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Things to do in New York this Friday

It’s time to punch out, wind down and start your weekend off right with the best things to do in New York this Friday

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Don’t blow your weekend by spending Friday night on the couch—there are too many incredible things to do in New York this Friday. Whether you want to rage at one of the best parties in NYC or if you’re interested in checking out free comedy shows, you have unlimited options. That’s why we decided to make the planning process easier for you by selecting the very best events that are guaranteed to show you a good time. Forget road trips, the best way to spend your Friday night is right here in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in NYC this weekend

Featured things to do this Friday

  • Things to do
  • price 0 of 4
  • Hell's Kitchen

Photoville is back in its 10th year and the second to bring photography to every borough ofNew York City. The free, outdoor, pet-friendly photography exhibition is heading to NYC Parks — Brooklyn Bridge Park, Astoria Park, Barretto Point Park, Chelsea Park, Jackie Robinson Park, East River Promenade, St. Nicholas Park, Travers Park, Van Cortlandt Park, the South Beach Promenade — as well as Brookfield Place, the Alice Austen House (Staten Island), the Lower East Side at the Abrons Arts Center and Times Square.  You won't want to miss this year's Photoville because it is packed with 75 exhibits outside and free online programming for photo lovers between September 18 and December 1, including panel discussions, interactive workshops, one-on-one safety clinics,  professional development opportunities with Diversify Photo and Leica Camera, Photo Wings and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. New this year is "Community Day: Photo Festival Opening" on September 18, where there will be a visual storytelling event with a family activity area by Stoop Stories, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and Aperture; the Penumbra TinType Sessions; pop-up music and danceperformances by the Haiti Cultural Exchange; exhibition tours by featured artists; photopuzzles on the lawn; a professional development educator lab; photo workshops with LeicaCamera and Adobe; a Smorgasburg pop-up; and an evening screening of 10 Under 10enlisting the New York Times, National Geographic, Pulitzer Center

  • Things to do
  • price 1 of 4
  • East Williamsburg

Nationally-recognized comedy show, UpDating, is finally returning to the stage after a long year away. Deal with your dating hang-ups front and center at this live romantic experiment. Two New Yorkers will be paired on-stage for a blind date, and you get to join in on the magic (or the meltdown). The show comes from NY-Based Comedian Brandon Berman and Dating Blogger Harrison Forman. For more details you can check out UpDating's Instagram @updatingshow.

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  • Music
  • Cabaret and standards
  • price 0 of 4
  • Midtown West

This annual summer concert series brings Broadway actors and composers to the Times Square pedestrian plazas to perform their own original music. The tradition continues this year with performers from shows like Anastasia, Company, Oklahoma, Next to Normal, SpongeBob SquarePants and many more, with Ben Cameron as their affable host. If you can't make it in person, you can watch it live on Youtube: July 30: Austen Bohmer/Plain Austen, Ryan Scott OliverAugust 6: Sky-Pony (Kyle Jarrow and Lauren Worsham), Starbird & the Phoenix (Courtney Bassett and Andrew Swackhamer)August 13: Dru Serkes, Christian Thompson, Jaime CeperoAugust 20: Masi Asare, Joel WaggonerAugust 27: Damon Duanno, Rona SiddiquiSeptember 3: Jen Sánchez, baby chemistSeptember 10: Jasmine Forsberg, Matt Doyle & Will Van DykeSeptember 17: Ethan Slater, J. Robert SpencerSeptember 24: Christy Altomare, Jerusha CavazosOctober 1: Zack Zadek, Alice Lee, Nora Schell

  • Things to do
  • price 1 of 4
  • Coney Island

One of the last of its kind, this ten-act extravaganza of human oddities aims to satisfy nostalgic and progressive temperaments alike. Finally returning after a year of closure, the iconic spectacle adds a footnote to the controversial freak-show conversation by celebrating the talents of those “born different.” The lineup includes contortionists, sword swallowers, fire eaters and escape artists.

