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The Weekend It List: May 31-June 2

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.

And, to have the Weekend It List delivered to your inbox, sign up at amny.com/weekend.

sing it.

Music festival season is officially underway. First up:
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Music festival season is officially underway. First up: Governors Ball, which brings Lil Wayne, Kacey Musgraves, The Strokes and more than 50 other artists to Randall’s Island Park this weekend.

The spotlight at this year’s fest may not be solely on the artist lineup, though. For the first time since its expansion to three days in 2013, the festival is getting a major upgrade

We’re talking an extra performance stage (a platform for rising artists), an added brunch menu (offered from noon to 3 p.m. daily), a series of drag performances (for the first-ever Gov Ball Pride Parade) and a pop-up bodega (arguably the main attraction). 

All of the changes are being made to boost that “only in New York” experience the fest prides itself on – “Gov Ball is NYC. NYC is Gov Ball,” co-founder Tom Russel says. 

A trove of trendy eats, like cookie dough from DŌ and treats from Doughnuttery, are still on the vendor lineup – because sometimes, classic is better. And that giant Gov Ball sign remains intact for your annual selfie needs. 

Tickets for all three days of the fest are still available, but going fast. Organizers say there are fewer than 50 passes left for select performance dates. Whether it’s your first or ninth time attending, our Gov Ball checklist will get you through. 

binge it.

Returning to the trial of the Central Park
Photo Credit: Netflix/Atsushi Nishijima

Returning to the trial of the Central Park Five 30 years later, the cast of Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” says the case feels more timely than ever.

“This could have happened today,” says actress Niecy Nash, who plays the mother of Korey Wise, one of five boys convicted and later exonerated in the rape of a Central Park jogger in 1989. “If you walk away from this with fury or rage, ask yourself how you’re going to be a part of the solution."

The four-part series, which hits Netflix in full on Friday, tells the stories of Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray and Korey Wise, who spent years behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit. 

But the goal of the series isn’t just to recreate the injustice they experienced. It’s to simultaneously shed them of the Central Park Five moniker and spark a wider conversation about black representation today.

"When They See Us" isn't an easy binge, but it's a necessary one. “We have to look at it. It’s uncomfortable to look at it. Nobody wants to do it, but we have to,” says actor Marquis Rodriguez, who plays Raymond Santana Jr.

eat it.

Attention culinary tourists: Your next dining destination, should

Attention culinary tourists: Your next dining mission, should you choose to accept, is Mott Haven.

The south Bronx neighborhood boasts an array of restaurants, both in terms of cuisine and longevity, making for a rewarding food tour. So hop on the 6 train, and you’ll be set, brunch to nightcap.

Just last summer, the hip-hop-centric, comfort-food-minded Beatstro opened, with grilled andouille sausage with papaya and shrimp and grits among the offerings. (Brunch features bottomless sangria or mimosas.) Or start your day with a custom smoothie or “joffee” (citrus juice and coffee) from female-fronted Freshly Made, also opened in 2018.

Our tour also includes the decade-old La Morada, a family-run community staple that’s as much a gathering place as a must-visit for its Oaxacan fare (including six types of mole). Also cozy in the neighborhood is Ceetay, an Asian fusion restaurant with innovative dishes including a spin on bruschetta with spicy tuna and guacamole on crispy rice.

After all that imbibing, walk it off while strolling past the beautiful row houses on the historic Bertine Block or tracking down the secret passageway at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, among the Bronx’s oldest churches.

see it.

SummerStage has come a long way since its
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

SummerStage has come a long way since its Central Park bandshell premiere in 1986. Some 33 years later, it’s in its flashiest form yet. 

The temporary venue known for its free concert series got a $5.5 million makeover for the 2019 season, and it makes its debut this weekend with an opening night concert fronted by city-based pop singer Emily King. A chunk of those funds (mostly donations) has gone to improving technical elements for touring bands — including a new stage, sound system, lighting and LED TVs. 

Fans too will take note of a few key changes that’ll help in scoring better views of the stage, no matter where they sit. Bleacher seating behind the general admission standing room area has been elevated three feet, which should provide just enough height to see over the heads of any dancing attendees. 

The biggest change to the venue, however, may not be a physical one at all. This season, the City Parks Foundation made an effort to combat gender inequality in the music industry by balancing its performer lineup with a near-equal ratio of male to female artists. 

preview it.

Ditch the comfort of your couch and head
Photo Credit: Split Screens Festival

Ditch the comfort of your couch and head to the Greenwich Village IFC Center, where you can binge new episodes of your favorite TV shows before they’re even released. 

The cinema is hosting the third annual Split Screens Festival this weekend, with a lineup of more than a dozen topical shows that’ll get fans talking. The festival curators picked series that have recently sparked debate in online forums and chat groups, like the dystopian “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” drama. 

"Television can really impact our lives in interesting ways and get us through tough times," says critic Melanie McFarland, one of the festival’s creative directors. She adds that fans "really connect and find their people" through increasingly popular online extensions of these shows.

Among the hottest on the lineup are a live screening of the season five "Fear of the Walking Dead" premiere, followed by an actors' chat, and an event celebrating trans writer Janet Mock, of the groundbreaking, '80s-set “Pose.” 

book it.

It's going to be a lit weekend. BookCon
Photo Credit: ReedPOP

It's going to be a lit weekend.

BookCon is back and it's bringing more than 150 authors and celebrities, including Neil Patrick Harris, "The Fault in Our Stars" author John Green, “Fifty Shades of Grey” writer E.L. James, professional wrestler/actor John Cena, actresses Alyssa Milano and Evangeline Lilly, fashion leader Eva Chen and indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara.

The two-day convention held at the Javits Center is designed for bookworms, who will be huddled in lines with their well-worn copies waiting for autographs.

“You go in excited. You know you are going to get such positivity from people," says Kami Garcia, author of "Beautiful Creatures" and the forthcoming "Teen Titans: Raven."

Those at her Saturday panel can expect exclusive reveals about her first contribution to the “Teen Titans” series, which comes out in July. Also on tap for the fest: "Grey" James discussing her new romance, “The Mister,” and Sara Quin and Tegan Quin, the twins behind Tegan and Sara, chatting up their "High School" memoir.

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