Summer may be over, but there's no need for tears. September is one of the best months to be in the city. The weather is still lovely and the heavy crowds have largely dispersed, making it a great time to be out and about. As New Yorkers return from the beach, the cultural calendar ramps up for a packed month of festivals and good times — from avant-garde theater and burlesque to Italian feasting and street fairs. It all kicks off with one massive West Indian party on Labor Day.
West Indian American Day Carnival
To some New Yorkers, Labor Day is the wistful signal that summer has officially come to an end. But for over one million Caribbean Americans and other fun-loving onlookers, it’s time to head on over to Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn for the annual Carnival parade — a colorful, day-long march and party featuring over-the-top costumes, delicious Caribbean eats and nonstop music. It all goes down on September 1 this year.
When: September 1
Where: Eastern Parkway, from Schenectady Ave to Flatbush Ave
More info: wiadcacarnival.org
Warm Up 2014
Saturday, September 6, is the last day of this summer art party held at MoMA PS1, the smaller, hipper relative of Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art. You'll find art installations, bands, DJs and cocktails in the courtyard. The event runs from 3pm to 9pm, but arrive early (and buy tickets in advance).
When: until September 6
Where: 22–25 Jackson Ave near 46th Ave, Long Island City
More info: momaps1.org
Although the dog days of summer are behind us, there is still enough warmth to enjoy some time in the sand, which you'll have mostly to yourself. Our pick: Rockaway Beach, reachable by subway on the A line and home to some fine waves (you can even take surfing classes out here). You can catch events at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club (like their jazz festival on September 6).
When: all month
Where: Rockaway Beach near 96th St
More info: rockawaybeachsurfclub.com
The best time to catch the hottest shows in NYC is during Broadway Week (which actually runs for two weeks from September 1). Score half-price tickets on many shows including Les Miserables, Kinky Boots, Wicked and many others.
When: September 1–14
Where: Various theaters in Midtown Manhattan
More info: nycgo.com/broadwayweek
BAM 2014 Next Wave Festival
In September, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) kicks off its celebrated Next Wave Festival, which features cutting-edge theater, dance, music and performance art. Top events in September include avant-garde compositions by Philip Glass and Steve Reich (reuniting for the first time in over 30 years); Landfall, a blend of storytelling (by Laurie Anderson) and classical music (with Kronos Quartet); and Embers, an eerie new configuration of a 1959 Samuel Beckett radio play. The festival runs through December.
When: September 9–December 20
Where: 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St Felix St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn
More info: bam.org
US Open 2014
America's premier tennis tournament kicks off in late August and runs through September 8. The courtside action happens out in Flushing, Queens, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Tickets are available from the website.
When: August 25–September 8
Where: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Flushing, Queens
More info: usopen.org
September is the last month you can visit this former military quarters turned parkland in NY Harbor. This year, ferries run daily from Manhattan. The draw: art installations, great views of the Statue of Liberty, and summer fun (kite flying, lolling in a hammock at the newly installed Hammock Grove), weekend performances and exploring old military sites (like the 18th-century Fort Jay). There are plenty of food and drink options on the island, and you can also rent a bike.
When: until September 28
Where: Governors Island; catch the ferry from 10 South St (next to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal) in Lower Manhattan
More info: govisland.com
Socrates Sculpture Park
On the banks of the East River, this grassy, breezy spot has sweeping views of Manhattan. Come on the weekends, when there's a range of activities, including free yoga and tai chi classes, a Saturday farmers market and periodic performances (like the free mad-cap Circus Amok show on September 13). The 'Sculpture' part of the equation happens on September 7, when the park unveils site-specific installations by 15 different artists. The exhibition runs through March.
When: from September 7
Where: 32–01 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City
More info: socratessculpturepark.org
Classic Harbor Line
Enjoy the last breath of summer by taking a breezy sail out on the harbor. A number of different companies offer cruises, including the Classic Harbor Line, with its sunset cruises, full-moon trips and brunch sails. Trips occur in one of three yachts, including a handsomely outfitted 105ft schooner.
