Labor Day Weekend in NYC: Kid Heaven

So your beautiful summer retreat was destroyed in the hurricane?  Or it wasn’t, but your staff of thousands simply couldn’t make it out of their own flooded digs in time to ready your mansion for your Labor Day arrival?  What’s that?  You don’t have a fabulous seaside retreat?  No one needs to know that.  Irene is the perfect excuse to stay in NYC for Labor Day Weekend.  it’s not that you don’t have a mansion by the sea – it’s just that mother nature refused to cooperate!

Not that you need an excuse.  Because any true New Yorker knows, the best time to be in New York City is when everyone else is gone.  Like Labor Day Weekend.  Chic restaurants will suddenly be thrilled to see you — and not just at 5:30pm. Sold out shows will have great seats. And there will be something to do every day of the holiday weekend.  Because Holiday or no – it’s still New York City – where there is always something fabulous going on for you and your family.

1.  Friday: Fireworks – Start off your weekend with a bang, at the final Coney Island Friday Night Fireworks display of the summer. Head to the boardwalk anywhere between 5th and 21st Sts, and get a great view. Fireworks start at 9:30 – a bit late for some kids – but hey, it’s the last weekend of the summer.  Live a little.  Click on for more ingo

2. Saturday: The NYC Unicycle Festival  – What’s cooler than unicycling?  LOTS of people unicycling.  This annual festival is a blast for kids and grown ups alike.  And while it goes on all weekend, the events on Governors Island on September 3 from noon to 5 pm are your best bet with the kids.  Plus. Governor’s Island is just waaay cool.

This year’s Governors Island festivities include:

  • Unicycle basketball and hockey.
  • Learn-to-ride sessions.
  • Races and competitions.
  • The Hell on Wheel Unicycle Trials Course
  • A Unicycle Basketball match featuring NYC’s own King Charles Troupe vs. The Puerto Rican Nationals.
  • An exhibition game presented by the Unicycle Football League
  • World Record Attempts
  • Public show featuring the best unicycle entertainers from around the world.

To get to Governors Island you can take a free ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn.

The Governors Island ferry departs from the Battery Maritime Building located at 10 South Street, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan. For subway, bus, or Brooklyn Ferry information visit

3. Saturday or Sunday: Big City Fishing – True, this has been going on all summer, but Labor Day weekend is your last chance to go fishing on the Hudson with gear and instruction provided by the NYC Parks department.

Kids (and adults) age five and up with not only learn to fish, but will also learn about the Hudson River environment.  In a typical session, Trust staff offer a brief introduction to ecology and water quality, followed by an overview of the many fish species that live in Hudson River Park’s Estuarine Sanctuary.

But it’s more than fishing – view plankton through microscopes, examine live specimens – caught that morning, either in traps or on someone’s line; and identify species from the Hudson River Park’s signature Fish Poster.

4. Sunday Go Kayaking.  No, really. Manhattan is an island after all.  Plus, it’s free.  And (assuming Irene’s wrath is over) not too tough.  Check out the free kayaks available through the Downtown Boathouse.  Take a quick spin, or a three hour tour.  Ginger and MaryAnne not included.

5. MondayThe Richmond County Fair – Yes, a county fair in NYC – because Staten Island, is (I swear) part of NYC.  Some call it the forgotten borough. But I call it the greenest, most family friendly part of the city.  Here’s what you can find at the fair:

Amusement rides, County Fair contests, crafts, magic, farm animals (you read that right), pig races (you read that right, too), classic cars, live music, food, rides – even pony rides – and lots more on 25 acres.  Admission is $15 per person, and kids under 30” tall are free! For more info, click here.

6. Monday Night – The weekend is almost over (and then school starts – yay!) but there’s still time for one big party: Nickelodeon’s Mega Music Fest featuring celebrities like Colbie Caillat, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots.  But if that doesn’t sound kid friendly, consider this:  they’ll all be performing never-before-seen duets with Dora the Explorer, the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba!, and Kai-lan.  Plus there will be special appearances by The Laurie Berkner Band, The Fresh Beat Band, and even a few surprise cameos.  Host John Leguizamo will make your preschooler’s first big concert a night to remember.

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