05/24/17 7:49pm

A carpet of bluebells is blooming at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo: BBG

Memorial Day weekend is nigh, and if you are jetting off the Hamptons, the Catskills, the Shore, or somewhere even more exotic, well, good for you, lucky duck! The rest of us will be here holding down the fort, but don’t feel too bad for us because there is–as always–a lot to do around these parts over the course of the next week. On Friday night, lace up your skates and get ready to do the hustle at Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco, which is doing Saturday Night Fever-themed version of its popular skate night at the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park from 7:30-10pm. After selling out a Friday night show at King’s Theater, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have added a second night on Saturday and there are still tickets available. If you happened to catch them when they performed at Celebrate Brooklyn! a few years back, you know that it’s worth the effort.

Although we’re officially in Fleet Week and there are bound to be lots of NYC noobs out and about, in general it is always nice to capitalize upon a holiday weekend when lots of peeps are out of town to check out the touristy areas you usually avoid like the plague. Wanna finally make the trip up to the Cloisters? Or to see the Whitney Biennial or the carpet of bluebells on display as far as the eye can see in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens? Now is definitely the time to do it. And you can use the time to plan ahead for future fun like the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s June 24 Epic Ride or July 22 Brooklyn Bike Rave. And if you do bump into a sailor, there’s no better time than Memorial Day to express your gratitude for his or her service. 

Check out our other ideas for your entertainment and enjoyment in this final Ideal Week of May, and no matter where you are this weekend, be safe and take care of yourself. Until next week! (more…)

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05/17/17 3:03pm

At Sycamore’s 8th Annual Crawfish Boil on Saturday, you can dig into the traditional Louisiana fixins and benefit the Billion Oyster Project at the same time. Photo: Sycamore

In no way do I want to discourage you from any of the fantastic events we’ve selected for this Ideal Week. And certainly, the most astounding drama of our time is unfolding in front of our eyes in the White House in ways pretty much no one could have ever imagined. However, I do feel like I need to point out just how much excellent television is on offer right now. Like, really an insane amount of good stuff. Are you watching The Americans? How great is this new season of Master of None and how mesmerizing/terrifying is The Handmaid’s Tale?  I haven’t even had the time to watch I Love Dick or the new season Bosch on Amazon. And man, after the burn of Arrested Development 2.0 I’m trying not to get my heart set on the new Twin Peaks being the show I’ve dreamed of watching since I binged the original one August weekend in 1998, but boy am I looking forward to it.

In news that is happening here in the physical world and not on a screen or in the Black Lodge,  Littlefield is in the last day of its Kickstarter to raise money for its new space, which includes brand-new bar and restaurant, Parklife, that will be a part of our Total Gowanus Immersion this summer. They’re so close to their goal, help them reach it before midnight on Thursday. One of our favorite local institutions, the Brooklyn Historical Society, opens a new space in DUMBO this week. The first show is called Shifting Perspectives, and it’s a group show of photography depicting the Brooklyn waterfront, opening May 19 (though there is a private event at the gallery on Friday evening). Admission is free all weekend long. 

Go forth, or hang on the couch with some popcorn and cherry pie, either way, have an ideal week! (more…)

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04/12/17 1:17pm

Weird week so far, huh? A couple of days of incredible weather felt like a fresh, hopeful beginning, but then all it takes is a glance at the internet to reveal another elementary school shooting, airlines committing assault against their customers, David Letterman’s mom dying, and the usual stream of myriad abominations from the Trump show. It would be great if we could all just have a really good stretch of positive stuff only (or at least not actively bad stuff) for a while, don’t you think? Excessive optimism can feel a little phony and is tough to muster in a constant onslaught of somber news, but the internet sometimes delivers a glittering shard of seaglass amidst the gloomy flotsam. Case in point: I ran across this poem by Maggie Smith (no, not the Dowager Countess) on Twitter the other day and it struck me as at once lovely and grim and encouraging and an utterly fitting reflection of my mood these days:

Good Bones


Life is short, although I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

is at least half terrible, and for every kind

stranger, there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children. I am trying

to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

walking you through a real shithole, chirps on

about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.

