This week, discover a secret bar, appreciate a relevant new piece of public art, head to the theater for a look at a Depression-era expat, pay tribute to black musicians, or escape to Atlanta for the long weekend.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
February 23 - 26 | Closing soon: Art exhibit
“By the People: Designing a Better America”
This is your last week to catch the exhibit By the People: Designing a Better America at Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum. An exhibit with a social justice mission, By the People highlights 60 collaborative designs that aim to create more inclusive and sustainable communities. Based on the research and travels of Cynthia E. Smith, curator of Socially Responsible Design, the collection challenges the inequality inherent in our country and delivers a hearty dose of optimism for ways that we might be able to achieve a more just society through design.
Cooper Hewitt, 2 E. 91st St., New York | $16 | website
February 23 - 26 | Film
New York WILD Film Festival
Bringing the great outdoors to the urban world, the annual New York WILD Film Festival will be showcasing films about a range of topics including the environment, outdoor adventure, and wildlife. Featuring 22 mostly documentary films (there is also an animated short), the festival seeks to capture and encourage the spirit of exploration and adventure that is more crucial than ever to preserving our planet. Check out “Best in Festival” winner Before the Flood, which follows Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels across five continents to learn about climate change.
The Explorers Club, 46 E. 70 St., New York | From $20 | website
February 24 - 26 | Escape the city
Third Annual Ice Fishing Derby
To get way out of the city mindset, head to the Catskills this weekend for the Third Annual Ice Fishing Derby at The Arnold House. The open oyster and vodka bar add to the party atmosphere as everyone hangs out and enjoys the crisp winter weather. Take advantage of the package available at The Arnold House and nearby North Branch Inn, which includes a two-night stay, breakfast, the derby’s Friday night welcome dinner, a private ice fishing lesson, an ice fishing kit, and, of course, Saturday’s Ice Fishing Derby.
839 Shandelee Rd., Livingston Manor | From $749 | website
February 25 | History
African Americans in 19th-Century Brooklyn
Celebrate Black History Month with a historical trolley tour through Green-Wood Cemetery, where many prominent African American New Yorkers and abolitionists are laid to rest, and nearby Weeksville Heritage Center in Crown Heights. Participants will learn about Weeksville, one of the largest pre–Civil War free black communities in the country, as well as the rich history of the cemetery. James Weeks purchased the plot of land that would become Weeksville in 1838, the same year that Green-Wood Cemetery was established, and this tour honors and explores their joint heritage. Tickets are going fast, so snag yours quickly. If the event sells out, though, you can still take a self-guided walking tour around the cemetery for free.
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM | Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th St., Brooklyn | $40 | website
February 27 - March 12 | Theater
Who doesn’t love a good two-for-one promotion? Take advantage of Off-Broadway Week, which starts this week, to get out and see some amazing theater at half the regular price. With dozens of options, it’s the ultimate opportunity to expand your playgoing experience. Check out old favorites like Blue Man Group, Stomp, and Avenue Q, or catch a new classic like the humorous spoof Spamilton or Drunk Shakespeare. Or for a more serious experience, see Evening at the Talk House, starring Matthew Broderick and Wallace Shawn. There’s no limit to the number of shows you can see!
Times & locations vary | From $17 | 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.