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Chelsea

So often, these art fairs feel unattainable. The Affordable Art Fair is focused on bringing art to those who might not otherwise be able to afford artwork, and this year, it'll have 400 artists showcased by 60 galleries. This year, don't miss Trade Hours, where accredited interior designers and decorators, architects, art consultants and their clients get free access to the fair. If you have young kids, stop by during Stroller Hours, a family-friendly hour dedicated to parents and little ones. And for those who would like a drink while they shop, come during Art After Dark, where you'll get a can of Volley tequila seltzer. Metropolitan Pavilion; September 23-26; Thursday noon-9pm, Friday noon-8pm, Saturday 11am-8pm, Sunday 11am-5pm.

  • Music
  • Cabaret and standards
  • price 3 of 4
  • DUMBO

Caustic wit, witchy charisma and subversive queer wisdom have made Justin Vivian Bond one of New York’s essential performers: part den parent, part cultural assassin, part offhand Cassandra. In this two-week theatrical concert run at St. Ann's Warehouse, Bond teams up with star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo—who memorably played Pharaoh Amenhotep IV in Phillip Glass's Akhnaten at the Met—for a trans-genre night that explores the queer histories and futures of opera, pop music and cabaret. The set list runs from “Dido’s Lament” to Dido’s “White Flag” and from Akhnaten to “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

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  • Music
  • Cabaret and standards
  • price 3 of 4
  • Midtown West

Broadway leading lady Christine Andreas could coast on her pure, silvery soprano, but she’s also a strong storyteller who knows how to dip beneath the pretty surfaces. This collection of hopeful material—which includes  songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, Billy Joel, Leonard Cohen and John Lennon—features a guest spot by Italian tenor Marco Romano.

Popular things to do this Friday

  • Art
  • Midtown West

After more than a two-year absence, the Met Gala returns in 2021 to celebrate the opening of the brand-new Costume Institute exhibition, “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” Once again, one of the best museums in NYC will be dedicating a new exhibition to delving into the larger social and aesthetic context of a singular fashion theme. This time around that theme is American fashion. However, there are a number of things about the exhibition that are quite different than past Costume Institute shows. Here are five things you should know before heading to see “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” for yourself. 1. This is only Part One of the exhibition For the first time, this year’s Costume Institute exhibition is being divided into two separate parts. Part One, which opens on September 18, is located in the Anna Wintour Costume Center and uses the organizing principle of a patchwork quilt. Around 100 men’s and women’s ensembles (but mostly women’s) are on display and are organized into 12 sections exploring what the show is calling the “defining emotional qualities” of American fashion. Those sections are: “Nostalgia,” “Belonging,” “Delight,” “Joy,” “Wonder,” “Affinity,” “Confidence,” “Strength,” “Desire,” “Assurance,” “Comfort,” and “Consciousness.” Wondering which category a garment belongs to? Don’t worry, you’ll know. Giant word bubbles located above each dress are pretty clear on the matter. 2. It’s a lot smaller than you’re probably expecting If you’re accustomed to seeing

  • Museums
  • Fashion and costume
  • Prospect Park

The Brooklyn Museum is giving The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute a run for its money this year with its high fashion exhibit featuring the House of Dior. The museum is establishing itself as a destination for major surveys of fashion, following incredible exhibits like "Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion" and "The Queen and The Crown: A Virtual Exhibition of Costumes from The Queen’s Gambit and The Crown." This year, "Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams" continues that trend. "The Brooklyn Museum has a long record of recognizing important contributions in the history of fashion design, from 'The Story of Silk (1934)' to the groundbreaking 'Of Men Only (1976)' to the recent 'Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion (2019') and now 'Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams.' Each exemplifies the power of fashion to influence and shift visual culture at large," says Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture, Brooklyn Museum. Opening September 10, the major exhibit — co-curated by Dior scholar Florence Müller of the Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion at the Denver Art Museum — thoroughly explores the high fashion history of The House of Dior, which dates back to the turn of the 20th century, when the brand's namesake Christian Dior founded the label. RECOMMENDED: An immersive Bill Cunningham exhibit is opening downtown Photograph: Delia Barth   The multi-gallery exhibit brings many of Dior's sources of inspiration to life, including flowers,

