For folks staying on campus during Fall Break, the time off from our regular schedules can seem gloriously open and unstructured–sometimes a little dauntingly so. We’ve put together a few ideas of things to do in NYC either this weekend or anytime if you’re looking for a little inspiration:
Come out to Brooklyn for First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum! This month’s theme is Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.
Speaking of parks! Take advantage of all of the free events happening in the city’s many parks every day (things like a “pumpkin smash” in Hudson River Park’s Chelsea Waterside Park on Saturday, an educational walk on Randall’s Island to learn all about mushrooms, or a volunteer day at the Queen’s Botanical Garden on Sunday just to name a few!)
Visit one of the many museums that your Barnard ID gets you into for free. If you haven’t yet explored the Cloisters, it’s especially lovely to check out this time of year while all of the trees in nearby Fort Tryon Park are at their fall best (here’s some additional info about accessibility at the Cloisters).
One of our wonderful peer eds had a few more ideas:
The New York Public Library Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture always has awesome exhibitions where they curate and display materials from their archive, it’s free and always fascinating and usually illuminates histories that are not uplifted by mainstream white-dominated education or discourse. These are the current ongoing exhibitions, including about Black Power, Malcolm X, and the representation of Afro-Caribbean/Afro-Latina women in visual culture and history. It’s also pretty easy to get to from campus: The Schomburg Center is on 135th and Lenox, it’s about a 30 minute walk from campus, or you can take the 2/3 to right outside the door, or you can take the m60 bus to Lenox and walk ten blocks north or transfer to the m7 or m102 bus!
For thrift shopping: The Goodwill outlet in Queens (47-47 Van Dam St, Long Island City, NY 11101) is really fun, but not for the faint of heart. If you’ve never been to a Goodwill outlet, it is a big room with big blue bins full of loosely categorized items. It’s where the items go before they are further curated and brought to retail Goodwill stores. It’s an exciting and kind of dirty adventure digging through the bins to find weird books, rain boots, fur coats, etc. The best part is that you pay by the pound/by the bag instead of by individual items so stuff is even cheaper than usual.
The Lesbian Herstory Archives is an archive in Brooklyn that is open for exploration on Friday and Saturday of Fall Break. It’s been growing since the 1970s, and lives in a Brownstone in Brooklyn. It’s comprised of personal papers, photos, etc from individual lesbians, both notable and regular. They also have an extensive historical newspaper collection, even issues of The Ladder from the 1950s which was the first lesbian publication in the US. They also have lots of gay activist/social movement paraphernalia, lesbian pulp fiction novels, and lots of other fascinating materials all about the history of lesbians, queer people, and trans people in NYC and the U.S.. Whenever they are open there are volunteers there who can tell you about the collection and even give you a tour. When it is listed as “open” on the calendar, you don’t need an appointment, you can just show up and explore. It’s a bit of a haul from campus, but so worth it in my opinion!
And finally, we hope the break can truly be a break and that you’ll have the time and space to rest–catch up with folks who make you feel good, sleep, watch shows or movies and read things that bring you joy, and take care of yourselves in any and all ways that make you feel restored.