Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Place To See Rob Petrie, Ralph Kramden, and Bullwinkle Moose

    Museum of Television and Radio

    Mount Rushmore! Only joking. If, like me, you want as little reality in your television programming as possible, or if certain cable companies have switched off your set over a mere $2200 unpaid balance, then for considerably less spend the day reliving your idiot-box memories at the MUSEUM OF TELEVISION AND RADIO. Boasting an unmatched archive, this is a great… More >>
  • Best Inexpensive and Informal Movie Theater in Manhattan

    Cinema Classics' Screening Room

    CINEMA CLASSICS\\\\\\\' SCREENING ROOM is a little like the basement of an eccentric cinephile uncle\\\\\\\'s house: Cheaply framed movie posters line the bare brick walls, a smudged pull-down screen blocks the back door, and cookies and beer are served in the next room. The programming at Manhattan\\\\\\\'s least pretentious, most utilitarian cinema is as unlikely and eclectic as its furnishings:… More >>
  • Best Museum of Kinetic Images

    American Museum of the Moving Image

    Of the atrocious puns that can be made with its acronym, the one that rings truest is MOMI dearest. With the near total disappearance of repertory cinema in Gotham, the AMERICAN MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE feeds us with precious weekend retros and lays before us a spread of more than a thousand artifacts documenting the stuff dreams are made… More >>
  • Best Bollywood for Your Buck

    Eagle Movie Theater

    At the EAGLE MOVIE THEATER in Jackson Heights, the samosas come in little paper baskets like a hot dog at Coney Island. You can bring them right into the theater and settle in for three or four hours worth of Indian cinema for only $5. Some of the movies have subtitles, but many of the best ones can be enjoyed… More >>
  • Best Way to Save Your Ass at Anthology Film Archives

    Maya Deren Theater

    Anthology can\'t be topped for inventive programming, but seeing a movie here means paying in the end—literally: The rock-hard seats and backward-sloping floor of the Courthouse Theater are enough to drive you to a chiropractor. Thankfully, the MAYA DEREN THEATER is tucked away downstairs. Unless you\'re a regular customer, you may not realize this cozy, 66-seat auditorium with cushy chairs… More >>
  • Best Place to be Reminded That All Film Art Isn't On-screen


    Movie posters may be yesterday\'s marketing trash and today\'s post-boomer fetish objects, but some—particularly those designed by Eastern European and Japanese artists—have an appeal distinctly separate from (and sometimes in spite of) the celluloid they shill for. Sam Sarowitz\'s Chinatown POSTERITATI, which specializes in film posters of all nationalities, is proof positive: Ask to see the Romanian one-sheet for To… More >>
  • Best Video Art in a Bar

    Donald O'Finn

    Among the clunky mountains of half-ass video pastiche, DONALD O\'FINN\'s feverishly edited, encyclopedically strange video collages are lively rivers. With or without a buzz, his jump-cut barrages of \"reality TV\" moments, loopy segments of odd porn and burlesque, left-field vérité, and all kinds of other crazy bric-a-brac footage is a liquid experience. \"I was taking painting too seriously, so I… More >>
  • Best Unintentional Art Installation

    Panna II Indian Restaurant

    It\'s probably unsurpassed in Manhattan as a spot for quick, cheap, and tasty Indian food—a fact not even disputed by my meat-eating meal companions. But what you really can\'t miss at PANNA II INDIAN RESTAURANT is the floor show—OK, more like the walls-and-ceiling show. The culinary quality is a constant, but each time you go, the interior decorator has added… More >>
  • Best Subway Mural

    81st Street Subway Stop

    Life underground has few bright spots—unless you\'re a mole, of course, or a prairie dog. None of which you\'ll find on the walls of the 81ST STREET SUBWAY STOP on the West Side of Manhattan. What you\'ll see instead are long, delightful murals depicting a menagerie of animals: dinosaurs, elephants, rhinos, owls, and other creatures big and small. The tilework… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Secular Cathedral

    Stained-Glass Windows at the 33rd, 40th, and 46th Street Stops in Queens

    You may find yourself praying on the teetering roller coaster that is the elevated No. 7 train, but the line\'s other comparison to a house of worship is the series of STAINED-GLASS WINDOWS AT THE 33RD, 40TH, AND 46TH STREET STOPS IN QUEENS. A kind of hymn to the people of the area and their everyday prides, these unique variations… More >>
  • Best Urban Folly of Incredible Beauty

    4 Downing Street

    Turn right onto Brooklyn\'s Quincy Street from Classon Avenue and see if your heart doesn\'t stop from the sheer beauty of what\'s before you. The brick building at the end, 4 DOWNING STREET, has, over the past several decades, evolved into a genuine work of art. Portholes, glimmering panes of mirrored glass, bottles set in cement and arranged to emit… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Graffiti Museum

    Phun Phactory

    Somewhere between the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, P.S. 1, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Center for Holographic Arts in Long Island City sits the outdoor PHUN PHACTORY aerosol-art museum, a chemical reminder of a time when doing the robot and spinning on your back was considered stupid fresh and hip-hop was just a twinkle in some rappers\' eyes. Intricate lettering,… More >>
  • Best Pedestrian Traffic Hazard

    Broadway Mall Community Center

    It\'s a subway entrance! It\'s a bathroom! It\'s—the BROADWAY MALL COMMUNITY CENTER, a small Beaux Arts temple remade as a combination art gallery/poetry-reading space run by the West Side Arts Coalition. It\'s also one of Manhattan\'s most eye-catching traffic islands, an odd anchor of preservationist permanence in the middle of Broadway\'s perpetual motion. With community programs, evenings devoted to the… More >>
  • Best Free Art Supplies

    Materials for the Arts

    City-sponsored agency MATERIALS FOR THE ARTS has a wildly eclectic inventory—chairs, old computers, fabric, paint, paper, mannequins, \"industrial by-products,\" you name it—all donations from businesses, otherwise headed for the trash. So, for no charge, those eligible—including all NYC nonprofit cultural organizations, art programs, and individual artists \"working with a registered cultural organization in a public setting\"—get to come on down… More >>
  • Best Sculpture Park

    Socrates Sculpture Park

    The homely old man of Greek philosophy may have enjoyed walking about with his pupils in this four-and-a-half-acre park, using the artworks (from the whimsical to the monumental), created by a varying roster of artists, to Examine Life or just the remains of a tattered soul. In the informal haven of SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK, the pieces look comfortable, inviting you… More >>
  • Most Beautiful Bank

    HSBC Bank

    You may not believe me, but long ago, banks tried to attract customers rather than scare them away. And their buildings, like Renaissance cathedrals, were designed to awe the rabble that swarmed around them. Even today, banking at HSBC BANK in Williamsburg is like an act of religious devotion, since the public lobby is located directly under the great dome—you'll… More >>
  • Best Place to Smell a Rat

    Snug Harbor Cultural Center

    Morning has broken, and Staten Island must get up, look herself in the face, wash off the sledge of the 50-year night, and face facts. She is dump-less. The borough has been un-dumped. Since 1949, Staten Island\'s image has been that of the world\'s largest landfill and one of the city\'s worst health hazards. What will her asthmatic residents do… More >>
  • Best Recycled School Building

    P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center

    The wheel-inside-a-wheel feeling of looking at radical art inside radical architecture can be exhilarating, but sometimes there\'s a price for such multitasking, like a post-visit nap, or a headache, or dizziness . . . or nausea. And the sterile-white-box approach to presenting art, on the other hand, has likely driven viewers to the mud-wrestling pit. As far as art museums… More >>
  • Drunkest, Highest Theater Company

    Radiohole/The Collapsable Giraffe

    It seems that every month since acquiring their new Williamsburg space last year, dubbed the \\\"Collapsable Hole,\\\" this hybrid theater troupe of Wooster offshoots has a benefit in order to pay their rent. (Full disclosure: I\\\'ve been the DJ on occasion.) The parties get lots of negative attention from law enforcement, of course, but this cleverly deflects attention from RADIOHOLE/THE… More >>
  • Best Place to be a Drama Queen

