How to find interesting things to do in NYC?

So you just moved moved, eh? There are so many things going on in this city, many art shows, clubs, restaurants, bars, weird events, etc. Alas, it’s hard to actually pick the best one or venture out to these events, especially if you don’t know anyone. But you-can-do-it! I even went out by myself one night and had a great time (read the article here).

You can start by checking out events on couchsurfing.org in the NYC group. But I warn you: events posted there are mostly get togethers, the weekly CS meeting, or bar hang outs. Sometimes someone will post information about a particular event or an interesting plan but I wouldn’t count on it as my primary source for NYC events. Remember that the majority of people who post in the new york group are tourists or clueless newcomers like us! This is not to say that you shouldn’t visit the NYC Couchsurfing group! Au contraire, I think it is a great place to meet people who will tag along and go with you to events that you propose.

If you are looking for cool, different, and interesting things to do in this city I would recommend doing the following, in no particular order. Although, I may have unconsciously ordered it from best to worst.

1. Signing up to the weekly newsletter called nonsense new york (find it here: http://www.nonsensenyc.com/). Every thursday or wednesday, they will send you an email with list of cool things to do during the weekend. I know I’ve used the word “cool” a lot but I don’t know how else to describe these things. They’re COOOL events oookaaaay?

2. Checking out Brokelyn, a guide for broke people to go out in brooklyn http://brokelyn.com/

3. Perusing oneartworld to find art gallery shoes/openings/events where you will be likely to get drunk for free whilst being surrounded by pretty people and pretty things http://oneartworld.com/ 

4. Reading or following Gothamist – they’ll often do “Food and Drinks” neighbourhood tours such as this; advertise festivals going on in the city; and present news that will keep you ~in the know~ of what’s going on. You kind of have to dig through it though, not gonna lie.

6. Checking out the Evgrieve blog http://evgrieve.com/, which is a repository for events, news, and other stuff going on in the East Village/Lower East Side area. You also have to dig through it.

Update! New sources – this time in no particular order!

7. Check out 3rdWard.com or  and/or their respective Facebook and twitters. 3rdWard is a gallery where they host this drink and draw event on wednesdays (which should be checked out by you) but they will often post about events going on in the city.

8. brooklynvegan.com (foooo shooooo) is also a really awesome website where they post about a bunch of events, most of them cool and FREE. And no, they dont just advertise events for vegans! 

9. Brooklyn exposed is similar to brooklynvegan but the events don’t overlap so you should check it out.

10. Believe ir or not Brooklyn.com is an awesome source for events! haha i know right? yeah check it out. the usefulness of the information makes up for their dreadful webpage design. Maybe they’re trying to go vintage or something. Through this website, I found out Aretha Franking played for fucking free on August 4th 2011.

8. GET A TWITTER if you don’t already have one and follow a bunch of people, pages, bands, magazinez based in New York City because they often post shit to do like gallery openings, release parties (which often have free food and free booze) and places they are DJing and stiff. Basically follow me on twitter and follow all the NYC pple I follow? Ok i’m not gonna teach you how to use twitter lol but let me tell you its hella useful.

The more things i find that I can share I will let you know. Meanwhile, feel free to check out the map I made with all my favourite spots in NYC. I shall update it the more I get to know the city.

The good: I saw Das Racist for free in Brooklyn!

“I’m at the Pizza Hut
I’m at the Taco Bell
I’m at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”

– Das Racist

Anyone a fan of Das Racist? They may come off as a joke rap group at first, but they have a unique hip-hop/electro/rap/hardcore/punk sound that really sets them appart from any other rap group. In addition, they are lyrical geniuses, often inserting a clever racial commentary and obscure references in their songs.

They were playing a FREE show last night at the Red Hook Park, in front of the Recreational Centre, in Brooklyn. The event was part of the SummerStage concert series, which I highly recommend checking out. Find more info about lineups, dates, and locations here. Actually, SummerStage is ran by the organization I am interning at, which is the City Parks Foundation. Represent!!

location

The show was AMAZING, to say the least. The crowd was great. This for me means that most of the people there were over 21, that it was only about 30% white hipster, and that people actually danced. Not bad for a free, all ages show in Brooklyn!

I also discovered some great new muzik: rock/punk group Trouble Andrew and rapper Action Bronson. Action Bronson at one point threw little bags of weed to the crowd and smoked a blunt on stage. I may or may not be in possession of one of those bags. Can you fricking believe it? I still can’t This is America people, and it’s great. Actually NO, this is Brooklyn people, and it’s fucking dope. Literally.

Also I think I fell in love with Dapwell (from Das Racist)

Brooklyn unexpected industrial pockets

On my way to she show from the Caroll St G,F stop

Trouble Andrew

Dapwell (Das Racist)

The day I almost didn’t graduate

Hey folks! the reason why I haven’t written in a while is because I was busy graduating and celebrating the day of my birth on June 14th and June 17th, respectively.

