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Things to Do

The Weekend It List: Jan. 18-20

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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lounge it.

The white, sandy beaches of Tulum, Mexico, are
Photo Credit: Grupo Gitano

The white, sandy beaches of Tulum, Mexico, are more than 3,000 miles from New York City's frigid streets. But why let simple geography get in the way of a good time?

If a trip south of the border is not in the offing, you can still soak up the sunny vibes at the newly opened Gitano Jungle Room, where palm trees always stand, the chips and guac are plentiful, and the margaritas flow.

Gitano's celeb- and Instagram-friendly lounge and restaurant, located at the James Hotel in SoHo, won't be unfamiliar to the crowds who packed founder James Gardner's outdoor pop-up Gitano Jungle Garden across the street last summer, which imported its "fun and sexy" concept from Gitano's original location in Tulum. Its permanent New York City home offers two floors -- the Jungle Bar and Jungle Room -- filled with bamboo furniture and palm trees that surround guests who sip signature cocktails and chomp on fresh, seasonal fare.

"We're doing something different," says Gardner, "which can be controversial, but with the love and support of our friends and customers, we couldn't be more excited about the new Jungle Room."

groove with it.

A dance-party-meets-musical production is taking over Brooklyn's 3
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

A dance-party-meets-musical production is taking over Brooklyn's 3 Dollar Bill.

"Oscar at the Crown" has a little bit of everything: It's set in a dystopian future where only an obsession with reality TV ("The Real Housewives"), pop culture ("The O.C.") and Oscar Wilde (the famed playwright) remain.

But it's less about the plot and more about the experience at the Williamsburg club. The musical takes full advantage of the space as the cast jumps from the dance floor to the stage and back again, dragging audience members into the production.

"We want the audience to know we're throwing a party for them. We are doing our show, but this performance is for them. They're the heart and soul of it," director Shira Milikowsky says.

The production opens at the borough's newest LGBTQ nightclub this weekend and joins a growing lineup of cabaret shows, DJ nights and drag performances.

drink it.

With the weather looking to be downright frightful
Photo Credit: Dominique Ansel Kitchen

With the weather looking to be downright frightful this weekend, there aren't many things we'd venture outside for. Sledding is one. Hot chocolate is another.

For those really committed, the multiday Valrhona Hot Chocolate Festival starts Saturday. A dozen bakeries, chocolatiers and coffeehouses are participating, from Dominique Ansel Kitchen to La Maison du Chocolat to Brooklyn Roasting Company. And you can feel good about your indulgence: 50 cents from each cup sold goes to the nonprofit Food Tank.

Hot chocolate season is, of course, about unique spins on the classic, and plenty of spots are pouring beyond the boring. Whether you want yours leaded with alcohol or dairy-free, inspired by s'mores or filled with five kinds of chocolate, you can drink up exactly what you want.

listen to it.

Two Bensonhurst natives are behind The Brooklyn Boys,
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

Two Bensonhurst natives are behind The Brooklyn Boys, a podcast where just about anything -- from pizza rants to pop-culture debates -- goes.

The podcasters, Skeery Jones and David Brody, say their style is "Donny & Marie" meets "Seinfeld," adapting "New York-isms" to the average listener's appeal.

"I'm Brooklyn proud, but I think people can relate to it anywhere in the country," Skeery says. "We like to say we are a podcast not just about Brooklyn, but a podcast with a wider perspective of a Brooklyn neighborhood guy and his take on the world."

The guys are up for the first-ever iHeart Podcast Awards, airing from Los Angeles Friday. You can follow along live to see if they win ( or simply tune into one of their 68 previously recorded podcasts (though they recommend listening in order).

watch it.

By now, you may have heard of a
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

By now, you may have heard of a little MTV reality show that's causing a big scene on Staten Island. From former "Mob Wives" star Karen Gravano, "Made In Staten Island" gives the spotlight to a younger generation of "bosses" -- including her 19-year-old daughter Karina Seabrook.

MTV announced the SI-set show last month. A flood of tweets and an online petition -- by residents and officials who feel the network profits from exploiting an Italian-American mafia stereotype hoping to cancel the show -- popped up like clockwork.

But the group is here to set the record straight: "I can speak for the whole entire cast when I say we're not looking to represent anyone other than ourselves as individuals," says Dennie Augustine, known as the "godmother" of the show's charismatic group.

Judge for yourself when it airs Monday at 10 p.m

celebrate it.

Whether you have Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Whether you have Martin Luther King Jr. Day off from work or not, you can celebrate his legacy -- and reflect on how we can make our little slice of the world, New York City, a better place.

This weekend and on through Monday, a slew of organizations, artists, musicians and activists are offering New Yorkers a wide variety of ways to do just that. Throughout the five boroughs, some festivities won't cost you a dime.

In Brooklyn, BAM is holding its annual (free) festival, keynoted by Me Too founder Tarana Burke and including a screening and live music; at Manhattan's Museum of Jewish Heritage, the "Soul to Soul" concert centered around African American and Yiddish music gets added context courtesy of a Dartmouth professor of Jewish Studies

Theater performances mark King's contributions as well, including The Riverside Church's "Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom," an adaptation of a memoir by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, who was the youngest person to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, on the Voting Rights March in 1965.

If you're a more hands-on person, there are volunteer and crafting opportunities as well.


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