9 Actually Fun Things to Do in New York This Weekend
New beer gardens, new wine bars, and booze-free things, too!
By Juliet Izon – Thrillist
“We know we say this every summer, but is it seriously August already? Luckily, even if we are entering the so-called dog days of the season, the city shows no sign of a summer slump (we even got our very own waterfall in Times Square this week). So, whether you’re in the mood for innovative Japanese food, an old-school game of mini golf, or immersive circus acts, we have you covered (on an important side note, so does the CDC with their latest updates on how to best stay safe from the Delta variant).
Read on for nine actually fun things to eat, see, and do this weekend in New York City.”
Satisfy your sweet tooth at the city’s buzziest new ice cream shop
As the creators of Ample Hills, one of the city’s most beloved brands of ice cream, Jackie Cuscuna and Brian Smith certainly know their frozen desserts. And while the duo had to sell the company last year, they’re back in action now with their new shop, the Social. The cheery space offers all brand-new flavors, including chocolate fudge, Hydrox cookies and cream, and decadent doughnut sundaes.
Cost: Scoops from $4.75
Try a new spot from one of the city’s best Japanese chefs
Lower East Side
Chef Chikara Sono has long been regarded as a chef’s chef. At the critically acclaimed Kyo-Ya, he introduced a whole generation of New Yorkers to the wonders of kaiseki and omakase meals. Now at his new restaurant BBF, Sono will showcase a more innovative menu, with dishes like abalone croquettes with truffle sauce and kale chips, and pork-garlic rice wrapped in sliced pork belly. And look out for Kappo Sono, an eight-seat chef’s counter located behind the restaurant that’s set to debut later this year.
Cost: Entrees from $25
Sip some suds at the city’s newest beer garden
Upstate is downstate at Creamline Beer Garden, a new collaboration between the restaurant Creamline and Livingston Manor’s Catskill Brewery. The outdoor space occupies a 90-foot expanse along 16th Street (right outside of Chelsea Market), and features its own menu of American classics and plentiful suds. Highlights include six kinds of boozy milkshakes (including the tempting Girl Scout Cookie), pretzels with warm beer cheese, and canned beers ranging from farmhouse-style ales to kettle sours.
Cost: Beers from $9; entrees from $9
Sample wines from around the world at this new bar
Sometimes, you don’t need the words “molecular gastronomy” anywhere near your beverage and just want a damn good glass of wine. So, for your next night out, we suggest the newly opened Temperance Wine Bar. This spot, from Jonathan Rexroat and Devin Rochford, along with sommelier A.J. Ojeda-Pons (The Lambs Club, Mercado Little Spain), boasts over one hundred rotating selections of international wines, plus a tempting menu of small plates from chef Chris Jaeckle.
Cost: Wines by the glass from $9
Play a round of mini golf on the waterfront
Chances are, the last time you played a full round of miniature golf was at the beach somewhere when you were eight years old. We’re happy to report that the sport has come a long way since then; just take a look at the artist-designed course at Putting Green. The North Williamsburg waterfront pop-up boasts 18 holes, each crafted by a local community partner, and themed around the ever-relevant topic of climate change. All profits from the course, in fact, will be donated to local organizations addressing this pressing issue.
Cost: $10 per ticket
See a Tony nominee perform for free
Friday, July 30 at 7 PM
Broadway may be dark for a few more weeks, but there are still ways to see your favorite performers live. This Friday, catch the splendid Adrienne Warren (Tina, Shuffle Along) in the latest edition of Bryant Park Picnic Performances. The singer will be joined by fellow performers and talented friends such as Matthew Griffin, Amber Iman, Ashley Loren, and Jhardon Milton. Tickets are free, but are first-come, first-serve. Proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test are required for entry.
Spend a day on an island admiring art
While more New Yorkers are discovering the magic of Governors Island every year, we know there are a few of you out there who still haven’t been. Let this be the push you need: it’s just a few minutes away by ferry and The Arts Center is now reopened. Currently on view are Meg Webster’s mesmerizing geometric forms, as well as Onyedika Chuke’s arresting, large-scale sculptural installation.