    Institute for the Arts in Psychotherapy

    David Read Johnson at the INSTITUTE FOR THE ARTS IN PSYCHOTHERAPY is the man. He invented something called Developmental Transformations, a kind of therapy that uses drama and improvisation to work out your kinks. Instead of sitting around rehashing your top 20 personal problems, you and the therapist get on your feet. You might end up sitting down, lying down,… More >>
  • Best Open-Mic Monopoly

    Faceboyz Open Mic, Reverend Jen's Anti-Slam

    By opening themselves up to anything—a man exploding a science project out of his Speedo; another lamenting his stroke-victim father\'s emasculation while a XXX movie plays on the TV behind him—two grown-up show-and-tells (i.e., open mics) escape the pedantry, hostility, or atonality (of the poetry, comedy, or music) that haunts many of their single-genre counterparts. Sundays at FACEBOYZ OPEN MIC… More >>
  • Best New Theater Trend

    Inviting and Encouraging Patrons to Bring Drinks With Them Into the Theater

    Give them a round . . . of applause as Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theaters implement an intoxicating new policy—INVITING AND ENCOURAGING PATRONS TO BRING DRINKS WITH THEM INTO THE THEATER. It\'s amazing how much easier the downtown theater goes down when it\'s accompanied by a couple of competitively priced cold ones. This dipsomaniacal drama is on display at P.S. 122,… More >>
  • Best Free Flamenco Show


    Juan walks down the street self-absorbed, counting pennies: He does not notice his feet have become their own master, taking him rhythmically down a flight of stairs, bringing him into a shower of red lights. There is the sound of a defiant guitar, a voice that exudes passion, a beautiful curved body talking with its hands, seducing. For an instant,… More >>
  • Best New-to-New York Magazine


    Long free and easy to find in trendy New York clothing and record shops, VICE recently moved their editorial offices from Montreal to Brooklyn. As un-p.c. as McSweeney's is ironic, the semi-underground, corporate-sponsored glossy tends to fire off leads like "The carnally explicit Tet Offensive being waged against boring cinema is in full dick swing," and run features instructing readers… More >>
  • Best Poetry Reading Series

    DIA Center

    One of the best poetry readings I\\\'ve been to was when Denis Johnson took the mic at the DIA CENTER and in between poems, regaled the audience with tales of his time in the loony bin. Of course, I also went to one of the worst readings at the Dia, when a pretentious frog, who looked like a dullard banker,… More >>
  • Best Little Library in the Village

    Jefferson Market Branch Library

    The building housing Greenwich Village\'s JEFFERSON MARKET BRANCH LIBRARY was voted one of the most beautiful buildings in America by a poll of architects in the 1880s. Not much has changed. A courthouse until 1945 that also partly served as a women\'s detention center in the \'20s, it was restored and reopened as a library in the \'60s, its clock… More >>
  • Best Subscription Library for Languid Aristocrats

    New York Society Library

    As a gentleman of leisure, I can think of no more pleasant place to while those idle Tuesdays than at the NEW YORK SOCIETY LIBRARY. (My accountant says I should mention the cost: $150 a year—peanuts, don\'t you know.) There I am, with ascot and eyepiece, poring over a bound copy of The Atlantic Monthly (April 1883)—how the old covers… More >>
  • Best Mystery Trove

    Mercantile Library

    For a long time I used to read before going to bed—the first few pages of \"Combray,\" night after night. Then I got a life and started reading books I could actually finish: vintage mysteries from the 1930s. But as the titles grew more obscure (The Riddle of the Traveling Skull; Y. Cheung, Business Detective), I wondered how to sustain… More >>
  • Best Place to Do 'Journalistic' Research

    66th Street Barnes and Noble

    Repetitious signage at the 66TH STREET BARNES AND NOBLE reads: "Feel Free to Browse Periodicals in the Newsstand Area Only." But we all know the real deal, and it's "Read Whatever, Wherever," and it's mah-velous. Like some physical version of the Internet, readers scan and download info on the arts, fashion, technology, sports, interior design, music, pets—you name it. The… More >>
  • Best Place to Peddle Your Self-Published Wares

    St. Mark's Bookshop

    The art of writing has been compared (by my sympathetic fiancé) to stapling your soul to the page—and that's the easy part: Often the photocopy machine at work is more accessible than a publisher. While the city abounds in booksellers happy to hawk your stapled (or otherwise bound) soul in exchange for 40 percent of gross profits—not bad, as royalties… More >>
  • Best Way to Find Out at the Last Minute What the Hipsters Are Doing Tonight

    NY Happenings List

    We try to keep up, here at the Voice. Really, we do. But there\'s a lot of cultural activity, especially on a small scale, that gets announced too late for us to spread the word about. The NY HAPPENINGS LIST has constant announcements on neat events that are days, hours, or minutes away, especially but not exclusively on the Brooklyn… More >>
  • Best Talk Radio for Artists and Shut-ins

    On The Line, NY&CO

    Radio was the original electronic mass media, and is still the best, precisely because it is the least interactive—it streams information into your brain while you\'re busy in the studio, office, or kitchen. Weekday mornings at 10, WNYC (820 AM) broadcasts Brian Lehrer\'s ON THE LINE, which traverses the hard news of the day thoughtfully and evenhandedly, and during the… More >>
  • Best Place to Rally Around and/or Resuscitate

    Charas/El Bohio

    CHARAS/EL BOHIO is part of the grand tradition of old converted public schools serving the arts community (see P.S. 1 and P.S. 122). Unlike these thriving establishments, the old P.S. 64 building has been treated like the rest of the city\'s public-school system—undervalued, undercut, and overlooked by the regime in order to throw more dollars at real estate and tourism… More >>
  • Best Freaks-Come-Out-To-Play Event

    Mermaid Parade at Coney Island

    Most parades in the city are put together to celebrate a holiday or to show pride in something. The MERMAID PARADE AT CONEY ISLAND, held every June (next year\'s the 20th!), is simply an excuse for Brooklynites to dress up like sea creatures—everything from ornate Poseidon gear to seashell pasties and nothing else. It\'s ridiculous, low-budget, and almost entirely without… More >>
  • Best Air-Conditioned Venue for Free Reality-Based Entertainment

    New York State Criminal Court House

    For a fine, wholesome day of reality-based entertainment, I turn my television off and head downtown to the NEW YORK STATE CRIMINAL COURT HOUSE. There\'s 17 floors, and bound to be a thriller somewhere. Rape, murder, crack whores, theft, Puffy . . . it\'s all here. Don\'t be bashful—these courts are yours (air-conditioned too), so come when you want—there\'s always… More >>
  • Best Way to Make Ends Meet on a Creative Artsy Person's Budget in New York City

    Hire an Accountant for Your Taxes, for Chrissakes

    HIRE AN ACCOUNTANT FOR YOUR TAXES, FOR CRISSAKES. A real accountant, not one of those last-second H&R Block yutzes. The state and city taxes here are hungry for flesh; fortunately, so are the CPAs. Yes, putting together all your receipts is tedious, and schlepping them over to a fat guy in a tie who grills you about where all your… More >>
  • Best Place to Go Get a Job If You Are an Exiled Cultural Worker

    New York Public Library

    The NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY is the perfect place to go after the world of business and humanities has thrown you out on your ass. Ex-reporters, ex-businessmen, ex-philosophy students, ex-homemakers, artists, these are all people who work here. As long as you have a bachelor\'s degree and the proper cultural and educational crud, er, cred, you can hook up with… More >>
  • Best Place for the Latest Conspiracy Theories on the Death of Lobster Boy


    Three a.m. The lights are on inside the FREAKATORIUM, or El Museo Loco. There are wax replicas of Mao and Mae West, a few shrunken heads, and a hot little tamale in a slinky dress who keeps disappearing into the back. Who is she? The owner Johnny, an urbane New Yorker with chest hair sprouting out his shirt, says he… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood To See a Real Soprano

    Bensonhurst Brooklyn, Soup as Art

    Before I start, let me state that despite my last name, I am Italian and proud. Let me go on to say that by soprano, I am talking about neither opera singers nor gangsters per se, but rather that colorful class of my people that all America (with the exception of a few politicians and college professors, whose names end… More >>
  • Best Web Site to Find Your Great Grandpa Giuseppe

