This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Brooklyn Botanic Garden
900 Washington Ave.
Saturday, October 1, $15-$20 (children under twelve free), 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

The weather might be cooling a bit, but it’s going to remain hot, hot, hot this weekend at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s twenty-fourth annual Chile Pepper Festival. On Saturday, October 1, the BBG will celebrate all things spicy with a full slate of activities, highlighted by tastings from more than five dozen food purveyors divided into Hot Sauce Sorcery (Bacchanal Sauce, Beast Feast Maine, Black Irish Hot Sauce, Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce, Poor Devil Pepper Co., Queen Majesty Hot Sauce, more), Chile-Chocolate Debauchery (Hernán Mexican Mole, Little Bird Chocolates, Lululosophy Artisan Chocolates, MarieBelle, Raaka Chocolate, Whimsy & Spice, others), Combustible Condiments (Anarchy in a Jar, Calcutta Kitchens, Elvio’s Chimichurri, Josephine’s Feast, Mama Margarita’s Salsa, Nafi’s Hot Pepper Condiments, Pierre’s Spicy, etc.), Hi-Scoville Sweets (Brooklyn Soda Works, Bushwick Kitchen, Culture: An American Yogurt Company, La Newyorkina, Mike’s Hot Honey, OddFellows Ice Cream Co,. Spoonable), and Piquant Pickles & Such (Divine Brine, Holy Schmitt’s Homemade Horseradish, Mama O’s Premium Kimchi, Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi, North Brooklyn Farms, Pure Mountain Olive Oil, Rick’s Picks, Zia Green Chile Company). The live-music lineup begins at 10:00 with Pilette’s Ghost and continues with Dahka Band (10:45), Élage Diouf (12:15), Hazmat Modine (1:45), Aurelio (3:15), and the Lost Bayou Ramblers (4:45). Robbins & Ringold, consisting of Todd Robbins and Stephen Ringold, will serve as masters of ceremonies. There will also be a Chile Chat with Gregory Seaton at 10:30, a Hot Chiles for Cool Kids workshop in which kids can take a pepper plant home, Sahadi’s Souk, and a booth featuring Archestratus Books + Foods.



Orchard St. between Houston & Delancey Sts.
Sunday, September 25, free, 12 noon - 5:00 pm

Speaking about Calvin Coolidge, Alice Roosevelt Longworth said, “He looks as though he’s been weaned on a pickle.” For many of us who were born and raised in New York, we’re not sure why that was an insult. And that’s why on Sunday you’re likely to find us at the annual Lower East Side Pickle Day, being held on Orchard St. between Houston and Delancey. Among those participating in the festivities, which include food, fashion, and family-friendly games and activities, are pickled purveyors Guss’ Pickles, Pioneer Cannery, Macdonald Farms, Pickle Me Pete, Backyard Brine, Grillo’s Pickles, Crisp & Co. Pickles, Fox Point Pickles, Messy Brine, the Pickle Guys, Rick’s Picks, Horman’s Pickles, Divine Brine, Adamah Farm, Rachel Mae Farmstand, Brooklyn Brine, Doctor Pickle, Pittsburgh Pickle Co., McClure’s Pickles, and Crooked Carrot Fermentory in addition to Melt Bakery, A Casa Fox, Osaka Grub, Saxelby Cheesemongers, sweet buttons desserts, Wassail, Ni Japanese Deli, the Meatball Shop, Puebla Mexican Food, the SKINny Bar & Lounge, Georgia’s BBQ, Cow & Clover, and Roni-Sue’s Chocolates. There will also be live music by Louie and Chan and a home pickling/dancing contest. Pickles have a long affiliation with the Lower East Side, and the annual Pickle Day only adds to that pickled history.



The Old Pfizer Factory
630 Flushing Ave., Williamsburg
September 24-25, $79-$249 (twenty-one and older only)

