Best Of Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Place to Take In-Town Guests

    Obscura Society NYC

    One of the greatest things about New York is that you could spend a hundred or so lifetimes here and never want for something to do. But finding new wonders to behold becomes more difficult the longer you live here, until you wind up caving in and spending your weekends...

  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    Canyon of Heroes

    Out-of-towners are often appalled at how much walking we do in this town, but go ahead and march them to lower Broadway's Canyon of Heroes, where a raft of sidewalk markers offers a window into history that's sure to distract them from their blisters. Whether the inaugural 1886 Statue of...

  • Best Place to People-Watch

    The Halal Guys Cart at West 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue

    Every city needs a Times Square, a holding pen for all the people in town who don't have any particular place they need to be. The Halal Guys cart at West 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue, a couple of blocks uptown, near the Museum of Modern Art, lures the most...

  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Roosevelt Island Tram

    When Paul Giamatti climbs aboard the Roosevelt Island Tram in the 2009 film Cold Souls, he's on his way to have his soul removed, bottled, and stored at a futuristic quasi-medical facility. Both the clinic and the movie are profoundly weird, and the tram acts as a kind of symbolic...

  • Best Place to Spot a Celebrity

    30 Rock

    The edifice at 30 Rockefeller Plaza has had many names over the years. From 1937 to 1988 it was known as the RCA Building. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, it was the GE Building. And now, as of July 1, Comcast's bold-lettered logo officially sits atop the iconic skyscraper's...

  • Best Place for a First Date

    Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5

    For the many pleasures that Brooklyn Bridge Park offers, Pier 5 stands out: It presents a clean, wide-open space; its specific vantage point, with a towering view of downtown Manhattan in front and the Brooklyn Bridge to the right, is particularly lovely; different events transpire on its grounds throughout any...

  • Best Place for a Last Date

    Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant

    The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant is located right where you think it is: in the transportation hub that will allow you to light out for the territories immediately after that it's-not-you-it's-me-or-maybe-it's-your-OxyContin-habit breakup. The clam chowder is fab, the environs divine. And be you dumper or dumpee, the key...

  • Best Place to Play Pinball

    Modern Pinball

    Back in 1980, Lou Reed used to frequent the Broadway Arcade for a little silverball action; he is even rumored to have held his reception there after wedding Sylvia Morales. Thanks to the rise of computers and home gaming, this retro pastime fell out of favor, and owner Steve Epstein...

  • Best Bar Trivia

    Videology

    Wednesday through Monday, Videology is a relaxed but impressive movie-and-TV-themed hangout, a downbeat bar that serves a tasty, affordable drink named after Don Draper, stages themed bingo nights, and occasionally books a screening or a talk. Tuesday is different. Tuesday is trivia night. All the seats are taken well before...

  • Best Rep House

    Anthology Film Archives

    It's only fitting that one of the best films of the decade — Hard to Be a God, the long-awaited final work by the late Russian visionary Aleksei German — screened locally at the best theater in New York. The strength of Anthology Film Archives lies in its adventuresome and...

  • Best Broadway Show

    Hamilton

    You could say there are two sets of stars in Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda's fast-charging rap-and-ballads musical at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. America's Founding Fathers parade and strut their stuff, birthing this nation through bluster and rhetoric. George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and their crew wage war, draft a Constitution,...

  • Best Off-Broadway Theater Company

    Soho Rep.

    Soho Rep. is tiny in size but not in stature. It only does three productions a year, but artistic director Sarah Benson has led this scrappy outfit to breakthroughs, taking risks on progressive directors and playwrights like Jackie Sibblies Drury, Lucas Hnath, and the Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Whether we're...

  • Best Theater for New American Plays

    The Public Theater

    When the legendary impresario Joe Papp saw a former library on Lafayette Street in the 1960s, he envisioned four stages for innovation at the heart of New York City. Papp could scarcely have dreamed how vital and essential the Public Theater's Astor Place building would become under artistic director Oscar...

  • Best Comedy Open Mic

    Village Lantern

    As with any comedy open mic, you think of a night at the Village Lantern like a trip to the thrift shop: You might find a total gem, or you might wind up with garbage. But the thrill of the search is what it's all about. Tucked into the basement...

