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Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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The best things to do in NYC this weekend

The best things to do in NYC this weekend includes returning to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and hitting up Harlem's aircraft carrier eatery

By Collier Sutter and Shaye Weaver
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Many performances, museums and venues have been closed and canceled so we've come up with an exciting list of things to do. Be sure to not leave home without your mask or face covering.

This weekend, there's plenty to do get out and about while social distancing and wearing a mask. You can go swimming at a public pool, grab drinks at a new restaurant on an aircraft carrier, unwind at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and much more. New York City is slowly opening up so there's no reason to stay in if you can stay safe.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best things to do in NYC

Things to do in NYC this weekend

Time Out Market New York
Image: Time Out

1. Grab lunch at Time Out Market New York

News City Life

It’s been over four months since Time Out Market New York temporarily closed, but we’re finally ready to welcome you back to the Brooklyn waterfront. You’ve probably been dining outside in the city a lot this summer. Well, we’re about to offer an outdoor culinary experience like no other. In addition to our fifth floor rooftop, which offers sweeping views of the East River and Manhattan skyline, we’ll be providing increased waterfront dining with almost 250 seats total. For those who prefer more of a picnic vibe, you can grab some food and enjoy it in Brooklyn Bridge Park, just steps away from the market. 

 

5895763er
Photograph: Walker/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

2. See Oscar Isaac star in the must-see Antigone in Ferguson

News Theater & Performance

In early May and again in June, the superb stage and screen star Oscar Isaac played the lead role in The Oedipus Project, Theater of War Productions' reading and discussion of Sophocles' Oedipus the King. These two Zoom performances were among the very best virtual theater offerings of the lockdown period. On Sunday, August 9, Isaac is joining the company for the third time in what promises to be a must-see event: a free, live-only revival of adapter-director Bryan Doerries's Antigone in Ferguson, presented to mark the annual Michael Brown Memorial Weekend and featuring an extraordinary post-show discussion about social justice and racialized violence. Antigone in Ferguson will be streamed live at 8:30pm. Tickets must be booked in advance, so make your reservation here.

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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3. Unwind at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

News City Life

The sprawling estate is opening to the public on Friday so they can once again  explore the grounds, which are made up of over 15 gardens with flowers, herbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, and even fruits and veggies. 

To limit capacity, The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is requiring visitors to purchase tickets in advance (for three-hour time slots). Tickets will go on sale starting on July 27, and members will have first access to the garden as early as July 31, according to their website. Once onsite, visitors can explore all outdoor spaces for up to three hours (indoor spaces like the café, garden shop, library, and conservatory remain closed). Face coverings and social distancing are required. Keep in mind that all drinking fountains on the grounds will be covered through these times, so bring your own water to hydrate as the weather is heating up. 

The Baylander Steel Beach
Photograph: Courtesy of The Baylander Steel Beach

4. Try out this Harlem restaurant on an aircraft carrier

News Eating

Now New York can add a restaurant aboard what was once the world’s smallest aircraft carrier to the list. The Baylander Steel Beach, a Navy ship used during the Vietnam War, is now stationed at the West Harlem Piers in Upper Manhattan off 125th Street. There’s a 4,000-square-foot outdoor deck where you can order lobster rolls, burgers and drinks. A lower level part of the restaurant is still closed while indoor dining is prohibited in New York.

While it’s not as massive as the Intrepid—at 125 feet long, it’s nowhere near the 820 feet or so of the more iconic ship—the Baylander was used to train helicopter pilots who needed to learn how to land on a boat. According to the ship’s website, it moved around after the Vietnam War and the Trenk Family Foundation purchased it in 2012. It was moored in different locations in the metropolitan area before its current home.

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The Flag Project Rockefeller Center
Photograph: Courtesy Tishman Speyer

5. See 193 artist-designed flags flying at Rockefeller Center

News Art

For its new "Flag Project," Tishman Speyer tagged Jeff Koons, Marina Abramović, Christian Siriano, KAWS and a handful of big artists and New Yorkers to design 193 flags for Rockefeller Center. The flags will be up through August 16. The breezy works of art, which are free to view, were each designed to showcase and celebrate NYC's diversity, vibrant energy, strength and resiliency.

