What to do in NYC and at home this week(end): October 16-23

Inspiring events in a reopening NYC


Photo: Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club

Happy Friday, fellow Brooklynites, and I hope you were able to escape the clutches of the endless, crazy-making news cycle this past week and take care of yourselves. It’s been a work in progress for me, tbh, as I’ve got people in my orbit (hi mom!) who are hell-bent on rehashing every moment of that joke of a SCOTUS confirmation process, but I’m trying my best to stay on an even keel. I got verklempt reading this blindingly beautiful Modern Love essay by a young man mourning his best friend who died of COVID, but I also got laughing uncontrollably listening to an old episode of The Rewatchables podcast about Caddyshack while out on a [very slow] run. I read and related to this Lifehacker post about “boreout” at work, which is distinct from burnout, and I made an effort to improve my sleep quality via this pre-bedtime stretching routine. I made this wildly healthy salad, which made me feel instantly less gross, but I also bought the ingredients to bake an apple pie this weekend, because it’s apple season and YOLO, people. I spent loads of time poking around on online shopping sites because it’s now fall and I’m fully a victim of that weird phenomenon in which I have no idea what one is supposed to wear in this weather and can’t seem to remember (or find) the shoes or clothes I relied on in any previous year. I put up a Biden/Harris sign, I donated to that campaign and others, and I delighted in Caroline Giuliani’s essay on why she’s voting blue, but otherwise I’m shutting off a bit because the stress of that situation is completely overwhelming. At least it’s the weekend though, which means there are new diversions to keep us occupied as the days march on to November 3, some of which we’ve rounded up for you here.    

Got a great scary story kicking around in your head? Hone it to perfection on Friday at Storycollider’s Science Story Slam: Fear event, which allows participants to impart personal narratives related to the theme of “fear” (natch, given that we’re 2 weeks out from Halloween) with the help of coaches and a supportive environment. Or you can leave the public oration to the pros and check out Freaky Friday Presents: Still Alive!, an outdoor standup show under “the spooky tree” near the Prospect Park bandshell. This week’s host is Avery Regen, who will be joined by Tommy McNamara, Ruby McCollister, Marcela Onyango, Gara Lonning, Petey DeAbreu, and Luke Mones. 

On Saturday and Sunday, Open House New York, an annual celebration of the city’s architecture and communities, is back with a vengeance, and there are over 150 different ways to explore the vast array of iconic and fascinating places that constitute our hometown, including the Domino Sugar Factory, both virtually an in-person. This weekend also marks the opening of this year’s Arts Gowanus ArtWalk on Atlantic Ave, which will entail a curated exhibition of the work of dozens of local artists, spread across the storefronts of 60+ businesses spanning 1.5 miles. For more information, like a map and a list of participants, see the Arts Gowanus website

The idea of securing a place in a canoe to watch The Creature from the Black Lagoon while floating in the Gowanus Canal on Saturday appeals to me for some reason, but I get that it’s probably not everyone’s bag. Just know that you can also watch from the shore if, understandably, even the smallest risk of somehow ending up submerged in Superfund waters is too much risk for you to bear. Or, you can just hang at home and catch the premiere of the Spike Lee-directed TV adaptation of David Byrne’s hit Broadway show, American Utopia, on HBO on Saturday night. 

On Monday, Red Hook’s Freebird Books is hosting Orange Is the New Black writer and criminal justice activist Piper Kerman and Vikki Law, the co-founder of NYC Books Behind Bars, for this week’s virtual installment of the annual Books Beneath the Bridge literary series sponsored by Brooklyn Bridge Park. In addition, the Bushwick Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday night with panels, Q&As and virtual screenings of more than 200 films spread out over 5 days. We have our own virtual event—an online edition of our wedding fair, Wedding Crashers Week—starting Monday. And all week you can catch St Ann’s Warehouse’s streaming of a ground-breaking, all-female production of Henry V that was filmed at London’s Donmar Warehouse in London in 2016. I am personally excited to check out Grand Army, a new drama on Netflix about five students at Brooklyn’s largest public high school, probably because I watched Enola Holmes last weekend and was reminded of just how thoroughly I can get into good teen-oriented content if I give myself the chance. 

Although I wish I could report the usual jam-packed schedule of fun, in-person events that used to be a given during a fall weekend in Brooklyn, we should all be relieved that New Yorkers are for the most part continuing to take this horrible virus seriously and doing what needs to be done. Infection rates are on the rise across the world and at home, and I feel compelled to remind everyone to be safe, stay vigilant, and please prioritize your health. Despite the waking nightmare that 2020 continues to be, we can get through this (all of it), so hang in there please, find something that brings you joy this week, and be kind to yourself and others. 

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