New York events in August

Plan your month with our events calendar featuring St. Vincent, the Electric Zoo festival and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

The dog days of summer have officially arrived, but instead of staying indoors, use our events calendar to experience the best things to do in August. See tons of exemplary live jazz at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, check out an outdoor film screening, or simply enjoy the season by hanging out at one of the best beaches.

St. Vincent

Critics' pick

It looks like 2014 belongs to St. Vincent

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Celebrate Brooklyn! (at the Prospect Park Bandshell) 09 Aug 2014 Free

Nine Inch Nails

Critics' pick

Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden have comeback albums

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PNC Bank Arts Center Fri Aug 1 - Sat Aug 2

Our August highlights

Battle of the Burger 2014

The heat is on! Are you ready to taste New York City’s ultimate burger? Battle of the Burger 2014: Eat, drink and vote Vote for the best burger Got a strong opinion on the city’s best burger? Of course you do, you’re a New Yorker! Beer and burger deals Here's where you can snag a delicious burger and beer deal. If burgers be the food of love—and who among us would argue with that?—then let’s make darn sure we’re eating the best ones. While we’re all agreed that New York City is home to some truly amazing patties, there can be only one champion burger, and that's up to you to decide. You voted in your droves for the best burgers in New York 2013, and voting for this year is now closed. Check out the 25 finalists in the mouthwatering slideshow below.You can swoon (or salivate) at the sight of the top 20 patties in our August 7th issue, and then the chefs will battle it out at a lip-smacking live event that night at the South Street Seaport. Tantalize your tastebuds with these photos from last year’s Battle of the Burger shindig.Of course, the ultimate companion for any burger is an ice-cold beer, and in celebration of 2014 Battle of the Burger Presented by Amstel Light, you can visit any one of our chosen venues and get your chops around a burger-and-beer special. Cheers! Most popular in Food & Drink BUY TICKETS NOW! Battle of the Burger 2014: Eat, drink and vote Vote for the best burger Got a strong opinion on the city’s best burger? Of course you do, yo

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Billy Joel

Critics' pick

Erstwhile angry young man Billy Joel—now an official Madison Square Garden franchise, like the Knicks and Rangers—is tacking on date after date in what's threatening to become an endless run. Because you had to be a big shot, didn’t you, eh, Piano Man? (P.S. Welcome back.)

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Madison Square Garden Wednesday February 18 2015 - Friday September 25 2015

SummerScreen

Critics' pick

This alfresco film fest is back, showing a grab bag of ’90s nostalgia picks (so Williamsburg, right?), including Can’t Hardly Wait (July 10), The Craft (July 24) and Speed (Aug 7); ’80s comedy classics Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (July 17) and The Goonies (July 31); and a to-be-determined fan favorite (Aug 14). (You can cast your vote for High Fidelity, The Big Lebowski, The NeverEnding Story or another flick at facebook.com/summerscreen.) Each evening also features live music beginning at 6pm and food trucks such as Coolhaus and PizzaMoto; discreet BYO boozing is optional.

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McCarren Park Wed Jul 9 - Wed Aug 13 Free

The Monster Tour: Eminem x Rihanna

Critics' pick

Rihanna guested last year on Eminem’s tune, “The Monster,” the duo’s fourth blockbuster collaboration. This tour was the next logical step. The two headliners strike a nice balance—Em’s crass, harsh hip-hop countered by Rihanna’s stylish, poppy R&B. And no doubt about it: Both of these self-proclaimed Monsters possess a indisputably wicked edge.

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MetLife Stadium Sat Aug 16 - Sun Aug 17

More events in August 2014

Calvary

What do you tell a priest whom you plan to shoot point-blank between the eyes? “Say your prayers,” of course. John Michael McDonagh’s follow-up to 2011’s The Guard is a wickedly funny and Tarantino-esque black comedy—all fatalism and gallows humor but with a beating heart and an inquiring mind beneath its tough-guy bluster. The mighty Brendan Gleeson, a visibly weathered actor, plays Father James. In the confession box, a man tells him how he was raped by a priest at the age of seven. That cleric is now dead, so it’s Father James who must pay. The mystery voice gives James seven days to put his affairs in order; the murder is set for next Sunday.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

