This week is packed with parades, festivals, tours and alternative ways to celebrate Columbus Day! See the vintage buses of New York City’s past, work up a sweat, go on a quest and take part in a paranormal investigation with our Untapped Picks for things to do this week in New York City:

Friday, October 5th

Assemble a team for the New York City Cotopaxi Questival. The Questival is a 24-hour adventure race where teams of 2-6 explore the unknown in their city and the spaces around it by completing some of over 200 available challenges! The quest kicks off with a launch party at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Friday afternoon and ends on Saturday evening with a concert at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Registration is required.

Hear from experts in architecture, journalism, and multimedia documentary at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s 2018 UD Storytelling Symposium, part of the Urban Design Lecture Series. The Symposium underscores the theme that identifying, uncovering, and producing well-researched narratives about place is an integral part of the design process. The keynote speaker is Allan Holzman, a filmmaker, editor, director, and producer. Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young will be a speaker at the symposium along with designer and educator Valeria Mogilevich, John Szot of the Brooklyn Digital Foundry, and artist and educator Sarah Nelson Wright.

Saturday, October 6th

Join Untapped Cities to uncover the remnants of Dutch New Amsterdam, including the massive one hidden in plain sight: the original street grid embedded in today’s Lower Manhattan grid. Discover the many hidden Dutch relics south of Wall Street, like Manhattan’s first City Hall, the oldest European artifact in the city, and an 18th century stone wall, as you trace the streets of Manhattan in 1667. You’ll hear about New York’s founding myths and facts while standing in the very spots where they all happened.

Tour of The Remnants of Dutch New Amsterdam

Courtesy of Sweatcon Rally

Get out your work-out gear and work up a sweat at the New York City SweatCon Rally, an all-day fitness event where participants get three thirty-minute workouts at three different studios in New York City. You can choose from five different studio line-ups in various parts of the city that include studios like Solace New York, Swerve Flatiron, CorePower Yoga BP, and Neo Strike. Proceeds form tickets sales will go to Jenny Gaither’s Movemeant Foundation, which helps young women feel confident about their bodies by empowering them with the tools they need for an active lifestyle; and to the Women’s Strength Coalition, whose mission is to build stronger communities through increased access to strength training.

Hear from famous comedians, actors, authors and activists as they talk with New Yorker writers at the New Yorker Festival.The festival will feature talks with comedian Jimmy Fallon, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, author Zadie Smith, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States Sally Yates and other notable figures as well as panels, presentations and tours around the city.

Sunday, October 7th

         Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum, Photograph by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

Climb aboard a vintage bus at the Transit Museum’s 25th annual Bus Festivalat Brooklyn Bridge Park! The festival will feature buses from the museum’s vintage fleet, representing more than 80 years of New York City surface transit history. There will be special activities and photo ops, chances to meet some of the bus drivers who keep the city moving, and views of the Manhattan skyline from the museum’s new location in Bridge Plaza underneath the Brooklyn Bridge at 11 Water Street! This event is free and open to all ages.

Explore Ellis Island’s abandoned hospital complex on our behind-the-scenes hard hat tour. Once the standard for United States medical care, the 22-building hospital compound has been left to decay for nearly 60 years. On this experience, guests will visit the contagious disease wards, the autopsy rooms and other spaces usually closed to the public.

Behind-the-Scenes Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital

Honor Indigenous People’s Day at Icahn Stadium in Randall’s Island with performances, vendors, and overnight camping. The celebration continues through Monday with a Sunrise Ceremony, music, songs, dancing, and guests speakers. The event is free but pre-registration is required for camping.

Monday, October 8th

The Christmas Tree isn’t up yet but the Rink at Rockefeller Center will open on Monday for the start of the 2018 season! Be one of the first to hit the ice this Columbus Day at this iconic New York City rink before the tourist filled holiday season goes into full swing.

Celebrate the bounty of the Edible Academy at  Honey & Harvest Weekend at the New York Botanical Garden. Visitors can learn about bees and honey and take home recipes inspired by the fall harvest during this Columbus Day weekend festival at the new facility for garden-based education. Leading up to the weekend, watch the Edible Academy’s honeybees at work on NYBG’s Honeybee Cam!

Pick a spot along Fifth Avenue to watch the Columbus Day Parade. The parade begins at noon and lasts until 3 p.m. It starts on Fifth Avenue at 44th Street and continues north along Fifth Avenue to 72nd Street. The grandstands will be located on Fifth Avenue between 67th and 69th Streets.

Tuesday, October 9th

Take part in the twelfth HONK NYC Festival, New York’s premier street music and brass band performance/education festival. This festival brings the tradition of global street band music and spectacle to audiences in parks, at clubs, in schools, and especially out in the streets from October 9 to October 13. This year’s lineup features a roster of top notch New York talent including Hungry March Band, Nation Beat, Funkrust Brass Band, L Train Brass Band, Maracatu NY, Plezi Rara, Kenny Wolleson’s Wollesonic Labs Sonic Massage, and Reverend Billy and The Stop Shopping Choir, plus special visiting performers New Creations Brass Band from Louisiana and Unidos do Swing from São Paulo, Brazil.

Photograph by Carly Hoogendyk, Courtesy of Caveat 

Can you tell the difference between a truth and a lie? Test your skills at Caveat’s New York City’s Secrets and Lies,” a night of storytelling where five speakers present a New York City history, but one is made up. If you spot the liar, you could win a prize from Untapped Cities! If you are or become an Untapped Cities Insider, you can attend this event for free!

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Wednesday, October 10th

Go inside the General Grant National Memorial, commonly known as “Grant’s Tomb.” This impressive structure is the final resting place of the 18th American President and Civil War general, Ulysses S. Grant, and his wife, Julia. On this visit to the General Grant National Memorial, view a 20-minute film on the life of Ulysses S. Grant inside the visitor’s center and then go inside the grand mausoleum on a National Parks Service ranger guided tour. The monument sits at the northern end of Riverside Park overlooking the Hudson River. You can attend this free tour with Untapped Cities if you are or become an Untapped Cities Insider!

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Thursday, October 11th

Take part in a paranormal investigation at the Morris Jumel Mansion. Learn the basics of ghost hunting while possibly communicating with some of the estate’s former residents. This investigation is strictly for those 18 and over.

Photo courtesy Nathan Kensinger

What does it mean to call a water-edge city home in a time of extreme weather? How can our communities learn to live with rapidly rising seas? When might retreat make sense? Catch a screening of the short documentary Managed Retreat by Nathan Kensinger, followed by a panel discussion on the flooding challenges the Rockaways face and what we can do about them. This event, “Flooding in the Rockaways: Strategies for Adaptation,” is presented by the Climate Museum and the Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy, and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

See our full list of Untapped Cities Insiders Tours and our upcoming Public Tours.