  • Best Comedy Club

    Comedy Cellar

    There's probably a handful of great comedy clubs in any city, but in New York we're lucky enough to have several of the nation's best. Anyone you'd ever care to see has graced the stage of the Comedy Cellar — from Jerry Seinfeld to Marc Maron to Louis C.K. and...

  • Best Podcast

    Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast

    When Gilbert Gottfried launched his podcast last year, the idea seemed ill-fated: The market for comedian-driven podcasts was well beyond the saturation point, and the riotous stand-up never gave the impression of being much of a conversationalist. Yet Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast, which he co-hosts with comedy writer/straight man...

  • Best New York TV Show

    The Strain

    New York has served as the setting for hundreds of television shows over the years, but its mysteriousness and majesty, its grotesque splendor, have never been so evocatively captured as in Guillermo del Toro's The Strain. The reviews haven't been exceptionally kind to this FX network vampire show — admittedly,...

  • Best FM Radio Personality

    Tom Scharpling

    OK, fair: Tom Scharpling belongs to the world now. No, he's not dead — he does a podcast. The Best Show With Tom Scharpling, formerly The Best Show on WFMU, premiered on that Jersey City radio treasure in 2000; Scharpling took it to independently broadcast pod form in 2014. This...

  • Best Local Twitter

    @nypdtweettower

    When the NYPD unfurled a "SkyWatch" tower in Tompkins Square Park in mid-July, the New York Post took credit, claiming the surveillance structure was a response to a July 10 "exposé." (Poetically entitled "Going to the park? Don't trip on a bum," the 400-word story was the work of three...

  • Best Local Instagram

    @jaygiampietro

    Cross Diane Arbus with Harmony Korine or Giuseppe Andrews and you may be on the right track to pinning down the Instagram account of actor and filmmaker Jay Giampietro. Updated daily, @jaygiampietro is a catalog of grotesque (primarily) New York street photography. Giampietro's garish portraits include people of all shapes...

  • Best Local Website

    Rhizome

    What began in the mid-1990s as a simple email list for the digitally inclined art world now supplements every possible computerized avenue for art to take. Though one could point to the walls of the New Museum as the harbor for its physical space, the soul of Rhizome belongs in...

  • Best Book About New York (Fiction)

    A Brief History of Seven Killings

    The year's best novel about New York takes place mostly in Jamaica — the island nation, not the neighborhood in Queens — and was written by an author who lives in the Midwest. Marlon James's third novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, shows the Jamaican-born Minnesotan hitting heights of...

  • Best Book by a Local Author (Nonfiction)

    Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone

    From an Avenue O populated with Holocaust survivors and ex-commandoes to a $55-per-month apartment in Alphabet City, drummer Marky Ramone's enjoyable rock memoir takes place all over 1950s, '60s, and '70s New York. Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone contains a wealth of gossip about the city's music...

  • Best Book by a Local Author (Fiction)

    City on Fire

    Sprawling, impassioned, layered with pain and history, stinging with the terror-thrill of the inconstancy of any and every New York moment, Garth Risk Hallberg's wildly hyped, 940-page debut novel is certainly worth your 30 bucks and perhaps that many hours of your time — whether it's worth that $2 million...

  • Best Book About New York (Nonfiction)

    St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America's Hippest Street

    Over the past four centuries, St. Marks Place (and, if you pick nits, the area that would become St. Marks Place) has been ground zero for innumerable political and cultural movements, almost all of which are detailed in journalist Ada Calhoun's fascinating new book, St. Marks Is Dead: The Many...

  • Best Graphic Novel by a Local Author

    Ann Tenna

    A cosmic morality play for the Gawker age, Marisa Acocella Marchetto's gorgeous and inspired book-length comic, Ann Tenna — her second, after the excellent memoir Cancer Vixen — opens in the heavens, where God's daughter is a swank redhead beauty in five-story platforms, dispatching souls while relishing a manicure. One...

