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20 awesome things to do in NYC this week

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Mon 9

Understanding at Brooklyn Park, East River; various times; free
Spring showers bring new public artworks to the city, and this one is sky-high. Artist Martin Creed’s 50-foot-tall, ruby-red work of art is now installed on Pier 6, with giant letters that rotate at varying speeds, spelling out the word understanding. An ode to human communication, it’s only one of the many exciting (and free) things to check out in the park’s sprawling space, including Movies with a View, the Books Beneath the Bridge reading series and outdoor fitness classes.  

PoetNY Open Mic & Bowery Slam, Bowery Poetry Club; 6:30pm; $15
Bowery Poetry packs a doubleheader every Monday night, with the wild and unpredictable PoetNY Open Mic at 6:30, followed by the competitive, rowdy Bowery Slam. Whether you’re a weekly regular or just coming in for your annual poetry fix, you’ll be more than satisfied with the local talent and unexpected guests this night brings. 

Mad. Sq. Eats, General Worth Square; 11am; free admission
Twice a year, this outdoor food fest brings buzzworthy bites from the city’s best restaurants to Worth Square in the Flatiron District—think chef Angie Mar’s delicious burgers from the Beatrice Inn and Roberta’s sensational pizza. The one-stop shop for the tastiest grub in town will be available every day until May 27, so make sure to wear your stretchy pants.  

Joe Iconis and Family, Feinstein’s/54 Below; 9:30pm; $30–$65 plus $25 minimum
Joe Iconis is the winner of several prestigious awards for musical-theater songwriting, and he parties as well as he composes: His shows, stuffed with longtime friends and collaborators, have an exuberant sense of community. In his latest run at 54 Below, he shares old and new tales of sex, drugs and rock & roll with help from his usual gang of actor-enablers; the May 9 edition includes guest appearances by Betty Buckley and Krysta Rodriguez.

Tegan and Sara, Le Poisson Rouge; 8pm; $40
Canadian twins Tegan and Sara descend on the Village with their winning brand of indie pop—all layered vocals and tempered angst. The duo has skewed a bit more mainstream recently, but it's difficult to stay mad when we're having so much fun dancing to "Boyfriend."

Rebecca Minkoff sample sale, 260 Sample Sale; 11am; free admission
You’ll go nuts over this sale, because the accessories and ready-to-wear items from the highly popular designer have been discounted by as much as 70 percent. Snatch high-prized loot like mini Avery saddle bags ($125, normally $195), Annie tops ($25, once $58) and Saturn suede dresses ($200, instead of $698). 

Tue 10

Secret Science Club, The Bell House; 8pm; free
Join theoretical physicist Sean Carroll as he discusses his new book, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. During the talk, drink wet-wired cocktails fit for the brainiest New Yorkers. Then stay tuned for neuro-driven beats after the Q&A.

The Drunk Spelling Bee, The Creek and the Cave; 10pm; free
Spell Mississippi without slurring a letter during this boozy event hosted by comics Jake Flores and Blake Midgette. The walking dictionary gets a P-R-I-Z-E, but everyone’s technically a winner—it’s a free comedy show, dammit! 

Phantom of the Opera (1925) on 16mm with Live Score, Morbid Anatomy Museum; 7pm; $12
Before Andrew Lloyd Webber's majestic musical, there was 1925's sumptuously dark Lon Cheney classic. Witness the original birth of the Phantom in 16mm film, and give in to goosebumps as Brooklyn's Underworld Oscillator Corporation provides a chilling score for the doomed love story.

Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic, Peoples Improv Theater; 8pm; $20
The frighteningly creative minds behind Kapow-i GoGo bring you a Harry Potter parody of epic proportions. The gentle Hufflepuffs often live in the shadows of J.K. Rowling's universe, and this show follows the forgotten lives of the students sitting next to the hero. Wayne Hopkins was just a boy from New Mexico till he found out he was a wizard. Find out how he and other mediocre Puffs fare at the School of Magic and Magic.