When: all month
Where: Pier 62, off the West Side Hwy, near W 22nd St
More info: sail-nyc.com
On weekends from April to November, over 100 vendors sell their wares in Brooklyn. You'll find antiques, records, vintage clothes, craft items and enticing food stalls stuffed with tasty treats. On Saturdays it happens in Fort Greene and on Sundays on the Williamsburg waterfront.
When: weekends until November
Where: Fort Greene (176 Lafayette Ave btwn Clermont & Vanderbilt), Williamsburg (50 Kent Ave btwn North 11th & 12th Sts)
More info: brooklynflea.com
Once part of the Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg has grown to become its own separate event. The draw: feasting on global bites. Look for doughnuts from Dough, roast pork sandwiches from Porchetta and Indian street food from Dosa Royale. It takes place on Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
When: weekends until November
Where: Williamsburg (East River State Park, 90 Kent Ave at N 7th St), Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 5 off Joralemon & Furman Sts)
More info: smorgasburg.com
San Gennaro Festival
Rowdy, loyal crowds descend on the narrow streets of Little Italy for 11 days of carnival games, sausage-and-pepper sandwiches, deep-fried Oreos and more Italian treats than you can stomach in one sitting. For over 80 years, it’s remained an Old-World tradition.
When: September 11–21
Where: Mulberry St, between Canal & Houston Sts
More info: sangennaro.org
Brooklyn Book Festival
New York City's largest free literary event brings together book lovers and authorial legends at one massive fest in downtown Brooklyn. The big event happens on September 21, but author appearance, film screenings and bookish parties are going in bookshops, parks, theaters, bars and libraries for the entire week leading up it.
When: September 15–21
Where: Brooklyn Borough Hall & Plaza, 209 Joralemon St, Brooklyn
More info: www.brooklynbookfestival.org
Coney Island Film Festival
Like the Brooklyn neighborhood itself, this fun cinematic fest is a celebration of all that's quirky and oddball – with the screening of both full-length features and short films. Don't miss a showing of the cult classic The Warriors, a film about a Coney Island street gang trying to make their way home from the Bronx. Now in its 14th edition, the Coney Island Film Festival runs from September 19th to the 21st.
When: September 19–21
Where: Sideshows by the Seashore, 3006 W 12th St at Surf Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn
More info: coneyislandfilmfestival.com
New York Burlesque Festival
Lovers of the riotous and ribald shouldn't miss this four-day fest in late September. Over 100 performers from around the world take to the stage for amusing and titillating shows, including performances by Aero Trapeze, Dangrrr Doll, Murray Hill and many others. Opening night is the Teaser Party on September 25 at the Bell House (149 7th St, Brooklyn).
When: September 25–28
Where: Venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn
More info: thenewyorkburlesquefestival.com
Dumbo Arts Festival
Celebrating and promoting Dumbo's burgeoning artistic community, this Brooklyn fest features three days of artful attractions — including an art parade, outdoor installations, street murals, poets, live music and dance, craft-making for the kids and open doors to many galleries in the area. Key venues include Empire Fulton Ferry park and the archway under the Manhattan Bridge off Front St.
When: September 26–28
Where: Dumbo, Brooklyn
More info: dumboartsfestival.com
For one Sunday only, Brooklyn's biggest street fair transforms Atlantic Ave into a 2.5km bazaar, complete with ten live music stages and food and craft stalls galore. Come with an appetite for char-grilled corn on the cob, crackling pork sandwiches, lobster rolls and plenty of local brew. If you have kids in town, don't miss the vintage buses parked on Boerum Pl, just down the road from the New York Transit Museum.
When: September 28
Where: Atlantic Ave, between Fourth Ave & Hicks St, Brooklyn
More info: atlanticave.org
Regis St Louis is a travel writer and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Follow his tweets @Regis_St_Louis