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

The origin of dreams, mass media and Martin Luther, and Siri Hustvedt crossing the science/humanities divide highlight our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this week.

Monday, December 5

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Al Capone may be associated with Chicago, but the legendary gangster was Brooklyn born and bred. National Book Award-winning biographer Deirdre Bair fills in the story, drawing on exclusive access to Capone’s descendants. Brooklyn Historical Society.

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Bruce Davidson’s latest photography book (a survey that runs from his famed social documentary work forward to recent projects in L.A. and Paris) will be celebrated in a combined book signing and discussion. The Strand.

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Longtime Brooklyn resident Ellen Freudenheim comes to the New York Public Library—Mid-Manhattan Library to speak on her detailed look at a favored borough, The Brooklyn Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Neighborhoods & Noshes, Culture & the Cutting Edge.

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In 1517 church doors and hammers subbed for Twitter feeds. A panel of scholars looks at the mass media of Martin Luther’s day, and its continuing relevance to activism and social media today.

Tuesday, December 6

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“The psychic and social ramifications of being a question” will be addressed in a night dedicated to the fairer sex. Follow the evolving perceptions through democratic revolutions, Victorian reform, and market capitalism, and forward to American female suffrage. Coworkrs Gowanus.

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Don’t blow your cover at this discussion of the history of espionage in New York City, including a gloss on “Bronx Man Leads Russian Revolution.Brooklyn Brainery.

Wednesday, December 7

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Novelist Siri Hustvedt is back with a new book of essays that cross over the humanities/science divide. Sections cover neurobiology, mind/body dichotomies, and gender bias in art and literature. In addition to a reading and Q&A, there will be an interview with Hustvedt and philosopher Simon Critchley. BookCourt.

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A psychologist, a dream researcher, and a sleep/dream medicine expert come together to look at where dreams originate and what they have the potential to tell us. New York Academy of Sciences.

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Ethnographer and photographer Camilo José Vergara speaks on his new book, Detroit Is No Dry Bones, a look at 25 years of both decline and transformation in the Motor City. Book Culture.

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“What is the artist’s relationship, and obligation, to society?” provides a starting point for musicologist Richard Taruskin’s takes on 21st-century classical music. In addition to cultural analysis, the evening will include a conversation and, of course, a musical interlude. Graduate Center, CUNY

Image: groucho/Flickr

Image: groucho/Flickr

A panel of five international architects and historians convene to celebrate Le Corsbusier (1887-1965), who had 17 buildings added to the World Heritage list this summer. Albertine.

Thursday, December 8

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Start your midnight countdown early at this talk exploring the history of New Year’s Eve celebrations, from Babylon forward. Brooklyn Brainery.

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Enigmatic novelist Elena Ferrante is examined in two talks at Columbia University, looking at Feminism/Realism.


Find our picks for the weekend here.

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