Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Garage Rock Radio Show


    As I nurse my weekend's-over hangover, I tune in to the best two hours of music going—LITTLE STEVEN'S UNDERGROUND GARAGE. Steve Van Zandt—musician (Bruce), actor (The Sopranos, dude!), and now DJ—broadcasts his show locally Sunday nights at 10, on Q104.3, mixing blasts from the past like the Searchers' "Needles and Pins," missed should-have-been-classics like "Eye to Eye" from Joan Jett… More >>
  • Best Place for a Metal Medley


    Because its shows range from cheap to free, the CONTINENTAL can get away with featuring any band it wants along the heavy-metal/hard rock/angry-punk spectrum. These bands are serious about playing loud, confrontational rock, so—no matter how much they might have "post-art-rock" or "power pop" inflections—they still writhe on the floor, shake their wild hair, and prevent all forms of conversation… More >>
  • Best Place To Rock Out With Your Cock Out


    Wanna meet cute, keyed-up Williamsburg and East Village girls? Go south, young man. In the most successful demonstration of the power of suggestion since some silly cheese dick started wearing his trucker hat crooked, JOHN STREET BAR AND GRILL—a downtown dump deep in the financial district—has somehow been transformed into "the spot" on Friday nights. Maybe it's because the place… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy Drinks From Minor Punk Rock Royalty


    No, kiddies, don't expect free quaaludes or flying elbow-drops upon entering MANITOBA'S—Handsome Dick has put those days behind him. But you can still hit the Dictators' warbler up for a (stiff) drink when you stop by his place on Saturdays, provided you call him Richard (it's his name) and, oh yeah, give him money (fame doesn't pay the bills). Then… More >>
  • Best Place To See Mulletheads Strut Their Stuff


    Men in ripped T-shirts covered with obscenities, women with hair like Slash, angsty twentysomethings preening their mohawks, your average 40-year-old AC/DC fan—all these people are desperate to rock out. Monday nights at ARLENE GROCERY prove that karaoke needn't be catered solely toward the drunk, off-key love-song crowd. Angry but loyal would-be stars carefully select from the slew of metal and… More >>
  • Best Reason To Get That New Mod Haircut


    Thomas's Beauty Salon, overrun by hipsters nostalgic for beehives and glam, has been successfully converted into a unique loungey theme bar. Metal hair dryers of old hang above the cushy salon chairs that line the length of the bar. Illuminated photos of '50s-esque bobs adorn the walls, alongside lists of manicure prices and dated fashion ads. These preserved salon relics… More >>
  • Best Gnocchi and Mod Rock


    Forget the ol' slice of pizza on the way to a show. If WARSAW is your destination, you're in luck: Between the merch tables in the side room, tasty Polish treats are for sale at prices good enough to eat, so taking a break from the huge ballroom of a main floor doesn't have to be limited to bar or… More >>
  • Best Place To Meet Morrissey Look-Alike Boys


    Not quite a bar, club, or big music venue, DON HILL'S manages instead to be an eclectic mix of all three. There you'll find a swarm of androgynous mod haircuts, outfits so hip they border on the ridiculous, and your usual handful of oblivious bar-goers. Everyone attentively watches the Saturday-night bands, secretly itching to initiate Tiswas, a Britpop '80s dancing… More >>
  • Best Cellar for Britpop Sing-Alongs


    In a dim, loungey cellar lined with plush, mismatched couches, DJs spin Britpop, new wave, and '80s favorites that persuade just about everybody to abandon their cushy seats and belt out a frenzy of Morrissey, Devo, Iggy Pop, and Dee-Lite lyrics under disco-ball lights till near exhaustion. Every Friday night at B3 LOUNGE, even the most aloof hipsters jump up… More >>
  • Best Not-at-All-Scary Goth Bar


    Don't be fooled by its dark exterior and otherworldly name. Though THE RAVEN carries flyers for other bars' goth parties, it hosts an eclectic range of ska, indie, and classic-rock nights. Its awkward cartoonish mascot looks more like a crow than a raven, and the bar is filled with normal-looking men in their early thirties playing Monopoly pinball and drinking… More >>
  • Best Place To Shake Your Oversized Gothic Caboose


    Dearest Lilith: Though but a single moon has set since last we IM'd, I cannot forgo this missive. My darling, I have unearthed a place for those such as we, far from the philistines of this mocking metropolis. Yes, my pallid and chunky love, here at DOWNTIME'S BATCAVE PARTY a taste for creeping eyeliner and fine Torrid-brand fashions is de… More >>
  • Best Jewelry That Makes You Look Look Like Lenny Kravitz


