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Things to Do

The Weekend It List: June 21-23

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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sea it.

The Mermaid Parade is back in full swim
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Stephanie Keith

The Mermaid Parade is back in full swim on Saturday, when sparkles, fins and pasties take over Coney Island's boardwalk. 

With sun and temperatures near 80 degrees, it's promising to be a perfect day at the beach for those who turn out to Surf Avenue for the whimsical event, which kicks off at 1 p.m.

This year, Arlo and Nora Guthrie, Woody Guthrie’s children, are “King Neptune” and “Queen Mermaid” respectively, meaning they'll lead the parade and help founder Dick Zigun "open" the ocean for the summer.

Before you head out, there's a lot you should know, including where to stand, what to bring, and how to get the most out of the parade, so we spoke with Zigun for some expert tips.

Most importantly, go expecting to have a fin-tastic time.

eat it.

Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

You've probably had Laotian food and don't even know it. 

Dishes from the small Southeast Asian nation are often sold in restaurants specializing in food from its "country cousin," Thailand. Because the Thai tongue is more formal, according to chef Soulayphet Schwader of Khe-Yo in TriBeCa, “Thai culture is taking credit for a lot of dishes that are considered truly Laotian.”

So what is it? Deth Khaiaphone, a Laos-born pastry chef consultant, describes Laotian cuisine as "vibrant, complex, packed with herbs, with spice and bitterness, and made distinctive because the primary base seasoning in Lao food is padaek,” a fermented fish sauce marinated in salt and rice husks. And unlike the omnipresent jasmine rice in Thai restaurants, Laotian food usually features sticky rice.

If you haven't had a true Laotian cuisine experience, try tum mak hoong — papaya salad. Often spicy, the Laos version is made with julienned papaya marinated in fish sauce and mixed with cilantro, peanuts and carrots. Or try Laap, or larb, a popular meat salad typically made with ground chicken, beef or pork, fish sauce and herbs, served with sticky rice.

watch it.

There's something to be said about an indie
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kino Lorber

There's something to be said about an indie flick that revels in its independent spirit. At BAMcinemaFest, the offerings aren't mainstream Oscar bait made for an eight-figure budget that masquerade as something they are not.

The movies you'll find here may be fronted by high-profile, albeit rising, talent, but they were still brought to life outside of the major film studio wheel. The festival has locally filmed offerings -- like "So Pretty," about a group of trans and queer artists — and noteworthy premieres — like Nick Kroll's "Olympic Dreams" and Jeff Goldblum's "The Mountain" (pictured). 

BAMcinemaFest takes over Brooklyn Academy of Music with screenings and director chats scheduled through Sunday. 

tag it.

New York graffiti artists' journeys from the streets
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

New York graffiti artists' journeys from the streets to the studio are being celebrated at a new exhibit opening Friday in Williamsburg.

"Beyond the Streets: Vandalism As Contemporary Art" features artists such as BLADE, Lady Pink, TATS CRU, Lee Quinones, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Shepard Fairey and Dabsmyla (their art is pictured) in the most visual way possible — with their work spread across more than 100,000 square feet, including two floors.

Paintings, drawings, sculpture, photos and installations from more than 150 artists take over the space, giving the public a close-up view of their talents.

Graffiti has come a long way from "an art form created by young people for young people and now you see it in museums everywhere," artist Steven Ogburn, aka BLADE, said at Wednesday's preview.

See for yourself — the exhibit opens at 25 Kent on Friday.

explore it.

With skies clearing after a dreary few days
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt

With skies clearing after a dreary few days of rain, this weekend is the perfect time to explore what New York City's neighborhoods have to offer. And if you haven't been to Downtown Brooklyn lately, you'll find an eclectic neighborhood that's experienced great residential and business growth in recent years.

Head over to the Brooklyn War Memorial at Cadman Plaza Park, where you can catch some rays on the lawn in the shadow of a massive memorial dedicated to the 300,000 Brooklynites who served in World War II. You can get some shopping in at the stores at City Point, including the chic HiO and Danish favorite Flying Tiger, before walking over to the New York Transit Museum to view the subway cars of old New York.

There's tons of dining options after you've worked up an appetite. You can get a scrumptious bite and a craft beer at Circa Brewing Co., or stop at The Commons Cafe if you're more in the mood for a coffee and pastry. If you can't decide what to eat, the DeKalb Market Hall at City Point is a fruitful stop. There you can find everything from tacos to ribs to pierogies and beyond. And of course, don't miss a chance to stop at Junior's for a slice of world-famous cheesecake.


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