    If your great grandpa\'s name is Giuseppe, Malachy, or Ignaz, chances are he came to this country through Ellis Island. Perhaps you\'ve always wanted to know when—he might not be around to ask, and Ouija boards don\'t guarantee much precision—or even exactly where he came from. Go to WWW.ELLISISLANDRECORDS.ORG and employ the new search engine on his behalf. Passenger arrival… More >>
  • Best Corporate Collection of Historical Artifacts

    Forbes Magazine Galleries

    Steve Forbes may have failed thus far at getting himself membership into the U.S. presidents\\\' club, but the club has no better fan. The magazine magnate\\\'s collection of American presidential manuscripts and paraphernalia (that his father, Malcolm S. Forbes Sr., started in 1937 when he purchased a handwritten note by Abraham Lincoln) now comprises more than 4000 items, many of… More >>
  • Best Place to Blow Glass Bubbles


    If those make-your-own-pottery boutiques are just too sensitive and Demi Moore- in-Ghost for you, it may mean you\'re meant for more molten stuff. Because blowing glass requires strength, speed, and decisiveness (glass hardens very quickly), it\'s a much more vigorous art form. URBANGLASS offers glassblowing classes at all levels, as well as workshops in paperweights, stained glass, neon, mosaics, and… More >>
  • Best Place to Throw Some Energy Into

    Housing Works

    HOUSING WORKS is a not-for-profit, minority-controlled organization dedicated to helping those living with HIV, particularly those who are homeless and whose situation is further complicated by chemical dependence and/or mental illness. This place does a lot of good. It gets people housing, gets them jobs, gives them therapy, and accepts clients as they are; this is one of the few… More >>
  • Best Place to Throw (Some More) Energy Into

    God's Love We Deliver

    GOD\'S LOVE WE DELIVER wins the prize for best food idea of the century. In 1985, hospice worker Ganga Stone delivered some prepackaged food to a man named Richard who was living with AIDS. He was too ill to cook it himself. Stone had the idea of cooking mass quantities of food for those living with HIV in our city,… More >>
  • Best Chinatown Street

    Doyers Street

    "The Bloody Angle," as DOYERS STREET was referred to back in the days when it was a sketchy saloonville and Asa Yoelson (Al Jolson) and Izzy Baline (Irving Berlin) were singing waiters at Mike Callahan's Dance Saloon, was supposedly the first seed of Chinatown. What's great is that the modern urban template has yet to really snuff out the placid… More >>
  • Best Martial Arts

    William C.C. Chen Tai Chi Chuan

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon unfolded the dialectic of martial arts, and the breathtaking fight scenes made you want to hit, kick, and scale walls. For real-life action, head to WILLIAM C.C. CHEN TAI CHI CHUAN classes, where you can sit and audit one class free of charge. If convinced of the joy of punching, enroll in the Yang Short 60… More >>
  • Best Maritime View

    Pier 25

    The Hudson River's PIER 25 is like a little piece of Malibu—there's a miniature-golf course, a trio of beach-volleyball nets with tons of real sand, and a wooden shack dispensing lemonade and charcoal-grilled burgers. Best of all, though, is the elevated structure at the end of the pier, which served as a second tier for a driving range several years… More >>
  • Best Recycled Airport

    Floyd Bennett Field

    For flatlanders and lovers of freaky pastoral beauty, it's well worth the extra trouble it takes to get out to Brooklyn's FLOYD BENNETT FIELD. With huge runways crisscrossing acres and acres of waist-high grasslands (including the city's biggest prairie biopreserve) and a strangely beautiful Planet of the Apes cape, hiking trails that lead through relatively uncrowded points along Jamaica Bay,… More >>
  • Best Sunday Excursion


    BWAC, which stands for the Brooklyn Working Artist Coalition is the largest artist-run nonprofit in Brooklyn, located right on the water in stunning, deserted-feeling Red Hook, where there's a great view of Manhattan, including the Statue of Liberty. But just to see waves crash on rocks and imagine maritime days of old is a thrill in itself. Every spring, BWAC… More >>
  • Best View From an Elevated Subway Platform

    Forest Avenue M Stop

    Off to the south, spot the stunted towers of East New York, the city's greatest working-class transportation hub, while at your feet lies a segment of Forest Avenue, once a German street, now populated mainly by Albanians and Montenegrins. Ridgewood as seen from the FOREST AVENUE M STOP is relentlessly bucolic and green, and the best parts of the view… More >>
  • Best Source For Exploring Decaying New York City

    The world's network of urban explorers, "infiltrators," "spelunkers," or whatever you want to call them, owes a lot to the Web's smorgasbord of chat rooms and resources, but almost every amateur Rotten Apple geographer probably owes a little to veteran explorer and WWW.FORGOTTEN-NY.COM documentarian Kevin Walsh. His site offers entry-level inspiration (in the form of photos) and information (both historical… More >>
  • Best Little Piece of Amsterdam in the Five Boroughs

    Gowanus Canal

    In 1893, the Brooklyn Eagle called the GOWANUS CANAL an open cesspool, and a hundred years later, the odor of Brooklyn's famously stagnant waterway was still legendary. These days, however, think egrets, cormorants, apple trees, crabs (blue and horseshoe), and bridges, all a mere 10 minutes from oh-so-groovy Smith Street. The channel has a smart pumping station and, at Carroll… More >>
  • Best Beach

    Manhattan Beach

    Near the eastern verge of Coney Island lies MANHATTAN BEACH, the most obscure beach on the peninsula, sporting its own miniature boardwalk. A profusion of clean sand is bordered by an unbroken arc of beach structures that feature changing rooms and a dinky snack bar, with none of the commercial sprawl that characterizes Coney or Brighton (although it, too, was… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Fort Tryon

    Central Park lives up to its name; Prospect Park is a fine one. Morningside Park is nice before dark, but I prefer FORT TRYON. Pack your hamper with citified goodies, scale the A to Washington Heights, and then unpack it on one of the benches near the heather garden (a riot of color in the spring and some of the… More >>
  • Best Place to Take a Shit in Midtown

    ESPN Zone, The View, Rue 57

    No location is more worthy of taking a dump than midtown; yet, for the average pedestrian consumed in the frantic, decimating rush of the bowel, worthy locations are hard to find. Despair? No more! In the panic, dip into ESPN ZONE (4 Times Square Plaza, 921-3776). Don't think twice outside or wait in line. Head straight to the back. Don't… More >>
  • Best Park for Contemplation

    UN Plaza

    The international style of the UN PLAZA emanates cold-war Technicolor nostalgia—you half expect to see Cary Grant dash past on his way to Mt. Rushmore. But maybe he's just escaping one of the USSR's final gifts to mankind, a truly loopy pastiche of social-sur/realist sculpture entitled (we kid you not) "Good Defeats Evil," depicting an equestrian Saint George trampling SS-20… More >>
  • Best Impromptu Block Parties

    South Williamsburg

    The long outer-borough tradition of chilling on stoops and sidewalks remains strong thanks to SOUTH WILLIAMSBURG's sizable Puerto Rican and Dominican populations. Kegs, grills, and salsa-blasting sound systems attract crowds, but a couple of overturned milk crates and bodega beers are enough to draw clumps of people out of hot, cramped apartments. Meanwhile, I don't know any of the mostly… More >>
  • Best Place to Eat Mushrooms

    Central Park's Northeast Corner

    CENTRAL PARK'S NORTHEAST CORNER is a little piece of heaven. If you're tripping, that is. Sitting high on the grassy, needle-strewn hill, you can watch light glint off the ripples in the pond below, and . . . well, one time when a buddy and I were there, this homeless dude who had a dog tried to get these adult… More >>
  • Second Best Place to Eat Mushrooms

    Museum of Modern Art

    Okay, your closet is probably as good a place as any. But the sections of Claude Monet's "Water Lilies" on display at the MUSEUM OF MODERN ART encapsulate the two most important aspects of altered perception: 1) the centrality of nature and 2) ordinary things looking weird. Of course, "nature" exists only as a utopian ideal, and mind expansion is… More >>
  • Best Tree

    Camperdown Elm Tree

    Located just southeast of the Victorian Boat House in Prospect Park, the CAMPERDOWN ELM TREE, with its seemingly supine limbs and its cascading leaves, has served as a source of inspiration for some of New York City's most celebrated artists, poets, and writers. Presented as a gift to the park on National Arbor Day, 1872, it's still listed as the… More >>
  • Greatest Gargoyles

