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Things to Do

The Weekend It List: Sept. 21-23

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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Eat it.

We're hard-pressed to think of a more efficient
Photo Credit: Clay Williams

We're hard-pressed to think of a more efficient way to get a sampling of the diverse food offerings in New York City than the Vendy Awards. And Saturday's 14th annual celebration of mobile chefs is on par with years past, serving up an around-the-world foodie tour across nearly five hours.

Make the relatively short trip to Governors Island and you can travel from Burma to Afghanistan, Italy to Thailand. Feed your belly Mexican tamales and Indian ice cream (one scoop of masala chai, please), Chinese pancakes and Greek spanakopita.

Awards -- both judges and attendees vote -- are given out in several categories, and it's the best rookie vendor slot that can be the most difficult to curate, says Sean Basinski, co-director of Street Vendor Project, which organizes the competition. Past winners include Korilla BBQ and Momo Delight.

"Some of these vendors have been out for a few months," he says. "We have to kind of really be tuned in to who's on the horizon and who's doing exciting things."

The five representing rookies just expand this gastronomic globe, with Eritrean-Ethiopian street food and traditional Turkish fare among your options.

Watch it.

TV watching is largely a solitary sport. Headphones
Photo Credit: National Geographic / Bettina Strauss

TV watching is largely a solitary sport. Headphones on: Turn on, tune in, drop out. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- but there are those among us who like to watch shows with a room full of strangers and no fast-forward capability.

That's what the folks behind the inaugural Tribeca TV Festival found, and so they're bringing it back for a second round. It was so popular last year, in fact, that the lineup has expanded from three days to four.

"There's such a huge audience out there for television, and they don't always get the opportunity to come together and interact with each other and the creators behind their favorite shows," says Cara Cusumano, the festival's programming director.

Most every screening is followed by chats with the talent. Catch season world premieres for "Empire" (with Jussie Smollett), "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" (showrunner Sandy Zweig) and "Madame Secretary" (Téa Leoni), as well as talks.

Also of note are the many pilots -- exciting for those who love the mix of ambition and occasional awkwardness of selling a series in a finite number of minutes -- on the roster.

"I really hope people dig into this and hopefully find their next TV obsession," Cusumano says.

Question it.

Your eyes may deceive you at the newly
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Your eyes may deceive you at the newly opened Museum of Illusions, but that just means you're getting your money's worth.

The Croation import, with 19 locations around the world, plays with your expectations by challenging your perspectives of the objects and people around you throughout its 70 Instagram-worthy rooms and exhibits. Imagine touching a "hot" grill and walking away unscathed -- or "shrinking" in a room that uses its dimensions to confuse your understanding of your own physicality.

"It's about visitors losing themselves, climbing on the walls," museum CEO Roko Živković says. "The museum is a 21st-century concept. I always loved National Geographic and brain games and I wanted to do it for people to experience something really different."

The Museum of Illusions is housed in a grand old bank building at 77 Eighth Ave. and is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Stream it.

Tony Danza returns to TV with Netflix's
Photo Credit: Netflix / Michele K. Short

Tony Danza returns to TV with Netflix's "The Good Cop," launching on Friday. And for those who care to wager on his character's name, just remember that Danza has played a Tony on several other series (notably, "Taxi" and "Who's the Boss?"). There's nothing wrong with a little self-love.

The Brooklyn-born actor, who now calls Manhattan home, got to stay put for the city-set series, in which he plays a disgraced former cop to his on-point NYPD son, played by Josh Groban.

"(I)t was so much fun to work in New York City again as opposed to on location someplace else," Danza says, adding that filming the prison scenes -- as we mentioned, a disgraced former officer of the law -- at Arthur Kill Correctional Facility assisted in a mini-family reunion. "There were a couple of days I went out and saw my uncle while I was down on Staten Island."

The 10-episode first season is part drama, part sitcom, and is centered around the father-son dynamic -- particularly as senior can't help but meddle with Jr.'s investigations. "He thinks he's doing a good thing, and I'll tell you something, I love playing him. Oh my goodness." How much did he love the role? So, so much: "This job was the most fun acting I've had since 'Who's the Boss?'"

Schtick it.

And now for your most high-concept weekend option:
Photo Credit: Schtick A Pole In It

And now for your most high-concept weekend option: a comedy show with pole dancing. To be clear, you have your comedians, and you have your pole dancers. One tells jokes, one uses maximum core strength (without stripping), alternating time on stage.

"It's fun to see a dancer in their peak physical condition with a comic in peak mental depression," notes comedian Dan Goodman, who co-created the monthly "Schtick a Pole in It".

The final ingredient is music, with a different artist or band featured every month. Past shows honored Pat Benatar, Janet Jackson and Guns N' Roses. September gets delirious with Prince on Friday and Saturday.


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