English country dancers, Italian films, Spanish sopranos, and a whole lot of Dutch history make for a worldly cultural season.
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The Main Event
The Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial
Henry Hudson made his actual voyage up his now-eponymous river in September of 1609, so it makes sense that events commemorating the journey’s 400th anniversary are ramping into high gear this month. Go down by the riverside to check out these waterfront celebrations.
Peekskill Quadricentennial Celebration
September 6 to September 12
Peekskill Riverfront Green Park
Saturday’s festivities are the culmination of a week of the city’s celebratory events, including a gradual illumination of Peekskill’s historic buildings, lighting them the way they were in 1909 for the last Hudson centennial. Then the fun heads to the river: parades, performances, fireworks, and—our favorite—dragon boat races on the Hudson. Also look out for special cultural events going on at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art and the Paramount Center for the Arts.
Yonkers Riverfest and Native American Village & Crafts
September 12, Downtown Yonkers
If Henry Hudson were to take his voyage today, even he’d be able to see that Yonkers has one of the most dynamic waterfronts. Experience it for yourself—and check out the live music on four stages, arts and crafts, vendors, classic cars, jugglers and puppeteers, and international food—when the city holds its free Riverfest in the historic downtown district. Be sure to head over to the Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site, were Lenape Lifeways gives some insight to Native American life. Pop into the Lenape lean-to and check out clothing, musical instruments, tools, dishware, and games, then listen to stories and lectures while trying your hand at beadworking.
Town of Cortlandt Quadricentennial Ball
September 25, Colonial Terrace
Get your historic gown out of the moth balls—anyone who arrives in period costume to this grand occasion will receive a commemorative gift. Even the food will adhere to the historical theme: The Colonial Terrace caterers will present food from different periods in Hudson Valley history.
Also Consider: The Hudson River Museum’s Dutch New York: The Roots of Hudson Valley Culture continues, so you can take a look at the area during other Hudson-Fulton-Champlain centennials and decide that ours is totally better (ongoing through January 10, Hudson River Museum) // There’s more music, more street food, and more celebrating to do at Tarrytown’s River Festival (September 12, Pierson Park) // If you think climate change might affect the possibility of holding a quinticentennial for the river, check out the eco-conscious, satirical European comic strips displayed in ArtsWestchester’s Fumetto exhibit (October 2 to November 10, Arts Exchange).
British Subjects: Identity and Self-Fashioning, 1965-2009
September 13 to December 13, Neuberger Museum of Art
Take a virtual hop across the pond and give a polite “cheerio” to the Brits, the subjects and artists represented in the Neuberger’s newest exhibition. British Subjects takes a look at how immigration and the post-colonial, post-imperial nature of late 20th-century Britain have changed the country’s identity and artwork. It’s a welcome British Invasion.
Architectural Dreams: The Brooklyn/Siena Connection
October 3 to October 24, Clay Art Center
We know that when you hear “clay art,” you think of precious pots and vases. That’s why it’s so easy to be charmed by the Clay Art Center’s exhibition of delightfully unexpected clay wall sculptures of buildings and city streets. The work comes courtesy of New York City-based artist Rene Murray, who also makes clay paintings.
Bold, Cautious, and True: Walt Whitman and The American Art of the Civil War Era
October 18 to January 24, Katonah Museum of Art
What do Walt Whitman and Winslow Homer have in common (besides their first initial)? Find out when the Katonah Museum of Art takes a look at society, history, art, and literature during and after the Civil War period. Bold, Cautious, and True includes 60 works from artists such as Sanford Robinson Gifford, Eastman Johnson, and Worthington Whittredge, who all take a close look into a tumultuous period of our history. We’re far beyond Leaves of Grass territory here.
➤ Double Dutch: Exploring the Soul of Dutch Art Through the Works of Several Installation Artists
September 12 to July 26, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art
If you think Dutch art is all about tulips and wooden shoes, you owe it to yourself to check out the work from the 16 artists in the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art’s new exhibition. Many of the cool, colorful, and wooden-shoe-free installations—situated both in the museum and outside along the river—were created specifically for this show, including a few works done by artists here for the museum’s artist-in-residence program. Take a date—then you can tell everyone you “went Dutch.”
Silents Are Golden: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Thanhouser Film Company
Opens October 28, Museum of Arts & Culture
Forget Tinsel Town: at the dawn of American cinema, the classics were made right here in Westchester. (Did you know that D.W. Griffiths had a studio in Mamaroneck?) New Rochelle High School’s Museum of Arts & Culture pays homage to that era with photos, artifacts, and ephemera of Thanhouser Studio, a New Rochelle institution that cranked out more than 1,000 silent films between 1909 and 1917. The Museum also is hosting a film screening with live accompaniment and a lecture with Ned Thanhouser, the studio founder’s grandson, on October 28.
➤ Bike Rides [What’s Hot]
September 26 to January 3, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
In between releasing albums with Brian Eno, staging critically raved-about tours, and generally being awesome, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is a tireless bicycle advocate. It’s no shock, then, that he is an advisor on this exhibition, which features two-wheelers that have been customized and repurposed by artists. We love the Pimp my Piragua bike, which is essentially a giant boom box with huge speakers attached to the bike frame. Keep an eye out for museum-sponsored bike rides (where some of the artwork actually performs), bike raffles, and other fun two-wheeled events.