    Green-Wood Cemetery

    The list of celebrities buried there—Lola Montez, Leonard Bernstein, Currier & Ives, Joey Gallo, Samuel F.B. Morse, and Peter Cooper, to name a few—rivals any cemetery in the world, but the best reason to visit Brooklyn's GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY is the sumptuous landscaping and screwy funerary sculptures. Enter the Gothic gate and be drawn upward through the rolling hills as if… More >>
  • Best Indian Caves

    Inwood Hill Park

    Most of INWOOD HILL PARK is wilderness, reclaimed by nature from wealthy estates built in the early 19th century. A pair of massive ridges provides a mini-mountainscape, and from their summits one can catch glimpses of University Heights and Marble Hill across the Harlem River. In the valley between these ridges is a suite of Indian caves, used as hunting… More >>
  • Nicest Place to Buy Gardening Supplies

    Garden Shop at the Horticultural Societ of New York

    The GARDEN SHOP AT THE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY OF NEW YORK not only sells pruners, misters, orchid food, trowels, pots, bonsai tool sets, Japanese tea garden sets, bamboo stakes, aprons, shears, seeds, gardening starting kits for children, beautiful gift cards, and fragrant, nubby "Gardener's Soap" for only $3.50 (a favorite), but also stocks—aside from, of course, gorgeous exotic plants and flowers… More >>
  • Best Dog Run

    Madison Square Park

    They come in all shapes, forms, and colors: the humans. They believe they are the center of the world, each name unique, each distinct whistle a call home. We like to keep it that way as long as they keep bringing us to MADISON SQUARE PARK. You see, they meet new friends, greet old ones, sit on the green benches,… More >>
  • Best Rat Watching

    Union Square

    Rats love two kinds of places best: parks and subway tunnels. Both are full of great hiding places and abundant sources of delicious garbage. UNION SQUARE, a park perched atop a large subway intersection like a cherry on a parfait, is as popular with Rattus norwegicus as the nearby Coffee Shop is with the trendy set. What's more, all the… More >>
  • Best Street Hockey

    Black Top Street Hockey

    Not nearly as bloody as their Web site would lead you to believe (the skull-and-cross-sticks insignia, the seeping red stains every time you click on an icon), BLACK TOP STREET HOCKEY provides summer fun for angry, albeit uncoordinated hipsters. (As the site reads, street hockey is "a sport that requires very little athletic skill but a lot of pent-up aggression… More >>
  • Best Place to Bust Out the Four-Wheel Skates, Knee-High Socks, and Picked-Out 'Fro

    Key Skate and Dance Center

    When did going to a roller-skating rink in knee-highs and four-wheel skates start generating the same level of enthusiasm as, say, bowling? At the 32,000-square-foot KEY SKATE AND DANCE CENTER, the hip-hop DJ is amazing, skates are for rent if you don't have your own, and the rink itself is the sort of place you visit with friends when you… More >>
  • Best Casual Ice-Skating

    Wollman Rink

    Central Park's diorama-like WOLLMAN RINK is no secret, and sometimes it gets so crowded that it's more fun to watch the claustrophobia from the postcard vantage point of the promenade above. But what grounds this rink's exquisite landscaping and crystalline snow-globe exterior is the dim and cruddy snack bar, "pro shop," and cozy little lounge area by the lockers. It… More >>
  • Best Batting Cages

    Batting Cages at the Astoria Sports Complex

    Though blessed only with Single A talents, we get a major-league thrill from the BATTING CAGES AT THE ASTORIA SPORTS COMPLEX. Twenty-five bucks and an obligatory helmet grant you an hour to slug away (swish! swish!) at anything from fat, ambling softballs to trim and deadly fastballs. We swear on a pile of batting gloves that nothing in this world… More >>
  • Best Pinball Game

    Cactus Canyon at Ace Bar

    If a pinball palace suddenly sprung up containing Theater of Magic, Cirque Voltaire, Funhouse, and other faves, this multiball Miss might have a better receptacle for her quarters, but until such a glorious day dawns, she'll keep feeding them into CACTUS CANYON AT ACE BAR. Fifty cents buys you a generous five balls, the action of the flippers is excellent,… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    Slate Restaurant Bar Billiard

    SLATE RESTAURANT BAR BILLIARD is not your average worn-felt warped-cue three-quarters-style pool hall. The two loftlike floors house pristine, competition-sized tables with enough space between, so you're not forced to sexually assault someone on your break shot. Photographs take the place of the usual smoke-stained white walls, and if you wander far enough back, you could mistake the whole thing… More >>
  • Best Carny

    Jeff of Coney Island's Bushel Baskets

    In our poor, benighted age, when the average carny is—like as not—a relatively well-scrubbed collegiate, we must remember that classic carnies still walk among us. I noticed JEFF OF CONEY ISLAND'S BUSHEL BASKETS two summers ago, not only for his silver shirt and extraordinary mouthful of teeth (worthy of the British), but also for his banter, craftiness, aura of gentle… More >>
  • Best Rickety Joyride

    B & B Carousell

    The truly sad news is that Michael Saltzstein—the handsome, stoic, white-haired owner-operator of Coney Island's gorgeous, historic B & B CAROUSELL—died in his sleep this past Fourth of July. For only $2.50, the carousel offers ancient wooden horses you really have to be athletic to climb, a no-joke carny assistant hissing "sweetheart," good tunes, mirrors everywhere for throwing spreads if… More >>
  • Best Public Pool

    Hamilton Fish Recreational Center

    "The water's a little cloudy," says a lifeguard at the HAMILTON FISH RECREATIONAL CENTER, "but it's really the cleanest public pool in Manhattan." The city has spent millions renovating this historic pool, which opened during the Great Depression and was a training ground for the U.S. Olympic team before they competed in Helsinki in 1952. Now big-bellied men waddle around… More >>
  • Best Place to Surf (Yeah, on a Surfboard)

    Far Rockaway

    On 87th Street near the worn beach houses in FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens, there's a miracle happening at least three times a week: surf in New York City. This ain't your average surf spot or your average collection of surfers. The waves, sometimes upwards of five to six feet during storm season, attract all kinds, from kids ditching public school to… More >>
  • Best Place to Bathe With Old Russian Men

    Russian Turkish Baths

    In a dimly lit arena of saunas, burly Russian regulars outfitted in complimentary shorts and slippers stare absently at you from underneath a heat-induced haze. In fact, there is only one actual bath at the RUSSIAN TURKISH BATHS—a 50-degree, oversized communal tub intended for post-sweat dunks. The rest of the "wash, wash, sweat, sweat" regime occurs mostly in the Russian… More >>
  • Best Place to Lose Your Mind

    Village Chess Shop

    Ease the mind with a friendly game of speed chess at the VILLAGE CHESS SHOP, where you can play and smoke and fart and brag about the girlfriends you never had and avoid the vices of your choice. Drink, drugs, dames; misfortune, malady, madness. Chess here is the antidote, the wonder pill that takes away time. Think: For only one… More >>
  • Best Golfing

    Corona Park's Flushing Meadows Golf

    It was a Sunday afternoon when Luis discovered he had a knack for golf. Like that, without even thinking about it, he stumbled onto a course, rented some clubs, paid the yearly permit fee, and spent a total of $20 for the whole adventure. What Luis liked most about CORONA PARK'S FLUSHING MEADOWS GOLF was the amicable attitude of the… More >>
  • Best Illegal Mountain Biking

    South Mountain Reservation

    Imagine almost 20 miles of classic Eastern single-track-narrow, wooded, rocky, rooted trails carved into the sides of steep little microhills—only 12 miles from the Empire State Building. Sounds like a mountain biker's nirvana? Nirvana, yes, but Kurt Cobain's dead. You see, mountain biking in New Jersey's SOUTH MOUNTAIN RESERVATION is illegal, banned by a turn-of-the-last-century law designed to keep horse… More >>
  • Best Chance to Earn a World Ranking

    Racquet and Tennis Club

    It's the ultimate extension of the big fish-small pool theory. How do you become one of the top 1000 court tennis players in the world? By picking up one of the lopsided wooden rackets and hitting one of the rock-hard, hand-stitched balls. According to educated estimates, there are maybe 500 players of this funky, old game worldwide. But don't worry… More >>
  • Best Reason to Reach for the Mylanta