Cost: Free with ticket reservation
Try a unique take on orange chicken
Did you decide to go vegan but are still craving some of your favorite Chinese delivery dishes? Panda Express and Beyond Meat are here to help. Starting this week, the iconic restaurant chain is unveiling Beyond the Original Orange Chicken, a plant-based version of their most popular menu item. The item will be available while supplies last at three Manhattan locations: 1st Ave. and 69th St., 9th Ave. and 46th St., and Broadway & 111th St.
Cost: Bowls start at $10
Welcome the circus back to town
We might have to wait a bit longer for a proper big-tent circus to arrive in NYC, but until then, we’ve got Eyes on New York. This new show on Staten Island is from the creators of the tourist-magnet The Ride and includes acrobats, dancers, and circus acts performing in a brand-new, 150-seat theater space. After the show, save time to take a spin around nearby Empire Outlets, the city’s only outlet mall.
Cost: Tickets from $19
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Thrillist, a site with tons of food, drink, travel & entertainment info, introduces folks to the coolest things to do in NYC (and other places when you are traveling). I like to check them out regularly. You should, too.
If you are looking for some of the best info on food and drink, restaurants and eating in New York City, then you want to head to New York magazine’s Grub Street.
Right now you want to check out: The Return of Restaurants
“Make up for lost meals. No takeout, no pasta kits, just 66 of the best new (or newly relevant) places to eat.”
Edited by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, Photographs by Dina Litovsky
Here are 3 more of my faves:
Hang Out in New York’s Best-Smelling Vestibule
Frenchette Bakery / 220 Church St.
Last fall, the abandoned Arcade Bakery space came back to life as Frenchette Bakery, ready to fulfill the carb-craving needs of Tribeca moms, the doctors in the medical practices upstairs, and passersby lured in by the sweet, yeasty promise of croissants and baguettes. Happily, the new owners have retained a big part of what made Arcade so special. Its unique design, using drop-down table ledges and inset benches, transforms a generic hallway into a gathering place for impromptu meetings, shared pizza lunches, and the kind of coffee breaks office workers never knew they’d miss. The bakers line the display case with their own enticements, too: exceptional loaves of sourdough and rye; savory breakfast pastries like the mortadella, egg, and Comté; and rich and flaky pain au chocolat. —Adam Moussa
Follow Your Nose to Great Bronx BBQ
Hudson Smokehouse / 37 Bruckner Blvd., Mott Haven
This recently opened barbecue joint is located at the southern tip of the Bronx on a street once populated by antiques shops, and you can smell the ’cue as you walk by. The corral seating in front catches the sun during the daytime, and inside there’s a high-ceilinged room where social distancing isn’t a problem. The meats include great fatty brisket, pork ribs worth gnawing, and pork-belly burnt ends that make deliriously good bacon. Even the beer list, with many mugs originating in the Bronx, draws you in.—R.C.S.
Start With Salteñas in Sunnyside
Bolivian Llama Party / 44-14 48th Ave., Sunnyside
The Oropeza brothers have pulled off a rare pandemic feat: They closed their tiny takeout outpost in midtown, which focused on soupy salteñas (Bolivia’s take on the empanada), and rebooted in Sunnyside with a sit-down location serving creative South American fare. On any given Saturday, a young crowd may show up to eat (and ’gram) craggy fried-chicken chicharrón sandwiches with spicy Llajua-spiked mayo, stark white bowls of sopa de maní (peanut soup), vegan “chola” sandwiches crammed full of charred jackfruit instead of the usual pork, and cherimoya birthday-cake ice cream. The best time to swing by is just before dusk, when you can grab a seat on the streetside terrace and take in the Empire State Building framed against a pink sky while Andean music plays from the storefront.—R.P.S.
Also see Eater New York’s interactive map that highlights
all 66 restaurants that deserve your attention.