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Things to Do

The Weekend It List: Feb. 22-24

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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toast it.

Just because the Oscars is going forth without
Photo Credit: Arlo SoHo

Just because the Oscars is going forth without an emcee this year doesn't mean your celebration needs to. Bars and restaurants are doing their own kind of hosting on Sunday -- with drinks. And since the Academy reversed a prior decision to award four categories during commercial breaks (it's been a topsy-turvy year), the ceremony is probably going to be a long one as usual; bartender, please pour us another.

If you're particular to places that craft their own themed cocktails, you might find yourself at Astoria's DiWine sipping an It's Oscar Thyme. Maybe a red carpet is required; the bash at midtown's Oscar Wilde offers up that fantasy. Scribble out a nomination ballot at Arlo SoHo while chomping on free hors d'oeuvres.

So many places support your support of "Black Panther," "Roma" and "A Star is Born," there is simply no need to "pull an Academy" and do it alone.

eat it.

Greenpoint isn't exactly an easy neighborhood to get
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Greenpoint isn't exactly an easy neighborhood to get to. But insulation -- in this case, accessibility via one of the least popular subway lines, the dreaded G -- can create a perfectly unique environment. That's the restaurant scene in Greenpoint, one that balances the old and the new and, at this moment, is one of the most exciting in all of New York City. Not as populous as bordering Williamsburg, it boasts waterfront views in addition to proximity to Manhattan.

"Williamsburg is too much -- it's too expensive, it's overhyped, it's oversaturated," says Justin Bazdarich, chef and owner of relative newbie Oxomoco, which recently won a Michelin star. "Anything that was cool and unique was so high rent."

In Greenpoint, you'll find authentic mainstays like Polish standard Karczma existing harmoniously alongside trendier restaurants. Stroll along Manhattan and Greenpoint avenues, and you'll pass longtimer Peter Pan Donuts (definitely grab a whipped cream-filled) as well as a slew of spots that are in their first year or so of operation -- Vietnamese-American Di An Di and steakhouse Bernie's among them.

"There are so many more options now, and the cool thing is some of the stalwarts are still hanging on," Garrett Smith, managing partner at the 3-year-old meat-centric Cherry Hill on Manhattan Avenue, says. "They're not going anywhere."

see it.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

"Merrily We Roll Along" has gone through several revivals since its 1981 run, but none has been quite as scaled-back as this. The Roundabout Theatre Company delivers a version of the musical by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, with a cast of just six actors (joined by an eight-piece orchestra) and a reduced running time (without an intermission).

But a stripped-down Off-Broadway run doesn't seem to have skimped on the quality. Giving the new production a near-perfect rating, our critic Matt Windman says you'll quickly fall under "Merrily's" spell as you follow the story of a group of friends strung together by composer-turned-Hollywood producer Franklin Shepard (Ben Steinfield). The story spans 30 years of friendship in reverse.

"On the whole, the production is theatrically effective, smart and emotionally wrenching," he writes.

browse it.

St. Mark's Comics has been helping New Yorkers
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

St. Mark's Comics has been helping New Yorkers find their next read for more than three decades. On Sunday, it'll shut its doors.

Mitch Cutler, who runs the comic shop, says it's been hard to keep the store afloat in today's economy, and he's decided to close up shop on a good note.

For weeks, his team has been dragging up boxes of books (old and new) from the St. Mark's basement for a "farewell tour" of sorts. "Still pulling things out of the endless basement," a Facebook post reads. "Comics, hardcovers, strip reprints, out-of-print things, who the heck knows what else."

Ahead of the shop's final day in the Village, the shelves have been restocked with 103 basement finds worth browsing. A gem might be hidden behind a sale sticker, after all.

brew it.

If you're anything like us, you're still waiting to receive
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

If you're anything like us, you're still waiting to receive that Hogwarts acceptance letter. However, as of this week, your owl has arrived with good news: There's a new place to go to feel a part of the Wizarding World.

Yes, finally, Steamy Hallows, a "Harry Potter"-inspired, gothic cafe in the East Village, is officially open. 

Decked out with oddities like shrunken heads, the coffee shop offers a creepy escape (there are actual witch potions and an Irish cauldron from the 1700s that steams in the window throughout the day). Order that "Love Potion Number 9 3/4 Latte," unless you're more in the mood for "basic witch" and butter beer lattes with those homemade cookies.

Steamy Hallows, owner Zach Neil says, is "what you'd expect a wand store to look like if it was a real place." You'll find a "pretty over-the-top" atmosphere, "from the way the coffee is crafted to the ingredients used to Instagram-worthy shots."

Visitors are of course welcome (encouraged, really) to dress up and live out their Potter dreams.


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