What happens in October in a typical city? Sure, you could catch a great concert, stroll through the leaves, maybe take in a local cat show. But could you do all that and see two sumo wrestlers try, and fail, to eat an enormous pastrami-and-corned-beef sandwich named after Woody Allen? Not likely. But all that happened this past October in New York. Think about it. The leaves are turning—or, if they aren’t, it’s because summer’s lingering long past its expiration date, which means everyone’s still Rollerblading around with barely any clothes on, so it’s win-win. The weather’s usually mellowed just enough that the city doesn’t stink of garbage and your clothes no longer stick to your skin, so you actually feel like buying the new fall lines that debuted last winter. Plus, there’s that invigorating, roll-up-your-sleeves, get-down-to-work feel in the air. The new college students haven’t been here long enough to lose their sense of wonder—just long enough to stop annoying us by asking for directions to Macdougal Street. And the cultural season is hitting full stride: You can see Joan Didion at the 92nd Street Y, catch a late show of ‘Rocky Horror’ at the New York City Horror Film Festival, then wake up early and train for the New York marathon. By October, you’ve had just enough time to hear which of the new Broadway shows are actually worth $100. Times Square is bustling but not yet arterially clogged. Central Park is perfect for a sweater. Every apple tastes great, and there are bushels of them everywhere. The Yankees (and, we hope, the Mets) are in the playoffs, and the Giants and the Jets are revving up (well, the Giants); you can hear the smack of shoulder pads drifting across the river. This past October, even with sports-related blues, men were hugging all across the city: at an AIDS march through the Lincoln Tunnel, en route to Washington, and at the World Sumo Challenge: Battle of the Giants at Madison Square Garden. Cats battled cats at the Cat Fanciers’ Association Cat Show, and yogis battled yogis at the Regional Yoga Asana Championship. (Cats, however, did not battle yogis; everyone was in too good a mood.) Madonna and David Letterman rode horses together along 53rd Street. You might have even seen Bill Clinton as the guest of honor at an American Red Cross reception, or Laura Bush as the honorary patron at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards Gala, but likely not both—because, in an odd red state–blue state confluence, the events happened on the very same night. (Though with a fast cab, a sturdy tux, and an open mind, anything’s possible.) Then, just when it’s crisp enough to require another layer, you can break out your freakiest garb—or strip down to skivvies—and march in the Village’s Halloween Parade. And if your exhibitionist streak extends to your canine, dress Waggles up for the Dog Day Masquerade. Maybe you and your pooch will get an invite to Heidi Klum’s costume party. Then head home to hibernate, content in the knowledge that, if October in New York is better than anywhere, November’s not too far behind.
Because October Rocks