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  • Things to do

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is back with surreal creations this year, like a giant pumpkin sea monster and NYC streetscape made of hundreds of pumpkins each. The massive blaze has two locations—Hudson Valley returns to its location at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson for the 17th year and Blaze: Long Island returns to Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Old Bethpage for the second year. This year, the blaze is bigger and better than ever with thousands of hand-carved jack o’lanterns lit up in elaborate displays throughout historic landscapes. The Blaze: Hudson Valley will include a New York City streetscape and an immersive river walk-through experience. Blaze: Long Island will show off an 80-foot circus train, a new sea monster and more creatures from under the ocean. There will be plenty of nights to see each Blaze — Hudson Valley will run for a record 59 nights from September 17 through November 21, and Long Island will run for 36 nights from September 22 through November 7.   Luckily, the Blazes are outdoors and touch-free, however, capacity has been reduced to ensure social distancing. Visitors who are not vaccinated are required to wear masks at all times. Masks are not required for vaccinated visitors while on the grounds but will be required when entering buildings at restrooms or shops. Tickets go fast (flex tickets, which allow you to go any night have already sold out), so get yours today!

  • Things to do
  • Midtown West

Immersive art exhibit Arcadia Earth has reopened after being closed due to the pandemic, and it looks better than ever! The exhibit aims to inspire visitors artistically and ethically, as it uses 15 rooms to spotlight the environmental challenges that our planet is facing (such as overfishing, food waste, and climate change). This exhibit will not only leave visitors in awe, but it will help support Oceanic Global, an organization devoted to raising awareness around our aquatic ecosystems. In addition, a tree will also be planted for every ticket sold, making it a perfect gift for your eco-conscious friends!

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  • Things to do
  • price 0 of 4
  • Hell's Kitchen

Photoville is back in its 10th year and the second to bring photography to every borough ofNew York City. The free, outdoor, pet-friendly photography exhibition is heading to NYC Parks — Brooklyn Bridge Park, Astoria Park, Barretto Point Park, Chelsea Park, Jackie Robinson Park, East River Promenade, St. Nicholas Park, Travers Park, Van Cortlandt Park, the South Beach Promenade — as well as Brookfield Place, the Alice Austen House (Staten Island), the Lower East Side at the Abrons Arts Center and Times Square.  You won't want to miss this year's Photoville because it is packed with 75 exhibits outside and free online programming for photo lovers between September 18 and December 1, including panel discussions, interactive workshops, one-on-one safety clinics,  professional development opportunities with Diversify Photo and Leica Camera, Photo Wings and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. New this year is "Community Day: Photo Festival Opening" on September 18, where there will be a visual storytelling event with a family activity area by Stoop Stories, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and Aperture; the Penumbra TinType Sessions; pop-up music and danceperformances by the Haiti Cultural Exchange; exhibition tours by featured artists; photopuzzles on the lawn; a professional development educator lab; photo workshops with LeicaCamera and Adobe; a Smorgasburg pop-up; and an evening screening of 10 Under 10enlisting the New York Times, National Geographic, Pulitzer Center

  • Things to do
  • Flatiron

The Museum of Sex always has something exciting going on behind closed doors. "Super Funland: Journey into the Erotic Carnival" is back and better than ever with its 4-D immersive “Tunnel of Love” ride, the Love & Lust Deity Derby game, an erotic fortune-telling machine (modeled as RuPaul), a kissing booth, the Glory Stall game, an immersive "Stardust Lane - the Erogenous Kaleidoscope," an erotic mechanical bull and a lit-up climbing structure, "The Climbx," and more. Then when it's time to take the edge off, visitors can slide down a spiral slide into the Museum’s psychedelic carnival bar, Lollipop Lounge, for cocktails. 