This week is an ideal one to add something good of your own into the mishmashed kaleidoscope of heartbreaking, happy, gorgeous hideousness that is life on this planet at the present moment and push for a collective net positive. I’m gonna give it a shot, anyway. But that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t get good and mad and head on over to the Tax March at Bryant Park at 1pm on Saturday–hope to see some of you there! In the meantime, keep your head up everyone, and check out our other ideas ideas of ways to fill up your time between now and next Wednesday. (more…)

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04/05/17 1:00pm
Canuck Yankee Lumberjack at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, by Marsden Hartley

Canuck Yankee Lumberjack at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, by Marsden Hartley

Hey everybody, we’re back! It’s another Wednesday in this marvelous County of Kings and we’ve got yet another Ideal Week of fun, friends, food, tunes, booze, activism, and activities for you to peruse, so see if you can tear yourself away from S-Town for a minute or two to make some plans. We’ve just gotten word that the inimitable tag team of Frank Facinelli and Frank Castronovo have a pretty awesome-sounding Backyard Chef Series in the works for this spring. Once a month starting in May, the duo will host famous chef pals from all over the world (think Philly’s Marc Vetri, LA’s Jon Shook and Vinny Doloto, Montreal’s David MacMillan and Fred Morin, and NYC’s own Daniela Soto Innes) to collaborate on one-of-a-kind dishes at Frankies 457 Spuntino’s bucolic outdoor space. The full lineup is listed here and we suggest booking now because I’m sure these seats will fill up fast–tickets are $100 per person, which includes drinks and a multi-course meal.

In other news, Coney Island officially reopens for the season on Sunday, and it’s as good a time as any for a spin around the Cyclone, which celebrates its 90th birthday this year. Also on Sunday, Alec Baldwin will be appearing in conversation with Anna Sale to discuss his new memoir, Nevertheless, at BAM at 6pm. Tickets start at $35 ($55 if you’d like a copy of the book too) and are available here. If you’re looking for a fine art experience, I’ve personally been itching to get to the Met Breuer to see both Marisa Merz’s The Sky is A Great Space exhibit as well as the Marsden’s Hartley’s paintings of Maine. And, I’m not sure how, but after living in this town for almost my entire lifetime I only recently discovered two major Walter De Maria installations that are located in unmarked, unassuming buildings a few blocks away from one another right smack in the middle of Soho. The New York Earth Room and The Broken Kilometer are both free to experience during visiting hours from noon-6pm on Wednesday through Sunday, so it’s kind of like a mini-trip to Dia:Beacon with none of the expense or hassle.

But those are just a few of our thoughts on how you can fill up your calendar–read on for more tips to squeeze the most out of Your Ideal Week below. (more…)

03/29/17 7:28pm
Last year we couldn't get enough of Wowfulls at Smorgasburg. What new treat will wow us this time around? Photos: Spencer Starnes

Last year we couldn’t get enough of Wowfulls at Smorgasburg. What new treat will wow us this time around? Photos: Spencer Starnes

Greetings, all, and welcome to another installment of Your Ideal Week, our roundup of suggestions for the best ways to kill time in and around our fair borough over the next seven days. I’ve been hitting the Park Slope Y with some regularity for the past few weeks (no sign of Blas yet but, then again, since my co-worker told me you can now download Netflix shows onto your phone it would take Obama himself to turn my attention away from whatever obscure BBC crime procedural I’m watching during my workout), so I thought I’d try to squeeze into a pair of old, tight jeans today to see if I’ve made any progress. So far, not so good, as I’m basically gasping for air and unable to sit for extended periods, so I probably shouldn’t be so pumped about the news that Smorgasburg is back for the season this weekend, in the Williamsburg and Prospect Park locations on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Ditto the outdoor version of the Brooklyn Flea, which brings dozens of vendors of vintage wares to Williamsburg on Saturday and the Dumbo archway on Sunday.

While we’re on the subject of being outdoors, did you get a chance to go outside today? It was perfect! Celebrate this weekend at Rooftop Reds, which is reopening its roof space on Friday to accommodate visitors who want to guzzle vino while staring out at the lower Manhattan skyline. It’s hard to feel too glum when the sun is out, birds are chirping, the farmers’ market is full of beautiful blooms and vegetables, and it looks like the wheels might finally be coming off the bus of the national nightmare we’ve been embroiled in for what feels like a lifetime.

Take the good vibes and spread them around this week, grab a few friends and check out some of our tips on what to do with yourself below. Happy almost-April and we’ll see you back here next week. (more…)

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03/22/17 5:07pm
Photo: Dessert Goals

Photo: Dessert Goals

It’s officially spring, can’t you tell? Nothing like putting the old parka away for the season, busting out the sunnies, and feeling the sun on your bare arms, am I right? Ugh, seriously, why is this weather so confusing? I’ve been upstate near New Paltz for a work conference this week and was snowshoeing and ice skating yesterday, which was awesome, but which is not part of my normal late-March routine. Incidentally, if any of you can get away for a random weekday night, I highly recommend taking advantage of the mid-week, off-season price specials at Mohonk Mountain Lodge, which is the all-inclusive, Kellerman’s-type establishment where we stayed. The food was incredible (Bourdain even visited on an episode of No Reservations), and we each had a working fireplace in our rooms, which sealed the deal for me, personally.