  • Best Local Cartoonist

    Michael Kupperman

    His hysterical comic strips (collected in Tales Designed to Thrizzle) are often disorientingly surreal, but smartass humorist Michael Kupperman is one of the most approachable comedians you'll meet. Kupperman, a New Yorker since the mid-1980s, is that rare artist who uses social media for more than self-promotion and ranting (though...

  • Best Museum

    Torah Animal World

    Our 2015 winner in this category is small in size but had a very big year. When Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch put his impressive collection of taxidermy on display in 2008, he secured a spot in New York history as curator of one of the weirdest and most glorious museums...

  • Best Museum Exhibition of the Past 12 Months

    'America Is Hard to See'

    Designed by Renzo Piano, the new Whitney Museum of American Art cost $422 million. But even if you wholly distrust the bigger-is-better logic of art institutions these days, it's impossible to argue with New York's most impressive piece of downtown architecture. Inside, the Whitney is all big windows and flexible,...

  • Best Gallery Show of the Past 12 Months

    'Greer Lankton: Love Me'

    She was a lithe blonde beauty who could have taught Veronica Lake a pose or two, a master of the human figure who ranks among the likes of Egon Schiele and Cindy Sherman. Yet even among the contemporary art world's most astute, Greer Lankton was an overlooked legend until last...

  • Best Outdoor Artwork

    Socrates Sculpture Park

    A community art garden on the edge of the East River, Socrates Sculpture Park is our go-to spot for edification with a breeze. Take in views of Roosevelt Island, the Upper East Side, and midtown while checking out the works of some of the most interesting young — and not...

  • Best Movie Theater

    Walter Reade Theater

    Consider all the little things that go into designing a movie theater. Are the seats comfortable? Is there enough legroom? Is the screen large enough? When somebody is exiting or entering, will the light from outside distract the other patrons? Can you hear the subway or passing emergency vehicles? The...

  • Best Movie Theater for a Date

    Film Forum

    Going to the movies is a classic date activity, but choosing the right one can be daunting. A big-budget flick at a chain promises to be unmemorable, while an aggressively arty choice carries a steep cost-benefit risk. Plaudits to Film Forum, which offers a blend of new independent features and...

  • Best Midnight Movie Theater

    Nitehawk Cinema

    The owners of Nitehawk Cinema single-handedly overturned the state liquor law that prohibited alcohol from being served in New York movie theaters. Though the "late-night menu" gets pared down to essentials, many of Nitehawk's best items remain available until the kitchen closes at 1 a.m., including most of the booze...

  • Best Movie Popcorn

    Bow Tie Chelsea Cinema

    You'll need napkins. Rather than limit you to the buttered packing material that passes for snacks in most movie houses, the Bow Tie Cinema chain has stepped up and acknowledged a key truth: Theaters ain't restaurants, and theater employees ain't cooks, so why not let the people who specialize in...

  • Best Film Festival

    New York Asian Film Festival

    Formerly bankrolled by its founders' personal credit cards, the New York Asian Film Festival remains the city's most accessible and widest-ranging survey of contemporary and repertory films. NYAFF has undergone several cosmetic changes since its inception in 2002, including fancy new digs at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. But...

  • Best Lecture Series

    The Explorers Club

    At this point the term "lecture" is all tied up with stuffy, pedagogical associations — tenure-chasing professors and overeager T.A.s patrolling stadium-size classrooms, teaching straight from the textbook. You'll find none of that here. The Explorers Club offers public lectures that revive the practice, drawing from the elite organization's rich...

  • Best Festival

    Fort Tryon Medieval Festival

    It's a wonder there aren't more old-timey festivals like the Fort Tryon Medieval Festival, given New Yorkers' penchant for elaborate costumes, pageantry, and smoked meats. This is the kind of event where you procure a turkey leg and some mead and submit to the disbelief-suspending notion that There Be Dragons...

  • Best New Building

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    In describing the philosophy that inspired his design of the brand-new Whitney Museum of American Art, architect Renzo Piano speaks of poetry and emotion. In an interview posted on the Whitney's website, he emphasizes that "architecture is the art, the poetry of construction" and that a great design should heighten...

