Four Fantastic Fall Getaways From NYC

Kaaterskill falls (Catskill mountains, NY) on a rainy day.

It's hard to leave the city this time of year because I'm usually so booked up and/or excited about openings and festivals and such, but still, we all need a break sometimes, right? Right. Here then, is a quick look at four fall getaways that you can do in a weekend (or cut work and mid-week!), see something magnificent (changing leaves! a sky filled with stars!), play in huge swaths of nature, relax and maybe cuddle with someone you love.

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In Time For The Colder Weather, Jun-Men Ramen Bar Arrives In Chelsea


I'd basically eat a good bowl of noodles at the drop of a hat, no matter what the season (yup, even in high summer you can find me, if you're looking, slurping ramen somewhere), but things do get a bit cozier and more comforting at my favorite spots once autumn begins in earnest. And come winter I try to get some of that hot broth in my belly at least once a week! Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that it's perfect timing for the brand-new Jun-Men to open its doors in Chelsea, especially since my initial noodle feast there last week was so satisfying.

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Two Must-See Street Art Shows Arrive Downtown


It wasn't that long ago when the only place you could go look at street art was, you know, out in the street. Destinations such as 5Pointz in Long Island City were great for the constantly updated murals by artists both local and visiting, there was the occasional organized exhibition at Deitch, or by the Wooster Collective, and the Bowery Wall offered up a steady stream of commissioned pieces, but mostly, if you wanted to keep up with your favorite artists or discover anything new and fresh, you had to wander around any number of neighborhoods (Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Tribeca, Bushwick) and see what you could find. Which is a fun activity, don't get me wrong, and one in which I still often indulge in, but nowadays there are also new street-art shows in legitimate galleries opening seemingly every week, and often three and four at a time. It's impossible to keep up, but here are at two new exhibitions that are worth checking out.

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Brand New Food Court Alert: UrbanSpace Vanderbilt Opens In Midtown


Midtown workers who love good places to eat, rejoice! The folks at UrbanSpace, who organize and maintain some of NYC's best seasonal "food courts" (from the holiday markets at Union Square and Columbus Circle to Madison Square Eats and the Garment District Market just below Times Square) have finally opened their permanent, indoor, huge and glorious UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, and it is something of Midtown East food miracle. Seriously, I spent many years working in that area (this was a while ago), and you can get tired in a hurry of both the lunch and after-work quick-bite spots available around Grand Central. But now, in one fell swoop, you've got more than 20 different options, many of which are legitimate "best of" contenders in their category, spread out in a smartly designed, 12,000 square-feet space right in the heart of the neighborhood. Here's the whole, wonderful scoop….

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Three Big Names Highlight Chelsea’s Best Fall Gallery Shows


The big guns of the Chelsea gallery world wasted no time this year breaking out the blockbusters, with the likes of Gagosian, David Zwirner, and Hauser and Wirth all opening major exhibitions in the week right after Labor Day. I mean, summer's not even technically over yet, but the neighborhood was jam-packed with decked-out gallery-goers on that first Thursday after the long weekend (even in the rain!), everyone back in town and eager to get out there and mingle and/or get free drinks. Oh and, of course, also look at a whole bunch of art. Here's a look at the first wave of what promises to an especially busy season in Chelsea.

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David Chang Changes The Midtown Game with Fuku+


It's good news when David Chang opens pretty much anything, beginning way back in 2004 with his pioneering Momofuku Noodle Bar, then through the years with Ssam, Ko, Milk BarMa Peche, and Fuku, his fried-chicken sandwich shop that took the East Village by storm this summer. Then just last week, a stunning surprise (for those of us who get excited about such things): Fuku+, an expanded take on his downtown mega-hit, opened with zero warning on the balcony of Ma Peche in Midtown. Now not only can Midtowners (lunch AND dinner eaters) feast on Chang's fried chicken, but there's a bunch of other first-rate dishes to be had there as well. Hence the "+". And there are both walk-in and reservations options! So much Chang, all in one place. I made it up to Fuku+ on opening day, after the lunch rush, and here's what I liked most….

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Photoville: NYC’s Free Premier Photo Destination Is Back


It's impossible to keep up with everything going on in NYC this time of year (and once the slate of "prestige" fall movies kicks in, oy, forget about it), but if you're not totally booked already for this coming weekend, one of my favorite September adventures will be going on strong in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the annual photographic-exhibitions-in-shipping-containers show, Photoville. Now in its fourth year, and one of the largest, most heavily-attended photo events in the country, Photoville gathers together the work of some 400 artists, from local students at Pratt and SVA to internationally-renowned Pulitizer Prize-winners, and creates a vibrant little village at the Pier 5 uplands in which to display their work, complete with food, drinks, and plenty of conviviality. Here's what you need to know…

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Burger Lovers Rejoice! J.G. Melon Has A New West Village Outpost


Beloved, fiercely unchanging Upper East Side pub J.G. Melon has been feeding the locals its iconic cheeseburger since 1972. Check that: a lot more than UES locals eat this thing, which, despite (or because of) it's straightforward presentation–burger, melted cheese, unassuming bun, all toppings on the side–has for years been making an appearance on all kinds of Best NYC Burgers lists. So when J.G. Melon opened up its first ever "sequel" over the summer, a fully-licensed outpost in the heart of NYU territory on Bleecker and MacDougal Streets, fans of the burger, and the bar, had mixed feelings, both excitement (I can hit Melon's downtown now too!) mixed with a fair amount of trepidation (oh man I hope they don't screw it up). So how's it going so far….? 

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San Genarro Feast 2015: Fun, Festivities & Fried Oreos


Between now and Sunday, September 20, one of me favorite New York City fall traditions is turning Little Italy (and Nolita) into a vast spectacle of fried food, questionable clams, suckers' games, blinking lights, blasting music, cheap thrills, huge pastries, plenty of beer, tremendous people watching. Yup, it's the gloriously unsubtle, mostly unchanging Feast of San Gennaro, back for its 89th year stretching from Houston to Canal on Mulberry Street as well as spilling over onto several ancillary avenues in between. Go on a weekday and leisurely snack and stroll your way through modest crowds. Go at night or the weekend and… well, it gets insanely packed with people, which can be is fun, but just make sure you're in the right mood.       

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Don’t miss out! Fall For Dance Festival Tickets Go On Sale Sunday!


One of the many reasons we love living in New York Cit–and why some of us (me) will continue to do so no matter how many "Goodbye To All That" personal essays are posted on the internet–is the staggering number and variety of cultural offerings happening day after day after day. And in the fall, the busiest season of them all? It's impossible to take in even a small percentage of the performances and exhibitions, talks and events, openings and galas. All of which is why I'm personally excited by the return in a couple of weeks of the fantastic Fall For Dance Festival at the New York City Center in Midtown. Now in its 12th year, Fall For Dance offers five different programs, each with four different companies performing in a range of moods and styles over the course of 10 nights. Best of all, every ticket in the house is available for an absurdly low $15! Needless to say, the whole thing sells out in a hurry every year, so get ready this Sunday, September 13, at 11:00 a.m. when tickets go on sale.   

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