Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday Night, #NYC: August Begins

Malaise Over Manhattan?

Last week’s news that New York is the most unhappy city in America, statistically at least, according to a trio of researchers, including two from Harvard who, I suspect, know something about unhappiness, sounded impossibly bleak.

Coming as it did on the cusp of the dog days of August, when the heat and humidity are generally at their most oppressive — and everyone's therapist is away for the month — the stat put me in mind of Lily Bart's observation in the first pages of House of Mirth: "[W]hat a hideous place New York is! Other cities put on their best clothes in summer, but New York seems to sit in its shirtsleeves."

We didn't need any Beantown bean counters to tell us how miserable we are. Our unique brand of miserable has been well documented, by Edith Wharton et al.

But New Yorkers... We rally. We're rallyers. We find our happiness in the small victories that minimize our unhappiness: Knowing which train car lets you out by the exit at your destination. On every line. Getting a legal spot in front of your building. On the first try. Watching the Yankees sweep the Red Sox. At Fenway.

Although it seems as if summer has barely arrived — since June 1 we've had only 11 days with temps over 85 (per a look back via, and the last week of July has felt more like the first week of October — August and its annual exaggeration of our testy temperaments is upon us. Time to rally. Like The Mayor (Robert Klein) says in Sharknado 2: The Second One: "This is the Big Apple. When something bites us, we bite back!"

Take a bite out of August’s dog daze, starting tonight. Carpe diem: Grab your only chance to experience these stellar examples of the city’s richly diverse — and diversely rich — plethora of opportunities to make your own happiness.

Broadway Bites, the culinary pop-up market in Greeley Square Park (33rd & Broadway) ends today at 9 p.m. Take a fistful of dollars and stuff your face on clever street food until you’re so full you wish you could just strip down to your underwear. But don’t do that; instead, go to Central Park and watch “500 strangers running around in their underwear” (emphasis mine). The annual Underwear Run that kicks off Triathlon Weekend in the city starts at 7:30 p.m., just north of the Sheep Meadow (west side of the park, 66th-69th Sts.; see the route map at the website).

If you find naked people running through Central Park passé (or terrifying), head to Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park Bandshell (62nd & Amsterdam) for something significantly more highbrow. The annual Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival presents the world premiere of a live collaboration between the Paul Taylor Dance Company and Argentine pianist Pablo Ziegler’s New Tango Ensemble, plus two other works from the Taylor repertoire. 7:30 p.m.; free.

For more options, see Time Out New York’s handy listing of five “Super-Cool Things to Do” tonight (plus seven others on Saturday and Sunday; it's a wide-ranging-yet-select, multi-boro list).

But if you’re just looking to stay in tonight, catch the Yankees against the Red Sox (7:10 p.m. on YES); they’re playing at Fenway...