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

Measuring the universe, psychology and food, and the new science of the unconscious highlight our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this week.

Monday, October 24

The Hubble Space Telescope may have pulled off its neatest trick: discovering a galaxy that dates back to just 400 million years after the beginning of time. Before the next-generation space telescope comes on line, learn more about the expansion of the universe and how it’s measured, including how to perceive “the stretching of the fabric of space and time itself over the entire cosmos.” The Explorers Club.


Stoic School of Life at New York Society for Ethical Culture is inspired by the ancient Greco-Roman schools of philosophy. This week’s session gets remedial, with an examination of “Stoicism 101.” No prerequisites required.

Tuesday, October 25


Author George Michelsen Foy draws on the death of a sea captain forebear, a Haitian sloop piloted without technological assistance, and a secret Greek navigational cult to illustrate the links between the brain and navigation. He’ll speak at the Mid-Manhattan Library about our growing reliance on GPS and how it may be implicated in diseases like Alzheimer’s and, perhaps, the loss of some key aspect of our humanity.


Two astrophysicists come to the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater at the American Museum of Natural History to unpack the universe through the locations and situations of movies, books, and TV. Along the way they’ll give a sense of how much of the cosmos has been explored—and how much remains unknown.


Director of the Social Cognitive & Neural Sciences Lab at NYU Dr. Jon Freeman joins the Secret Science Club for a night of snap judgments. He’ll delve into the neural mechanisms behind stereotypes, the way our unconscious first impressions morph our understandings, and the importance of facial cues. Prepare to think fast. The Bell House.

Wednesday, October 26


Speaking of snap judgments, the gap between seeing and buying averages about 90 seconds. Catch a talk at the Brooklyn Brainery on our food choices, with a look at design from the 1950s to the present, and how colors and typefaces influence what we eat.

Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist), Kirstin Valdez Quade (Night At The Fiestas) and Rickey Laurentiis (Boy with Thorn) come together for an evening inspired by Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation. Symphony Space.


The mysteries of the brain inspire countless questions. A neuroscientist, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist examine several of them, including why some perceptions are filed into the conscious mind and others in the subconscious, how the self is comprised of these disparate sides, and how tapping into our intuitive realms could lead to a richer and more creative existence. New York Academy of Sciences.

Thursday, October 27


A panel of experts gathers to ask the question: whose money controls American politics, big donors like the Koch brothers, or the small-time contributors to campaigns like that of Bernie Sanders? The Greene Space.


Restaurateur Eamon Rockey has single-handedly revived the milk punch in New York City. He comes to Fraunces Tavern Museum for a demonstration, coupled with a talk on the historical significance of the drink by public historian Kathleen Hulser.


A professor of religion looks at our addictions (sex, drugs, smartphones) and considers them not as diseases or character flaws, but as a societal failing. He’ll delve into how our current model of addiction has been letting us down for a century, and how we might re-frame our understanding.

Find our picks for the weekend here.

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