What to do this week(end)

For some, the 5:29pm primal scream is a sanity saver. But if you happen to live near a family of alpacas, those help, too. Photo: Kate Hooker


Hey there everybody, how are you all holding up? I’m lucky to feel physically healthy at the moment but am a bit fragile mentally, and I know I’m not alone there. This thing is a total mindf*ck, and when you aren’t obsessing about that person who got a little too close to you in CVS 12 days ago or sticking your nose in the shampoo bottle to make sure you still have your sense of smell, the sanity-testing gauntlet of trying to secure a grocery delivery time slot a full week in advance awaits. Of course, there is also the fear for the people you love who are already suffering through the virus to contend with, along with the anxieties about unemployment and finances, and of course the overwhelming grief over the loss of the social, interactive, largely free lifestyle that we’ve all taken for granted for our entire lives. It is a lot for anyone to absorb all at once, the way we’ve been forced to by these unique circumstances, but it’s also already difficult to imagine that we will ever just breeze right back into the status quo knowing what we all know now. So many of our societal weaknesses and points of failure have been exposed, and the dangers of our naive assumption that this city or this country is exceptional, better equipped, or more competent to handle something like this than anywhere else has been thoroughly laid bare.

That said, all is not lost and we do have one limitless resource we can fall back on: the kindness and care that we can use to prop each other up over the challenging days, weeks, and months ahead. It’s a life raft to grab onto right now and not let go, as is any little thing in your day that distracts, inspires, or brings calm. I’m riding this thing out at my childhood home several miles north of the city where a neighbor has 3 alpacas that anyone is allowed to visit, and it has quickly become my daily therapy. One is pregnant and, although I have zero idea what an alpaca gestation period looks like, the notion of being around for a BABY ALPACA makes me smile every time it crosses my mind. 

I’ve already made three Alison Roman recipes in these early days of sheltering in place; she’s posting AMAs and other tips on her Instagram if you’re looking for some virtual cooking company. Books Are Magic has switched its events to online formats, with more to come soon. I personally love the idea of Quarantine Chat, which is sort of like Chat Roulette but thankfully audio-only and more about talking things through than sending gross pics to strangers. Also, Atlas Obscura has launched a new feature called Wonder from Home, which promises lots of adventures that can be had from your area of isolation, including a tour of the Smithsonian’s online catalogue. And if you’re feeling up to it, here’s some pretty convincing motivation to stay active.

This is just a small sample of the countless virtual events and content that will be available to you in this strange period, with more and more innovation and adaptation sure to come from the creative, entertaining people who characterize our hometown. However, the truth is that a weekly events column feels a little gratuitous when no one can leave the house, and the cancellation of Brooklyn Based’s own live events has blown out our budget for the time being. If you’d like to support additional content, like recommendations on ways to stay connected and engaged at home (hell, maybe I will throw in the occasional alpaca update for those who are interested), please consider staring a Coronavirus diary and purchase or gift one of our exclusive journals here for just $25.50, to support new content (such as my new column, The Pickle). Otherwise, we’ll put a pause on Ideal Week until a time when weeks are looking a little more deserving of that honorific, but we’ll leave up a few evergreen tips for how to have virtual fun from home indefinitely. I can’t wait until the time comes when we can resume sharing our ideas for the best things to do in and around Brooklyn, but until then please stay safe and stay home, everybody. Looking forward to reconnecting with you on the flip side.

—Kate Hooker

Happening this week