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The best things to do in NYC this week

The best things to do in NYC this week include Animation First Festival, smashing printers at Break Bar, or learning how to dance at the Brooklyn Museum.

Photograph: Courtesy ARTECHOUSE

We could have made this edition of the best things to do in NYC this week at least 50 items long, but we were able to restrain ourselves to help you narrow down your plans so your weekdays feel like weekends.

First, laugh until you cry at Hoff's Horrorfest and then head inside a digital art exhibit that'll douse you in blue light. Finish off the week with a trip to the American Museum of Natural History's planetarium for its brand new space show.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best things to do in New York

Best things to do in NYC this week

Things to do, Concerts

Durand Jones & the Indications

Brooklyn Bowl, Williamsburg

Inspired by the timeless songs created by artists like Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, the five-person collective Durand Jones & the Indications are disciples of dusty ’70s soul records. The group's album, American Love Call, addresses heartbreak and America’s tumultuous times with clear-eyed lyricism, sweeping string arrangements, and the contrasting vocals of Jones and drummer Aaron Frazer. Before their set, score strikes at the venue’s bowling alley.

Photograph: Courtesy ARTECHOUSE

Submerge at ARTECHOUSE


This multi-sensory installation immerses you in the PANTONE color of the year, 19-4052, Classic Blue, just in time for New York Fashion Week.  A walk through the digital art space will drop you into an ocean of blue design, where you'll become one with the color around you. "Our collaboration with Pantone, offered us an opportunity to utilize our state-of-the-art technology and design tools to push the possibilities and truly submerge people into color, creating an unprecedented multisensory exploration where one would not only visually take in the color but feel it all around them. We are thrilled to bring this exciting installation to a larger audience," says Sandro Kereselidze, ARTECHOUSE founder and Chief Creative Officer.  

lot 15
Photograph: Courtesy Melissa Hom
Things to do

Guy Social drag show and competition

Lot 15, Midtown West

Guy Social, a brand that promotes positivity and inclusivity for the LGBTQ community, invites you to a monthly drag show and competition, where you can meet like-minded people in a safe and relaxed environment. The first social's theme is "Reveal."

Secret Science Club
Photograph: Erin Flis
Things to do, Talks and lectures

Secret Science Club

The Bell House, Gowanus

Apparently, mad scientists like to get down just as much as the rest of us, so join in on this brainiac throwdown at the Bell House, during which you can hear physicists, chemists, professors and more share lectures. Past talks have included examinations of the unknown creatures roaming NYC and other esoteric subjects. Between talks, watch live fusions of science experiments and performance art, try out custom themed cocktails and dance to futuristic beats. This month, Astrophysicist Chiara Mingarelli will talk about predicting and detecting gravitational waves, dark matter and energy, black holes and more.

ImprovAsylum Next Celebrity President
Photograph: Courtesy Anna Griffin @annagriffinc

The Next Celebrity President

Improv Asylum New York, Chelsea

Between Kourtney Kardashian, Ice-T, Taylor Swift and Tracy Morgan, who would win the presidency? Get ready to find out—well, kind of—at this wacky debate show (with impressions!) where comedians Rachael Burke, Kevin Cobbs, Lagina Hill and Caroline Castro go head to head in their respective roles.  

Neko White
Photograph: Courtesy Mindy Tucker
Things to do

Hot In Here : A Comedy Show Against Climate Change

Kraine Theater, East Village

Help those affected by the Australian bushfires, including wildlife, by simply attending this comedy show with Neko White (TruTV), Ricky Downes (Animal Planet), Michael Rowland (Comedy Central), Katie Hannigan (The Late Show With Stephen Colbert), Marcus Cardona (Asian Comedy Festival, Brooklyn House Of Comedy), Amy Cardinale (New York City Comedy Club) and others. A keynote speaker will talk about what you can do locally to combat climate change as well.

Worlds Beyond Earth
Photograph: Courtesy D. Finnin/AMNH
News, City Life

Visit the new planetarium show at the Museum of Natural History

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Lupita Nyong'o, the American Museum of Natural History's newly released planetarium show was sure to wow. The show at the Hayden Planetarium debuted on January 21. "Worlds Beyond Earth" is the museum's first show at the planetarium to use its newly installed high-dynamic range projection system, which means AMNH has the deepest color of any planetarium in the world.  The show transports its audience to the far corners of our solar system and beyond with detailed scenes drawn from scientific data collected by robotic explorers we've sent to the moon, the icy and volcanic surface of Jupiter's moon Io, and into the showers of liquid methane on Saturn's moon, Titan. The 25-minute show runs every half-hour. Admission to the museum and planetarium is $28.

Oriel Pe'er
Things to do, Film events

Nowadays Free Music Film Series on Wednesdays

Nowadays, Ridgewood

This Ridgewood haven is known for its top-flight sound system, deeply chill vibes and inclusive environment. The venue is now doing free weekly movies on a big screen, accompanied by their surround-sound for a deeply immersive trip. Coming up, you can catch films featuring legends like Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding.

