Calendar fillers in NYC
February 16, 2010 2:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm tired of bars. What things in New York can I do after work?

A few days ago someone asked a great question about where to meet people in New York, which I found helpful - but I want to pick your minds some more. I'm in my early 30s, a single girl and I'm growing tired of meeting people for drinks after work. Surely there must be oodles of things for me to do alone or with a friend. Besides the gallery openings, movies, concerts and readings that are found in Time Out, what amazing things does New York have to offer me? What hidden groups or performances are going on that I'm unaware of?
posted by Unred to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried taking a class, maybe at the New School, or something like that? Or maybe a Meetup group?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:22 PM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: I feel shady for constantly recommending Brooklyn Brainery on Metafilter, but people keep asking what to do here! The disclaimer is my roommate and my friend are the people who set it up, but it's also just super fun and a good way to meet new people.

I really love the Umami dinners in Bushwick. The group in charge is a CSA-lovin' gang of vegans and carnivores who hold huge (150+ people) dinners in their enormous Bushwick loft. Tickets are $15 for three courses plus a cocktail for each course. If you don't want to shell out $15, you can volunteer in advance to help with food prep. My friends and I did this once and it was actually tons of fun: we shelled shrimp, made pasta, pickled vegetables, peeled carrots, and cut up fruit while listening to music and talking to whomever was also assigned to our stations. Get on their mailing list to find out about their next dinner, and swipe tickets fast!

This isn't exactly on the DL or anything, as I'm sure you've seen those compelling subway ads, but BAM is showing both The Tempest and As You Like it, directed by Sam Mendes. My group of friends really enjoyed AYLI, and we just tentatively set a date for The Tempest.
posted by zoomorphic at 2:23 PM on February 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also! Metafilter meetups are pretty fun, and we meet all over the city. If you work in the arts, non-profits, or in education then you qualify for a TKTS membership that gets you cheap tickets to plays. When it gets warmer, there's a slew of outdoor movie screenings. Most of the ones listed there will be going on this spring and summer as well.

I'd also recommend volunteering at an animal shelter if you like dogs and cats but can't own one in the city. When I lived near a shelter, I walked dogs after work. Cat people will be thrilled to know that there is such a thing as "kitten socialization" which is a technical term for piling adorable tiny cats onto your body while you squeal with joy.
posted by zoomorphic at 2:36 PM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: I think part of this depends on your interests. So I am going to throw out a generic reply of things to do, which includes a couple things that I’ve really enjoyed. If you have more specific interests, I’m sure a lot of us could give a more helpful response:

• A lot of museums are free on Friday nights (or now, you donate the amount that you want), and these include New York Historic Society, Whitney, and MOMA Please note that MOMA is a madhouse on free nights so it may be worthwhile to pay to go during nonpeak times (and they are now open later on Thursday nights). The Biennial exhibit coming to the Whitney is a hit or miss, but they usually have talks and tours that make it more entertaining. Most of these places are open late on Friday nights.
• Check out the 92 Y lectures; the lectures have included leading scientists (eg, EO Wilson, Brian Green, Jane Goodall), authors, and recently, a supreme court justice (eg, Ginsberg). You may want to get on an email list so that they can update and tell you about any new speakers that will be there.
• If you are new here, I would highly recommend Shakespeare in the Park in the summer – you can go for free with a friend. There is a virtual online drawing daily, just log on each day and you get to go to at least one play.
• For some reason it is broken, but the NYC NPR station covers a lot of local events (reviews musicals, plays, theater, book readings) – during the day they will interview an author and at the end tell you that the author will be reading today at location X, or that the play they just reviewed will be running for the next 5 weeks. I have no doubt that this would be listed on the webpage and you may be able to get it on RSS feed, but for some reason I can’t get the webpage to open right now -aaarrrggghhh, so….google.
okay, you may not be interested in this one, but sometimes I can't help myself… You may want to sign up for the Science in the City email newsletter. Each week, they will seen you events in the city. These will include plays, lectures, outdoor activities (see bats in Central Park), but these are all around a science theme. Some of the most interesting things that I have seen were listed on that newsletter.
posted by Wolfster at 3:06 PM on February 16, 2010

