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

Rethinking thinking, visual illusions, and an evening with David Sedaris highlight our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this week.

Monday, November 20

Brain scientists Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik (Champions of Illusion) join the Secret Science Club at The Bell House to talk about the sight gags that surround us, and what these visual illusions reveal about evolution and the inner workings of our minds.

The story of the HMS Jersey is not one of the Revolutionary War’s most told, but it’s highly significant: twice as many Americans died there, imprisoned off the coast of Brooklyn, as were killed in combat during the entire war. Learn more about the terror the ship inspired, and how it provided a turning point for the American cause, from author and historian Robert Watson.

Tuesday, November 21

The next session of Chasing Consciousness rethinks thinking, drawing on the latest insights into the workings of the mind. Expect some knotty questions, like where does consciousness come from, and “how do we evaluate the reality of our awareness from within that same awareness?” Caveat.

Fall in love scientifically at this examination of the life cycle of a relationship and the 36 questions that can supposedly lead any two people to fall in love—complete with a chance to try the questions out for yourself. Prospect Heights Brainery.

Find out what history can teach us/warn us about war powers as legal scholars shine a light on Congress, the presidency, and some flexible interpretations of the Constitution in the run up to WWI. New-York Historical Society.

Wednesday, November 22

Photo: Ingrid Chirstine

Talk pretty one day at this conversation with famed writer David Sedaris. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

Thursday, November 23

Before or after giving thanks, drink in the sky-high view of the city from the Empire State Building, which is open 365 days a year.

Find our picks for the weekend here.

When a Nobel Laureate speaks, who listens? Sign up for Thought Gallery’s weekly Curriculum and get the best of smart NYC delivered right to your inbox.