  • Best Thing to Happen to NYC This Year

    U.S. Women's Soccer Team Ticker-Tape Parade

    Four years after losing to Japan on penalty kicks, the U.S. Women's National Team came into this summer's Women's World Cup as one of the favorites, with a new coach and a younger squad boasting an impressive defense led by veteran goalkeeper Hope Solo. After breezing through the early rounds...

  • Best Zoo Animal

    Happy the Elephant

    Happy might not be the most suitable name for the Bronx Zoo's 44-year-old Asian elephant. As chronicled in a New York Times story this past summer, Happy arrived at the zoo in 1977, having likely been captured in Thailand earlier that decade. Paired with a companion, Grumpy, Happy lived a...

  • Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months

    Seraph

    Thomas Arsenault, as Mas Ysa, represents the trajectory of many of the city's best artists these days: come up in a tightly knit, DIY collective (in his case, the stretch of Williamsburg waterfront formerly housing Glasslands, Death by Audio, 285 Kent, and other local businesses); gain a following through intense...

  • Best Local Single of the Past 12 Months

    "Can't You See"

    Skylar Spence, a/k/a Saint Pepsi, née Ryan DeRobertis, Long Island native, wants you to have a good time. Watching DeRobertis grin ear to ear onstage, whether playing live or DJ'ing a set, proves infectious, and the larger and larger crowds he's drawing are proof enough that his joyful exuberance pays...

  • Best Music Festival

    Afropunk

    Ah, music festivals: a chance to drink a twelve-dollar light beer while elbowing a thousand of your closest friends all vying for the perfect spot to watch a band that will pass through your town in a smaller venue sometime next month. That's not the scene at Afropunk. When Matthew...

  • Best Concert of the Past 12 Months

    D'Angelo

    After jolting the charts with the seismic, unexpected arrival of Black Messiah at the tail end of 2014, reclusive r&b giant D'Angelo played a handful of U.S. dates in support of his thought-provoking opus before taking off for Europe, and the legendary Apollo Theater hosted one of the first live...

  • Best Concert Poster Designer

    Zan Emerson

    As resident flyer artist for Le Poisson Rouge and a regular designer for the Wordless Music series, Zan Emerson's gorgeous, minimalist work perfectly reflects these clients' ethos — to bring classical and contemporary elements together to dramatic effect. Emerson's a pro at turning text itself into a compelling image, creating...

  • Best Music Landmark

    Louis Armstrong House Museum

    In 1943, Louis Armstrong's fourth wife, Lucille, purchased the modest house now serving as the Louis Armstrong House Museum while her husband was away on tour. Today the singing trumpeter's marvelous Corona crib provides a uniquely intimate peek into his off-the-road habitat — from the kitchen's curving cupboards, covered in...

  • Best Hip-Hop DJ/Producer

    Vinylz

    Drake's secret weapon isn't somewhere in Canada — he's right here in Washington Heights. A protégé of Swizz Beatz, the 26-year-old Vinylz (born Anderson Hernandez) has been producing — albeit quietly — since 2008, steadily racking up credits on records with Jay Z, Lil Wayne, and French Montana, as well...

  • Best Rapper

    Fetty Wap

    Hey, what's up? Hello. Meet Fetty Wap. The one-eyed rapper has the biggest hip-hop hit of the year — and arguably the song of the summer — with his infectious "Trap Queen." The quasi-feminist ode to a special lady who can "whip it" and "work the damn pole" has put...

  • Best DJ

    Jonathan Toubin

    We might live in an EDM world, but Jonathan Toubin has no truck with today's musical whims. Since 2007, Toubin's Soul Clap and Dance-Off has brought throwback pizzazz and retro cool to New York's late-night underground. Culled from an endless array of long-forgotten Sixties soul singles, Soul Clap is pure...

  • Best Hip-Hop Club

    S.O.B.'s

    Real heads know that if you want to see rap's ripest up-and-comers, you've gotta go to a place where the DJs are just as likely to drop Future's "Fuck Up Some Commas" as they are Freeway's classic Jay Z and Beanie Sigel collab, "What We Do" — that is, you've...

  • Best Dance Club

    Output

    With the resurgence of electronic dance music, venues across Manhattan have opened their doors to DJs and producers from all around the globe — but none have done so quite like Output. The club is not only reclaiming the dance music performance space, but helping reclaim dance music itself. Very...