Mmm, bacon. . . . The second annual Great Big Bacon Picnic is set for September 24-25 at the Old Pfizer Factory in Williamsburg, where more than one hundred purveyors of food and drink will join together for an extravaganza of all things bacon. Chefs from all over New York City will show just how diverse the sizzling meat can be with a bevy of bite-sized delights that can be washed down with specially selected beer, wine, and spirits. Among the many participants are BaconFB4, Traif, Williamsburg Pizza, Antony “Tony Bacon” Nassif of Mile End Deli, Tres Carnes, Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, BarBacon, Veselka, Walter Momente and Jon Streep of Alidoro, Big Papa Smokem Gourmet Smoked Meats, Brooklyn Baked and Fried, Chef’s Cut Real Jerky, Feast, Off the Hook Raw Bar & Grill, Potatopia, Dirty Burger, and 2015 GBBP champ Arthur Saks. Potent potables will be available from Shiner Beer, New Belgium Brewing Co., Van Brunt Stillhouse, Two Roads Brewing Co., Iron Smoke Whiskey, Doc Herson’s Natural Spirits, Domaine des Haute Glace “Les Moisson” French Single Malt, Domaine d’Esperance Armagnac, Derrumbes Mezcal, and many more. There are three ticket packages for the three sessions, which take place on Saturday from 12 noon to 2:30 for brunch, Saturday from 5:30 to 8:00 for happy hour, and Sunday from 1:00 to 3:30 for brunch. Brunch and happy hour are currently being discounted to $79, with half-hour early entry $114 and VIP $189 (including one-hour early entry and access to private lounges and gift bag). Ten percent of the proceeds go to such local charities as City Harvest and No Kid Hungry. The High & Mighty Brass Band will provide live music, and first-time Lyft users can get a $50 credit here. Everyone gets unlimited bacon — and no turkey bacon, soy bacon, or other substitutes. And don’t forget to belly up to the Bacon Bar.



East River State Park
Sunday, September 18, $35-$100, 1:00 - 5:00

North Brooklyn will be strutting its culinary stuff on September 18 at the seventh annual Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint, where you can sample food and drink from more than fifty purveyors of edibles and potent potables from the neighborhood. Among those establishments that will be dishing out delights in East River State Park are Amami, Anella, Black Flamingo, Brooklyn Cupcake, the Brooklyn Star, Cheeseboat LLC, Delaware and Hudson, Delaney BBQ, El Born, Hail Mary, Harvey, Le Fond, Lighthouse, Lilia, Maison Premiere, MatchaBar, the Meatball Shop, Midnights, Nitehawk Cinema, Randolph, St. Mazie, Rosamunde Sausage Grill, Sugar Couture, and Zona Rosa. There are three ticket levels (twenty-one and over only, no pets): The Tastes Firehouse package ($35) gets you four tastes and two drinks, the Firehouse Plus ($60) eight tastes and four drinks, and the Firehouse VIP ($100) twelve tastes and six drinks. There will also be live music, cooking demonstrations, and a beer garden, and first-time Lyft users can get twenty bucks off their ride by using the code TASTENYC now. All proceeds benefit the Firehouse North Brooklyn Community Center on Wythe Ave., which seeks to “renovate and operate the former Engine Co. 212 Firehouse for community activity [to] provide a permanent home to neighborhood social justice organizations for continued advocacy and direct services to Williamsburg and Greenpoint [and to foster] civic and cultural engagement with original arts programming and community gatherings.”


BERST will return for the third annual Celebrating Red Hook festival in Erie Basin Park

BERST will return for the third annual Celebrating Red Hook festival in Erie Basin Park (photo courtesy Red Hook Star-Revue)

Erie Basin Park behind IKEA, 1 Beard St.
Saturday, September 17, free, 12 noon - 9:00 pm

The third annual Celebrating Red Hook festival takes place September 17 from 12 noon to 9:00 in Erie Basin Park behind the IKEA. Hosted by the Red Hook Star-Revue, the all-ages event features live entertainment, face painting, henna tattoos, a local marketplace, a Tiki bar, fireworks, and more. “Celebrating Red Hook is a day when we bring so many pieces of Red Hook into a single place in order to display all of the culture that makes our community special,” Red Hook Star-Revue publisher Kimberly G. Price said in a statement. The music lineup consists of Stan Kosakowski (1:00), HAPPS (1:35), the Eephus Band (2:00), William Robertson (3:00), Berst (4:00), the Sanghatones (5:00), Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers (6:00), Andi Rae Healy and the Back River Bullies (7:00), and Union (8:00). Among the more than fifty participants with booths are Red Hook Winery, Sixpoint Brewery, Cora Dance, the Red Hook Art Project, the Red Hook Justice Center, Giant Jenga, Tarot Cards with Serena, the Brooklyn Bridge Rotary Club, Friends of the Red Hook Library, Addabbo Health Center, Dolce Brooklyn, Brooklyn Whatever, and the Red Hook Conservancy.


Oysters are on the menu at annual culinary festival featuring bivalve mollusks

Oysters are on the menu at annual culinary festival featuring bivalve mollusks

Multiple venues
September 16 - October 3, $75-$125

“Do you consider the eating of oysters to be moral and the eating of snails to be immoral?” Marcus Licinius Crassus (Sir Laurence Olivier) asks Antoninus (Tony Curtis) in Stanley Kubrick’s sword-and-sandals epic Spartacus. Fortunately, you don’t have to answer that question during New York Oyster Week, which features numerous culinary, ecologically friendly events over the course of eighteen days. The fifth anniversary of this wonderfully slimy celebration begins on September 16 with the NY Harbor Regatta & Regatta Bash on Governors Island ($125-$1,000, 2:00), hosted by Willie Geist and with commentary by Gary Jobson, live reggae music, a full oyster bar, and seafood specialties from Betony, Blue Fin, Crave Fish Bar, and other restaurants. On September 17 in Brooklyn Bridge Park ($95, 5:00), the Brooklyn Oyster Riot boasts a collection of a dozen East and West Coast oysters curated by Master Mermmelier Kevin Joseph of the OysterHood, with dishes created by chef Marc Murphy of Ditch Plains and wine and Brooklyn Brewery beer pairings, along with live music by Jan Bell and the Maybelles and oyster education from the Billion Oyster Project. This year Oyster Week debuts the Big Gay Oyster Brunch, taking place September 18 at 12 noon at Lot 45 in Bushwick ($75), with six ultrapremium oysters, ten craft beers, oyster wine, a trio of special cocktails, and DJ music. Dorlan’s Tavern & Oyster Bar will be home to Cocktail Oysters on September 21 ($75, 5:00) for a lucky fifty people, three hours of five oyster varieties and accoutrements courtesy of Joseph and chef Rob McCue, drinks from mixologist and Dorlan’s owner Jeremy Dahm, and some history about cocktail oysters. On September 23 it’s back to Lot 45 for Shellebration (6:00), consisting of a dozen oyster varieties, sustainable seafood dishes from Lot 45 and chef Behaya Samia, craft beer, cocktails, oyster wine, and more. On September 24 at the Fulton Stall Market ($85, 4:00), the inaugural Old Seaport Oyster Revival honors the rebuilding of the area with oysters, a signature seafood showcase from five old Seaport restaurants, Spirited Pearls and Accoutrement Premier by Joseph and McCue, live music from Mama Juke, and live shucking at the Shuck Truck. The Merroir + Terroir dinner on September 28 is sold out, but you can continue your oyster extravaganza on September 30 with ShuckEasy, comprising a “rare and exotic” raw bar, Spirited Pearls and Accoutrement Premier, and craft cocktails and beer at a secret location. Oyster Week comes to a close on October 1 with OystoberFest at the South Street Seaport ($85, 4:00), with a raw bar of twenty oyster varieties, the Shuck Truck, a beer garden, a cidery, a wine bar, and specialty docktails. And there’s nary a snail in sight.


Free outdoor screening of WHEN WE WERE KINGS is part of Harlem Week festival

Free outdoor screening of WHEN WE WERE KINGS is part of Harlem Week festival

West 135th St. between Malcolm X Blvd. & Frederick Douglass Blvd.
Saturday, August 20, and Sunday, August 21, free, 12 noon – 10:00 pm
Festival continues through August 27

The annual Harlem Week festival continues August 20 with “Summer in the City” and August 21 with “Harlem Day,” two afternoons of a wide range of free special events along West 135th St. Saturday’s festivities include the Higher Education Fair & Expo, New Yorkers Are “Dancing in the Street” (with Alvin Ailey instructor Robin Dunn teaching a hip-hop ballet and African dance class, with WBLS DJs), the Fabulous Fashion Flava Show, the first day of the NYC Children’s Festival (with a parade, sports clinics, health testing, arts & crafts, and more), Harlem Honeys & Bears swimming activities for seniors in the Hansborough Recreation Center, an International Vendors Village, the Uptown Saturday Concert paying tribute to Nina Simone, and the Imagenation Outdoor Film Festival screening in St. Nicholas Park of Leon Gast’s Oscar-winning 1996 documentary When We Were Kings, about Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s Rumble in the Jungle. Sunday’s Harlem Day celebration features the “Harlem and Havana Classics” Upper Manhattan Auto Show, tennis clinics, the “Village within Our Village” health village, the second day of the NYC Children’s Festival (with a Back to School theme), an “International Roots of Jazz” program, the Upper Manhattan Small Business Expo & Fair, live music, dance, and spoken-word performances, a kids fashion show, and musical tributes to Prince and Earth, Wind & Fire leader Maurice White.