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Dynamite some rats? Not exactly. Take in some contemporary art? Exactly. And yes, I believe that would be the work of Banksy.

Art

Why it’s perfect for solos: Museums are supposed to offer a wide variety of exhibits that appeal to different people, so the ideal museum experience is one in which you can set your own pace. Case in point: my mom and I went to the Art Institute of Chicago two years ago, and we spent 45 minutes looking at the Thorne Miniature Rooms, a collection of a gazillion (68) European models depicting the last 8 centuries of interior design. We had to run through the museum to find classics American Gothic and Nighthawks before the museum closed. I got a kick out of the whole experience at the time, and the rooms were definitely interesting (for the first 5 minutes), but if I’d been with anyone BUT my mom, I probably would have said, “Meet you in an hour at the gift shop, have fun.”

When you might wish you had a plus-one: When you want to have your picture taken (without flash obvi) with the King.

The main event: One of my guilty pleasures: enjoying an eency-weency wine buzz while I explore an art museum by myself. The occasions that I’ve pulled this off are few, as I have too guilty a conscience to sip an adult beverage early in the day by myself, and museums usually close at or around 5pm. But I’ve seen the Dallas Museum of Art, Georgia Aquarium, and Corcoran Gallery, (and one other in another country that I can’t talk about in the public domain), under these circumstances, and I cannot recommend the experience enough.

New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s and the Museum of the City of New York’s answer to my confession: So?

On Thursdays at MoMA through August 27, 2009, closing time is extended to 8:45pm. Visitors enjoy live music (more ambient than attention-grabbing) and access to all of the exhibits. If this is anything like MoMA Mondays in the winter –because, admittedly, I haven’t been to the Thursday iterations yet– then visitors will enjoy the added benefit of complimentary museum admission to use on a future date. (You might have to show up at or after 5:30pm.) And if the Thursday fetes are anything like the particular Monday I went, volunteers from The New Yorker will be on hand to pass out scavenger hunt cards, which could turn your art appreciation into great prizes.

On the UES, the Museum of the City of New York’s 5th Avenue terrace becomes the Speakeasy at 1220 Fifth on Wednesdays through August 26, 2009 between 6:00 and 9:00pm. “Speakeasy” is used liberally as a nod to the roaring 20s but shouldn’t be taken literally — no one is in period costume, or even all that dressed up. Your $12 ticket includes one complimentary adult beverage and entry to first floor exhibits. I loved the photography installation, but my company lingered elsewhere.

See…?

And if the Banksy lead-in to this piece caught your attention, subscribe to OffManhattan.com, a green-leaning guide to recreation in the tri-state area. In December, they published a walking tour of Brooklyn graffiti with images of what you might find, and a map. Bring your camera for that one.

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Music

Why it’s perfect for solos: You’re not supposed to talk during concerts, duh. Also, it’s easier to keep improving your view throughout a free concert when there’s only one of you moving forward through a crowd.

When you might wish you had a plus-one: For me, never. Not even the man I one day marry should hear me sing along to show tunes. Oh God. Divorce.

The main event: Free music.

My favorite free concert of the summer was day 3 of All Points West Music Festival, front row Ghostland Observatory, f*ing amazing, for my third and definitely not my last time, but this technically doesn’t count as a free concert since I was the luckiest girl on the island yesterday when I was given a day off of work and handed a VIP ticket worth considerably more than “nothing.”

My second favorite free concert of the summer happens every Thursday in Midtown from 12:30 to 1:30pm: Broadway in Bryant Park. Hit songs from four Broadway shows are performed by their respective casts each week. But wait, it gets better. There are enough chairs for everyone. I know. Hundreds of people comfortably taking in something they might normally have to pay $75 to enjoy, for free, no grass stains, is beyond me, too.

Summer programming in Bryant Park also includes movies and yoga/tai chi, other things I think should be enjoyed solo, but I rarely have Monday evenings off (like tonight) and distrust any activity in which I’m told how to breath. I’m pretty sure I’m already doing it right…

My third favorite free concert was the New York Philharmonic’s summer performance in Central Park, but this is a good one to do with a love interest or friends, and honestly, this post is already getting too long.

I bet Central Park’s Summerstage free concerts would rank high, but that whole work thing… paying my rent… I haven’t been yet.

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Literature

Why it’s perfect for solos: After first grade, this really isn’t a communal experience.

When you might wish you had a plus-one: When you have a desirable seat someone is willing you to leave, and your liter of Smart Water outsmarts you.

The main event: Maybe reading isn’t an “event” for you, per se, but reading in scenic places certainly can be.

Early in the summer, I commuted to Central Park with a book, blanket, and SPF, but I’ve moved my reading to the High Line. Views across the Hudson toward the Statue of Liberty are quite stunning, particularly as the sun is setting and you’re actually being blinded. The wood chaises lounges are comfortable, and the people-watching is as quality as one will get at any of the nearby Meatpacking restaurant scenes. Despite the crowds, it still feels tranquil. And, of course, no purchase required.

I also like reading at wine bars and upscale cafes and over brunch, like VinoVino, Roc, and Macao Trading Co., all in TriBeCa. (Guess who still doesn’t drink coffee and go to coffee shops like a normal person, even after coming back to reality television production.) If you want to find your own special spot, though, and you have an iPhone, do yourself a favor and get the UrbanDaddy iPhone app. You’ll see what I mean.

My favorite place to read is in bed, though, and that’s where I’m headed right now.

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