  • Best Dance Party

    Freedom Party

    At the Freedom Party, pop-and-locking supersedes popping bottles, and for good reason: It ain't that type of party, y'all. This no-frills dance night is a guaranteed good time so long as you aren't afraid to sweat. Resident DJs Herbert Holler, Cosi, and Marc Smooth take over Santos Party House every...

  • Best Day Party

    Everyday People

    There's only one way to describe the day party known as Everyday People: insane. Founded in April 2012 by a lady (Saada Ahmed), reality television chef (Chef Roblé), and hit-banger (DJ mOma), Everyday People is a soiree that's since gone viral. Held monthly at its flagship venue, the DL, Everyday...

  • Best Music Venue (Small)

    Baby's All Right

    It didn't take long for Baby's All Right to become the city's go-to venue for artists on the rise. Zachary Mexico and Billy Jones opened the Williamsburg club in October 2013. As small independent venues in the neighborhood fell prey to corporate vultures and vertiginous rent hikes, Baby's has become...

  • Best Music Venue (Large)

    Barclays Center

    Whether you're an arm's length from the headliner or squinting to see from the nosebleeds, you're going to enjoy yourself at Barclays Center, one of the best places to catch a major music production in New York City — hell, on the whole East Coast. The sound is exceptional, the...

  • Best New DIY Music Venue

    Alphaville

    Slightly more legit than your average DIY space, Alphaville evokes the venue-as-speakeasy vibe of Cameo Gallery. There's a cozy, wood-paneled bar and restaurant up front (which serves some of the best chicken nuggets in Bushwick), while the joint's raw, unadorned show space hides quietly in the back. Eschewing the absurdist...

  • Best All-Ages Venue

    Shea Stadium BK

    The scrawls on the walls flanking the staircase leading up to the main room; the cigarette-strewn balcony; the fairy lights; the icicle/stalactite/whatever-the-hell-those-pointy-things-are installation that frames the stage; the cheap drinks — all of these surface details set the perfect scene for an ear-blistering, sweaty, hyperactive performance at Shea Stadium BK...

  • Best Rock Club

    Bowery Ballroom

    Some of the best and steamiest live moments of 2015 have taken place on the stage of the Bowery Ballroom. Miguel brought more sensual vibes than a trashy beach novel for a lucky, intimate crowd in August; Father John Misty celebrated love with a mariachi band and a killer set...

  • Best Piano Bar

    Marie's Crisis Café

    Jimmy Fallon hosted his Grease sing-along here in January, reminding everyone that Marie DuMont's 1929 bunker is as fresh as ever. Marie's Crisis Café has survived the extreme gentrification of the West Village, staying true as a gay destination, stellar piano bar, and spiritual haven for all. At Marie's —...

  • Best Metal Bar

    The Anchored Inn

    Parked in an industrial pocket of East Williamsburg just a few blocks from the Montrose L is The Anchored Inn, your new favorite metal bar (if it wasn't already). The ancient mariner suspended from the ceiling and velvet paintings plastering the walls (including a portrait of Kim Jong Il) are...

  • Best Jukebox

    Sharlene's Bar

    It's tough to find a jukebox with any personality these days, given the proliferation of play-on-demand digital models like TouchTunes. But short of stocking old-fashioned 45s, the CD-spinning juke at Flatbush dive Sharlene's Bar is about as legit as it gets. Among barkeep-curated Sabbath, David Bowie, and Motown compilations are...

  • Best Bar With Live Music

    Barbès

    Barbès lost its head a few years ago. In 2011, some genius made off with a bust of José Gregorio Hernández, the French-educated Venezuelan doctor who'd served as this bar's mascot since Parisian musicians Olivier Conan and Vincent Douglas opened the cozy boîte named after the immigrant-rich Paris neighborhood in...

  • Best Guitarist

    Marissa Paternoster

    Screaming Females' lead singer and head shredder, Marissa Paternoster is all the justification needed to expand this year's Best Guitarist entry slightly beyond New York City's borders and into New Jersey — and not just because her band plays this side of the Hudson every other week. No, it's because...