    Ben's Annual Mid-Winter Matzoh-Ball Eating Contest

    The world of competitive eating will never be the same. After 131-pound Takeru Kobayashi nearly doubled the world record at the Nathan's Famous hot-dog-eating contest by downing 50 dogs in 12 minutes, sport gluttons everywhere began to realize that anything's possible. The next frontier? BEN'S ANNUAL MID-WINTER MATZOH-BALL EATING CONTEST. This January, could Kobayashi break the magic thirteen-ball barrier currently… More >>
  • Best Pro-Sports Bang for Your Buck

    NY Liberty

    What do you want in a sports team, anyway? Value? You can get in to see the NY LIBERTY for eight bucks. Physical convenience to the games? They play at Madison Square Garden. A reasonable chance that your team's going to win? They've been solid this year—second in the league, at press time. How about crowd reaction? Yankees/Mets fans are… More >>
  • Best Place to Holler

    Belmont Park

    This is also the best place to watch cockeyed optimists turn into cursing miscreants in less than two minutes. Oh, the racetrack! No, not America's excuse to see a car crash; I'm talking about horsies. A typical day at BELMONT PARK features nine races, about 25 minutes apart. They've got picnic grounds, too (though it's hard to eat with all… More >>
  • Best Baseball Museum

    Yogi Berra Museum

    Because of his postmodern use of the English language, Yogi Berra has become more of an icon to linguists—and humor columnists—than to baseball fans. But one gander at the 11 championship rings on display at the resolutely shtick-free YOGI BERRA MUSEUM will remind you that the Yogster also stakes claim to the best-catcher-of-all-time title. Besides displaying the mitt with which… More >>
  • Best Baseball Stadium to See a Future Hall of Famer for Under $20

    Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George

    You relate more to spending upwards of $50 to see a baseball game than to your grandfather's stories of paying a mere 25 cents, so it may come as a shock that there's still a way to enjoy a day at the ballpark sans second mortgage. At the RICHMOND COUNTY BANK BALLPARK AT ST. GEORGE, tickets to see the Yankees'… More >>
  • Best Insight Into the Sad Facts of Hitting

    Desi Relaford, Robin Ventura

    We learn the most about the things we struggle to master. In a season of hitting woes, the New York Mets have had ample opportunity to reflect upon the mysteries of hitting a small speeding ball with a wooden stick in such a way that none of nine opposing defenders can catch it. After one of the Mets' many disappointing… More >>
  • Best Soccer Bar

    McCormack's Pub and Restaurant

    In England, each Saturday afternoon from August through May, hundreds of thousands cram the nation's stadia to cheer the local side. It may only be 10 a.m. over here, but at MCCORMACK'S PUB AND RESTAURANT the Guinness is guzzled and Irish breakfasts are wolfed down while the games are beamed in live via satellite. There are a few other soccer… More >>
  • Best Hockey Bar


    Don't bother asking the bartenders at MCHALES to turn the TV to the Knicks game. "Everyplace else watches basketball," says owner Jimmy McHale. "We're totally hockey here." McHale was a junior hockey teammate of Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Mullen, who, with his brother Brian, amazingly rose from the West Side's asphalt roller-hockey rinks to the NHL. Despite the always… More >>
  • Best Place to Indulge Your Inner Accessory Whore

    There's something wholly irresistible about a blue Afro wig—especially when it's priced at a bargain-basement 20 bucks. Such nods to the short-lived nature of style are the idea behind GIRLPROPS.COM, a haven for all things glittery, glitzy, and cheap that recently opened a third branch. There's something under the zebra-print awning for the ironic glamster as well as the CosmoGirl… More >>
  • Best Club to Relive That Obnoxious Coked-Up '80s Vibe


    The boring facade at the PARK doesn't really tip you off to the faux glamorous people on the inside, and if you walked right by without going in, you wouldn't miss anything. The wood and fur-rug interiors, and especially the over-the-top V.I.P. room's bathroom sink (made to look like a giant penis with balls), will give you Miami Vice flashbacks.… More >>
  • Best Free All-'80s-All-The-Time Jukebox

    The Charleston

    "Chuck E. Cheese for grown-ups, complete with bad pizza," says my friend Dave of THE CHARLESTON (there tend to be lots of balloons, too). But he's not complaining. He did, after all, get to put "Lady in Red"—the worst song ever!—on the jukebox, for absolutely free. Simple pleasures, eh? Right, like Lionel Richie, Kim Carnes, Chaka Khan, Foreigner, Blondie, Cyndi… More >>
  • Best Generic jukebox

    Cedar Tavern - CLOSED

    Feeding coins into CEDAR TAVERN's upstairs jukebox is the musical equivalent of playing sports: The overarching narrative is always the same, even as the details change. To wit: You may regard "Buffalo Soldier" (or "Heart of Glass," or "Going Mobile") as a home run. Naturally, about half of the drunken crowd agrees. There is a common bond thusly formed, although… More >>
  • Best Way to Drill 'Have You Never Been Mellow' Into Your Head

    Dance Dance Revolution

    DDR, as aficionados call DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION, is the best arcade game in the world—you play it by dancing, matching your footsteps to moves displayed on a screen. (Really good players get propositioned a lot, which is not generally true of, say, Street Fighter 2 sharks.) You get very used to the easiest levels' curious mix of songs if you're… More >>
  • Best Karaoke MC

    Magic Mike

    On Friday nights at 11 p.m., MAGIC MIKE starts working the crowd at the Backyard. He circulates through this sorta-swanky Williamsburg restaurant and bar, boisterously chatting up and charming customers. Most of his new friends give in and request a song, if only to please their good-natured host. Besides, it's free. To get things going, Mike belts out a Tom… More >>
  • Best Place to Pull Over and 'See' the Music When the Car Radio Reception is Muddy

    Free 103.9 Radio

    In an innocuous, live-in space, DJ Dizzy and folks at community oriented FREE 103.9 RADIO in Williamsburg not only microcast free-form record dropping and pertinent 'Burg info, but also send out live, (literally) underground music that one can also witness in the flesh. One floor houses a cute stage; the other has a relaxed living room feel for between sets.… More >>
  • Best Way to Hear Canadian Music

    Far Too Canadian

    "More Than Just Loon Calls and Moose Music, Eh?" is the slogan of FAR TOO CANADIAN, transplanted Torontonian and Barnard College student Veronica Liu's weekly WBAR musical celebration of all things Canuck. Her playlists cover more ground than the Nunavut territory, ranging from usual suspects Tragically Hip and the Guess Who to obscurities like nth digri and the Inbreds, not… More >>
  • Best Dance Club at Which to be Korean

    Club MK

    Are you of Korean heritage, or really, really, really good friends with lots of Korean people? CLUB MK attracts young, sexy Korean couples and single professionals with its lit-from-below dancefloor, expensive drink system (a/k/a "bottle service"), and large booth-seating arrangement that surrounds the dance area. Korean dance, house, trance, and hip-hop play in 45-minute sets, followed by a few slow… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant for Grubbing a Tostada While Listening to Norteño

    Baja California Grill

    There's just something about eating a mountainous tostada loaded with juicy tomatoes, lettuce, frijoles, and magic green sauce while listening to northern Mexico's accordion, cumbia, or bolero version of polka music. At BAJA CALIFORNIA GRILL, one can swallow jalapeños to the beat: Enjoy good ol' Los Tigres del Norte and Grupo Limite Norteño tales of border crossings and drug smuggling… More >>
  • Best Soundtrack for Scarfing Nachos

    Teddy's Bar and Grill

    Chow down on a heaping plate of nachos (a perfect size to share with one other person) and guzzle frozen margaritas beneath classy-ish stained glass and antique mirrors. But wait, at TEDDY'S BAR AND GRILL, it gets better: You're scarfing along to Nuggets. The Human Beinz never went so well with dense cheese, generous guacamole and sour cream, jalapeño slices,… More >>
  • Best Nightclub Service


    Although the shows at FEINSTEIN'S begin at 8:30, best to order your exquisite meal by about 7:30 p.m. No clinking glasses or chattering patrons here: Service comes to a halt during the show. All chairs face forward. Then every eye in the place focuses on Rosemary Clooney, Cleo Laine, or some equally gracious performer. And the wait staff actually waits… More >>
  • Best Place to Rhythmically Upchuck Your Brunch