I went to Toronto for the weekend and had SO much fun. I didn’t do any partying or crazy stuff, and mostly just hung out with my family. By choice! I am not a loser, KAAAY? They had come from all over the world, partly to celebrate my accomplishment, but mostly to get together since we don’t get to see each other that often. I actually really love my family and I miss them a lot! I am loving New York but I miss them and I wish I was in Toronto with them. Look at them, they are so cute!

On my graduation day, I was told: “Yo, are you sure you can graduate?”. My name wasn’t in the program and I appeared in the system as not eligible to graduate. I freaked out when I learned this. After a lot of crying (on my part) and a lot of calling and walkie-talking by the people working at convocation hall, the problem was resolved and I was able to join the rest of my classmates and graduate! It was a close one. It really wasn’t the most pleasant experience as I was stressed out all throughout convocation ceremony. I was only able to relax once I got my hands on that stupid (JK, awesome) diploma.

Rude New York: Pediecab vs. the world

Man with a heavy backback and a face that means business hails a cab at an intersection in midtown. Seconds later, a pediecab notices the raised hand and asks:
– You need a ride?
– You go to harlem? — says the man
– Why would I go to harlem?
– I dunno… YOU RIDE A BIKE FOR A LIVIN’!

Ha! NYC full of pedicabs and people with attitude. God bless new yorkers.

The bad: How I was stood up by a brooklyner

So this post was supposed to be a happy post about how I went to this awesome event that takes place every wednesday in Brooklyn at this art gallery/space/studio called 3rd ward. Instead, this is an angry post about how this guy who I thought was my friend totally bailed on me! Cancelling is one thing but this guy didn’t even bother to tell me he wasn’t coming or to even apologize afterward for not showing up. Human beings simply should not do that to other human beings.

The event in question is called “Drink & Draw” and it consists of a life-drawing session and beer in all-you-care-to-drink quantities. Info can be found here. It’s from 8:00-10:30pm and I recommend you get there very early because it gets packed. I waited for like 30 minutes for the guy because I am always late so I figured, why not? But after 2 unanswered calls, I made my way to 3rd ward alone. Unfortunately, the place was full so I couldn’t even get in. Oh well.

The good: Bryant Park

In the map I posted yesterday, I mention that Bryant Park is my favourite park. And why is that? Not only is it super close to the New York Public Library, they have a ton of events and cool stuff going on during the summer including:

– Free outdoor movies
– Free classes (yoga, fencing, languages, juggling, etc.)
– Concerts
– Free wi-fi
– Board Games (definitely less than $5, I think $1)

Do check out their events calendar here

Following the advice of Petula Clark,

“When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go down mid town!
When you got worries, All the noise and the hurry seems to help, I know down mid town. Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city,
Linger on the sidewalks where the neon signs are pretty. How can you lose? […]”

The good: My internship at the CPF

So I am interning at the City Parks Foundation (CPF), which is a non-profit organization that runs cool programs in NYC city parks, including Central Park’s Summer stage concert series! I am working in an environmental education program called “learning gardens”. So far, I’m truly enjoying it, learning a lot, and I hope this will help me to make a career out of doing this type of work.

In a nutshell, the program provides a wonderful opportunity for kids and teachers in “high risk” neighbourhoods to come to a a garden and learn about ecology, biology, horticulture, and the environment in general. We have them plant veggies and flowers, write about their experiences, and participate in different arts and crafts activities. I really like hanging out with the kids, talking with the teachers, and learning a little bit more about gardening.

I’ve worked with kids before under various circumstances and with different types of kids. I’ve been a teaching assistant at a private school and a babysitter for a couple of rich or well-off kids; I volunteered in an education a community centre in a culturally and economically diverse area; I also volunteered at a farm in Argentina with at risk children.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that kids from racial, economical, culturally privileged and heterosexual households are harder to get excited about or engage in activities that have to do with self-expression such as story-telling, art, music, dance, etc. They often seem bored, jaded… with a “i don’t need that crap” attitude when you ask them to talk about their thoughts, their experiences. This is presumably, because they’re right, they kind of don’t need to! This is probably a huge generalization, but in most cases, they have had plenty of experiences where they’ve been able to express how they see the world, their thoughts, goals, aspirations, etc. I mean, it’s hard for me to think of instances where these kids could have been subject to any type of oppression or discrimination. Amirite?

In contrast, kids who’ve had tougher experiences such as belonging to racialized sections of the population, living in these so-called high risk neighbourhoods, coming from single-parent or abusive households (well, you get what i mean) are very much appreciative of these opportunities for self-expression. These kids I’m working with were very open to talk about their feelings, what they had learned and gained from the program, and what they wish for their community. It was such a non-issue – everyone was ready to talk about it. I found that very interesting. I mean, they’re still a handful but they’re nice kids, tough kids.

Well, here are some pictures 🙂

Bushwick

Gates stn

Nasturtium

Unripe strawberries