During the week is a little harder than on weekends, but if you're really looking for not-completely-but-reasonably-"underground" events, check out the Nonsense NYC mailing list. Bushwick BK also has a pretty good grip on littler-known goings-on. I should point out that both of those sources are Brooklyn-centric, esp. BushwickBK, but Nonsense usually has plenty of non-Brooklyn activities going on in its listings.
posted by Damn That Television at 3:08 PM on February 16, 2010

Response by poster: Hey all thanks for the help. To be more specific I'm excited to learn about the Umami dinners, the Science in the City events, the 92 Y lectures and the Brooklyn Brainery - I'm signing up for them all right now. And also, I'm not opposed to going to bars as long as there's something cool going on while I'm there.
posted by Unred at 3:24 PM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: Again, it depends on your interests, but if food and cooking are included, there is the Whole Foods Market Bowery Culinary Center with cooking and food related events. Similarly, The Brooklyn Kitchen has a range of food and cooking classes/events.
posted by AnnaRat at 3:25 PM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: Based on your feedback (and I’m still kind of guessing), you may also like the following:
The Secret Science Club is in a bar. A scientist comes and talks about a topic it usually an entertaining and accessible way. A couple caveats, though: you need to arrive probably 45 minutes in advance just to get in and in addition, these talks are for a lay people (so if you have had a lot of education in the related topic I wouldn’t recommend it, but YMMV)
• I would give a high recommendation to lectures at the American Natural History Museum. Currently they have a lectures related to The Silk Road (there was one with wine tastings about wine of the Silk Road region [think Marco Polo], but it is currently sold out). Even more than that, though, I would go to this talk: Asimov Memorial Debate. Neil degrasse de Grasse is the moderator (very entertaining and humorous physicist), and he will moderate a discussion with scientists. I have attended other Asimov Memorial Debates and they were interesting, accessible, and thought provoking.
• I One more thing that I just thought about - check out art galleries on Thursday nights in Chelsea - they are usually open longer hours. Check out the NYT if you are interestd in seeing what type of galleries are open and locations, but if you meander around there you can see some interesting stuff.

Good luck.
posted by Wolfster at 4:10 PM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: "the official master calendar of non-profits, galas, benefits."

It's geared toward younger people so a lot of the events are on the cheaper side.
posted by thebazilist at 6:38 PM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: If you enjoy the outdoors you could go Geocaching. (previously, specifically for NYC)
posted by Cody's Keeper at 7:55 PM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: You should definitely check out The Moth. It's an awesome organization that hosts different story telling nights. They have 'mainstage' performances with professional story tellers, as well as story slams where everyone has a chance to come up to the mic and tell a story. Each evening has a theme for all of the stories - the one around Valentines day was "Love Hurts". The slams happen just about every Monday, and are always an amazing experience.
posted by bloody_bonnie at 8:18 PM on February 16, 2010

The Moth also does amazing podcasts (which I learned about through somebody's on podcast recommendations).
posted by gryftir at 10:04 PM on February 16, 2010

If you belong to AAA, you can get 15% off events at the 92nd st Y's main location. They wouldn't discount at the satellite on the upper west side; I don't know if this is still the case at the Tribeca venue.
posted by brujita at 10:30 PM on February 16, 2010

Best answer: For some more eclectic things, definitely try signing up for these mailing lists - they don't spam:

Pete's Candy Store: The OCD lecture series gets in some unique people to talk.

Nonsense NYC: Has a lot of interesting stuff in Brooklyn that I have no idea how I'd find out about otherwise.
posted by sub-culture at 9:09 AM on February 17, 2010

Best answer: The Experimental Cuisine Collective has monthly workshops about the scientific principles involved in cooking and dining.
posted by unknowncommand at 11:20 AM on February 18, 2010

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