Happy almost-Labor-Day-Weekend, amigos, and here’s hoping you really get a chance to really marinate in the sunny, lazy, final days of summer’s glory before we get rudely pitched forward into a fall that is both unmapped and extremely high-stakes. At the same time that the city moves into Phase 4, with museums and gyms opening at reduced capacity, there are other signs that we are light years from resuming life as we knew it before the all-encompassing smackdown of 2020 swooped in for the kill. My office announced that we won’t be returning until July 2021 at the earliest, which has been a tough pill for a consummate extrovert like me to swallow, not to mention a sobering reminder that we’re just beginning to see the effects of the pandemic on New York City’s complex and interdependent economic circuitry. While trying to avoid—at least until I reenter the real world on Tuesday anyway—articles about our descent into Fascism and the deficit being comparable to what it was in the 40s, I did read with great interest Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander’s thoughts about how to best ensure that recovery efforts are equitable and poised to rebuild the kind of city that I want to live in. I’m determined to get involved in a tangible way in the next few months, and would love any suggestions you all might have—send ‘em my way and I can compile them and share with the group.
Meanwhile, as strapped local parks have asked the public to volunteer to help with maintenance and cleanup, I’ve been thinking a lot about the prominent role that Prospect Park in particular has played in my own pandemic survival. It was there that I got tipsy on takeaway frozen cocktails with my best friend after not seeing each other for the longest we’d gone in two decades, watched Juneteenth fireworks and dance parties from a blanket with a coworker, synced up with a BLM bike protest that inspired hope, and had countless sunny, socially-distanced meetups with friends and their dogs and babies after the clouds of the gray, cold, interminable lockdown finally broke. And, in a development I still can’t quite get over, on a particularly spectacular day in early May I walked up to Prospect Park to meet a guy I’d met online for what I presumed would be a frightfully awkward masked-and-6FA first date. Well, it wasn’t, he’s wonderful, and we just spent a week pounding lobster and craft beer together in Maine, so how’s that for a silver lining on this shitstorm? TL; DR: My gratitude for the inimitable Prospect Park is boundless, and I know I’m not alone there.
Another way you can throw some support behind Brooklyn’s greenspaces is to join in the 2020 Brooklyn Greenway Ride, which has been adapted to a month-long self-guided bike tour—this weekend is as good as any to get started. And while you’re out and about, see if you can swing by one of three Brooklyn locations to donate school supplies to students in need. Looking for a little escapism? Tonight’s screening of SXSW Grand Jury Prize Winner Shithouse at the Brooklyn Drive In looks pretty fun, as does the three-night outdoor projection at the Brooklyn Museum of Juve Night, a film celebrating of J’Ouvert and the Caribbean diaspora community in Brooklyn that will have to serve as a stand-in for this year’s West Indian Day Parade. If you’re itching for a change of scenery, check out the Pig Roast at Twin Star Orchards in New Paltz on Sunday, or make your own plans to get to the beach or the trails to get in as much outdoor time as you can while it’s still here for the taking. Museums are open or opening, Christopher Nolan’s long-awaited Tenet is finally here if you’re willing to head to Jersey and brave a movie theater, and Coastal Elites, an interesting project with a star-studded cast that includes Dan Levy, Issa Rae, and Better Midler (!!), debuts on HBO this week. For more events and programming to check out this week and in the month ahead, be sure to read our September Culture Essentials, which dropped earlier this week.
Whatever you do, take the chance to get outside—safely of course—and soak up some sun and good vibes before the demands of work and school and election stress take over. I can’t think of a time that taking care of oneself in this way has felt more imperative, so please don’t skimp on the downtime during this long weekend—we’re headed once more unto the breach soon enough and you’ll need the extra reserves!