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The Weekend It List: Oct. 26-28

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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Celebrate it.

While Halloween falls on a not-fun-for-work Wednesday, this
Photo Credit: Tod Seelie

While Halloween falls on a not-fun-for-work Wednesday, this is hardly a city of amateurs. That is to say: Your options aren't relegated to one tiny night.

One of our annual favorites is hitting haunted houses, and this year we suggest taking the trip to southern Brooklyn's Gravesend Inn. The haunted hotel has been designed and operated by New York City College of Technology students for two decades, and this year's frights include an animatronic doll -- and yes, it speaks, telling guests to leave.

"She's really fun. She's an amazing animatronic," Prof. Sue Brandt says, adding that the creature with 26 moving parts is "part of the curriculum."

Though much of the haunted house is automated -- talking paintings, morphing photographs -- 20 students run the inn daily, getting experience working on a live production before graduating to careers in theater and music.

Check out our continually updated list of other Halloween events and parties, and of course fill your queue(s) with the many horror film fests airing on a small screen near you. 

Eat it.

If you weren't craving chocolate before, you probably
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

If you weren't craving chocolate before, you probably are now.

New York City's oldest chocolate shop turned 95 this month, making Li-Lac older than Mickey Mouse, the chocolate chip cookie and FM radio. So perhaps it's time you tried a bite yourself.

While independently owned brick-and-mortar businesses are becoming something of an endangered species in our city, the owners of Li-Lac are on an expansion track: A sixth location is slated to open in Hudson Yards in the spring.

The chocolatier is surviving, co-owner Anthony Cirone says, by staying the same -- with much of the process done by hand. "There is a more automatic way to make them, but this way, you really taste the freshness," Cirone says.

You can see it all in action by peering through the glass facing the shop's Industry City kitchen (and then purchase sweets at the attached boutique), or visit one of its other locations to taste nearly a century of tradition.

Read it.

This is The One Where You Read Instead
Photo Credit: Getty Images

This is The One Where You Read Instead of Binge.

A new "Friends" retrospective will have you putting down the remote and picking up the hardcover this weekend. "I'll Be There For You: The One About Friends" answers the questions that have been stewing in your mind -- can Rachel even afford "The Rachel"? -- and explains decisions that led to its most iconic moments.

The book, by Greenpoint's Kelsey Miller, will probably leave you questioning your "Friends" fandom as it lays out facts that'll beef up trivia night. For starters: The sitcom was almost called "Insomnia Cafe" or "Friends Like Us."

"This show has had a huge impact on our culture," says Miller, a gym "Friends" binger. "I really wanted to write something that combined a critical commentary while exploring the phenomenon."

Say goodbye to it.

Saturday sees two beloved spots closing for good,
Photo Credit: Lisette Poole

Saturday sees two beloved spots closing for good, and, if you plan correctly, you can work dinner and a movie into the weekend goodbye tour.

After 35 years, West Village staple Tortilla Flats is set to serve its last margaritas and fajitas. The Tex-Mex spot embraced its kitsch -- streamers on the ceiling, et al. -- but also maintained reasonable prices as its neighborhood exploded.

Co-owner Andrew Secular told us that the "business partners couldn't reach an agreement with the landlord."

Andy Cohen and Sarah Jessica Parker have paid their respects already; have you?

Across the Williamsburg Bridge, Videology closes its doors this weekend, as well. After 15 years of screenings, themed parties and trivia nights, the cinema/bar is going lights out party-style. (While the screenings of "Suspiria" are sold out, the themed party at midnight is not, though we suggest getting that RSVP in ASAP.) Or, catch a "Hocus Pocus" screening or "Nightmare On Elm Street" drinking game on Friday.

Watch it.

There are fictional royals among us. Matthew Weiner's
Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz

There are fictional royals among us.

Matthew Weiner's "Romanoffs" anthology series, the one that's backed with a $50 million production budget, comes to New York City this weekend. "Expectations," starring Amanda Peet and Jon Tenney, takes viewers on a city day trip by way of a soon-to-be-grandma who's having a seriously rough afternoon.

The only description of the episode released so far claims the woman will be faced with "every lie she's ever told" over the course of one day in upper Manhattan. Like we said, sounds rough.

Peet admits she knew little about the script before signing on. But Weiner's name and his success with "Mad Men" were enough to grip the New York actress.

"He's very exacting and he has a strong point of view and knows what he wants. There was some relief in that."


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