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

Amy Tan. Michael Moore. Malcolm Gladwell. Just another week in the big city: read on for our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this week.

Monday, April 23

James Hoge of Foreign Affairs leads a conversation with author Ronan Farrow on “the collapse of American diplomacy and the abdication of global leadership,”as delineated in Farrow’s forthcoming book, War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence. Book Culture on Columbus.

Bestselling author John Sedgwick tells the lesser-known story of the rivalry between two great Cherokee chiefs that led to the devastation of their nation. The Half King.

New York City Center’s ¡Adelante, Cuba! Festival offers an up-close look at the work of the inspiring Cuban and Latino dance artists, musicians, and performers of our time. Guests, including Arturo O’Farrill and Ayodele Casel, discuss What Is Afro-Latin Culture? with CBSN anchor Tanya Rivero on Monday. New York City Center.

Don’t get tricked into missing this free conference on cons and scams and their place in American culture. The New School.

Tuesday, April 24

Dai Ajari Ryojun Shionuma underwent two of the most difficult ascetic practices in the Shugendo Buddhist tradition—from a 1,000 day sacred walk to completing the “Four Deprivations” (nine days without food, water, or lying down). In his first-ever NYC talk, he’ll share life lessons from his experiences, including the founding of Jigenji Temple in Sendai, Japan. Japan Society.

Know Science teams up with the Taste of Science Festival for a duo of talks. The first looks at the science behind current buzzword mindfulness, asking the question, “Can something as simple as focused breathing drastically change our brains?” The second looks at love from a chemical standpoint, showing how the brain changes when a baby enters the scene.

Academy Award-nominated actress Christine Lahti speaks about her new book, True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness: A Feminist Coming of Age, which provides an insider angle on Hollywood and activism. She’s joined by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore. The New School.

Nearly a century after Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics, hear from two leading voices in the field. Columbia University physicist and string-theorist Brian Greene is joined by “Einstein in Love” author Dennis Overbye for a conversation about Einstein’s continuing relevance with New York Times science writer Claudia Dreifus. 92nd Street Y.

Wednesday, April 25

“Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember,” is the header for Amy Siskind’s viral “Weekly List.” She’ll appear in support of its new print form: The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump’s First Year. Sarah Kendzior, an expert in authoritarian states and the author of The View From Flyover Country, joins her. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe.

Renowned wildlife, landscape, and portrait photographer Michelle Valberg shares her images of Canada in a presentation hosted by with the Sierra Club NYC Photography Committee. Metropolitan Opera Guild.

In The Great Cuban American Songbook, Arturo O’Farrill and all-female string orchestra Camerata Romeu music director Zenaida Romeu explore the history of Cuban American musical collaborations. New York City Center.

Those of us less gifted in body marvel at the fluidity of an athlete’s strength and agility. But glistening muscles aside, of course that grace of movement all originates in the brain. Reporter Zach Schonbrun’s discusses his forthcoming book, The Performance Cortex: How Neuroscience Is Redefining Athletic Genius, with help from the CEO of a  neuro-tech startup and former big leaguer Harold Reynolds. Rubin Museum of Art.

Thursday, April 26

The Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought’s Uprising season finale takes the modes of previous study—from #BLM to breaking silence to Standing Rock—and relates them to a very different form of uprising, the counterrevolution. Malcolm Gladwell, of the Revisionist History podcast (among many other things), joins a distinguished panel.

Discover the work of a solo recital on Early Romantic Guitar virtuoso Pascal Valois, who will present a Salon/Sanctuary concert on La Guitare Napoléonienne: French Music for Early Romantic Guitar.

In her memoir Flunk. Start., Sands Hall chronicles her absorption into the Church of Scientology. Find her in conversation at Shakespeare & Co. with Amy Tan as they look at the art of the memoir with moderation by Robin Martin of #YeahYouWrite.


Find our picks for the weekend here.

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