New York Thought: Smart Things to Do in NYC This Week

Design in space, time machines, and philosopher Peter Singer highlight our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this week.

Monday, September 26


Hear from NASA astronaut Dan Barry, veteran of multiple space flights and walks, as he talks about his extraterrestrial experiences. He’ll delve into the design choices involved in space travel, how craft and color can impact crew emotions, and where it all may lead the human race. Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum.


Come aboard a historic ship to hear from a Coast Guard commander as he discusses the triple threat posed to the region by aging infrastructure, a new era of super storms, and the rising tides brought on by climate change. Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Tuesday, September 27


One doesn’t like to think of our understanding of chronology culminating with Hot Tub Time Machine. Hear from James Gleick (author of The Information and Chaos) at the Brooklyn Public Library as he speaks about time travel through popular culture, looking at H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and how it was impacted by its era’s technological and philosophical shifts. Gleick also looks at a contemporary temporal change, the way in which our wired world presents an “all-consuming present and vanishing future.”


It’s been almost 40 years since Carl Sagan and his team sent into space the Golden Record, sounds and symbols designed to convey the human spirit to a passing stranger some 40,000 years from now. Kurt Andersen, Maria Popova, Ira Flatow, and Terrance McKnight will be on hand at The Greene Space for a night of art, science, and exploration.

Wednesday, September 28


Build up your knowledge of renowned architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson at Architecture’s Odd Couple, a talk exploring the historical threads connecting the two architects’ work and the era their designs so enlivened. New York Public Library—Mid-Manhattan Library.


The focus at Book Culture will be on the Middle East with Hamind Dabashi on “Iran Without Borders,” a conversation based on Dabashi’s book, which explores the evolution of that nation’s culture and the forces that shaped contemporary Iran.

Thursday, September 29


Bioethics professor, philosopher, and all-around controversial thinker Peter Singer comes to The Cooper Union to discuss his new book, which takes on climate change, extreme poverty, animals, abortion, euthanasia, human genetic selection, sports doping, the sale of kidneys, the ethics of high-priced art, and ways of increasing happiness.


“Our obsession with food is a sign of our growing sense of powerlessness” is the starting point of a dinner (hosted by a professor of religion) that will work toward a more mindful approach to eating. The meal will be farm-to-table. Try not to text all the way through it. Berg’n.

Find our picks for the weekend here.

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