Photograph: Courtesy of Astoria's Secret
News, Drinking

Drink at Astoria’s new bar hidden behind a lingerie shop

Astoria’s Secret is a new speakeasy bar tucked behind a lingerie shop, hoping to bring a similar energy to Queens. It's seemingly place where you could imagine bachelorette parties, themed burlesque nights, and, yes, an Angels pre-game holding court.   “The Lingerie Shoppe is not a retail store per say but actually the storefront facade..It acts both as a first look into the theme of the bar as well as a foyer to both greet and register guests who then come through a secret curtain located below a Fitting Room sign entering the bar and lounge area hidden behind the storefront,” shares owner and lifelong Queens resident, Debra Istwan, via email with Time Out New York. There's a dress code. No tank tops or sloppy looks permitted. And, for what it's worth, the site says men must be 23+ to enter and women 21+. The staff wears items from its in-house line of lingerie, much like at The Playboy Club...minus the bunny ears. Inside the bar you’ll find a neon sign that says “She’s a Killer Queen” and colorful busts made by local artists, velvet furniture and high-heel shaped chairs. Istwan sees the storefront as an opportunity to display local talent too.

Todd Robbins
Photograph: Courtesy Stevan Keane
Theater, Circuses & magic

Speakeasy Magick

Gallow Green, Chelsea
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

Review by Adam Feldman The low-key dazzling Speakeasy Magick has been nestled in the atmospheric McKittrick Hotel for more than a year, and now it has moved up to the Lodge: a small wood-framed room at Gallow Green, which functions as a rooftop bar in the summer. The show’s dark and noisy new digs suit it well. Hosted by Todd Robbins (Play Dead), who specializes in mild carnival-sideshow shocks, Speakeasy Magick is a moveable feast of legerdemain; audience members, seated at seven tables, are visited by a series of performers in turn. Robbins describes this as “magic speed dating.” One might also think of it as tricking: an illusion of intimacy, a satisfying climax, and off they go into the night. The evening is punctuated with brief performances on a makeshift stage. When I attended, the hearty Matthew Holtzclaw kicked things off with sleight of hand involving cigarettes and booze; later, the delicate-featured Alex Boyce pulled doves from thin air. But it’s the highly skilled close-up magic that really leaves you gasping with wonder. Holtzclaw’s table act comes to fruition with a highly effective variation on the classic cups-and-balls routine; the elegant, Singapore-born Prakash and the dauntingly tattooed Mark Calabrese—a razor of a card sharp—both find clever ways to integrate cell phones into their acts. Each performer has a tight 10-minute act, and most of them are excellent, but that’s the nice thing about the way the show is structured: If one of them happens to fall

Vale Rink
Photograph: Courtesy of the William Vale
News, City Life

Go ice skating with a view of the Manhattan skyline

Now you can take in stunning skyline views atop The William Vale while on your ice skates. The hotel's 23rd floor rooftop is now the home of Vale Rink, where you can do your spins and lutzes high above Brooklyn with major views of Manhattan's skyline. Doing laps at the rink is $20 for adults and $12 for kids, which includes skate rentals. The new Vale Rink has a big advantage that other NYC rinks don't have— it's made with synthetic ice by Glice which is said to provide a smoother glide than the natural stuff. It doesn't require much maintenance and sticks around even if the temperature goes above freezing. The William Vale also has a tent lounge with hot chocolate and treats for those taking a break from skating, joining the ranks of other venues that offer rooftop bars during the wintertime. The Vale Rink will be open 2 to 10pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays; 2pm to midnight on Fridays; noon to midnight on Saturdays; and noon to 10pm on Sundays, so lace up your skates.

Monday Night Magic
Photograph: Courtesy Monday Night Magic
Theater, Circuses & magic

Monday Night Magic

Players Theatre, Greenwich Village
Open run

For more than two decades, this proudly old-school series has offered a different lineup of professional magicians every week: a host, opening acts and a headliner, plus two or three close-up magicians to wow the audience at intermission. Housed since 2011 at the unprepossessing Players Theatre, it is an heir to the vaudeville tradition. Many of the acts incorporate comedic elements, and audience participation is common. (If you have children, bring them; they make especially adorable assistants.) Shows cost just $42.50 in advance and typically last well over two hours, so you get a lot of value and variety for your magic dollar. In contrast to some fancier magic shows, this one feels like comfort food: an all-you-can-eat buffet to which you’re encouraged to return until you’re as stuffed as a hat full of rabbits. For a full schedule, visit the MNM website.

Photograph: Ruvan Wijesooriya
News, City Life

Find a new speakeasy hidden in the back of a bodega

The Little Shop, one part bodega and one part speakeasy, just arrived this winter at South Street Seaport to feed downtowners a stacked sandwich at midnight after a good cocktail. It's also hoping to be the nabes' go-to shop for necessities and sundries on the fly. Upon walking in, the mini grocer feels like a nostalgic New York deli with a modern spin. Coffee is a buck fifty and there are plenty of throwback snacks and cult junk food lining the wall like Fruit by the Foot and Haribo. However, you can also order pricier items like rose toner spray, Oatly ice cream or a prosciutto, fig and goat cheese sandwich. Past the cleaning supplies aisle of this mom-and-pop convenience store, you’ll spot an eye-catching room with floral wallpaper. (Psst: It’s the not-so-secret speakeasy.) Luckily, there’s no special password or hidden door so you don’t have to feel like a huge dork trying to find it. 

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