Following the blockbusting success of The Avengers, Marvel Films' sinister-sounding Phase 3 is about to swing into action, offering up some of the more obscure characters from their comic-book back catalogue to the ticket-buying public. First up its Guardians of the Galaxy, the simple tale of a rogue space pilot, a slinky green-skinned minx, a walking tree and a foulmouthed raccoon who team up to defeat the evil Thanos. Sure, it may sound bonkers, but that's sort of the point: now that they’ve sold the public on old-fashioned superheroes like Iron Man and Thor, the Marvel team are fully intent on pushing the boat out and making the kind of crazy action movies they’d love to see on the big screen. And we salute them for it.

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11th Annual Small, Small Press Fair

Critics' pick

How small is a small, small press? Find out today as these tiny publishers present their goods and feature their authors, like Joseph Riipi, Tracy Dimond, Olemadebo Fatunde and Mike Young. Stop by any time; readings take place throughout the day.

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Unnameable Books Until Sat Aug 2 Free

Christopher Williams: “The Production Line of Happiness”

Critics' pick

Like Robert Heinecken, Williams came out the West Coast as a photographer who deconstructed his medium through unconventional methods. In Williams's case, this has meant employing commercial photographers to create his works, images which dispassionately dismantle the mystique of the darkroom, the photographer's studio and the camera itself. The results often have the look of mid-century catalogs for photographic services and equipment.

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Sat Aug 2 - Sun Nov 2

HA! The Musical

A musical, behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to be a stand-up comedian. Featuring Christian Finnegan, Kevin Farley, Big Jay Oakerson and other funny stand-ups singing and dancing like they've never done before.

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Stage 72 Wed Nov 5 - Sun Nov 9

PotterCon

We know, you're still waiting hopefully for that acceptance letter sent to you via owl to let you know you've finally made it into Hogwarts. News flash: That's never happening. But the next best thing! PotterCon is for all you Potterheads out there who have since come into adulthood but would still wear your wizard robe with pride. There will be butterbeer, costume contests and of course a chance for you to be sorted into your witchcraft-and-wizardry house. Gryffindor, anyone? Or maybe you're more Hufflepuff. Go find out at this Muggle mingle for grown children in honor of the Boy Who Lived.

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The Bell House 02 Aug 2014 Free

Summer Streets

Critics' pick

For this three-Saturday event, nearly seven miles of NYC turf from the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to the Upper East Side are cleared of vehicles, creating a pedestrian paradise complete with food and entertainment. This edition’s offerings include free bike rentals, a rock-climbing wall, a zip line and outdoor art installations (including a misting station and a minigolf course). It also includes pedestrian access to the Park Avenue Tunnel, with an interactive sound-and-light work by Jana Winderen. From Centre St at Brooklyn Bridge to Park Ave at 72nd St (nyc.gov/summerstreets).

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Various locations Until Sat Aug 16 Free

All Jazzed Up Performance Series

In conjunction with its exhibit "Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street," the Children's Museum of Manhattan—in partnership with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem—presents a series of solo tap performances.

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John Legend

Critics' pick

John Legend, who will forever have a place in our hearts for his performance in a bat mitzvah scene on Curb Your Enthusiasm, gives vintage soul a respectful tweak. We're tearing up just thinking about the inevitable encore performance of the gorgeousness that is "All of Me."

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Barclays Center Until Wed Aug 6

Mark Morris Dance Group

Critics' pick

Mark Morris Dance Group returns to the Mostly Mozart Festival with Acis and Galatea, a production of Mozart's arrangement of Handel's operatic work depicting a tragic love triangle among Acis, an Arcadian shepherd; Galatea, a sea nymph; and the giant Polyphemus. Costumes are by Isaac Mizrahi, and scenic design is by Adrianne Lobel. San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, led by Nicholas McGegan, performs, and Morris—of course—choreographs and directs. Acis and Galatea marks his 12th opera.

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David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center) Until Sat Aug 9

Dance Theatre of Harlem 2014 Summer Street Festival

Dance Theatre of Harlem engages the neighborhood with its annual street fair. In addition to vendors, the daylong shindig includes performances by the summer-intensive students, guests artists and the company.