When the city shut down this spring, Tishman Speyer asked people to submit their designs. There were over 1,000 responses from around the world.  "The designs were hand-crafted, star-spangled, brilliantly bold, and digitally decorated – and they expressed a true love of the City and demonstrated a sense of community that is at the core of all Rockefeller Center does and believes in," the company said in a statement. "The Flag Project helped us usher in a new era of togetherness and human connection amidst a difficult time. We’re proud to fly these beautiful works of art for all to see, in the heart of New York."

George Floyd, NYC, Black Lives Matter, murals, Washington D.C., Oakland, CA, Brooklyn, Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, Mayor De Blasio
Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Black Lives Matter Mural Brooklyn Opening Night

Things to do Restoration Plaza, Bedford-Stuyvesant

Good People Meet NYC is launching Feel Good Fridays, a night of live DJ sets and community outreach at the Downtown Brooklyn Black Lives Matter Mural, from 4 to 9pm on Fridays. This week, The Finisher DJ Mister Cee, will set things off, and the Brooklyn NAACP Census Game Changers will be on-site with CAMBA, Inc., a Brooklyn based nonprofit organization that provides social services to New Yorkers in need, along with a number of Brooklyn's Black Greek organizations. Masks and social distancing will be required and temperatures will be checked at the entrance.

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Marissa Goldman
Photograph: Courtesy Marissa Goldman

7. This digital comedy show is taking place inside a Google Doc this week

News Comedy

While live-streaming has become the go-to, Marissa Goldman of Stacy and Nerd Herderz is taking to Google Docs to host her comedian-packed quarantine party each week as long as New Yorkers have to isolate. Usually reserved for collaboration between employees, Google Docs in this case serves as a real-time way for comedians to share their jokes. All at-home viewers need to do is head to the this link at 8pm on Saturday and watch the party unfold. Each performer has a designated are on the doc. You can click on their name when their slot comes up.

A suffragette postcard from 1910
Photograph: Courtesy Museum of Interesting Things

8. Salute ladies of 16mm film at Secret Speakeasy

Things to do Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

Salute the Ladies of 16mm film! See a collection of brilliant females on 16mm film from Marilyn to Tina Turner spanning movies to music this week. The museum will show off original and rare 16mm short films from the 1930s, '40s, '50s and more including jazz, Vaudeville, and circus footage as well as antique items from those eras.

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Venchi
Photograph: Courtesy Venchi

9. Get free gelato scoops from Venchi

Venchi is launching a new gelato flavor called "Mediterraneo," a creamy pistachio ice cream with candied lemon zest and toasted green pistachio from Bronte grains. You can get free scoops of the flavor and buy-one-get-one of all other gelato flavors all day long on Saturday and Sunday.
The store wwill be open from 11:30am to 9pm.
Agrippina
Photograph: Marty Sohl

10. See free operas by Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Offenbach and Handel

News Theater & Performance

The Metropolitan Opera may have closed its grand doors for the rest of 2020, but the company continues to stream free recordings of complete productions from its archives every night. The lineup from August 3 through August 9 includes full operas by Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Offenbach and Handel. Most of the productions were recorded for release in cinemas through the Met's beloved Live in HD series.

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The Pollinator Pavilion, Mark Dion, Dana Sherwood Catskill, NY, the Catskills, Thomas Cole National Historic Site Thomas C
Photograph: Shutterstock

11. Commune with hummingbirds at this Upstate art installation

News Art

Hummingbirds are nature's helicopters, buzzing and hovering around flowers in a way that seems impossible for an animal. But that is why we're fascinated with them. They're hard to find in the city, though if you hang a hummingbird feeder outside your window between late March and early April, you may attract some of them on their annual migration across the region. However, if you want to increase your chances of seeing one, we recommend making a weekend getaway to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, NY. There, you'll find Pollinator Pavilion, an interactive outdoor art installation by artists Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood, which is described as a "fantastical architectural setting that offers miraculous moments in which individuals can encounter hummingbirds."

Pollinator Pavilion is a 21 ½-foot-high, painted wood, architectural confection draped with flowers, plants, and paintings by the artists. It's designed to attract hummingbirds, allowing you to meditate on their essential role a pollinators of flowers and plants. The structure itself resembles something out of the Victorian Era, which seems only appropriate: Cole, whose house and studio occupies the site, was one of the leading painters of the Hudson River School during that period.

