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September Cultural Calendar: 10 Unmissable NYC Events This Fall

September Cultural Calendar: 10 Unmissable NYC Events This Fall

Picture of Michaela Brady
Updated: 9 February 2017
In the lull before autumn really hits, the back-to-school and work blues set in. However, in a city that doesn’t sleep and doesn’t want to, it is no overstatement that there is always something going on in New York City, with something for everyone. Sport fanatics will bump into concertgoers as each rushes to their respective venues, and September will definitely be filled with people at festivals, parades, and other events in every borough.

U.S. Open

31 August – 13 September

Head down to Flushing, Queens for the US Open, a tennis tournament that attracts the world’s prime tennis players and over 700,000 fans. While veterans such as Serena Williams — who’s aiming to be the first player since 1988 to win the Grand Slam — will be gracing the court, there is always a coterie of new prospects playing a sport they love. Aside from the main event, there are other tournaments such as wheelchair tennis, which proves just how versatile and enjoyable tennis can be for anyone.

USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadow, Corona Park, Flushing, NY, USA, +1 718 760 6200

Electric Zoo Festival

4 September – 6 September

‘Transformed is the music. Transformed is the people. Transformed is the memories. Transformed you, your friends, and your community lost in the world for one weekend,’ claim the creators of Electric Zoo: Transformed. This Labor Day weekend, fervent EDM fans, resounding bass, and high-energy music will overwhelm Randall’s Island Park. This legendary electronic music festival, now in its seventh year, has partnered with the creative prodigies behind festivals like TomorrowWorld to bring attendants an unparalleled experience. The stages will be larger, with acts such as Zed’s Dead on Friday, Excision on Saturday, and Alesso on Sunday; this year’s festival will be beyond incredible.

Randall’s Island Park, 1 Randalls Island Park, New York, NY. USA

The Feast of San Gennaro

10 September – 20 September

If you have never been to Little Italy, September is the perfect time to visit. For 89 years, this historic Manhattan district has hosted the Feast of San Gennaro, a delightful celebration of the patron saint of Naples. The atmosphere is buoyant, the food colorful and delicious, and the hosts proud of their culture. It is expected to attract over a million people, who can take part in religious processions, parades, and even a cannoli-eating competition. Tony Danza will be the grand marshal of the Grand Procession on September 12th, and on the 19th, the statue of San Gennaro will be carried throughout Little Italy’s streets. If you cannot make these events, there will be free music, food demonstrations, or lectures every day on the main stage.

Little Italy, New York, NY, USA

UrbanSpace Vanderbilt Market Opening

Mid-September

For NYC newcomers inundated by Grand Central’s crowds and pathways, the Vanderbilt Market will be a convenient spot to sit down, scrutinize their maps of the city, and figure out where to go while enjoying some diverse fare from NYC-based vendors. There is also talk of rotating booths, which will host guest chefs and vendors for special events. From BBQ to vegetarian stalls, this is sure to become another Midtown tourist staple, and a convenience for those on lunch break or rushing to the train. Be on the lookout for the Market within the coming weeks.

UrbanSpace Vanderbilt Market, 230 Park Avenue, New York, NY, USA

Death Cab for Cutie and Explosions in the Sky

12 September

Now on their Kintsugi tour, Death Cab for Cutie’s indie rock sound and sincere lyrics have combined once again to create another fantastic album. From ‘No Room in Frame’ to ‘You’ve Haunted Me All My Life,’ the band’s blunt, emotional tracks have resonated with fans everywhere. Their upcoming show at Madison Square Garden will be a performance you cannot miss. Guest performers Explosions in the Sky, whose post-rock instrumental style is cathartic, powerful, and demands to be heard, will be a special treat for fans.

Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 465 6741

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) Woman in the Garden Paris, spring 1929–30 | Courtesy of MoMa
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) Woman in the Garden Paris, spring 1929–30 | Courtesy of MoMa

Picasso Sculpture Exhibition

14 September 2015 – 7 February 2016

Beginning on September 14, the MoMa will host a rare exhibition showcasing Pablo Picasso’s lesser-known sculpture collection. This is the first museum exhibition of his three-dimensional work in the United States in almost 50 years, offering patrons an opportunity to view 100 obscure sculptures by a rather well-known artist. Though Picasso was trained in painting, sculpting was his personal arena for expression through experimentation, something he could create from a completely blank slate. Take a journey through the chapters of Picasso’s bewildering career, and experience his bouts of bewildering inspiration that formed these sculptures in chronological order.

MoMa, 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 708 9400

Oktoberfest

19 September – 4 October

Don’t let the name be misleading; this German festival may bleed into the first days of October, but it actually begins in September. This extensive celebration of German culture contains multiple events that cater to everyone, from live oompa bands and German craft beers at Zum Schneider Restaurant to the Steuben Parade on September 19 (not to mention the gala preceding it the day before). Beer gardens pop up all over the city, and curious palates can sample authentic German food at Bierhaus’s Oktoberfest events.

Zum Schneider Restaurant, 107 Avenue C, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 598 1098

Bierhaus NYC, 712 3rd Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 867 2337

New York Mets vs. Yankees

18 September – 20 September

After the heated Mets vs. Red Sox games in late August, be prepared for another major league rivalry to flare up; however, this one is far more internal. As part of the Subway Series, the Yankees and Mets have been pitted against each other many a time. Though the Yankees are regarded as more successful than the Mets, there has been an overall 2-2 win tie in 2014, and the Mets took home a sweeping four wins in 2013. Fans on either side may disagree, but both teams are equally talented. A day out at these ball games in late September will be a perfect way to end the week.

Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 718 507 6387

Global Citizen Festival

26 September

On Central Park’s Great Lawn, you can usually spread a picnic blanket out, play a game of catch, and stare into the open sky as Manhattan’s din fades away. On September 26, however, the lawn will host a free-ticketed music festival. The four main acts are Beyoncé, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, and Pearl Jam dominating the stage. However, to win free tickets to the festival, you must make an effort put an end to extreme poverty. Sign up on the Global Citizen website, and complete an ‘action journey,’ which entails taking nine actions such as signing petitions, tweeting messages to politicians, and directly calling key policymakers. Participating in select ‘Days of Action’ can also earn you VIP passes and other perks. This is a truly altruistic event, showing how four brilliant voices in pop culture, and thousands of their fans, can work to end a global issue while enjoying some spectacular music.

Great Lawn, 86th Street Transverse Road, New York, NY, USA

Spring Awakening on Broadway

27 September 2015 – 9 January 2016

Opening at the end of the month, this groundbreaking musical returns to Broadway to stun a new wave of audiences. Spring Awakening is not a typical youth in revolt tale, but an extensive look at the frustration teens experience under the roofs of obsequious parents and cruel schoolmasters. Uninformed girls have their first sexual encounters, boys break in the face of pressure and disownment, and the audience is rapt with empathy as each plot unfolds. This revival, however, is all the more intensified by the use of sign language to accentuate ‘the rift between the lost and longing teenagers and the adults who refuse to hear them.’

Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 West 47th Street, New York, NY, USA


By Michaela Brady