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Williamsburg

The trolley tour that's outfitted to look like a Victorian funeral parlor—think chandeliers and velvet curtains—and takes you on a trip through the shadows of historic Brooklyn is back. The tour visits the secret location where Murder, Inc. disposed of bodies, alien abduction sites along the Brooklyn Bridge, a brothel and more spooky sites spanning 400 years of Brooklyn history. 

  • Attractions
  • Queens

You won't want to miss the Floral Escape at the farm either if you're looking for another fall-themed photo opp. The multi-sensory floral-filled installation is full of multi-colored pumpkin displays, splashes of eye-popping flowers and beautiful floral arbors to stand under. It'll be here through Halloween along with the annual corn maze!

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Circuses & magic
  • price 4 of 4
  • Chelsea

Todd Robbins (Play Dead) is a sideshow master who combines technical expertise with humor, historical knowledge and good old-fashioned showmanship. In his soirees at the McKittrick's Club Car venue, he welcomes a live jazz pianist to set the atmosphere and guest magicians (such as Alex Boyce, Jason Suran, Mark Calabrese, Matthew Holtzclaw, Prakash Puru and Rachel Wax) to perform feats of close-up magic in an intimate setting. Review by Adam Feldman  The low-key dazzling Speakeasy Magick has been nestled in the atmospheric McKittrick Hotel for more than a year, and now it has moved up to the Lodge: a small wood-framed room at Gallow Green, which functions as a rooftop bar in the summer. The show’s dark and noisy new digs suit it well. Hosted by Todd Robbins (Play Dead), who specializes in mild carnival-sideshow shocks, Speakeasy Magick is a moveable feast of legerdemain; audience members, seated at seven tables, are visited by a series of performers in turn. Robbins describes this as “magic speed dating.” One might also think of it as tricking: an illusion of intimacy, a satisfying climax, and off they go into the night. The evening is punctuated with brief performances on a makeshift stage. When I attended, the hearty Matthew Holtzclaw kicked things off with sleight of hand involving cigarettes and booze; later, the delicate-featured Alex Boyce pulled doves from thin air. But it’s the highly skilled close-up magic that really leaves you gasping with wonder. Holtzclaw’s table

Free things to do this Friday

  • Things to do
  • price 0 of 4
  • Hell's Kitchen

Photoville is back in its 10th year and the second to bring photography to every borough ofNew York City. The free, outdoor, pet-friendly photography exhibition is heading to NYC Parks — Brooklyn Bridge Park, Astoria Park, Barretto Point Park, Chelsea Park, Jackie Robinson Park, East River Promenade, St. Nicholas Park, Travers Park, Van Cortlandt Park, the South Beach Promenade — as well as Brookfield Place, the Alice Austen House (Staten Island), the Lower East Side at the Abrons Arts Center and Times Square.  You won't want to miss this year's Photoville because it is packed with 75 exhibits outside and free online programming for photo lovers between September 18 and December 1, including panel discussions, interactive workshops, one-on-one safety clinics,  professional development opportunities with Diversify Photo and Leica Camera, Photo Wings and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. New this year is "Community Day: Photo Festival Opening" on September 18, where there will be a visual storytelling event with a family activity area by Stoop Stories, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and Aperture; the Penumbra TinType Sessions; pop-up music and danceperformances by the Haiti Cultural Exchange; exhibition tours by featured artists; photopuzzles on the lawn; a professional development educator lab; photo workshops with LeicaCamera and Adobe; a Smorgasburg pop-up; and an evening screening of 10 Under 10enlisting the New York Times, National Geographic, Pulitzer Center

  • Music
  • Cabaret and standards
  • price 0 of 4
  • Midtown West

This annual summer concert series brings Broadway actors and composers to the Times Square pedestrian plazas to perform their own original music. The tradition continues this year with performers from shows like Anastasia, Company, Oklahoma, Next to Normal, SpongeBob SquarePants and many more, with Ben Cameron as their affable host. If you can't make it in person, you can watch it live on Youtube: July 30: Austen Bohmer/Plain Austen, Ryan Scott OliverAugust 6: Sky-Pony (Kyle Jarrow and Lauren Worsham), Starbird & the Phoenix (Courtney Bassett and Andrew Swackhamer)August 13: Dru Serkes, Christian Thompson, Jaime CeperoAugust 20: Masi Asare, Joel WaggonerAugust 27: Damon Duanno, Rona SiddiquiSeptember 3: Jen Sánchez, baby chemistSeptember 10: Jasmine Forsberg, Matt Doyle & Will Van DykeSeptember 17: Ethan Slater, J. Robert SpencerSeptember 24: Christy Altomare, Jerusha CavazosOctober 1: Zack Zadek, Alice Lee, Nora Schell