Ales N’ Apps Week, at various locations; noon; $30
CBS New York presents this five-day spring affair at which participating restaurants and bars offer four-buck bites and beers to any diner wearing the all-access Ales N' Apps wristband. The week kicks off on Monday 9, and you'll have five days to try sips and snack from the nearly 30 participating venues span from the Upper East Side to downtown Brooklyn. Stop by the newly opened Bottle & Bine for a Bell's lager served alongside chicken liver mousse, or visit Tribeca Tap House to try a pint of Red Hook Audible Ale with pretzel bites. 

Wed 11

PoLaRi Presents: But I’m a Cheerleader, House of Yes; 8pm; $7
Rejoice in the camp goodness of this queer cult classic starring Natasha Lyonne, Michelle Williams, Clea DuVall and of course, Rupaul. Join fellow fans for an immersive screening of the movie (expect pom-poms, flannels and bridal veils to fly), followed by a riotous "sexual disorientation" dance party with boundary-bursting performances by the Faguettes burlesque crew. And remember: foreplay is for sissies! 

#Misster, The Woods; 10pm; free
The baddest gals in town (and a sprinkling of dudes) gather on Wednesdays for pop and hip-hop crowd-pleasers, cheap drinks and wild dancing. Past themes include "Missy Elliot Appreciation Night" and "Britney Spears' Birthday." 

Bronx Week, at various locations and times; various prices
Celebrate the Boogie Down with 11 days of fun activities. Take a trolley tour, paddle on the Bronx River, hear some stand-up and much more at this annual festival.

Drunk Science, Littlefield; 8pm; $5–$8
Join your hosts Joanna Rothkopf (Jezebel staff writer), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student) and Jordan Mendoza (took some science classes) as they proceed to get wasted and compete to present their very best scientific treatise to a panel of comedians and science buffs. The more you drink, the more their dissertations will make sense. 

Thu 12

“Spontaneous Urban Plants: Weeds in NYC” Book Launch, WORD, 7pm; free
Award-winning landscape designer and author David Seiter can find beautiful greenery just about anywhere—yes, even the concrete jungle we call NYC. That's why Seiter published his first book Spontaneous Urban Plants: Weeds in NYC, which proves that urban environments are actually thriving in plant life. You know those weeds you see sprouting between the cracks on the sidewalk? They actually possess more environmental benefits than you realize. To learn more about the role of weeds in urban ecology and to set your sights on some stunning images of New York landscapes, join Future Green Studio, ARCHER and Seiter during his exciting launch. Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails infused with seasonal urban plants will set the tone for the night. Bonus: Purchase a book ($29) and you'll be entered into a raffle for a custom framed and signed photograph from the book. 

The Secret Life of the Brooklyn Bridge, South Street Seaport Museum; 12:15pm, 6pm; $20
During this hour-and-15-minute walking tour (wear your sneaks), you’ll discover stories and secrets about the glorious Brooklyn Bridge as well as tales about the remarkable builders who gave life to the enigmatic structure. 

Homotown, Henrietta Hudson; 4pm; free
Head to Henrietta Hudson every Thursday for a seemingly endless happy hour (till midnight, seriously) and chill jams from veteran DJ Tikka Masala, who keeps you grinning all night with Motown, soul and beloved hip-hop classics.

New York City Ballet Spring 2016, David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center); 8pm; $30–$170
The company's spring season includes 10 ballets by cofounder George Balanchine and four by Jerome Robbins, including a diptych of Dances at a Gathering and West Side Story Suite (May 11–15). World premieres of Christopher Wheeldon's American Rhapsody (set to Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue) and Nicolas Blanc's Mothership are also on the schedule. The season concludes with a weeklong run of Balanchine's magical, full-length A Midsummer Night's Dream (May 24–29).

Fully Committed, Lyceum Theatre; 8pm; $75–$145
Before he became a household name as the uptight Mitchell on Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson was one of New York’s most inventive comic character actors. You can sense his delight at stretching those muscles in the Broadway revival of Fully Committed, Becky Mode’s 1999 comedy about the power of entitlement.

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