A New York Fall Calendar: Selected Festivals, Special Events, and Suggested Walks

On a Thursday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, the rains came in and the wind whipped around from the north, and in the wake of the frontal passage it felt gloriously like fall. People walked the streets in sweaters and long scarves, and for a few days, everyone looked ready to say goodbye to summer. Alas, the feeling of fall didn't last. Warmer and humid weather returned, so in retrospect, that first nip of cooler and drier air now seems like a dress rehearsal. If all goes according to the official forecasts, however, we should get another taste of autumn this coming weekend.

Even if it feels like fall in the city, it just may not look like it yet. In New York City, we generally won't see the fall foliage peak until the last week in October and the first week of November. In the meantime, we're in full festival mode. Fall weather also means we're entering the high season for invigorating long walks. Below are the dates for several seasonal special events leading up to Thanksgiving as well as suggestions for seasonal strolls.

Central Park October 31, 2010
strolling The Mall in Central Park on Halloween

WALK: Truman Capote's novella, Breakfast at Tiffany's, begins in the month of October. It's a great time to follow Holly Golightly around the city. Read Mapping Holly Golightly: Walking Off Breakfast at Tiffany's (originally published October 14, 2008)
The novel's final dramatic sequence, with the narrator holding onto a runaway horse and Holly playing Calamity Jane, takes place September 30, his (as well as Truman Capote's). The novel unfolds over a sequence of seasons, and the story ends with the completion of a full annual cycle.

• GARDEN EXHIBITION: Fall Flowers of Japan
Through October 30, 2001
New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Website 

• FESTIVAL: Oktoberfest
Through October 23, 2011
events held at venues throughout the city

• FESTIVAL: The New York Musical Theatre Festival
Through October 16, 2011
47th Street Theatre, McGinn/Cazale Theatre, Signature Theatre - The Peter Norton Space, and more venues Website 

WALK: An Autumn Walk in Upper Manhattan: From The Cloisters to Audubon Park (originally published October 20, 2010)
With the arrival of cool autumn temperatures, a trek to upper Manhattan is in order, specifically a vigorous hike around Fort Tryon Park followed by a meditative walk in The Cloisters. It's lofty up here, away from the secular masses and their petty bourgeois pursuits and their traffic fumes and discordant notes.

From an Autumn Walk in Upper Manhattan
View of The Cloisters from Linden Terrace in Fort Tryon Park

• FESTIVAL: BAM Next Wave Festival
Through December 18, 2011
Brooklyn Academy of Music Website

• FESTIVAL: Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival
September 29 - October 2, 2011 Website 
events held at venues throughout the city, with many in the Meatpacking District and in Chelsea

• FESTIVAL: The Ninth Annual New York Burlesque Festival
September 29 through October 2, 2011 Website
events held at various venues

• FESTIVAL: The New Yorker Festival
September 30 and October 1-2, 2011
venues around town Website

WALK: A Visit to Liberty Island in the fall (originally published October 30, 2010)
The statue’s dedication fell on an autumn day - October 28, 1886.

From a Visit to the Statue of Liberty
The autumn leaves contrast beautifully with uncommon views of Lady Liberty.

• FESTIVAL: NY Film Festival
September 30 - October 16, 2011
Film Society of Lincoln Center Website

• FESTIVAL: Medieval Festival.
Sunday, October 2. from 11:30 am to 6:00 pm
Fort Tryon Park. Website

• WALK: Wish You Were Here: Pictures from an Autumn Walk in Central Park (originally published November 1, 2010)
It's a fleeting sight, these autumn umbers and reds that light up the trees, and it's an ephemeral sound, too, the whoosh of falling leaves settling around the paths and lawn and water and hills. We know we have to catch it in just the right weeks, from late October to early November, and in just the right amount of light, not too sunny and not too many clouds.

• PARADE: Columbus Day Parade October 10, 2011
 Fifth Avenue at 47th Street and continues north to 79th Street. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• CONVENTION: New York ComicCon. October 13 - 16, 2011
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Website 

• RELIGIOUS EVENT: Saint Francis Day and Blessing of the Animals
The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.
Sunday, October 2. 11 a.m. Service. Note: Other churches in NYC also have similar events on Saint Francis Day.

• OHNY (openhousenewyork): Weekend of October 15-16, 2011
Read about some of the OHNY sites on the Upper West Side, Midtown, and the Financial District from 2011on this blog.

• ICE SKATING: Opening of the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center. 9 a.m. October 19, 2011.

• FESTIVAL: Harvest Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 10:30 am - 1:00 pm Website 

• STEAMPUNK EVENT: 2011 Steampunk. Dumbo Loft, 155 Water Street), 12 noon - 8 pm. $5 admission. Fashion show at 6 p.m. Website (Brooklyn Indie Market)

• HOUSE HAUNTING: The Merchant's House Museum, 29 East Fourth Street, is said to be haunted. The museum hosts several spooky events and tours in the month of October. Website calendar.

• HAUNTED HOUSE: Third Rail Projects presents Steampunk Haunted House. Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St. October 23, 26, 27 | $20; October 22, 28, 29, 30, 31 | $25; October 26 Halloween Party | $50; Students | $10 (walk up, day of only) Website

WALK: 25 Radical Things to Do in Greenwich Village (originally published November 14, 2010). The winding small streets of the West Village provide an excellent backdrop for a long moody autumn walk.

• Skating in the Park: October 27, 2011. Opening of CitiPond and Holiday Shops at Bryant Park. (Bryant Park blog.)

• Central Park Pumpkin Festival. Saturday, October 29, 2011. 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Central Park Bandshell. Enter at 72nd Street

Abingdon Square
Abingdon Square in Greenwich Village, with pumpkins for the neighborhood's party

• ENORMOUS PARADE: Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. Monday, October 31, 2011.
6th Avenue from Spring to 16th Street Website 

• TIME CHANGE: Daylight savings time ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 6. Be sure to take note of the change if you're running the marathon that day.

• EVENT: The ING New York City Marathon
Sunday, November 6, 2011 Website

WALK: A Cultural Guide to West 57th Street: A Walk and a Map (originally published November 20, 2009)
The architectural history of W. 57th Street is substantial, with a range of architectural styles including Chicago School (Osborne Apartments), Austrian Secession (Joseph Urban’s original Hearst building), Post-Modern (Hotel Parker Meridien's arcade entrance on W. 57th.), Neo-Gothic (Cass Gilbert’s Rodin Studios) and Green High Tech Modern (Norman Foster's Hearst Tower). Any one of these arts-institutions is worthy of their own post, but this brief guide suggests the importance of taking in the whole stretch as a cultural neighborhood.

• FESTIVAL: Margaret Mead Film Festival
November 10-13, 2011
American Museum of Natural History Website 

a modernist plaza in Midtown
Midtown modernism meets autumn color in late November

• PERFORMANCES: Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular
November 11 - January 2, 2012
Radio City Music Hall Website 

• WALK: Flagships of New York: A Self-Guided Holiday Walk to New York's Department Stores (originally published November 30, 2010)
New York's decorated store windows of the holidays transform the street into an outdoor museum. Walking the avenues to see the special lights and decorations for the holiday season elevates the city into the space of musical theater. Arm in arm, in their waistcoats and top hats, bustles and trains, the flâneur spirits of seasons past stroll the streets again.

• PARADE: 85th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Thursday, November 24th Website

We'll end this calendar with the Macy's parade. Look for a new winter/holiday calendar in late November.

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from the archives.


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