Movies to see this Friday

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Movies
  • Action and adventure

Joaquin Phoenix is devastating as a monster-in-the-making in this incendiary tale of abuse

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Concerts to see this Friday

  • Music
  • East Harlem

Take an exuberant look back at the music of the 1980s in New York City at a new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. The show examines this transformative era through the lens of emerging pivotal music genres and the influence they played on New York’s broader cultural landscape. It highlights diverse musical artists from Run DMC to the Talking Heads and from Madonna to John Zorn through a series of key moments and more than 350 objects, including video footage, photography, artifacts, and ephemera like An MTV Music Awards Moon Person award statue, vinyl records from Madonna, Funky 4+1, Liquid Liquid, and Konk, a T-shirt and other ephemera from Keith Haring and DJ Larry Levan’s "Party of Life" event, music videos and rare concert footage including Grand Master Flash, Fort Apache Band, Lounge Lizards, Cyndi Lauper, and others.  "The early 1980s were a time of significant transition in New York, with the city facing crime, urban decay, and homelessness. And yet, despite those challenges, it was also a particularly fertile time for music and other creativity in New York City," says Whitney Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director and President, Museum of the City of New York. "The musical innovations of this time period are a great example of the resilience of the city and the importance of art and creativity as forces of transformation."

  • Music
  • Cabaret and standards
  • price 0 of 4
  • Midtown West

This annual summer concert series brings Broadway actors and composers to the Times Square pedestrian plazas to perform their own original music. The tradition continues this year with performers from shows like Anastasia, Company, Oklahoma, Next to Normal, SpongeBob SquarePants and many more, with Ben Cameron as their affable host. If you can't make it in person, you can watch it live on Youtube: July 30: Austen Bohmer/Plain Austen, Ryan Scott OliverAugust 6: Sky-Pony (Kyle Jarrow and Lauren Worsham), Starbird & the Phoenix (Courtney Bassett and Andrew Swackhamer)August 13: Dru Serkes, Christian Thompson, Jaime CeperoAugust 20: Masi Asare, Joel WaggonerAugust 27: Damon Duanno, Rona SiddiquiSeptember 3: Jen Sánchez, baby chemistSeptember 10: Jasmine Forsberg, Matt Doyle & Will Van DykeSeptember 17: Ethan Slater, J. Robert SpencerSeptember 24: Christy Altomare, Jerusha CavazosOctober 1: Zack Zadek, Alice Lee, Nora Schell

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  • Music
  • Cabaret and standards
  • price 3 of 4
  • DUMBO

Caustic wit, witchy charisma and subversive queer wisdom have made Justin Vivian Bond one of New York’s essential performers: part den parent, part cultural assassin, part offhand Cassandra. In this two-week theatrical concert run at St. Ann's Warehouse, Bond teams up with star countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo—who memorably played Pharaoh Amenhotep IV in Phillip Glass's Akhnaten at the Met—for a trans-genre night that explores the queer histories and futures of opera, pop music and cabaret. The set list runs from “Dido’s Lament” to Dido’s “White Flag” and from Akhnaten to “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

  • Music
  • Cabaret and standards
  • price 3 of 4
  • Midtown West

Broadway leading lady Christine Andreas could coast on her pure, silvery soprano, but she’s also a strong storyteller who knows how to dip beneath the pretty surfaces. This collection of hopeful material—which includes  songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, Billy Joel, Leonard Cohen and John Lennon—features a guest spot by Italian tenor Marco Romano.

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