  • Best Drummer

    Jaleel Bunton

    Brooklyn-based TV on the Radio have been an indie-rock fixture for more than a decade now. Their latest album, Seeds, released at the end of 2014, maintained loyalty to the band's idiosyncratic synthesis of electronic, art, funk, and pop. Much of that sonic landscape is delivered at the hands of...

  • Best Songwriter

    Mackenzie Scott (TORRES)

    Like many Bushwick residents, Mackenzie Scott (a/k/a TORRES) is a transplant from someplace else. In her case, that's the Bible Belt, where she was adopted as an infant into a loving and supportive but strict Baptist home. Those origins are writ large on her towering sophomore LP, Sprinter, whose brilliant...

  • Best Garage Band

    Aye Nako

    While garage rock has long been the province of middle-class, suburban white boys mumbling meaningless lyrics over fuzzy guitars, Aye Nako are doing a brilliant job of subverting that trope by writing "sad punk songs about being queer, trans, and black," and their latest collection thereof, The Blackest Eye, is...

  • Best Metal Band

    Sannhet

    Sannhet are a UFO. As guitarist John Refano puts it, they're "sort of metal." The music made by the trio (Refano, Christopher Todd on drums, AJ Annunziata on bass) shares two characteristics with the genre — noise and volume — but also allows room for multiple sonic layers, textures, and...

  • Best Pop Band

    MS MR

    In the two years since their full-length debut, Secondhand Rapture, thrust them off the streets of New York and into the national arena, MS MR have raised the heart rate and endorphin levels of nearly every festivalgoer or concert attendee to cross their path. Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza —...

  • Best Blues Artist

    Binky Griptite

    Best known for his fancy foot- and fretwork with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Binky Griptite brings cool confidence to whatever stage he's on. An avid blues aficionado, the Bed-Stuy-based performer tested his Delta-inspired chops for a small crowd at the Greenwich House in April. "I started getting interested in...

  • Best Bassist

    Trevor Dunn

    There's only one flame-throwing Ace of the Bass who's laid down rhythmic boom as a member of both sludge-metal lords the Melvins and the army of downtown NYC music icon John Zorn. That adept bassist is Trevor Dunn. On any given night, this Brooklyn-via-Cali experi-metal pioneer might be found slinging...

  • Best R&B Artist

    Rahel

    First spotted singing backup on rapper Le1f's 2013 track "Damn Son," Harlem r&b singer Rahel broke out this year with her debut album, Alkali, released via Le1f's Camp & Street label and produced by Chicago collective Lo Motion's Jeremiah Meece. What unfurls from the smoky collection is a cohesive love...

  • Best Rock Band

    TORRES

    The Great Rock Bands of New York Past have touched on many subjects in their songwriting: heroin and perfect days; not sleeping until one has arrived in a certain borough; last nite and the things she said; the way her stories are boring and stuff. Add to the list TORRES's...

  • Best New Band

    What Moon Things

    Don't call What Moon Things indie "revivalists" or "traditionalists" or any of the backhanded compliments given to bands enamored of weirdo chords, raw-throated vocals, and scorched-earth soloing. Yes, the NYC-via–New Paltz outfit's self-titled debut has echoes of Fugazi's loud-quiet rhythmic lockstep and early Modest Mouse's penchant for letting negative space...

  • Best Punk Band

    Vanity

    "Street rock" is a label generally pressed upon bands that write songs combining elements of English oi! and American rock 'n' roll to energetic, but ultimately forgettable, result. The lyrics are about drinking, unformed ideas about "pride," and the lives of directionless young men. Every few years an exception comes...

  • Best Noise Band

    YVETTE

    Noise — it's in the eye of the beholder, really. Or, ear. The ear of the be-hearer. OK, forget it. The point is, talking about the "noise scene" in New York City is an exercise in nebulous semantics, an attempt to define a sound as subjective and amorphous as a...

  • Best Jazz Artist

    Rudresh Mahanthappa

    In the last year, tireless alto-sax giant Rudresh Mahanthappa has taken Manhattan — and the world. Both are better for it. His latest record, Bird Calls, looks forward and harks back at once, conjuring up thrilling new compositions and ensemble performances from trace samplings of Charlie Parker. More "inspired by"...

