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New York July 14–20: Party Like It’s 1999 & Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival

The best of what to do in New York this week

It’s busier than ever in New York City this summer. First, you can watch the writers of Late Night with Seth Meyers do an improv comedy show, or throw on your best overalls and head to a ’90s dance party. Then, see how much spice you can handle at the Jamaican Jerk Festival, or settle in for an evening with legendary Patti Smith. If you really must escape, hop a plane to gorgeous Halifax.

AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.  

July 14 | Comedy
Seth Meyers Writers
Watch as 12 of the writers of Late Night with Seth Meyers stretch their comedic muscles by performing an improv set for a live audience. Accustomed to writing their jokes ahead of time, this crew will show just how sharp their funny bones are under pressure by making things up on the fly. They’ll take audience suggestions to form a series of skits that will have you rolling with laughter—if they’ve done their job, that is. Held at the famous Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Chelsea, this is the best $5 ticket in town.
9:30 p.m. | UCBT Chelsea, 307 W. 26th St., New York | $5 | website

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July 16 | Dance
Party Like It’s 1999
This weekend, break out your overalls and head to the Bell House for a free night of dancing to all your favorite 1990s tunes. DJ Steve will be spinning the most memorable hits from what seems to be our favorite decade of the moment. It’s a fun excuse to hit the dance floor for a silly good time without all the trappings of a night at the club. In fact, far from getting you turned away at the door, footwear like Doc Martens is encouraged. Flannel shirt, however, is optional. And don’t worry if you miss it this week: The party will be back twice a month for the rest of the summer.
10 p.m. | The Bell House, 149 7th St., Brooklyn | Free | website

July 16–17 | Escape the city
Halifax, Canada
Take advantage of those summer Fridays to hop on a short flight to Halifax in Nova Scotia. (It’s just over two hours, direct.) The scenery, fresh air, and bracing water will be all you need to return to work replenished. Explore downtown Halifax, with stops at The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Citadel, a historical (and still fully functional)  brewery, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, and the boutique shops by the harbor. The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, established in 1750, houses some 250 vendors selling all manner of food—including, of course, plenty of seafood. To enjoy the great outdoors, take a stroll through Point Pleasant Park or the Halifax Public Gardens. After a busy day, The Westin Nova Scotia is a lovely place to rest your head.

Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival
July 17 | Eat up
Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival
For the sixth year running, spice-seeking foodies will gather in Queens for the annual Jamaican Jerk Festival, a celebration of all things jerk. An anticipated crowd of 20,000 people will gather to listen and dance to reggae and soca music, explore the arts and crafts village, taste a range of Caribbean and jerk-inspired creations, and see who wins the coveted Dutch Pot Trophy in the Jerk Cook-Off. The kids’ zone will feature attractions like a bounce house, rides, kid-friendly eats, face painting, and games.
12–8 p.m. | Roy Wilkins Park, Merrick and Baisley Blvds., Queens | $30 | website

July 20 | Free Concert
A Night of Words and Music with Patti Smith and Friends
The annual Lincoln Center Out of Doors free concert series kicks off this week with a sensational offering. Musician and author Patti Smith will read her poetry and prose and perform her music unplugged in front of what is sure to be a huge crowd. In addition to Smith, the all-female, Latin Grammy–nominated group Mariachi Flor de Toloache will perform their takes on everything from traditional Mexican songs to pop hits, sung in both English and Spanish.
7:30 p.m. | Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center off 62nd St., New York | Free | website 

A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.

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