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Dance Theatre of Harlem 09 Aug 2014

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Critics' pick

Legend has it that on the fifth day of the fifth moon of the lunar calendar in 278 B.C., the Chinese poet Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Miluo River in Hunan province. To prevent evil water spirits from consuming their hero’s body, local fishermen set out onto the river, beating drums and splashing paddles. Centuries later, the rescue mission is commemorated with aquatic races held annually around the globe. New York’s event attracts more than 180 teams from across North America to compete for cash and other prizes. Starting at 9am, oarsmen will propel colorful teak vessels carrying drummers onto Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. Heats continue through the day, and performances—including martial-arts demonstrations and traditional lion dances—will entertain spectators. If you need a snack, pick up some zongzi (sticky rice wrapped in palm leaves) and other fare at an international food court. MTA shuttle runs from Mets–Willets Pt 7 station.

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Flushing Meadows–Corona Park Until Sun Aug 10 Free

Ai Weiwei: “According to What?”

Critics' pick

The Brooklyn Museum’s Ai Weiwei retrospective has a before-and-after quality, befitting the artist’s career. Once a darling of Chinese officials, and codesigner of the “bird nest” stadium that was Beijing’s 2008 Olympics centerpiece, Ai became a vocal opponent of government policies, and in 2011, he was briefly imprisoned on charges of tax fraud. Now free, he’s no longer allowed to leave China. He’s still permitted to communicate with the outside world, however, and to produce works of art that, judging from the examples here (a large installation of ceramic crabs; a huge, undulating carpet of rebar salvaged from a schoolhouse destroyed by an earthquake), haven’t suffered from his travails in terms of scale or ambition.

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Brooklyn Museum Wed May 21 - Sun Aug 10

The Maids

A revival of this classic drama by Jean Genet—French master of perversity and power struggles—would normally not equal box-office gold. But this Sydney Theatre Company import stars the incomparable Cate Blanchett. The film star plays a domestic servant who dreams of the fancy life—and maybe knocking off her wealthy employer.

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New York City Center Wed Aug 6 - Sat Aug 16

The New York International Fringe Festival 2014

The 18th edition of this sprawling annual downtown festival features work by 205 frantically repping companies. The wild variety of shows includes musicals, dance pieces, classical revivals and ramshackle new works on subjects that include Moses, Taylor Swift and pretty much everything in between. Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival, including multiple reviews.

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Various venues Until Mon Aug 25

Modest Mouse + Brand New

Critics' pick

Indie-rock stalwart Modest Mouse hasn’t released a full-length album in more than seven years (the last was 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank), but the Portland, OR–based band hasn’t been resting: A new album is in the works, featuring guest appearances by Big Boi and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. For a group that started out playing tiny clubs, bingo halls and dive bars, Modest Mouse fills larger spaces remarkably well, offering up a slightly frenetic live show anchored by Isaac Brock’s distinctive singing, full of yelps and shouts. Co-headlining is Long Island alt-rock group Brand New, which has a fresh album in the works.

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Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Until Sat Aug 9

Drive East 2014

Critics' pick

Navatman hosts the second annual Drive East, a weeklong festival of classical Indian music and dance in an intimate setting. The dance offerings highlight Bharata Natyam, kathak, kuchipudi and lesser-known styles sattriya, mohiniattam and chhau; for more details, visit navatman.org.

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La MaMa E.T.C. 17 Aug 2014

Ladies of Laughter

Critics' pick

Check out the semifinal round of America's funniest women competing for national recognition.

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Gotham Comedy Club Until Mon Aug 11

Midnight Murakami

For crazed Haruki Murakami fans who just can't wait for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, welcome home. Count down to the midnight release while reading your favorite Murakami passage to the crowd and snacking on donuts and wine. There will even be a raffle for a signed copy of the novel.

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WORD Until Mon Aug 11

My Drunk Kitchen Launch

Critics' pick

Yes, you do need a cookbook for drunk cooking, and Hannah Hart has made one just for you. Based on her hilarious YouTube series, My Drunk Kitchen features drink pairings, kitchen tips and recipes like "Perseverance Pie," because baking is hard.

