us another reason to make for the otherwise tourist-overrun South Street Seaport: the Flea and Raspberry Jones–curated parties on Thursday nights at Topsider, a bar set atop shipping containers. August’s stellar lineup includes NYC deck stalwart Small Change (Thu 15), the genrehopping King Britt (Aug 22) and a preparty for the two-day Captured Tracks anniversary shindig (Aug 29). If you need sustenance (other than alcohol), head for the food vendors of the Flea’s nearby SmorgasBar (Front St between Beekman and Fulton Sts), which stay open late.  brooklynflea.com. Through September.

  1. Topsider Bar, 11 Fulton St at Front St
  2. Thu Aug 15; 7–11pm

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