    Revival at Lulu's Cafe Lounge

    Ever think, whilst munching your Eggs Norwegian at 2 some Sunday afternoon: "I wish there was a DJ spinning deep progressive house right now" No? Well, the Futuremusic crew of REVIVAL AT LULU'S CAFE LOUNGE did. And what they've developed is, as they put it, some "Sunday Brunch Sessions." Watch the fuck out, Ibiza! NYC is on its way! We… More >>
  • Best Place to get Dancer Blue Balls


    For anyone with a little life in them, the lounge is the most crap development in nightlife. It means no more dance exorcism of personal demons, no mind-body connection on a dancefloor driven by bass, no flirting with some hot rhythmic motherfucker across the way. Instead, lounge patrons are treated to sitting on their ass, wearing uncomfortable high-fashion shoes, and… More >>
  • Best Lesbian Rock Bar

    Meow Mix

    Though definitely underrated, MEOW MIX always seems to be popping up in movies (or was it just All Over Me? Wait, Chasing Amy?) Since it's relatively easy to get a show, new bands get solid experience here (and like the unintimidating floor space and good acoustics). And the range of ladies: "From the oh so femme, to the oh so… More >>
  • Best Place to see Hot Black Lesbians 'Privately' Re-Create Sordid Dancehall Videos

    Bar D'O

    On a superficial note, BAR D'O is consistently packed with hotties. Tight pants, staring almond eyes, manicured nails, and a martini glass at 12 o'clock; do-rag, LL lips, jogging pants, and athletic tank top at 2; cowry shell necklace, tight half-top, rocker low-slung belt, and jeans at 7. This may be the only venue that the cabaret law actually helps,… More >>
  • Best Club With a Really Appropriate Name


    Gay clubs can get away with so much, it's just not fair. You'll never see a straight dance club called Great Place to Pick Up Chicks or Hot Pussy Here, but the gay boys don't dick around. Hence, the most appropriately named club in the city: COCK. With nasty back rooms (who knows what goes on) and sleazy stage shows,… More >>
  • Best Annoying Name for a Basement Club Addition


    Being situated in the basement of the "it" club with an equally confounding name (can anyone please decipher what "Centro-Fly" actually means?) gives the PINKY automatic hip status. But the unrelenting need to add the word room to the title will get you a lashing from the owners, who insist, without irony, "It's the Pinky!" It's all pink, get it?… More >>
  • Best Classically Based (Though They Might program Anything) Festival

    Lincoln Center Festival

    In the past season alone, the LINCOLN CENTER FESTIVAL debuted Luci Mie Traditrici, a collaboration between Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino and choreographer Trisha Brown; Edda: Viking Tales of Lust, Revenge, and Family by Benjamin Bagby and Ping Chong; and White Raven, the new opera by Philip Philip Philip Philip (do I need to have the laser on my CD player… More >>
  • Most Monomaniacal Operatic Achievement

    Vincent La Selva

    Over the past seven years, through Summer Stage's "Viva Verdi" festival, conductor VINCENT LA SELVA has led the New York Grand Opera in all 28 of Verdi's magnificent creations. The staging may have been less than the Met's hefty productions, one of few opera options, but so was the price tag: free. And Aida, Otello, and Falstaff proved the conductor,… More >>
  • Best Classical-Concert-Programming Eccentricities

    Eos Orchestra

    Taking the name of a Greek Goddess seems like something an orchestra that takes itself too seriously might do. Fortunately, that's not the case with the EOS ORCHESTRA, named for the goddess of the dawn. Eos fills in the original context of Copland's From Sorcery to Science: the 1939 World's Fair, in the Hall of Pharmacy, complete with puppets, with… More >>
  • Best Place to Hear Contemporary Classical Music

    Miller Theatre

    Faster than a speeding octet. More powerful than Reich's Tehillim. Able to leap Antheil's Airplane Sonata in a single bound. It's the man of steel, George Steel, programming superhero for Columbia's MILLER THEATRE. When last we saw the classical crusader, he brought us an antidote for Mostly (too much) Mozart: Berio and Battistelli, Musto and Messiaen, not to mention maverick… More >>
  • Best Place to Bliss Out on a Carpet

    La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela's Dream House

    Of course you could repose in the splendor of your own home, but you ain't gonna come anywhere near nirvana unless you have four wall-sized speakers blasting full-volume sine tones at you. Now going on its eighth year in Tribeca, LA MONTE YOUNG AND MARIAN ZAZEELA'S DREAM HOUSE is the place to be for the spiritually wayward and weary. After… More >>
  • Best Club Memoir

    Live at the Village Vanguard

    Hard to say which is better: the story in LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD, or the witty prose of its author, Max Gordon (1901-91), also the beloved club owner. He first set up shop on Charles Street in 1935, but quickly tired of playing traffic cop: The room had a single exit and only one toilet. The venue would move… More >>
  • Best Self-Help Service for Unknowns

    World Music Institute

    Don't let anyone tell you "world music" is the Next Big Thing. It's several, and WORLD MUSIC INSTITUTE has them all covered, catering to the multiplying tastes of the mixing-bowl metropolis. The institute is tucked away in a combination cubbyhole and treasure-house of international recordings and books for sale, but for this connections-conscious org all New York's a stage. In… More >>
  • Best Polyrhythmic School Assemblies

    NYU's Institute of African-American Affairs

    Each year, free to the public and first-come, first-served, NYU'S INSTITUTE OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN AFFAIRS sends influential black artists back to school to give seminars; meet with students, faculty, and outside agitators; and do what they do best onstage, whether playing music, slamming poetry, or acting. Last year's highlight was an impromptu concert summit between Afropop giant and artist in residence… More >>
  • Best Jazz Lecture Series

    Jazz Insights

    Arnold J. Smith might not immediately jump out at you in a crowd, but his signature bolo ties and broad-brimmed hats definitely set him apart. The same holds true for his lecture series JAZZ INSIGHTS at the New School, now in its 23rd year. Although this journalist, publicist, and local jazz hero boasts many stories of his own, he yields… More >>
  • Best Jazz Tour

    Queens Jazz Trail

    "I am here with the black people," Louis Armstrong once said, "with the Puerto Rican people, the Italian people, the Hebrew cats, and there's food in the Frigidaire. What else could I want?" Like many jazz luminaries—Gillespie, Basie, Coltrane, Holiday, the Adderley brothers—Armstrong settled in Queens during the 1940s, a comfortably diverse locale in an era of segregation. While much… More >>
  • Best Chamber Music Afloat

    Barge Music

    The intimate, floating concert hall BARGE MUSIC makes its home on a former coffee barge for the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, yet another successful New York marriage between art and retired industrial spaces. A fireplace, sunsets over lower Manhattan, and superb musicians add the atmosphere. Performances tend toward standard classical repertory: Brahms, Mozart, and Debussy, with all-Beethoven and all-Schumann programs in… More >>
  • Best Nautical Techno

    Frying Pan

    Formerly submerged and abandoned in the Chesapeake Bay, the FRYING PAN, amid other renovations, has been equipped with 100 amps for a crew of sweaty dancers to board. Set back from the swanky sports complex Chelsea Piers and overlooking the Hudson, the Frying Pan serves as a club alternative for salsa and drum'n'bass experts, benefit parties, and big-name DJs. The… More >>
  • Best DJ Setup for Playing Out


    Even though the hype for HALCYON comes mostly from patrons who love the café's tasty munchies, weird wine and beer list, mid-century kitschy furniture, and tidy record store, DJs really like it because it's like playing at home, only better. Two crisp-sounding monitors, a CD player, good needles, a clean, wide-open work area for tossing records around, a captive audience,… More >>
  • Best Sound System for Sale


    Despite Twilo's vigil, the only thing we're crying for is the loss of its amazing, immaculate sound system. So good was Twilo's PHAZON that jocks Sasha and Digweed would frequently leave their posts mid-set and run to the middle of the floor to hear their favorite record play properly. Though U.K. clubs' systems might rival Twilo's, in New York and… More >>
  • Best Hardcore House Head Night