Anyway, if you don’t have plans tonight and have a C-note burning a hole in your pocket, Norah Jones is performing a benefit concert at 8pm at The Bell House for the Child Life Program in The Brooklyn Hospital Center’s Pediatrics Department that will likely be a really special evening. Alternatively, I’ve been meaning to check out the sound and light installations at the Mela Foundation’s Dream House in Tribeca for months now, and tonight seems like a great night for “a weird and immersive art experience,” as per Yelp, but I’ve got much less meditative plans in store because it’s a friend’s birthday and so we are meeting at The Strip House’s Speakeasy to see if we can get our hands on one of 10 special $26 burgers released every day in March. I’ll let you know if it’s worth the price tag.

If that isn’t enough decadence for one week, Dessert Goals, a dessert fest featuring treats from vendors like Coolhaus, Mochidoki, baonanas, and more, is at Dobbin Street on both Saturday and Sunday. GA tickets are unfortunately already sold out, but if you are interested in attending one of several workshops on topics like how to start a food business or how to grow your Instagram following, you can sign up for $50 and get admission to the main event too.

Otherwise, check out our list of other options to add to your social calendar for the Ideal Week ahead, and try to take advantage of the long hours of daylight that are finally here (even if your winter wardrobe is sticking around a little longer). (more…)

03/15/17 2:13pm
We were all expecting more snow yesterday, even Hurley. Photo: Kate Hooker via @BrooklynBased on Instagram

We were all expecting more snow yesterday, even Hurley. Photo: Kate Hooker via @BrooklynBased on Instagram

Back to the grind, everybody! One of the awesome conveniences of modern life is that for the majority of us who aren’t ER doctors or something, there’s no longer any need to brave angry sheets of falling ice to physically be in the office on a day like yesterday. The bummer side of this, though, is that the notion of a true snow day has gone completely out the window.

I personally logged something like 16 hours in front of my laptop yesterday, breaking only to walk my dog and to watch one eensy episode of Love on Netflix, the second season of which I’ve been inhaling. Today I feel more burnt out than I would have if I’d just had a normal day yesterday that included a subway commute, lunch with a friend and a stop at the gym, and I’m moving at a glacial pace. Gotta find some espresso somewhere though, maybe at the Coffee and Tea Festival happening in Greenpoint this weekend, because this Ideal Week is action-packed and I don’t have time to dawdle.

First of all, I have to fill out three different brackets for various March Madness pools before noon tomorrow, and I know less about the field this season than I ever have (although I did have the amazing opportunity to watch my beloved Blue Devils win the ACC championship IN BROOKLYN (!) last weekend, complete with NC-appropriate ad signage at the Barclays). I also need to make St. Patrick’s Day plans which, depending on my end-of-the-week mental state, will either mean hightailing it out of the city, or finding a way to get into the center of the action.

And then of course we’re hosting one of our favorite events of the year, Wedding Crashers, on Sunday at The Green Building and 501 Union from 11:30 am on. This year, we’ve got more than 70 of New York’s best wedding vendors and seven bands performing, so there’s a lot to see and take in if you’re planning on stopping by.

In other news, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. is hosting a five-course prix fixe Italian dinner tonight for $45 if you ate every scrap of the food you had at home yesterday, and Eugene Mirman has announced a live recording of his Hold On podcast featuring guests David Cross and Jon Benjamin at The Bell House on Saturday, April 8. This will for sure sell out so you should pick up a $20 ticket for yourself pronto. Otherwise, take a gander at our suggestions to help you maximize your fun quotient in the Ideal Week ahead. (more…)

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03/07/17 1:36pm

Gemini and Scorpio

So we’re changing things up a bit this week and dispatching our Wednesday Ideal Week post on Tuesday, because we won’t be publishing anything tomorrow in honor of the A Day Without A Woman strike. Onward in solidarity, sisters–only by sticking together will we vanquish the small-minded demagoguery that seeks to inflame our prejudices and create dissension within our ranks. If you’re not able to actually skip work tomorrow, there are other ways to raise your voice in support of the cause, including wearing red, attending a rally like this one at noon in Central Park, and making a commitment to not spend any money.

After a day of empowering yourself through political action, you might want to hurry over to Crown Heights on Wednesday evening to see the series premiere of Locality, a new hyperlocal web series created in and about the neighborhood by a group of filmmakers called The New Regulars. The screening starts at 8pm and will be followed by a reception with wine and local eats–you can register here to attend. In other news, Groupmuse just today announced its next Massivemuse, which will happen on Friday, March 17, in The Bogart House. Tickets are $20, which includes the concert, Bronx Brewery beers on the house, and afterparty involving multiple DJs and a roof deck.

