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

Question “what is happiness” and share in Hindu and Buddhist wisdom among our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this weekend.

Friday, May 25

A recent study revealed the different aims of Chinese and American children’s books: for the former, the main theme is working hard to achieve a goal. For American kids, it’s all about finding happiness. Given the enshrinement of this pursuit in our founding documents, it’s a little odd how resistant happiness can be to objective definition.  Philosophy educator Jeanne Proust leads a Think Olio session that questions what happiness is, whether it can really be attained, and if it’s even up to us. The Strand.

Photo by Kuulei Kanahele

On Friday and Saturday, as part of Asian/Pacific-American Heritage Month, catch a work-in-progress commissioned by Chen Dance Center. Fahu Goes East is a one-man dance/theatre show created and performed by Kauila Kanaka’ole, a member of a legendary Hawaiian family of hula and chant practitioners.

Saturday, May 26

Asian/Pacific-American Heritage Month continues at Caveat, which presents An Asian American Film Thing, with music, discussion, and a general look at “identity and the power of visual storytelling.”

Discover the final resting place of some of New York’s top residents on this tour of Trinity Church Cemetery in Upper Manhattan. The Municipal Art Society of New York.

Sunday, May 27

In her just-released book I Feel You: The Surprising Power of Extreme Empathy, author Cris Beam takes on an emotion that’s simultaneously a buzzword and a potential way out of this whole mess. She speaks on her experiences in classrooms, prisons, and the labs where the neural networks of compassion get mapped. New York Society for Ethical Culture.

As part of United Palace‘s Open Heart Conversations series, learn more about the Hindu faith in an appearance by Swami Shantatmananda, senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order. The ancient chant practice of kirtan will also be presented by artist Ambika.

Buddhist and restorative justice activist sujatha baliga speaks with Chief Justice Emeritus of the Navajo Nation Robert Yazzie about “The Future of Justice” and how to keep fighting in difficult times. Rubin Museum of Art.

Hark back to entertainment of yore as Ali Silva and Fireside Mystery Theatre host an evening of music and sketches inspired by old-time radio broadcasts. The Slipper Room.


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.