Best NYC Events In September: A Guide from A-to-Z

A group of people dressed in costume at the 2013 DUMBO Arts Festival

Summer's end, as sad as that can feel for some of us, does have its wide, bright, sterling-silver lining. Namely: September! Yes, if there's one thing that's even better than summer in the city, even more jam-packed with great things to see and and do and hear and eat, then it's the start of the NYC fall season. So here's a by-no-means exhaustive A-to-Z list of reasons to be excited for September. And just wait until October, when things REALLY get busy around here!  

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Root & Bone: Bringing Southern Fried to the Lower East Side

An exterior shot of the restaurant root & bone located on 3rd Street & Avenue B

 I find myself eating a lot in the neighborhoods below 14th Street (and, increasingly, in Brooklyn), which is not at all unusual among New Yorkers from every part of town. My latest venture was down to what used to be called Alphabet City but is now really just the East Village – to the newest hotspot, Root & Bone. 

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Word Above the Street: The Water Tank Project is Refreshing the NYC Skyline

water-tank-project-nyc-word-above-street-icy-sot

Ah, our beautiful NYC water towers. They're iconic. They're ubiquitous, with somewhere around 17,000 of them dotting our skyline. Beginning right now and extending for the next 12 weeks through the fall, more than 100 water towers throughout the city will be covered in art. It's called the Water Tank Project: Word Above the Street, and not only is it just a cool idea for a public art exhibition on a grand scale, there's also a serious purpose at work here.

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Ample Hills Creamery Opens in Gowanus

A chocolate ice cream cone with a scoop of butterscotch pudding ice cream from Ample Hills melts in the Brooklyn sun.

Ample Hills Creamery has been ice-cream-famous in this town ever since they opened that first tiny parlor in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights some four years ago. The cause for much of the rapture, then and now, has been their signature flavor, Salted Crack Caramel–salted caramel ice cream studded with chocolate covered butter crackers–which is every bit as delicious and addictive as the name implies. But locals and self-proclaimed experts of the best ice cream in NYC (ahem, me) quickly realized that pretty much everything Brian Smith, Jackie Cuscuna, and rest of the Ample Hills team churns out is nothing less than sweet, cold, creamy magic. And now, with the opening of the brand-new, two-story, "ice cream paradise" in Gowanus, Ample Hills has once again seriously upped the ante on the city's frozen treat game.    

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Whitney Museum set to Open on Mondays for Koons Retrospective

A bright, colorful large sculpture of play-doh by artist Jeff Koons at his retrospective at the Whitney Museum.

Way to go out with a bang, Upper East Side Whitney. For its final exhibition in the iconic, modernist Madison Avenue building that's been its home since 1966, the Whitney gives us a true blockbuster, filling nearly the entire space with one of the most crowd-pleasing, successful and, perhaps for those very reasons, polarizing American artists of his generation, Jeff Koons. This is Koons's first-ever retrospective in New York City, it's the first time (and, by default, also the last) the Whitney has ever given over all of its galleries to a single artist.

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Back to School for Grown Ups: The Best Adult Classes and Continuing Education in NYC

An exterior view of Low Memorial Library on the campus of Columbia University

No matter what sort of memories you have about your high school/college days (and mine are decidedly mixed), when September comes around it's hard not to get a little nostalgic for that fresh-start, new-school-year feeling. That warm-fuzzy feeling is especially magnified if you have kids, and especially, especially if they're changing schools or–yikes–heading off to college. Here's the thing, though: NYC has an amazing array of classes for adults, on every conceivable subject, requiring varying degrees of rigor and commitment (and money), all just waiting for you to sign up and learn. Last year we discussed some fun, educational back-to-school tips for kids, and for year we explored NYC's best and most popular adult education classes and programs. 

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Dimes Cafe: California-Style Cuisine right in Chinatown

Chicken liver mousse topped with jalepeno-pickled raisins from Dimes Cafe in NYC

It's places like Dimes that make it impossible to ever get tired of New York City. Twice now this summer I've stopped into this tiny, funky-pretty spot on dingy Division Street for dinner, once late, around 10pm, once on a bit of the early side, around 6pm. On both nights I was greeted warmly and seated immediately, despite the fact that everyone here is at least 20 times cooler-looking than me. The menu is incredibly appealing from top to bottom, with healthy, California-ish dishes–owners Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner honed their chops at places like Northern Spy and Smile–at reasonable prices. Most important, both dinners at Dimes were wholly satisfying, two-for-two, app-and-entree winners. Enter hungry, leave happy. 

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A Tour of All That’s New and Fun in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Image of a Brooklyn bridge park with a man sunbathing on the lawn on a beautiful day with bright blue skies

Brooklyn Bridge Park, which runs along the East River waterfront from the base of the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO all the way to Pier 6 at the southern edge of Brooklyn Heights, has been the site of an extraordinary amount of development these past few years, both public and private. Even considering the insane pace at which our beautiful city normally changes, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a renovation, reconstruction machine.

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For Your Labor Day Grilling: Check Out These Great NYC Butcher Shops

Image of a large set of ribs, in the backgroun a man prepares meat for cooking.

Although you can easily get a nice variety of decent cuts these days at any Whole Foods, Fairway, or Citarella, every NYC neighborhood deserves a great butcher, preferably of the old-school, family-owned variety. Places like Ottomanelli BrothersLobel'sOttomanelli & SonsSchatzieHarlem Shambles, and J. Baczynsky's Ukranian Meat Market will always beat the big guys on quality, especially for special occasions.

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What We Learned at Food Republic’s Fantastic Summer Pie Party

Image of the top of a passion fruit pie decorated with whipped cream around the edges and large raspberries

A few nights ago the good folks at Food Republic invited us to their Summer Pie Party, held at Little Owl: the Venue in the West Village. It featured more amazing pie than anyone could possibly ever eat, all from some of the best bakers and chefs in the city. Plus: lots of fun, refreshing cocktails. Needless to say, we took Food Republic up on their offer, gorged ourselves silly, laughed and chatted with pie makers and our excellent Little Owl hosts, and walked away with five valuable lessons.

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