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Housing Works Bookstore Cafe Until Wed Aug 13 Free

The Trip to Italy

"Second-album syndrome" is how co-star Steve Coogan, in a meta moment of self-critique, describes his impending food tour with also-slightly-fictionalized Rob Brydon in director Michael Winterbottom's sequel to 2010's The Trip (which existed as both a film and a BBC series). This time, the duo is headed to Italy's glorious Amalfi Coast and several ridiculously good-looking plates of pasta.

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Jazz Age Lawn Party

Critics' pick

Brush up on your Fitzgerald and Hemingway in time for this outdoor bash, where part of Governors Island is transformed into a Prohibition-era soiree. Over two separate weekends, you can Charleston to Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra playing jazz staples, while donning your finest flapper garb and Zoot suits. Then Lindy Hop over to the bar for decade-appropriate cocktails (that promise to taste better than bathtub gin).

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Governors Island 17 Aug 2014

Martha Graham Cracker

Critics' pick

Hirsute, Philadelphia-based drag queen (the creation of Pig Iron Theatre Company cofounder Dito van Reigersberg) Martha Graham Cracker and her band return to NYC for more rolicking alt-cabaret shenanigans.

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Joe's Pub at the Public Theater Sunday February 8 2015

Our Lady J: Trouble

Critics' pick

The übertalented "post-religious gospel" songstress returns to NYC with the Train-to-Kill Gospel Choir, for a one-night event featuring old favorites and new work.

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Joe's Pub at the Public Theater Until Sun Aug 17

Courtney Act: Boys Like Me

Critics' pick

Australian Idol semifinalist and RuPaul's Drag Race graduate Courtney Act (the fishy alter ego of Shane Jenek) is back in town with this solo show filled with popular tunes, song parodies and wacky tales of gender-bending international adventures.

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Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café Until Thu Aug 21

Arcade Fire

Critics' pick

This Montreal-based band proves that poutine and epic hangovers aren't the only good thing to come out of Quebec. There's also almost as many band members in Arcade Fire as there are seats in the Barclay Center, so there's that, too! 

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Barclays Center Until Sun Aug 24

Bootycandy

Critics' pick

Audacious writer-director Robert O'Hara weaves together sketches to portray the joys and terrors of growing up gay and black in America.

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Playwrights Horizons Until Sun Oct 19

Dial Up with Mark Normand

Watch the award-winnig comic perform award-winning comedy, then award yourself an award for rewarding yourself with a trip to see an award winner.

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Gotham Comedy Club Until Fri Aug 22

Frank

Dazzlingly strange art rock pours out of Frank, both the movie, a dark comedy from Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, and the title character, a singer devoted to lyrics about random tufts of string and terrifying litanies that might have freaked out Joy Division's Ian Curtis.

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Love Is Strange

New York-based filmmaker Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On) creates a special kind of urbanity: softer and more inclusive than Woody Allen's, openly gay but family-focused, alive to the city's tensions and lulls. His latest movie also features a Chopin piano score, adding an exquisite sense of proportion to, what in the hands of most other directors, might have felt like a cautionary tale about the perils of gay marriage. Instead, Love Is Strange emerges as a total triumph for Sachs and his co-leads, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, who, despite lengthy filmographies, turn in career-topping work.

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Afropunk Fest

Critics' pick

This annual Fort Greene fest—a celebration of black music in all its many forms—presents its finest lineup yet, encompassing forward-thinking R&B (D'Angelo, Meshell Ndegeocello), cutting-edge hip-hop (Shabazz Palaces, the Internet), riff-happy metal (Body Count, Unlocking the Truth), mosh-fueling punk (Trash Talk, Fishbone) and a whole lot more. See afropunkfest.com for ticket info.

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Commodore Barry Park Until Sun Aug 24

Hudson River Park Blues BBQ

Spend an evening by the river listening to bands from across the country and sampling barbecue from New York City restaurants. All ages.

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Hudson River Park at Pier 84 23 Aug 2014 Free

Masters of Disguise: The World of Camouflage

Critics' pick

Learn about how animals, from chameleons to toads, change their skin to fool predators and blend in with their surroundings—then see how the military co-opted the neat trick for battleships and uniforms.