    Be Yourself

    With no drunk idiots, dress codes, and pretenses, Danny Tenaglia's Friday-night BE YOURSELF parties are always about the music. The night may flirt with early-'80s synth washes, it might stutter along with Missy Elliott's newest breaks, or it could hammer away incessantly until the revolution explodes at its peak. Any which way, it's trademark Tenaglia—a mix of heavy percussion, long… More >>
  • Best Rave Promoter

    Stuck on Earth

    Most rave promoters need really big flyers to get your attention, because their lineup is so wack: You'd rather just use the poster-sized waste of trees to line your cat box. But Chris and Jeff of STUCK ON EARTH don't have to resort to such tactics: They consistently bring top-notch talent that real music-heads—as opposed to E-heads—love. Thanks to their… More >>
  • Best Old-School NYC Club Promoters

    Giant Step

    In this fly-by-night culture, staying power is impressive. It's even more impressive if quality and integrity stay intact as well. So the GIANT STEP folks, who are over a decade old now, deserve props for hanging on through the thick and thin of NYC nightlife—they've been around before the cabaret/Giuliani debacle, and they'll be around long, long after. Bolstered by… More >>
  • Best Way to Organize Upcoming Shows

    Johnny Beach

    At age 15, young music buff JOHNNY BEACH resolved to get himself organized. He consulted all of the local music listings like the Voice and Time Out, and he put together a simple preview-free list of upcoming shows from which he could determine his personal picks. Generous soul that he is, he shared the list with a few buddies, e-mailing… More >>
  • Best Corporate Sponsorship Holdout

    Madison Square Garden

    Only a few other venues across the country—like the holiest of holies, Red Rocks—could share this honor with MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. What with corporate America's propensity toward territorial pissing, there's not much left to mark. And to make matters worse, companies like Verizon and Tweeter are buying multiple arenas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will soon play in Heinz Field, and the… More >>
  • Best Bluegrass in a Synagogue

    Congregation Darech Amuno

    Following kabala class, "pleasantly Orthodox" synagogue CONGREGATION DARECH AMUNO offers congregants, neighbors, and passersby hours of riveting, energetic, upbeat American roots music. A troupe of talented musicians commands this narrow, ornate chapel, steered by mandolin virtuoso Andy Statman. Everyone strains forward in their pew, absorbed in the improvised bursts of frenetic, impassioned strumming. Masterminding the event is Herman, the synagogue's… More >>
  • Best Comfort in a Concert-Going Experience

    Bowery Ballroom

    Great ventilation system, even better sound system. Never oversold, so never too crowded. Close to subways and Chinese restaurants. Clear sight lines. Clean bathrooms. Two bars, a dark, funky downstairs chill area, and an ornate balcony. I've never had a complaint with the BOWERY BALLROOM, except for that one time last fall when there was a fire alarm and they… More >>
  • Best Rock-Club Lounge to Hang Out in Instead of Watching Bands Upstairs

    Irving Plaza

    Hopefully the band playing upstairs isn't crappy, since you probably paid $30 to see them, but if you find yourself with some downtime while at IRVING PLAZA, say, during one of those awful "experimental" films they show in between sets, be sure to check out the lounge. Located behind and to the right of the entrance lobby, and directly in… More >>
  • Best Bathroom in a Music Venue

    Hammerstein Ballroom

    The ladies' room at HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM is bigger than most apartments. There's rarely an unbearable line. It's always clean. But the clincher is the wonderful lounge-like entryway. There's plenty of wall space to sit and lean against, whether you're just tired or too drunk to stand. Plus, it's a great place to meet guys.… More >>
  • Best NYC Rock Club That Isn't in NYC


    Jersey and the commute over there won't seem so bad once you've made the trek to sleepy Hoboken: Intimate, homey, and not particularly fashion-conscious, MAXWELL'S is the comfy sweatpants to the constricting leather trousers of Manhattan's sweaty dens of iniquity. Folk warblers and hardcore bonecrushers can be equally electrifying up on the small stage, shows are pretty cheap and all… More >>
  • Best Club to Corner Band Members

    Mercury Lounge

    You're at the MERCURY LOUNGE and you've just seen the best show ever. There could be a couple hundred fellow fans in front of the stage, so think ahead; stand guard somewhere by the bar, which allows for about five feet between frenzied drinkers and the wall. You can either catch (insert rock idol here) at the bottleneck from the… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet the DJ (For Free)


    Nightlifers always want to complain, but let's put our foot down: GUERNICA is fucking cool. Paying no cover is an instant icebreaker, as is the whole through-the-looking-glass scenario of gliding past the restaurant and descending into the beat-infested world below. The space is intimate without being low energy. Big names pop in for techno, drum'n'bass, and 2step, and attitude is… More >>
  • Best Place to See Rock for Free

    Luna Lounge

    Now that Arlene Grocery is (usually) charging, nearby LUNA LOUNGE is just the ticket for cheapskates—any live music. Walk past the fratty foosball table, grab a snakebite at the longish bar, and head toward the comfy back room performance space. As far as bookings go, expect to sometimes get what you pay for, but at least the mix is eclectic.… More >>
  • Best Place to Hear Free Music Outdoors

    Central Park's 72nd Street Traverse

    SummerStage is right around the bend, but CENTRAL PARK'S 72ND STREET TRAVERSE is a bewildering cornucopia. You never know who or what is going to show up to perform for spare change: Percussion ensembles, jazz bands, bucket drummers, folkies, hotshot guitarists, classical trios, break-dancers, bagpipers, kora pluckers, and a Mad Max violinist can be found at various times/places (though not… More >>
  • Best Ass-Kicking Gospel for a Dollar

    Abyssinian Baptist Church

    Just like what we whiteys see on TV: a small, neat crowd of black people dressed in sparkling garments, standing near an altar, wailing about Jesus or the Holy Spirit. ABYSSINIAN BAPTIST CHURCH's Chancel Choir is in full throttle Sunday morning for the congregation and tourists who line up around the Harlem block early just to get in. The performances… More >>
  • Best Club at Which to go Atheist


    Walking into church-cum-club LIMELIGHT is like accepting Satan's reign. Hanging, crucified-looking disco-mirrored bodies grace the main room ceiling above the stage. When you stare up at it in the middle of some DJ set or performance, you realize God is gone. Upstairs, the alluring H.R. Gieger room is full of sexy, glowing demons and red velour and continues to nudge… More >>
  • Best Mysterious Pawned-Instrument Shop

    Bargain Stop

    It's called the BARGAIN STOP, but the bargains are few. For the most part the merch is obsolete, overpriced, and occasionally just off. $799 seems exorbitant for a pawned bass guitar, even if Jaco Pastorius sweated on it once, which is doubtful. Their new smaller digs on West 35th Street have slimmed their stock; gone are the Marshall stacks and… More >>
  • Best Acoustic Instrument Shop

    Mandolin Brothers

    When Joni Mitchell wrote, "I went to Staten Island, Sharon, and bought myself a mandolin," she documented the pilgrimage to MANDOLIN BROTHERS made by thousands. For almost 25 years, they've occupied the same squatty building stocked with acoustic goodies. Get comfy with a plunky, open-back banjo—no Deliverance jokes, please—or a 1965 longneck Pete Seeger model by Vega. Business seems particularly… More >>
  • Best Store for Cute Guitar Straps

    Built by Wendy

    If someone gave me a guitar strap BUILT BY WENDY, I'd feel compelled to learn to play. Straps are supershiny vinyl, adjustable and extra long, and come in 16 colors. They have leather tabs and color pictures (you choose the theme) framed by glitter: Green with horses? Blue with insects? Or you can send Wendy your own pictures for an… More >>
  • Best Band T-Shirts

    Generation Records

    At GENERATION RECORDS, you can find that elusive Limp Bizkit windbreaker, Earth Crisis tops resembling PETA propaganda, or a tee that reads "COOTER" in lightning letters across the front. The shirt declaring "What's in my heart goes to my grave" references not ladies, but straight edge. The things kids rock on about these days!… More >>
  • Best Place to Coordinate a Wardrobe to Go With Your CD Collection

    Beacon's Closet

    At the tip of the tail of the hip strip that is Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, the clothing hound within you can meld with your inner DJ. BEACON'S CLOSET sandwiches a surprisingly well-stocked CD section between two much larger rooms packed with stylish resale wear. The buyers use a mysterious logic to select garments—don't expect to unload all your old… More >>
  • Best New Record-Geek-Trend Club Night

