Labor Day Weekend Events


by staff, 08/12/2014

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Labor Day was first celebrated in New York City over a century ago. Since then the day has been reserved to pay tribute to workers all over the country—though in practice means a three-day weekend and the informal end of summer. So spend a little extra time outdoors, and take advantage of live music performances, a salsa dance and, biggest of all, the annual West Indian American Day Carnival. This year the holiday falls on September 1 (note: the actual Labor Day Parade takes place the following weekend, on September 6).

August 23September 1
Metropolitan Opera Summer HD Festival 
Opera's biggest stars get their close-ups on the big screen during the Met Opera's annual HD Festival. Held outdoors in Lincoln Center Plaza, the free festival brings back 10 productions from the Live in HD simulcast series (and adds a screening of Moonstruck, in which the Met Opera has a star turn, for good measure). Thousands of seats are set up in the plaza, but they do fill up, so it's worthwhile to get there well before the 7:45 or 8pm start times. This year's schedule of operas is bookended by two classics, Puccini's La Boheme and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

August 25–September 8
US Open Tennis Championships 
It's the final Grand Slam tournament of the year—one that makes or breaks seasons and sometimes careers. The US Open is a celebrated event in American sports, rivaled only by the Masters, the World Series and the Super Bowl. Will Rafael Nadal, last year's men's champ, recover from his wrist injury and defend his title? [Update, 8/19: Nadal has withdrawn from the tournament.] Can Serena Williams, the reigning women's titleholder, rebound from her awkward exit at Wimbledon? No matter which way the ball bounces, it'll be fun to watch the action unfold at Flushing Meadows.

August 27September 1
New York International Salsa Congress Dance & Music Festival 
Every Labor Day weekend salseros and salseras from around the world come to town for the New York International Salsa Congress Dance & Music Festival—and dance cards fill up at a fast and furious pace. The action unfolds at the New York Hilton Midtown, with a full schedule of workshops, performances, competitions, live music (including sets by Bronx conga king Eddie Montalvo and the Jimmy Bosch Orchestra) and DJs spinning tunes well into the early morning hours.

August 29
Ariana Grande at Rockefeller Center 
This pint-size singer, whose track "Problem" (featuring Iggy Azalea) had the biggest first-week digital sales of any single this year (and whose new collaboration with with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, "Bang Bang," ranks number two), is well on her way to becoming pop's newest princess. See her at the Today show's summer concert series.

August 29
Brad Paisley at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park 
Three-time Grammy winner Brad Paisley celebrates the release of his as-yet-untitled album with a Central Park hoedown, part of the Good Morning America free concert series

August 2931
NYC Unicycle Festival
Taking place across multiple boroughs, this three-day festival features unicycle races, demonstrations and unusual games. The Brooklyn-centric first day will begin with a 13-mile ride through Kings County and conclude with the One Wheel stage show at Coney Island. The festival then moves to Governors Island for two days of unicycle sports and participatory events. If you bike, this is your chance to make a two-for-one (wheel) deal and learn from the most experienced riders around.

August 29–31
Electric Zoo Festival at Randall's Island Park  
This massive EDM festival is back for its sixth year, this time at Randall's Island Park. As always, it's a chance to see some of the biggest names in the genre—including David Guetta, Zedd, Laidback Luke, Bingo Players and Alesso.  

August 30September 1
Richmond County Fair 
An old-fashioned county fair in New York City? Yes, indeed! A Staten Island tradition for three decades, the Richmond County Fair has circus performers, crafts and rides for the kids (of both the mechanical and pony variety), live music, plenty of eats and contests demonstrating all the requisite fairground skills—intestinal fortitude (hot-dog eating), agility and endurance (potato-sack racing), culinary craftiness (pie baking) and, most important, agricultural acumen (including best annuals and perennials; most-perfect corn, cabbage and beets; heaviest pumpkin; and longest carrot). Proceeds benefit Historic Richmond Town, itself a year-round attraction that offers a window onto the City's past.

August 31
Brazilian Day New York 
The Brazilian Day festival, a spirited annual celebration of Brazil's Independence Day, marks its 30th anniversary this year with music, dance, food and a sea of green-and-gold-bedecked expatriates. Big-name Brazilian musicians are booked to play the festival's main stage, which is located on Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets, while the street fair takes place on East 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues—the heart of Little Brazil. The million-strong party will spill well beyond the district's cozy confines.

September 1
West Indian American Day Carnival 
Even in New York City, few events overwhelm the senses more than the West Indian American Day Carnival, the annual celebration of NYC's Caribbean community and culture. More than a million spectators turn out to hear the sounds of reggae and calypso music, taste freshly cooked delicacies and see revelers in elaborate, colorful costumes. Food, craft, clothing and art vendors line the route, which officially runs along Eastern Parkway from Schenectady Avenue to Washington Avenue (though tends to continue on toward Grand Army Plaza). The parade starts at 11am.  

Through September 7
Gatsby to Garp: Modern Masterpieces from the Carter Burden Collection at The Morgan Library & Museum
If your favorite part of the museum is the wall text, then this is the show for you. First editions, manuscripts, revised proofs, letters and, of course, the book jackets from some of the greatest classics of 20th-century literature—including The Grapes of Wrath, Catch-22 and Catcher in the Rye—make up the 100 pieces in this one-of-a-kind exhibition.

Through September 21
Garry Winogrand at The Metropolitan Museum of Art 
How do you narrow down the work of a photographer—a contemporary and peer of Lee Friedlander and Diane Arbus but without the name recognition—who famously left 2,500 rolls of undeveloped film at the time of his death in 1984? The 175 photos included in the show are billed as a retrospective, but the closest focus is on images he shot at The Met during its 1969 centennial, along with scores of photos he took in Midtown Manhattan (between Herald Square and Central Park) in the late 1950s to early 1960s.

related venues/(9)

  1. 1
    USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
    Flushing Meadows Corona Park
    Queens – Flushing
    NY 11368
  2. 2
    Governors Island
    New York Harbor
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004
  3. 3
    Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
    70 Lincoln Center Plaza
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023
  1. 4
    New York Hilton Midtown
    1335 Sixth Avenue
    Manhattan – Times Square
    NY 10019
  2. 5
    Randall's Island Park
    East and Harlem Rivers
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10035
  3. 6
    Central Park's Rumsey Playfield
    Enter Central Park at Fifth Avenue & 69th Street
    Manhattan – Central Park
  1. 7
    Historic Richmond Town
    441 Clarke Ave.
    Staten Island – Richmond Town
    NY 10306
  2. 8
    The Morgan Library & Museum
    225 Madison Ave.
    Manhattan – Murray Hill
    NY 10016
  3. 9
    The Met
    Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028

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