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Things to Do

The Weekend It List: Aug. 31-Sept. 3

Your time off is precious.

We happen to spend our on-the-clock hours combing through the many options NYC has to offer, so let us help you maximize those days off. Every week, we distill the very best the weekend has to offer.

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revisit it.

Art is about context. We all know this,
Photo Credit: Glen E. Friedman

Art is about context. We all know this, but sometimes we want to go beyond reading about those who came before. We want to feel it.

Due to those pesky laws of physics, we can't teleport back to Television's debut at CBGB or a Run-D.M.C. house party. But New Yorkers do have a geographic advantage, allowing us to walk the streets of many musical pioneers.

A willing guide is Jesse Rifkin, who offers a full menu of "Walk on the Wild Side" tours covering punk, No Wave, post-punk, disco and hop-hop and the artists who flourished in the 1970s and '80s amid the blight left in the wake of New York City's fiscal crisis. Rifkin takes tours past the SoHo recording studio where Public Enemy gave birth to the career-defining "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" as well as a nearby copy shop that saw members of Sonic Youth behind the counter.

The clubs and recording studios are largely shuttered, turned into American Eagle and John Varvatos outposts. For Rifkin, those changes are part of the lesson.

"Music and gentrification tend to go hand in hand," he says. "I like getting people to think about that and getting them to seeing the geographical closeness of these places. It humanizes people and makes the act of doing what they did seem more accessible."

eat it.

Come fall, Harlem is going to have a
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Come fall, Harlem is going to have a 🍔 behemoth: Shake Shack plans to open a branch on 125th Street.

The neighborhood has its own burger joints, of course, two of which -- Harlem Burger Co. and Harlem Shake -- are similar in their core offerings of burgers, fries and milkshakes. And while they, armed with spatulas and loyal clienteles, brace for increased competition, we say it's prime time for a taste test, a battle of the burgers, a beefy brawl.

Shake Shack was, back in the early aughts, just a calf itself, and the hamburger-stand model has taken many forms since. (See Smashburger, Bareburger, et. al.) And the Harlem-owned restaurants offer their versions, which come out in taste and unique menu items.

So while Harlem Burger Co. owner Alper Uyanik is surely bracing for the Shack, he's confident in his customers. "At the end of the day, when a business has a local community following, the community really tries their best to support it."

And many beef-loving hearts have room for all the burgers.

move it.

At 10 years old, Electric Zoo is now
Photo Credit: Doug Van Sant

At 10 years old, Electric Zoo is now a tweener.

The EDM fest has had quite a life so far, including spawning a traveling version, but it's back in the New York groove, some 50 DJs strong, for three days.

Marshmello, who's new to the annual Labor Day weekend festival, is the big name, getting noticed beyond the electro-dance world. (Submitted into evidence: Shawn Mendes recently donning the "Silence" artist's signature headpiece.) Overall, it's a varied lineup, from locals Cash Cash to the Netherlands' Martin Garrix, who is Saturday's headliner.

Tickets are still available, but history tells us that Electric Zoo tends to sell out, so no lollygagging. And because it's on Randall's Island, it's a bit of an adventure to get there, and you can't drive to it. (Organizers like the safety of public transit and don't provide a parking lot.)

With weekend weather looking iffy, just load up that satchel with rain gear; you can rent a day locker so it doesn't inhibit you moving that body.

explore it.

City searchers, here's a Manhattan neighborhood that you
Photo Credit: Shaye Weaver

City searchers, here's a Manhattan neighborhood that you may have overlooked because of its proximity to Tourist Central and, quite possibly, your office. But Kips Bay, roughly from Lexington Avenue to the East River, and bordered by East 23rd to 34th streets, is more than the sum of its chain restaurants.

Walk its quiet side streets to really explore its history, including the 69th Regiment Armory, a substantial structure dating to the early 1900s, and one of the few remaining wood-frame homes in the city, which takes you back to the 1700s. You can really stretch your legs along the miles-long river walk, a refreshing path as you hit a 2-story thrift shop benefitting the NYC Opera, dine on Indian cuisine and dig into your pockets for change to play arcade games at Modern Pinball. (Yes, they even have the Addams Family pinball!)

celebrate it.

This weekend comes super-sized. What are your plans
Photo Credit: Hester Street Fair

This weekend comes super-sized. What are your plans for that extra day off?

You could seek sweet, sweet air-conditioning in a dark theater and get caught up on the latest movies, or stay in and finally get through "The Crown." Both are fine options.

But if you want to have a full-on New York experience, options abound from the Labor Day celebratory to summer bucket-list worthy. Fairs and festivals meet food and drink deals -- and we are always happy to celebrate saving money.


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