Krispy Kreme Harlem
Photograph: Courtesy of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

12. Grab a doughnut at Krispy Kreme's first NYC shop

News Eating

Before Times—or at all times, really—doughnuts are always in demand. Today, Krispy Kreme opened its newest New York shop in Harlem and it’s also the first location in the city to display the beloved brand’s iconic Hot Light, which signals when fresh hot doughnuts are rolling off the assembly line. This store is equipped to produce more than 100 fried, sugary and glazed treats each hour. It’s open Sunday-Thursday 7am-10pm and Friday-Saturday 7am-11pm.  The latest opening is part of Krispy Kreme’s comeback in the Big Apple. A 45,000-square-foot flagship location in Times Square had been set to open in May, but even though it’s not open yet, other locations have popped up in 2020 (such as a location near Herald Square). Before this year, Krispy Kreme’s sole NYC location since 2009 had been in the bowels of Penn Station.

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The Greens at Pier 17
Photograph: Relevent on behalf of The Howard Hughes Corporation

13. Reserve a “backyard” on the waterfront at Pier 17

News City Life

If it hasn't felt like summer because you've been inside so much this year, The Rooftop at Pier 17 wants to give you a taste of the great outdoors at The Greens. The popular Seaport District rooftop has set up 28, 14-foot-by-14-foot mini lawns with cabana-style lounge chairs, umbrellas, Yeti Coolers, USB ports and more that you can reserve this summer. Each mini lawn is like having your own little slice of suburbia with room to stretch out without worrying about being too close to others and lawn games you can rent out at a larger gaming court like bocce ball, cornhole and giant Jenga.  The difference? There will be a 32 feet wide LED screen to watch sports and movies on and incredible food and drink options by R17 that you can get delivered right to your mini-lawn. You'll be able to order through your phone via a menu that pops up when you scan a QR code. And yes, there's free WiFi! 

Serra Fiorita by Birreria
Photograph: Courtesy of Eataly

14. Dine at Eataly’s new summer rooftop restaurant

News Eating

Americans may not be able to travel to Italy anytime soon, but on August 7th, Eataly Flatiron’s popular seasonal rooftop restaurant will offer guests a taste of an Italian summer. Serra Fiorita by Birreria will be decked out in florals with a gin cart and even a special, biweekly flower dinner. The restaurant’s last concept was set to debut in mid March, but that’s when New York went on lockdown. This time around, however, the expansive rooftop space (Serra means “greenhouse”) on the 14th floor will have its capacity reduced by 50%, and they’ll implement a host of safety measures, from hand sanitizing stations to encouraging customers to choose cashless payment. Reservations, via Open Table, are available.  The menu will focus on seasonal ingredients from the local Greenmarket as well as Italian producers. One dish, the Fior Fiore (which means “the best of the best” in Italians), features a fava bean purée served in a custom-made flower stoneware pot designed by Pandolfi, one of the most in-demand ceramicists. Starting on August 13th, the restaurant will also launch a biweekly special menu called Cene Fiorite (or flower dinner) that showcases different ways flowers—including seeds and pollen—can be cooked.

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Socrates Sculpture Park
Photograph: Courtesy Jeffrey Gibson; Scott Lynch; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; Kavi Gupta, Chicago; Roberts Projects, Los Angeles

15. Take photos of Astoria's Socrates Sculpture Park

News Art

Remarkably, the outdoor art showcase in Long Island City has been opened all of this time, because, well, it's a park. However, Socrates was only showing works installed before the crisis. Now, it's is making up for lost time with a new exhibition series, under the rubric, "Monuments Now," that will take place over the summer and fall.

It kicks of with a trio of artists—Jeffrey Gibson, Paul Ramírez Jonas and Xaviera Simmons—presenting large-scale objects that take the premise literally. Gibson's piece, for example, consists of 40ft x 40ft plywood ziggurat inspired by the pre-Columbian earthen mounds created by indigenous people in the Mississippi Valley during the 13th century. It will be covered in a skein of brightly-colored geometric patterns. 

Ramírez Jonas, meanwhile, is creating a functional community grill in the form of towering obelisk.

Finally, Simmons's box-like cenotaph frames texts culled from historical documents related to racial disenfranchisement.

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