African Film, Virtual Galaxies, Cuban Art: September Events

Governors Island

Main photo courtesy: The Vendy Awards

By: Kristin Heise

September Events in Lower Manhattan are equal parts extended summer pop-ups (let’s bask in Daylight Saving while we still can) and engaging multicultural events (happy new school year!). Here’s the latest rundown of happenings across our one-square-mile neighborhood, including a monumental modern art installation, happy hour for pup parents, and beloved annual film festival.

Bookmark the Downtown NYC’s official events calendar and sign up for our newsletter to keep track of new additions as we revel in the final days of summer.

Estructuras Monumentales | City Hall Park
Estructuras Monumentales at City Hall Park – through Nov. 8; free

Estructuras Monumentales is New York-based Cuban artist Carmen Herrera’s first major sculpture exhibit showcasing more than seven decades’ worth of creative work. The five impressive, monochromatic sculptures lend an interesting contrast to City Hall Park’s natural scenery. We recommend visiting at various times of day (and in different kinds of weather!) to appreciate every dimension of this unique installation. Estructuras Monumentales is made possible by presenting sponsors Movado Group Foundation and the Public Art Fund.

The Void NYC | Star Wars Secrets of the Empire
The Void NYC – through October; $34.95

The Void’s popular and immersive VR experience has a new pop-up location in the Oculus at World Trade Center. Our team attended the soft opening for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire (for science) and it was, no pun intended, a blast for all ages and fan types. Get the scoop on additional installations, including a Delmonico’s power lunch & virtual Five Iron Golf package and SuperRealNYC Gilded Age art experience at Cipirani 25 Broadway in another, recent blog post.

Yappy Hour at Pier 17
Yappy Hour on the Heineken Riverdeck – every Tuesday through October @ 6-8p; ages 21+

Summer’s not over yet! Pier 17’s newly minted Yappy Hour includes a chill puppy pool, $5 beers, dog family photo ops, and a chance to mingle with other pooch-loving parents. 🐶

China Institute
Fall Events at the China Institute – various times

The China Institute, tucked away above street level on 40 Rector St., is the oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in America to focus exclusively on China. Among the several panels and cultural events they have prepared for September, we wanted to feature two that may appeal to a broad audience:

  • Ezra Vogel and Orville Schell in Conversation: Is China the Enemy? – September 5 @ 6:30-8p; prices vary
    “How can the United States live with a rising China, an ideologically different country that is home to one-fifth of humanity?” This is one of several timely questions that will receive proper context and answers at this thought-provoking discussion panel. The talk is $15 for non-members, $5 for members and $8 for students.
  • Food and Ideas Festival – September 21 @ 2-7p; $10
    Eat, drink and dive into conversation with young chefs, sustainability experts, artisans and influencers who are creating China’s new food and lifestyle culture. Panel discussions on global cuisine, green initiatives and urban design will run from 2-5p. At 5p, the downstairs space will welcome guests to the mid-autumn night market, featuring food and drink tastings, mahjong, performances and more.

lower manhattan headquarters programming
LMHQ Fall Events – begins September 4; prices vary

The weather may be cooling down, but things are heating up at sister organization Lower Manhattan Headquarters (LMHQ)! Kicking off the month is a Creative Engagement & Creative Learning Information Session with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council staffers on September 4; networking happy hour with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network on September 9; Free one-on-one business counseling sessions by Pace University is on September 23; and the first Women’s Breakfast panel of the season, Surviving and Thriving in an Evolving Media Landscape, is slated for September 24.

African Film Festival | Governors Island
12th Annual African Film Festival, Inc. Family Day Celebration – September 14 @ 11a-5p; free

Families and all ages are invited to Nolan Park on Governors Island for an enriching afternoon of storytelling, dance, music and film by world-renowned creatives who honor and celebrate Africa and the diaspora.

Vendy Awards | Governors Island
The Vendy Awards – September 21 @ 11a-5p; prices vary

New York City’s annual street food competition—a fundraiser that benefits the Street Vendor Project—returns one last time to Governors Island for an amazing day of sampling the city’s top 25 coolest, newest and most delicious street food vendors. In 2018, two Lower Manhattan food truck vendors, King David Tacos and Mannahatta Mediterranean, were nominated for Best Breakfast and Best Rookie, respectively—we’re rooting for a neighborhood win! Tickets begin at $100 for adults and $60 for ages 8-12 for unlimited food and drink–we recommend exploring the ticket packages to save on group admission and receive additional perks.