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Things to Do

The Weekend It List:Sept. 28-Oct. 30

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.

Vegan eating isn't just for vegans anymore. We
Photo Credit: Erika Kramer

Vegan eating isn't just for vegans anymore. We could quantify with studies (e.g., a Nielsen report that found 17 percent year-over-year sales growth for plant-based products), but the anecdotal evidence is far more satisfying -- at least where your belly is concerned.

Exhibit A: The proliferation of vegan restaurants includes plenty of newbies (Rip's Malt Shop in Fort Greene and a sixth By Chloe outpost in the Seaport District, among others). The newest of the all-vegan spots is Carroll Gardens' Sans, from Eleven Madison Park alum Champ Jones. Via a fine dining approach, he says, he hopes to "spur interest in what you can do without animal product."

Also for your evidentiary approval is the Vegandale, a vegan festival that returns supersized -- two days instead of one -- to Randall's Island on Saturday. Vegans and vegan-curious alike can peruse about 100 vendors. "Whatever you already enjoy to eat has been veganized," Eva Lampert, a festival director, says.

Explore it.

For some of us, it's the padded vinyl
Photo Credit: Riley Arthur

For some of us, it's the padded vinyl booths, the comfy nook within a nook. For others, it's the coffee, thin enough to reply "yes, please" to every topper. Or: a menu that travels from the American South to Greece, authentically delightful service, the possibility of breakfast all day long.

What do you most love about diners?

For photographer Riley Arthur, it's the overall aesthetics. Charmed after her very first New York diner experience -- at Neptune in Astoria -- and concerned as others shuttered, she embarked on a mission to photograph as many city spots as possible.

"I started with the really iconic places," she says. But, dedicated to representing all five boroughs, at this point Arthur figures she's "seen more of New York than most New Yorkers do in a lifetime." Just over the past four months, she's shot more than 200 diners. And that's not counting the places she tried to document but just didn't make it in time.

Which is a lesson to all who love this quickly disappearing sector of Americana: Go forth and explore, before it's too late.

Arthur told us one place per borough that she recommends, and, for a wider swath of inspiration, all of the photos are on her @dinersofnyc Instagram.

"It's all about the ambiance," she says. "It's all about capturing the essence of each individual diner."

Werk it.

Trixie Mattel promises that DragCon
Photo Credit: Movi Inc. for World of Wonder

Trixie Mattel promises that DragCon "is like being in the eye of a hurricane of people who love drag." And who are we to disagree with a country-singing, pink-clad, blonde-bouffanted performer with her very own action figure?

One of the more famous drag queens to emerge from "RuPaul's Drag Race" -- witness her hilariously unhinged, lo-fi show on Vice -- Trixie gave us advice on how to approach round two of the NYC rendition of RuPaul's drag Disneyland. For one, you should check your stranger danger impulses at the door.

"You have to listen to me. I know it sounds intimidating, but DragCon is the place to talk to strangers because you're basically meeting the coolest, friendliest people who are enthusiastic about comedy, drag and music. You can walk up to a stranger at DragCon and have a lot in common -- People talking to strangers in New York, can you believe it?"

Of the many star-studded panels, of course you should catch the live "Trixie & Katya Show," reuniting our lady in pink with the always quick-witted Katya, who's emerging from drag-tirement.

"I don't know what I'm allowed to say but, without teasing too much, there's definitely been a demand for Trixie and Katya back together and we approve it."

Will temporary Katya fill-in and local favorite Bob the Drag Queen pop in? Well, Bob is on the schedule ... A number of  NYC "Drag Race" alumni are representing, including Aquaria, Peppermint, Sasha Velour and Monét X Change, so this really is the one-stop marketplace for seeing the dominance of five-borough fabulousness.

Watch it.

Amid the flurry of fall previews, a relative
Photo Credit: CBS / Richard Boeth

Amid the flurry of fall previews, a relative grandpa of a show, CBS' "Blue Bloods," returns for its ninth season on Friday. OK, hear us out: It's not just for your cranky red state relatives. Filmed on location throughout the city, it provides that extra layer for locals to enjoy.

On top of scenes of Donnie Wahlberg's detective chasing a perp along the waterfront and Tom Selleck's police commissioner cruising past brownstones, you'll also notice the "blue" of the title refers specifically to the NYPD. In addition to paying licensing costs for use of the NYPD official logo, the production works closely with real-life officers for everything from what to yell at that on-the-run criminal ("police, don't move," just FYI) to how to hold a service revolver.

"They have to get it right. I think that's important," says retired officer Jim Nuciforo, who's worked on set since the series premiered. He's joined by officers working with the NYPD Movie/TV Unit, which is 26 strong.

One must for the many "Blue Bloods" actors portraying cops is joining Nuciforo at a shooting range. Only one person has yet to partake: Selleck.

"He probably can handle a weapon better than I can," he says of the "Magnum P.I." alum. 

See it.

Russell Craig turned an overload of court papers
Photo Credit: Russell Craig via NYCLU

Russell Craig turned an overload of court papers into a self-portrait. Jordan Weber transformed a scrap police car into an exploding terrarium. As controversial as the policing practice known as "broken windows" is (and has been), the artists offer personal entry points into the conversation, and that's at the heart of a short-term exhibit from the New York Civil Liberties Union that wraps Sunday.

The overall hope, The Museum of Broken Windows's executive director Daveen Trentman says, is to move past mere metrics.

"The conversation can often get caught in statistics or big political ideas and loses those impacted," he notes. "It also aims to challenge audiences to think more compassionately about policies that harm brown and black New Yorkers that are virtually ignored in predominantly white areas."

Pieces from about 30 artists working in a range of media are on display.


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