Critical 5 things to do in NYC: eat your heart out, September 14-16
Take part in culture this weekend the easy way -- consume it! Below find a good lineup of booze, eats, and street fairs.
Can't quite foot the bill for an authentic Oktoberfest in Germany? Check out the New York City Brewers Guild's fifth annual Freaktoberfest Boutique Beer & Music Festival at Greenwood Park Beer Garden in Brooklyn. Over 25 craft breweries will be pouring specialty beers alongside MC-meets-sideshow performer Donny Vomit and his burlesque Sideshow Freaks. The sixty-buck entry fee gets you all you can drink from 12-5pm, from such participating breweries as Smuttynose, Brooklyn Brewery, Stone, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head, and more, not to mention hours of music and other live performances.
Whether or not you've got any German in you -- or even any American -- the German-American Steuben Parade offers something most people can get behind: beer, carbohydrates, and spectacle. The 55th annual Steuben parade begins at 11:30am at Fifth Ave. and 67th St and continues up to 86th street. Named for General Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, who aided George Washington in the American Revolution, the parade now serves to honor German immigrants et al. by marching across the city decked out in dirndls and lederhosen, complemented of course by beer steins and pretzels.
While on the subject of celebrating our diverse cultural heritage through the stomach, head to Little Italy this weekend for a different kind of indulgence. Now in its 86th year, Mulberry Street comes alive during the Feast of San Gennaro, which honors the patron saint of Naples while offering Italian-Americans an opportunity to celebrate their culture street fair style. The feast starts this weekend with a commemorative parade, and continues for eleven days of cannoli- and pizza-eating contests, sausage-and-pepper sandwiches, and torrone (a vanilla and almond nougat candy). What's more, at 7pm on Saturday, Gianni Russo, Don Corleone's rascal son-in-law Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather will put on a cabaret-style performance.
So it isn't opening weekend or anything particularly new, but Smorgasburg, the weekly foodie fest on the East River sponsored by the Brooklyn Flea gang, fits the theme of eating your way to cultural enlightenment. From 11am to 6pm, more than 100 food vendors from all over the five boroughs take over the Williamsburg waterfront to serve you goodies, plus a 15-farmer greenmarket and a Brooklyn Kitchen vendor sell household goods and host workshops and meet-ups sponsored by Kickstarter. Participants include Porchetta, Asia Dog, McClure's Pickles, Milk Truck Grilled Cheese, Brooklyn Soda Works, People's Pops, and Blue Marble Ice Cream, so you're sure to leave happy and bloated.
If you're more interested in accumulating goods than belly fat, check out the 36th annual Flatbush Frolic for a less food-centric street fair. From 11am-5pm you can vend, shop, listen to music, or otherwsie parade around Cortelyou Rd. between Coney Island Ave. and Ocean Ave., which will be replete with live bands, arts and crafts, kids games, shops, and yes, food. Emphasizing local business and keeping things creative, the Flatbush Frolic is a country fair a la Brooklyn.