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Top 5: What to do in NYC on Labor Day Weekend

Wondering what to do on Labor Day Weekend in New York City? Here are a few picks, from a unicycle festival to street art to Garfunkel and Oates.

Garfunkel and Oates Garfunkel and Oates plays Irving Plaza on Aug. 30. They also have a new TV show on Thursdays on IFC.
Credit: IFC

As tempting as it is to park yourself on the couch this Labor Day Weekend for another marathon on Netflix, the holiday was dedicated to the vitality of people like Rosie the Riveter, not Homer Simpson. Pay tribute by taking part in one of the many activities happening around NYC.

Garfunkel and Oates at Irving Plaza

Comedy duo and professional “second bananas” Garfunkel & Oates (pictured above) ride their wave of success to the top of the marquis at Irving Plaza. As part of the 14-city tour, the two actress/singer/comedians, Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, plan an epic show that combines popular bits with new material (and songs like “Sex with Ducks”).

If you go: Saturday, 7 p.m.; 17 Irving Place; $33.50; Ages 18+; www.venue.irvingplaza.com

West Indian-American Day Carnival

Inspired by Harlem street carnivals in the 1940s, Trinidadian Rufus Goring imported the event to Brooklyn in the ’60s. Ever since, the festival — now called the West Indian-American Day Carnival — has grown to more than 1 million participants. The parade of bands and floats on Monday afternoon is just the culmination of several days of events, including six-hour Caribbean Woodstock (Thursday), Brass Fest and Kiddies Carnival (Friday), Steel Band Panorama (Saturday) and Dimanche Gras concert (Sunday).

If you go: Aug. 28-Sept. 1; www.wiadcacarnival.org


Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

The difficulties of the Great Depression inspired painter Jackson Pollock to take his work into Washington Square Park one spring day in 1931 hoping to eke out the rent for his Greenwich Village studio. The tradition continued throughout the following 80 years, expanding to a twice-a-year happening that includes Labor Day Weekend, with exhibitors of fine art, photography, crafts and sculpture.

If you go: Aug. 30-31; noon to 6 p.m.; Washington Square Park; www.wsoae.org

14th New York International Salsa Congress

“If the streets don't get you, then the salsa will” declares the 14th annual New York International Salsa Congress. The four-day, five-night dance and music festival mixes more than 45 workshops and 90 performances to inspire appreciation for Latin music, dance and culture. With 25,000 square feet of dance space at the Hilton New York, there’s room enough for all.

If you go: Aug. 27-Sept. 1; New York Hilton Midtown; 1335 Ave. of Americas; (212)-586-7000; $25+, www.nycsalsacongress.com

NYC Unicycle Festival

“Three days of one-wheel madness” — aka the NYC Unicycle Festival (pictured below) — begins Aug. 29 with a 13-mile unicycle ride across Brooklyn by more than 300 riders, ending in at Coney Island Shooting Gallery Annex for the One Wheel stage show. The following two days move to Governors Island, where activities include races, exhibitions and unicycle-modified sports. Even amateurs will have a chance to climb aboard!

If you go: One Wheel stage show: Aug. 29; Coney Island Shooting Gallery Annex, 1214 Surf Ave., Coney Island; $10 with unicycle, $15 without; www.nycunifest.com

Unifest unicycles Unicycles take over NYC this weekend.
Credit: Keith Nelson

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