Turning back to the week ahead, there are plenty of ways you can fill the next several days with food, fun, film, feminism, and more stuff that begins with letters other than F. Happy Ideal Week, and we’ll see you next week on the regularly appointed day. (more…)

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02/08/17 12:06pm
It's Valentine's Day next week--may as well have a little fun with it. Valentines: Brandon Bird

It’s Valentine’s Day next week–may as well have a little fun with it. Valentines: Brandon Bird

The image of our current President screaming at CNN alone in the dark or wandering around the White House in a bathrobe at all hours that emerged in media accounts last week managed to drum up the closest thing to sympathy that I can possibly muster for that individual (don’t worry, it’s not that close).  I read that his usual dinner is a Big Mac served on a silver platter, which I promptly recognized as precisely what I fantasized being rich and powerful meant when I was seven. I tried to imagine how much time he spends doing the most vapid and boring task I can think of–poring over ratings of various network and cable television shows–to gather fodder for his inarticulate Twitter tantrums. I thought about the fact that his idea of a vacation is to fly to a hideous golf resort in Florida that he owns to eat grey, well-done steaks in an ostentatious country club while surrounded by the spineless lackeys who fawn over him. Or that this is what passes for a decent joke in the dismal, humorless world of his Congressional allies.

No, of course this thought spiral didn’t make me actually feel sorry for a man whose laziness, narcissism, casual cruelty, and incompetence will destroy lives in the weeks, months, and years to come. But they did make me feel luckier than usual that I get to live in a place where thousands of people spontaneously torpedo their day off to trek to JFK with homemade protest signs to stand up for people who are in danger, not because they are paid to but because they actually care about people who might not be exactly like them, which is a concept that many on the right can’t seem to grasp. And that it’s a city that constantly presents new opportunities to make, do, read, see, talk about, eat, and experience a diverse array of creative, funny, delicious, and thought-provoking things. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the best examples happening over the next seven days.

First though, there are two new plays from across the pond being staged In Brooklyn this week: The excellent all-female adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest at St. Ann’s Warehouse (which I saw and recommend), and Escaped Alone, which opens with some pretty stellar advance reviews at BAM on Wednesday. Make it a real night out by grabbing dinner at Fort Greene’s Roman’s before or after the show–they’re running a special on penne all’arrabiata all month and will donate proceeds to Planned Parenthood. As for me, I think I will try to track down a copy of Art of the Pie, the first book selected for Food52’s new Community Cookbook Club, and hunker down with my rolling pin in the snowstorm expected tomorrow. Or, get out the glitter and glue that’s buried under your bed and make valentines for your friends like you did when you were seven, or send them the awesome SVUtines above. Spread the love. Whatever you all get up to this Ideal Week, I hope that  it keeps you sustained and inspired as the outside world roils on. (more…)

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02/01/17 7:31pm
We can come together on nachos, yes? They're gluten-free, easily vegetarian or vegan, delicious no matter what and that big football game is this weekend.

We can all come together on nachos, yes? They’re gluten-free, easily vegetarian or vegan, delicious no matter what and there is that big football game is this weekend.

Yesterday during one of the obsessive Twitter rabbitholes I often find myself in nowadays, I saw a tweet that said something like, “I think what I’m going to miss the most about the Obama administration is sleeping at night,” and it really struck a chord. Since the inauguration, I feel I’ve been stuck in a never ending loop of bad news, fearful speculation, and mounting anxiety, and based on the people I know and whom I’ve met at protests and rallies, I’m not alone. It’s exhausting. And it’s definitely not possible to continue at this pace or stress level for much longer. Don’t get it twisted, I still plan to #resist as much as I can and I hope you will too, but we’re looking at a long road of horrible things we’ll have to deal with ahead, and if we get totally derailed every time someone responds nastily to a story we publish about Muslim women in Brooklyn being afraid for their safety, we’ll lose the ultimate fight.

So, I’m declaring this a Trump-free Ideal Week, just like good old days, when the rule of law and basic civil liberties were things we could take for granted and it felt okay to just make normal, fun plans with friends. The activities I’ve rounded up below will take you through the time during the next seven days when you’re NOT marching or calling senators or feverishly debating whether we’ve handed the keys to a diabolical cabal of evil geniuses who shrewdly created the conditions that would set the stage for a coup, or just a bunch of bumbling idiots who have no idea what they are doing and think a “speech” like this is acceptable. You need to take breaks–we all do. But before I delve into a week of Donald-free dalliances, I do want to do a quick plug for a screening of a new nonpartisan documentary film about two former refugees who are now living in Syracuse, N.Y. The film will be shown along with a variety of other shorts starting at 7pm on Tuesday night at Long Island City’s The Local NYC in collaboration with Indieworks. The current state of our country demands that we keep hearing the stories and opinions of people who don’t share our day-to-day experience, and this seems like a great way to get some of that exposure.

Have a great week, and keep fighting the good fight! (more…)

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