The fall season in New York City brings a slew of free events. Across the five boroughs, travellers can find holiday parades, literary crawls and celebrations of international cultures. Below are some of the popular ones.
Lit Crawl NYC (October 1)
There are bar crawls for St Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and even juice in NYC, but the most cerebral one is the Lit Crawl. Instead of dressing in costume and leaving a trail of bars in their unsteady wake, participants can play Nerd Jeopardy or listen to book readings.
Deepavali (October 2)
Diwali, an ancient Hindu festival, is also one of the biggest and brightest events in Manhattan. The South Street Seaport will serve as the site of food stalls, clothing vendors, henna painting, dance and musical performances, with fireworks at 9.00 pm. The Association of Indians in America (AIA) runs this event.
Columbus Day Parade (October 10)
Secure a spot along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue for a family-friendly celebration filled with colourful floats and rousing musical performances. The parade honours Italian-Americans’ contributions to New York City and draws around a million spectators and 35,000 marchers. The parade travels from 44th Street to 72nd Street and marching bands will perform along its length. There’s also a “red carpet” area between 67th and 69th Streets for stage acts. Special passes are needed to get up close.
Open House New York (October 15 and 16)
Get a glimpse of NYC’s rarely seen spaces with Open House New York. The wide variety of sites that host the weekend-long event range from boardrooms to bedrooms, crypts to clubs, factories to firehouses, lighthouses to lookouts, monuments to mansions, and skyscrapers to substations.
Marco Polo Festival (October 15)
Chinatown and Little Italy join forces to throw the Marco Polo Festival, a celebration of Asian and European cultures (specifically Chinese and Italian) and their joint historic district in downtown Manhattan. After a parade through the streets, opera performances, acrobatics and instrumental performances take place during the day in the two neighborhoods.
Village Halloween Parade (October 31)
Every year 50,000 folks parade up Sixth Avenue – decked out in some of the city’s scariest, most inventive and most hilarious costumes – while numerous live bands complement the ghoulish revelry. Show up with a creative costume of your own and join the parade, or stick to your civvies and take in the spectacle from the sidelines. Marchers line up on Sixth Avenue between Canal and Spring Streets. The parade gets rolling at 7.00 pm and heads north up Sixth Avenue to 16th Street.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (November 24)
A Thanksgiving tradition for more than 90 years, this parade is one of the most famous holiday events in the world. Millions line the streets of Manhattan to watch celebrities, broadway performers, clowns, marching bands, floats and the true headliners of the day: the all-star roster of floating balloons flying above the route. The procession heads south down Central Park West from 77th Street, east along Central Park South to Sixth Avenue and then south along Sixth Avenue to West 34th Street, ending in front of Macy’s in Herald Square. Also, the inflating of the balloons along the perimeter of the American Museum of Natural History has become an annual Thanksgiving eve tradition on the Upper West Side.