  • Best Jazz Club

    Mezzrow

    A basement hallway with a bar, a bathroom, and — most nights — a world-class pianist stationed at a Steinway, Mezzrow is the jazz club stripped to its essence, just with hella stiff craft cocktails and a waitstaff that stays friendly even as the place gets A Night at the...

  • Best Vocalist (Female)

    Kimberly Nichole

    Before Kimberly Nichole blew minds on the most recent season of NBC's The Voice, she was honing her chops in downtown venues like Le Poisson Rouge and Rockwood Music Hall. The self-coined "rock ballerina," an NYC transplant by way of Seattle, distinguished herself from other contestants with her androgynous style...

  • Best Vocalist (Male)

    Taylor Mac

    Taylor Mac eschews traditional gender assignments and prefers the pronoun "judy," and thus shall judy be referred to. The city's most ambitious performance artist, Mac, who is also a playwright and Obie-winning actor, will spend the next year gearing up for A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, an impossibly demanding...

  • Best Bluegrass Band

    Punch Brothers

    Well before 2015, Brooklyn's Punch Brothers were among the top progressive bluegrass ensembles, diligently led by mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile. But then January arrived, along with their fourth LP, The Phosphorescent Blues, and this T Bone Burnett–produced record confirmed the quintet's status as the genre's crème de la crème with...

  • Best Country Artist

    Ruthie Collins

    Born and raised in Fredonia, New York, 26-year-old Ruthie Collins released her self-titled debut late last year via Curb Records, going on to snag spots on festival lineups — like New York's inaugural FarmBorough Festival — and make waves with her country-goes-electric take on Hank Williams's "Ramblin' Man." More often...

  • Best Folk Artist

    Christopher Paul Stelling

    Twenty-fifteen has proven to be a watershed year for Christopher Paul Stelling. The Bed-Stuy-based singer-songwriter is no stranger to the road, having racked up miles upon miles in pursuit of the perfect lost-love ballad to be played on his well-worn acoustic guitar and sung in his trademark cracked-and-bleeding voice. But...

  • Best Karaoke

    Karaoke St. Marks

    Though often overshadowed by its across-the-street neighbor, Sing Sing Karaoke, Karaoke St. Marks has over time proved itself a handy, reliable supplier of sleek lounge rooms, jam-packed songbooks, and lyrically unpredictable good times. Tucked away on an upper floor of its glossy St. Marks digs, the venue possesses the alluring...

  • Best Cover Band

    Be Yourself

    During Be Yourself's most recent performance at Cake Shop on the Lower East Side, the live pop-punk and emo karaoke band called on a special guest to help them sing Taking Back Sunday's 2002 single "Cute Without the 'E.' " Since the song's release — and the subsequent emo boom that...

  • Best Rock Club to Die in the Past Year

    Trash Bar

    Now that this year's winner has boarded up for good, it's high time to align it with other dim, puke-stained stars like Mars Bar, Max's Kansas City, and even CBGB. Fans firmly believe that Williamsburg's Trash Bar — which finally kicked the bucket last June — deserves a place in...

  • Best Music Venue to Die in the Past 12 Months

    Death by Audio

    Everything — save pestilence, from roaches to investment bankers — is temporary in New York City. Think of capitalism as a glacier rolling over the city, leaving fresh new landscapes in its wake. Losing your favorite bar or taco stand or artisanal-mustard pop-up shop is an inexorable part of life...

  • Best Band to Die in the Past 12 Months

    Yellow Ostrich

    Hatched in an era and amid a scene whose biggest bands were Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend, and Animal Collective, Yellow Ostrich were almost painfully of their moment. They played tribal-tinged indie rock indebted to those acts, who were in turn indebted to non-Western traditions. Though they weren't exactly flightless, Yellow...

  • Best Band Name

    Vomit Fist

    According to the band, the name Vomit Fist came to young drummer Leo Didkovsky, then seventeen, over breakfast. He and his father, Nick, the guitarist, had been brainstorming ideas for what to call their blackened grindcore trio. When Leo suggested Vomit Fist, they knew they'd struck gold with a perfect...

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >