Here are our free and cheap suggestions for things to do this Labor Day weekend 2012 (August 31 to September 3) in NYC. We’ve included some staycation ideas as well as fun and easy day trips within an hour or two from New York via public transportation.
2. Art – Avery McCarthy‘s Destination: Unknown. Includes a large, vast canvas framed by LED lights, allowing itself to be both an optical trick and aesthetic object: a modern day vanity mirror of total blackness. At Orchard Windows Gallery. 37 Orchard St. Fri, Sat, Sun 8/31 to 9/2. FREE
3. Day Trip/Food/Culture – Mitsuwa Marketplace A little taste of Tokyo only a bus ride away. In Edgewater, NJ, this shopping center immerses you in Japanese culture with a food court, books, magazines, toys and a supermarket filled with Japanese products. Take the shuttle bus from Port Authority. $3 each way. All weekend.
5. Architecture – Vertical Tour at the Cathedral St. John the Divine. No need to go to Europe to tour a spectacular church. This tour takes you up to parts of the Cathedral you never knew existed! Saturday 9/1, 12pm still available. $15 Get tickets here.
6. Day Trip/Art – DIA:Beacon in Beacon, NY. Beautiful galleries filled with spectacular installations and all your favorite contemporary artists. MetroNorth from Grand Central or 125th Street gets you within steps of the building, 80-minute train ride. Train and admission package: $31.50 for Adults. All weekend.
7. Food/Views – La Marina in Inwood. It’s a waterfront resort in Manhattan. Beautiful views of the Hudson and GW Bridge. Take the A-train.
10. Fun/Leisure – Unicycle Fest on Governors Island. World-famous riders will display their skills, and members of the public will have the opportunity to try one-wheel riding. Saturday 9/1 and Sunday 9/2, 12pm to 5pm. FREE.
11. Day Trip/Relaxation/Food/Fun – Spa Castle. Okay, maybe not so free or cheap but if you consider what a spa trip costs…this looks pretty good. We’ve yet to try, but have heard good things. A sort of “Disneyland” of spas, in Queens no less! Weekdays $35; weekends $45.
12. Fun/Music/Food/Culture – West Indian Day Parade and Festival, Eastern Parkway near Brooklyn Bridge Museum. Labor Day, Monday 9/3 starts at 11am.
Also, in Food/Music/Beach: Caracas Rockaway at Rockaway Beach at 106th St. has music events Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 4pm. (Though, lately, we’re partial to the beautifully wide unpopulated beach at 67th, if you’re okay with limited food and bathrooms…shhh.)
Art/Music/Design/Experiment: Stranded V: Laboratory, a night of eureka moments, bold experiments and a Nobel-worthy science fair built by King’s County’s creative catalysts. Saturday 9/1, 10pm-5am, at the Pfizer plant in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Near the JMZ and G trains. 21+. $26 Tickets here.