What to Do This Week in LA, Miami, and NYC

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Yes, it is 2018. Do things differently. Hit the ponies, and bet your life savings on a road trip to Santa Anita Park’s horse track. In Miami, go gaming–video-gaming, retro-style–in Kendall. And in New York City, go blow your whistle at the Botanical Garden’s fantasy-tastic train set madness. Happy New Year, dear readers and lodgers!


This Friday, bet on an unsure thing by road-tripping north, away from the fray, to Arcadia, for the Santa Anita Park horse track. Go at lunch and eat at the track’s open-air Turf Terrace: decidedly en pointe. Last week was opening day of this premier Cali thoroughbred betting heaven. Have a whiskey and some bourbon-braised meatballs. If you lose, you did not. It’s a transporting experience, and great people-watching too.


This Wednesday, go to Kendall for a retro-game fix. The Arcade Odyssey features over 100 classic video games, from Pac-Man to pinball. Look back to the future. Punch the buttons on these pristinely restored boxes of challenge that take actual quarters. And honestly, don’t you sort of secretly love a strip mall? And are we not all pinballs, pinging into 2018. Lose, or, hopefully, win!


Woo-woo! So you missed the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show–holiday, such a tedious word–but you must go check it out Thursday. This model train extravaganza transports through displays of 150 miniature landmarks made from trees and foliage. That includes the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, and 30 Rock. It’s something like a half a mile track. Lord.

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune courtesy of Monovision

Steve Garbarino

Steve Garbarino

Steve Garbarino is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a culture reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of "A Fitzgerald Companion."