Your Guide to October in NYC and NJ

While some consider Labor Day the official end of summer, in New York City it’s really the advent of October (and if we’re getting really specific, Columbus Day) that finally justifies trading in white summer frocks for flannels and cider. At this point the weather has started to turn and beach excursions take a back seat to apple or pumpkin picking in the Hudson Valley.

Your guide to the best October events in NYC begins with taking note of its many festivals, starting with the arts and New York City Center’s Fall for Dance, where you can see local and internationally renowned dance troupes perform for only $15  through October 14th. Then be sure to check out BAM’s Next Wave, which runs until mid-December, and this month features such highlights as the theatrical piece “On the Politics and Poetics of Soccer.”

Festival life continues with The New York Food and Wine Festival (10/12-10/15), featuring over 100 events, parties, tastings, educational seminars, coveted wine tastings and more with all proceeds going to Food Bank NYC and the No Kid Hungry® campaign. But first, coffee, and by coffee we mean the New York Coffee Festival now it its third year at the Metropolitan Pavilion (10/13-10/15), which besides offering a buzz-worthy three days of coffee inspired events from latte design to coffee cocktail recipes, also gives 100% of its profits to charity.

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In the world of film, a must-see now through October 15th is the highly esteemed New York Film Festival brought to you by Lincoln Center. Its provocative features, documentaries, shorts and talks are a must for any cinephile. Next up, NewFest presents New York’s LGBT Film Festival (10/19-10/24), with an opening night presentation of counter-culture icon Susanne Bartsch’s documentary “On Top” followed by a talkback with directors Anthony & Alex and Susanne Bartsch, moderated by Michael Musto, with party to follow at The Standard. Yes, please.

Speaking of glitter, another must for October is the final Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco Friday night of the season on 10/13, a Michael Jackson tribute with Thriller/ Halloween preview. The fun continues at Ars Nova, whose presentation of KPOP (the musical) is an immersive behind-the-scenes look at a K-pop music factory, through October 21.

Exciting new theater and music dominate the arts/culture scene this month, including Springsteen on Broadway, a solo show featuring none other than Mr. Born to Run himself, Bruce Springsteen. Currently in previews (starting 10/3 when Bruce opened with a tribute to the late Tom Petty) it opens 10/12 at the Walter Kerr Theater in midtown. Garnering some off-broadway buzz is Game of Thrones: The Rock Musical, an LA import for all you red wedding Hodor insiders, that runs off broadway 10/10-29 at the Jerry Orbach theater.

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On the concert front, guess who’s coming to town for three nights? A happily reunited Guns and Roses brings you Slash, Duff McKagan and of course Axl Rose. Check out their Not in This Lifetime tour at Madison Square Garden on 10/11, 15 and 16. Later in the month, 105.1 presents POWER NYC featuring Cardi B, who recently made history (and many spin class playlists) with her Billboard 100 top spot rap single “Bodak Yellow.” At Barclays Center, be sure to catch Katy Perry on 10/11 and Tidal X to benefit the Robin Hood Foundation on 10/15. The stellar lineup features Alicia, Nicki, Bebe, Beyonce, and Ms. Lauren Hill, to name a few!

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New York City is a town fitness, but some of the best exercise you can get is simply walking around this great city. Park your car and join a LES walking tour, which highlights this immigrant enclave’s rich historical background that has managed to preserve its authenticity. Then be sure to stop at the legendary mid-20th century Kossar’s for a breathtaking bialy or Donut Factory for a (you guessed it) donut, including the indelible seasonal pumpkin and apple cinnamon. These two LES gems are located within a few feet of each other on Grand Street.

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Speaking of pumpkin, you’ve been wondering if it’s pumpkin spice latte season and the answer is an affirmative. Where can you get the best one in New York City? I dare say Starbucks and refer you to this FourSquare list as well, which shouts out one the best West Village spots, The 11th St Cafe. Enjoy their cozy atmosphere, delicious breakfast sandwiches, and likely a celebrity sighting or two.

Before we close with your Halloween weekend highlights, there are a few other noteworthy events this month that remind us why New York City is so worth the impending winter (aka LA envy season).

Famed artist Ai Weiwei’s “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” may have already caught your eye in Washington Square Park, and if it hasn’t it will. October 7th marked the return of the Butterfly Conservatory to the American Museum of Natural History, and if this short promotional film is any indicator, it will take your breath away. And finally, because Speed Dating is still a thing (and so is being single in NYC), check out the Speed Dating Marathon for ages 30-45 at The Gansavoort Hotel in Meatpacking for a potentially refreshing chance to get off your apps on 10/23.

And finally, Halloween means the return of all of the scary things and this year is no exception. Catch screenings of a newly restored “Night of the Living Dead” at Film Forum and “Psycho” at IFC, as well as Scarecrows and Pumpkins at The New York Botanical Garden (Giant Pumpkin Weekend is 10/21-22). Not looking to be spooked, try a Halloween Zumba Masterclass in Queens (10/28) or Upper West Side Halloween Bike Ride (10/29) or the only large-scale Halloween themed pizza party – Pizza Zoo in midtown.

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This culminates in the 44th Annual Village Halloween Parade, which kicks of 7PM on Tuesday, 10/31, and runs up 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 16th (plan your travel accordingly, and prepare to be wow’d!). 

To close on a refreshing note, check out this extensive list events happening in ALL of NYC’s parks, which may render that fall weekend getaway to the Hudson Valley unnecessary. Swing by a local farmer’s market for those fresh apples and park in a park to watch leaves fall into your lap under the best of NYC’s trees and sky. May your fall memories be epic and sweet.
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