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

Freedom of speech, Presidents’ Day, and “Culture in a Changing America” highlight our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this weekend.

Friday, February 16

Reel yourself in to Moviemakers’ Master Class: Private Lessons from Three Acclaimed Directors, which will break down and analyze the work of consummate storytellers Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and Steven Spielberg. SUNY Global Center.

Catch a New-York Historical Society “Justice in Film” screening of All the King’s Men (based on the 1930s populist Governor of Louisiana, Huey Long), with comments from a trio of leading legal scholars. (On Saturday morning they will reconvene to discuss the timely topics of “democracy, corruption, free press, and the law.”)

Saturday, February 17

Celebrate George Washington’s Birthday and Presidents’ Day where Washington bid farewell to his troops at the end of the Revolutionary War. Catch Fraunces Tavern museum tours on Sat./Sun. at 1pm/2pm, and the new Fighting for Freedom Tour on Saturday at 3pm, all included with admission, which is just $1 on the open house weekend that lasts through 5pm on Monday.

Author Kyla Schuller launches her new book, which unearths a hidden history, showing how sentimentalism “actually worked to establish modern power’s hierarchies of race and sex.” Bluestockings.

Catch a full day of salons, performances, and open studios. The Park Avenue Armory looks back to 1968 and that era’s social and artistic upheavals, and forward to an arriving time of change. Among the highlights, an evolving, multi-disciplinary response to James Baldwin, conversations about art and activism, and the story of Recy Taylor (pictured here) and the roots of #MeToo.

Sunday, February 18

Robert Post of Yale Law School leads a One Day University session that reveals the history and theory behind American freedom of speech and some examples of contemporary puzzles, like how we should treat communications in the commercial and academic realms. Watson Hotel.

Party like it’s 1830 at Washington’s Birthday Ball, a party celebrating the first president’s birthday in the same way as our 19th century ancestors. Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden.

With the closure of Rikers again in the news, join the New York Society for Ethical Culture for an afternoon screening of the Bill Moyers’ documentary Rikers: An American Jail. Afterwards there will be a discussion that includes two formerly incarcerated men, now advocates for criminal justice reform.

Beyond things to do in NYC this weekend, keep up with all kinds of talks, lectures and activities in the big city. Sign up for Thought Gallery’s weekly Curriculum, the best of smart New York delivered right to your inbox.