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Things to Do

The Weekend It List: Sept. 14-16

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.

And, to get the Weekend It List delivered to your inbox Thursdays, sign up at amny.com/weekend.

Eat it.

At this point in time, we shouldn't even
Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

At this point in time, we shouldn't even need to check our calendars: The San Gennaro festival isn't exactly a newbie. At the sprightly age of 92, the celebration starts Thursday and runs for 11 days.

The feast puts the spotlight on Little Italy, a shrinking neighborhood that remains home to stalwarts of Italian cuisine. So as you eat your way through the checklist of must-eats -- meatballs, cannoli, sausage and peppers, zeppole -- you know they're made by tradition, recipes handed down across generations.

Some 2 million people turn out for specialties made by folks like the Sabatino-Fratta family, which returns for its 88th year of operating a food stand on the corner of Mulberry and Grand streets. "Years back, that was my great grandmother's corner," Danny Fratta, 38, says. "She used to have chestnuts hanging from the stand in bunches; things she took from her town in Naples." These days, people find Fratta for freshly fried zeppole, but also for one traditional treat he still sells in Antoinette Sabatino's honor: the nougat candy torrone.

While the event has religious roots in honor of the patron saint of Naples, the Feast of San Gennaro is very much festival-minded. Hit up a cannoli-eating contest -- no need to partake to snag one of the free miniatures circulating the crowd -- enjoy the music and, of course, eat your way through.

Drink it.

Napa. Finger Lakes. New York City. And the
Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Napa. Finger Lakes. New York City.

And the $100,000 question is: What are worthy wine destinations?

True, our fair city isn't exactly overflowing with options, but we'll always give points for destinations that only require the swipe of a MetroCard. And you'll find several worthy of your precious time.

Most notable is Rooftop Reds, which claims "the world's first commercially viable rooftop vineyard." While it currently produces eight wines made from grapes grown at a sister vineyard in the Finger Lakes region, the dozens of boxes of Bordeaux varietals atop the Brooklyn Navy Yard space are slated for drinkable debuts in late 2019. The wine bar there serves a variety of the upstate wines, rosé to chardonnay, which you can drink while lounging in a hammock, playing lawn games or watching a movie under the stars.

Still in Brooklyn, Red Hook Winery is similarly state-centric, with wines sourced from the North Fork and Finger Lakes. And over in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Winery takes a bicoastal approach with grapes from the eastern and western U.S.

Probably the best known is decade-old City Winery in lower Manhattan. In the news recently due to Disney buying its block, you still have until 2020 to imbibe wines made from globally sourced grapes while you watch a concert at the Varick Street location.

Binge it.

As the streaming wars continue, Amazon makes a
Photo Credit: Colleen Hayes

As the streaming wars continue, Amazon makes a strategic play Friday with the premiere of "Forever", an eight-episode comedy anchored with beloved actors and comedic pedigree.

"SNL" alum Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen co-star as a couple in a comfortable if static marriage. They navigate scripts penned by producer-writers Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard, who have amassed cult followings for shows including "Parks and Recreation" and "Master of None." That points to a show that likely takes a few episodes for viewers to sink into its tone; lucky for you (if not for your weekend productivity), you can binge the entire series.

Though Yang and Hubbard have been overall tight-lipped in order, Hubbard says, to maintain some element of surprise for audiences, they knew that Rudolph and Armisen had wanted to collaborate. "We started talking about marriage and other ideas, like what would happen if you were stuck in a long-term relationship, literally forever," Hubbard recalls.

The two are happy, if bored. "We're trying to portray both sides of a marriage, which is you do sometimes feel alone and bored but also the next day you feel you're with someone you want to stay with the rest of your life. ... (U)ltimately we believe Oscar and June are right for each other and should be together. That's the discovery they go through over the course of the season."

Do it.

The Brooklyn Book Festival covers a full week,
Photo Credit: Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival covers a full week, but there's one day that's a must for bookworms of all reading levels (i.e., serious to casual). And since Sunday's Festival Day offers the equivalent of reading "War & Peace" in one sitting, it's crucial to go in with an hour-by-hour plan of attack.

We're talking hundreds of authors and dozens of free panels in Downtown Brooklyn. Discussions centered around activism, cultural appropriation and the future of feminism are among those to feed your brain, and there's a built-in break so you can peruse the publisher-driven marketplace. Tolstoy says: Go!

Day trip it.

(Slightly) cooler weather begs for outdoor time, and
Photo Credit: Newsday / Randee Daddona

(Slightly) cooler weather begs for outdoor time, and nothing quite gets miles on the sneakers like exploring a completely new area. Long Island's North Fork is a bit of a trek, true, but, unlike the journey to the more-touristy Hamptons, the road is dotted with quaint towns and plenty of foliage.

The many wineries are a big draw, as is just strolling around Greenport. Many restaurants and other destinations do shutter in the cooler months, but we're not there yet. So grab a nice long meal, and have that second cocktail: You can catch the 9:11 p.m. train out of Greenport and snooze on the LIRR ride back to the city.

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