Things to watch, eat, read and do as summer comes to a close.
By Melissa Kirsch
Welcome. It’s Labor Day weekend.
I love this story about how summer travel in 2020 looked a lot like summer travel in 1965, with families traveling by car to domestic destinations rather than far-flung ones. Times articles in the late 1950s trumpeted the rise of recreational camping and the advent of the motel, novel vacation options for drivers taking to the country’s developing network of highways. This year’s road trippers were, of course, more likely to have sanitizer and masks in the glove box than AAA TripTiks, but the similarities are striking all the same. The story’s a good weekend read, sure to inspire nostalgia in anyone who ever spent what felt like a lifetime on a sticky back seat or bench seat playing license plate games between rounds of “are we there yet?”
While I was reading Times stories from the ’50s, I had a look at the newspaper from 100 years ago. On this weekend in 1920, a story headlined “Labor Day Travel Will Beat Records” noted that “there is not a berth to be had on any train leaving the city for the vacation playgrounds for two or weeks to come.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, then a candidate for vice president, spoke on Labor Day of that year in Prospect Park, proclaiming, “Frankness, justice and square dealing on both sides is all that is needed to insure perfect harmony between capital and labor.” Ellis Island officials worked Sunday and Monday to meet 37,000 immigrants expected from Europe. Airmail between New York and San Francisco was announced. I could have spent all day lost in the old papers, imagining “the movement of air fleets from ocean to ocean,” carrying letters and postcards.
If you’re looking for ways to spend time this weekend, I guarantee rabbit holes aplenty in the digitized pages of the TimesMachine. Or head for the shore with our guide to safe beachgoing. You could plan your fall reading or TV-watching schedule, take in a U.S. Open match, or binge a new space drama starring Hilary Swank. You might watch “The Painter and the Thief,” a ravishing documentary about a painter who befriends the man who stole two of her paintings from a gallery in Oslo. Or take a long walk and listen to two podcasts I’ve been loving lately, “Nice White Parents,” a five-part series from The Times about building a better school system, and “My Brother, My Brother and Me,” a Maximum Fun show in which three nonsense-loving brothers offer absurd advice addressing their listeners’ usually-trifling problems. You could make Marian Burros’s famous plum torte. You could prepare peaches like this, as I have nearly every night for a month.
Write to us and tell us how you’re spending the holiday. Tell us what you’re thinking about and what you want to know: [email protected] We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent.
As always, more ideas for living a good life at home and near it appear below.
How to pass the time
If you’ve ever tried to convince a friend to like a certain type of music, you know the struggle of selecting exemplars of that particular style. We’ve done the work for you when it comes to the violin. Check out pieces recommended by the composers Andrew Norman and Marcos Balter, the violinists Pekka Kuusisto and Mazz Swift, and an array of other musicians and Times classical music journalists. Then play them for a curious pal.
Planning a wedding can be pretty exhausting for anyone. You’d think social media influencers, who receive discounts from vendors in return for exposure, might have it easier. But creating aspirational photos and videos chronicling each step of their wedding prep can add another layer of headaches to an already stressful process.
And our 10 new comic books to watch for this fall star werewolves, vampires, martial artists and more.
What to watch
We have a roundup of seven things to do on Labor Day weekend, including several streaming options. Check out the 2007 film “Kiki and Herb: Live at the Knitting Factory,” featuring Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman as the cabaret duo celebrating “The Year of Magical Drinking.”
The new documentary “Feels Good Man” examines how the cartoonist Matt Furie’s creation, Pepe the Frog, went from comic character to a symbol of white nationalism, anti-Semitism and violence. According to the critic Ben Kenigsberg, “At its best, the movie is a vertiginous, head-slapping examination of the tangible, unpredictable consequences of making art.”
And “Black Love,” the documentary series depicting Black Americans and their relationships, returns for a fourth season this weekend.
How to deal
See how the Times science reporter Apoorva Mandavilli made the decision about whether or not to send her children to school in person in Brooklyn.
The C.D.C. has notified public health officials to prepare to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to high-risk groups as soon as late October or early November. They described two preparations, Vaccine A and Vaccine B, both of which have gone through early tests, but we still don’t know for sure if they are safe and effective. Here’s what you need to know about the C.D.C.’s vaccine plans.
And we have advice for which houseplants to buy for the fall and how to care for them. (If you’ve had little luck with plants in the past, consider the very forgiving Sansevieria, or snake plant.)
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