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Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Tue May 20 - Sun Aug 24

Arriba! Community Dance Party

Sway those hips to the beat of timba drums at this free Latin dance party. The “Last Mambo King” Orlando Marin will jam out with his Bronx band to traditional salsa and merengue tunes while you shimmy, shake or just watch the pros. Once those dancing shoes have had enough, relax under the stars with dinner and dessert from the many High Line vendors.

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Chelsea Market Until Wed Aug 27 Free

Jackie Beat: The Beat Goes On

Critics' pick

Fierce drag bitch and former New Yorker Jackie Beat celebrates 25 years of hostility at this show packed with brilliantly cruel comedy and addictively un-PC song parodies.

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Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café Until Sun Aug 31

Buyer & Cellar

Critics' pick

Stars are to be wished upon, not touched. This is one of the lessons of Jonathan Tolins’s giddily funny solo play, Buyer & Cellar, which imagines an evolving pas de deux between Barbra Streisand and a gay employee at her California home.

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Barrow Street Theatre Tue May 20 - Sun Aug 31

Coney Island Reggae Beach Party

Critics' pick

If you’re getting baked on the beach, time your sunbathing to coincide with Carter Van Pelt’s monthly skankathon, which welcomes local selectors and legends like Clive Chin and Sir Tommy. Stake out a spot on the sand and you’ll still be able to hear the ska, rocksteady, dub, lovers rock and early dancehall emanating from DJ Chanter’s booming speaker stack. Listen to Van Pelt’s Saturday show, Eastern Standard Time, on WKCR 89.9 FM (Sat 8am–noon) or follow @CarterVanPelt to get the latest information on guest DJs.

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Coney Island Boardwalk Sun May 25 - Sun Aug 31 Free

Rocky

Critics' pick

Every few years, a piece of stagecraft drops so many jaws and pops so many eyes, it becomes a Broadway insta-icon: The Phantom of the Opera’s glorious falling chandelier; the awe-inspiring march of animals in The Lion King’s “Circle of Life.” In recent years, the nonpareil has been green-skinned Elphaba levitating while hitting the high F in Wicked’s “Defying Gravity.” Add to that list the spectacular final bout in Rocky. The 20-minute closing coup (spoilers ahead) brings a section of the audience onto the stage, drops in jumbo screens, extends a boxing ring over the orchestra and puts on one hell of a fight before the bloodied guy gets the girl—bellowing her name, of course.

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Winter Garden Theatre Tue May 20 - Sun Nov 23

Hey Queen!

Critics' pick

Sarah Jenny and Avory Agony serve up this monthly panqueer shindig, featuring ever-changing themes, performance art, DJs, go-go dancers, art installations and more.

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Littlefield Sat Jun 28 - Sat Dec 20

Big Apple Ranch

Critics' pick

The weekly country-Western dance has been helping you spin your same-sex partners round and round for more than a decade now. Each week kicks off with lessons in two-step and line dancing, then continues with a soiree that calls beginners, experts and everyone in between to the floor.

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Dance Manhattan Studios Sat May 24 - Sat Dec 27

13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World's Fair

Critics' pick

As one of the artists commissioned to make work for the 1964 World’s Fair, Andy Warhol, always the provocateur, plastered a sizable portion of the New York State Pavilion’s facade with enlarged mugshots of the city’s most wanted criminals from two years prior. The checkerboard of front and profile views was quickly painted over by the Fair’s more prudent officials, but months later, the wily Pop artist reproduced the silkscreens. Nine of them are now on view, just a five-minute walk from the scene of the scandal.

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Queens Museum Wed May 21 - Sun Sep 7

Night Train with Wyatt Cenac

Critics' pick

This weekly offering, hosted with a cool head and a warm heart by former Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac, welcomes great young New York comics and noteworthy out-of-towners.

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Littlefield Until Monday December 28 2015

Radical Alphabet City Tour

Critics' pick

Learn about the homegrown activism that has long been a part of Lower East Side and East Village culture. The tour visits the areas’ tenements, community gardens and historic sites, including Tompkins Square Park and the Christodora House.

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Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space Sun May 25 - Sun Dec 28

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