    Transmission's '80-'81 Post-Punk Revival

    There was a moment, about 20 years ago, when good disco and good underground rock were pretty much the same thing. It took a while for the 99 Records-Italian electro-Martin Hannett continuum to come back into fashion, but it's finally hip again. Monday nights at Plant Bar's TRANSMISSION'S '80-'81 POST-PUNK REVIVAL, Dan Selzer spins all that stuff and more. He… More >>
  • Best New Arrival to NYC

    Out Hud

    Sacramento transplants OUT HUD (who overlap with the also-mighty band named !!!) are doing something nobody else here is doing: dense, pungent instrumental groove-wave with a bold hand on a mixing board full of dub effects. At a kickass Knitting Factory gig recently, they evoked New Order in the "Perfect Kiss" video: clean electronics and dirty electricity rubbing up against… More >>
  • Best Entertainer for an Impromptu Bachelorette Party

    The Naked Cowboy

    With just a guitar, a 10-gallon hat, boots, and a pair of briefs, THE NAKED COWBOY croons and struts his way into the hearts of repressed suburban ladies (and gents?) touring Times Square. John Robert Burck's act seems more blues-rock than his country aspirations, but that may be because of the long blond hair that flows lusciously over his bulging… More >>
  • Best Band to Belong on Mars


    Just the stage setup of the electronic pop trio ZIA makes it clear these brainy earth babes are coming from a galaxy far, far away. And now they've got a boy, too: Geeky goth kid Matt Dallow recently joined "Blue Liz" Lysinger and founder Elaine Walker, who serves as president of the New York City Chapter of the National Space… More >>
  • Best Reason to Scratch One's Head

    Avey Tare & Panda Bear

    The Animal Collective comprise the most confusing musicians to have hit the city in quite a while—originally from Baltimore, they might as well be from a clamshell or a juniper patch. They're usually billed as AVEY TARE & PANDA BEAR, though their new CD is labeled only as Danse Manatee (Catsup Plate); like most of their productions, it's a sparkly… More >>
  • Best Venue to Find Scary Baby Punks

    ABC No Rio

    Weird thing about being the shit is how easily people who don't give a shit can pull your cool out from under you—like a pack of 13-year-old, green-haired, jack-booted girls who start ironically moshing in the middle of a comfortingly sober hardcore matinee at ABC NO RIO and smash your elbow and make you grab it and wince and think,… More >>
  • Best Punk Record Store

    Sound and Fury

    The fact that tiny outlet SOUND AND FURY's name comes from William Faulkner's "flawed masterpiece"—an experimental novel written in part from the point of view of a mentally disabled gelding—is fucking punk rock to begin with. And it's not as if the name signifies nothing, either: Look here first for dissonant, underground hardcore drama old and new, and all the… More >>
  • Best Metal Store

    Bleecker Bob's - CLOSED

    The somewhat pricey used vinyl spans the basic funk-reggae-rock'n'roll spectrum, as does the new stuff on plastic. But when you get a hankering for, say, Scandinavian black metal in either its pretty or pummeling forms—and I know you frequently must—BLEECKER BOB'S usually does not disappoint.… More >>
  • Best Store for Rare Garage and Psychedelic Imports

    Midnight Records

    Unless you're really familiar with '60s garage, just walking into MIDNIGHT RECORDS could be bewildering. However, don't be afraid to ask the supernice staff what just came out, or to look through the long, easy-to-decipher catalog. Midnight has an amazing collection of import CDs from Japan, Australia, France, Italy, and the U.K., as well as great "limited live" CDs. Plus,… More >>
  • Best Electronic Music Store With a Really High Volume of Patrons Wearing Phat Pants and Baseball Caps and Wielding Glo-Sticks

    Satellite Records - CLOSED

    While other dance-music stores aim for a more specific clientele, SATELLITE RECORDS is the great equalizer. Which can only mean a high proportion of raver-uniformed 16-year-old bedroom DJs with no money who look like they never went to bed. Even after the store moved to its new, glamorously large location, it still looks like a frat house that needs massive… More >>
  • Best Anal-Retentive Record-Sore Filing System

    Sonic Groove

    SONIC GROOVE is the neatest, cleanest record store in all of New York, which makes it, ironically, impossibly hard to shop at. While new releases are displayed in an array across the wall, the back stock and slightly older releases are vertically filed underneath the bins—ask a staff member for what you're looking for, and they'll make like your high… More >>
  • Best Record Shop Imitation of a Library

    Jazz Record Center

    Let's face it: Jazz caters to people already "in the know." So it shouldn't be much of a shock that the best place to shop for rare and out of print gems is one you'd never wander into by chance. The JAZZ RECORD CENTER, in business for over 17 years, occupies a quiet suite on the eighth floor of a… More >>
  • Best Experimental-Noise Record-Store Section

    Mondo Kim's

    The wealth of Japanese imports at MONDO KIM'S reminds us that, world-dominant though its consumer culture may be, America does not have a monopoly on artistic expression. (Europe even beat us to reality television!) But breaking down borders is an artistic pursuit as well as a economic-political one, even if the former is a figuration of the latter. Homegrown cacophony,… More >>
  • Best Used-Vinyl Scavenging

    Salvation Army at 46th Street and Eleventh Avenue

    Now that Colony has yanked its awesome cheap used-vinyl section (and all the fun of going there), this title goes to the SALVATION ARMY AT 46TH STREET AND ELEVENTH AVENUE. The 99-cent records sit right inside the door of the clothing floor, and fit on one long table. It looks meager, but a frequent and patient scavenger can be rewarded… More >>
  • Best Collection of Exotic Odors

    WFMU Record Fair

    You're sure to unearth many hidden treasures at the WFMU RECORD FAIR that you never even knew that you wanted or needed, as you part with your hard-earned cash: comedy and instructional records, speeches, boots, and long out of print rarities alone make this grand recordphile haven worth attending. But beware the many pungent, daylight-deprived souls who just crawled out… More >>
  • Best Comprehensive Street-Stand CD Seller

    Poor Richard's

    Sure, dirt-cheap discs with badly copied covers spread out on a blanket have a certain charm. But sidewalk CD shopping needn't be all copyright infringement and single-genre selection. At press time, POOR RICHARD'S could be found outside Tom's Diner, a couple blocks away from the (gulp) newish Kim's Mediapolis—unless they've moved their truckload of deals on diverse stock (world, jazz,… More >>
  • Best Place to Bump and Grind to Old Hip-Hop and Soul Records

    Frank's Lounge

    Upstairs at Bang the Party folks are having a more hands-in-the-air, feel-the-love sorta thing, but downstairs at FRANK'S LOUNGE is where the bumpin' and grindin' gets truly hairy. It's easy to back that ass up when the DJ faithfully plays "Shake Ya Ass" and "Down With OPP" week after week, interspersing the booty-shaking hip-hop with old school and James Brown.… More >>
  • Best Place to Chill in a Big Leather Couch With Old Junior High Homies and Sing All the r&b You Loved Back in the Day

    Hey Love Party at Tribe

    Higher Ground Collective have fashioned the HEY LOVE PARTY AT TRIBE after a house party in the early '90s, which is ingeniously retro-ahead-of-its-time (why go waaay back when a decade'll do ya?). The Tribe atmosphere is a little bit fancy, but perhaps due to the inviting girth of the leather couches or warm lighting, it maintains an element of coziness.… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're Puffy

    Club New York

    Believe it or not, dressing up in a white suit and lots of gold chains and forcing everyone to call you Puffy makes for an awesome night out. The best place to do this is at CLUB NEW YORK, because the staff goes bananas for it. They love it when fake Puffys strut their stuff on the dancefloor, try to… More >>
  • Best Place to Show Off Your New Cadillac Escalade Before Mackin' the Ladies

    Club NV

    No joke, the outside of CLUB NV is like a motherfucking car show on Wednesday nights. Fools ride by Spring and Hudson on a mission to see and get seen. Blingin' trucks and SUVs are the most popular option, closely followed by all types of tricked-out Mercedeses. If it's not a Lex, it's a Jag; if it's not a Jag,… More >>