    New York is overrun with corner shops peddling gently used silver, gold, and diamonds. That's Þne for average folks, but rock stars and celebrities (or just wannabes) head straight to EXHIBITIONIST. Dazzling, scary, heavy jewelry—sporting giant precious stones, skulls and crossbones, or sacred hearts—lies in wait in red-velvet-lined cases. Chain belts and necklaces are displayed on meat hooks—like an s/m… More >>
  • Best Place To Avert Your Eyes From Dirty Candy Ravers


    Is it because they're so close to St. Marks Place that these parachute-panted, hair-dyed high schoolers who hang out by the COOPER UNION CUBE SCULPTURE are so filthy? Have the gutterpunks rubbed off on them (literally, like when they were walking by)? And isn't this antithetical to their spiffed-up, feel-good '90s trip? Also, why gather on that little island? There's… More >>
  • Best Place To Comprehend The Evils Of Bad House Music


    I don't care what nobody says, me and Gino got the bumpinest rides in all BAY RIDGE. Our secret, you axe? DJ Generica's Top 500 Mind-Erasingly Repetitive House Hits; I swear, youse crank that shit outcha window for three seconds, and da broads come runnin'. It's like the musical equivalent of hair gel. Which reminds me, I got a date… More >>
  • Best Nostalgia Act


    For those raised in the 1980s, the tinny, MIDI-like bleeps and bloops of Nintendo game soundtracks are like amniotic fluid. So it's no surprise that a burgeoning underground movement is rising from the minds and joysticks of nerdy kids turning their love for 8-bit technology into irony-free dance music. Twenty-two-year-old Columbia student Jeremiah Johnson, a/k/a NULLSLEEP, and his 8bitpeoples crew… More >>
  • Best Silly Media Ploy Pulled By Two Art Students From Chicago


    FISCHERSPOONER suck. Casey Spooner can't sing, and Warren Fischer's beats are retrograde. Their costumes are amateurish, the dance routines look like a high school cheerleading squad's interpretation of a Janet Jackson video, and just think—they got $2 million for an album that won't see the light of day in the U.S. until next year, $300,000 to produce three exclusive Soho… More >>
  • Best Song Dissing New York's Club Scene


    On the self-released single IT'S OVER, the Hungry Wives take the piss out of New York's most hallowed ground: the club scene. Perhaps some of the members' Seattle roots enable them to have a sense of perspective on the overblown superclubs—which they insult with glee. "Twilo was sold on eBay, the Palladium is a dorm," snarks singer Andy Salzer, declaring… More >>
  • Best New New York DJ Imported From Detroit


    Nope, not Richie Hawtin, although he's a'ight too. New Big Apple resident MAGDA brings her considerable skills and impressive minimal techno record collection (which she sometimes stores on her Mac and uses Final Scratch, like you-know-who) to the city's privileged clubs. With seven years under her belt, the DJ knows how to finesse those bleepy ticks into a techno fairy… More >>
  • Best DJ Not Hyped as Electro or New Wave


    Colombian native DJ ILANA shook up Plant Bar every Saturday night for several months. She's not þashy or extravagant in dress or musical style; she's a workhorse with an impeccable sense of music and programming; and she keeps her mixes timed as tight as a Rolex. Ilana spins deep enough to satisfy the snobs, poppy enough to please the weekend… More >>
  • Best Place To Be Alone on the Dancefloor


    Like anywhere, the party doesn't start at PLANT BAR till after midnight, if it starts at all—weeknights especially. It's been labeled the best DJ bar by different publications, but there's something about the place, created by the Plant party duo at Centro-Fly, that mufþes the dancing genes in its vinyl-loving clientele. Maybe it's the excessive trance vibe, and the minimalist… More >>
  • Best Contradictory Club Name


    Neither open nor airy, one wonders what the owners were smoking when they named their club OPEN AIR. The East Village hangout is dark, small, and decidedly claustrophobic. The lighting is so nonexistent you can barely find your own feet, and the dancefloor is smaller than a New York studio apartment. The walls are painted a depressingly gloomy hue, giving… More >>
  • Best Party That Should Have Stayed in a Dingy Brooklyn Bar


    Despite statements in other publications about Brooklyn being "over," BANG THE PARTY should never have moved from Frank's Lounge, the li'l-old-man bar in Fort Greene. Part of the charm of Bang the Party was the tacky decor of Frank's Lounge, and the mishmash of customers that populated the joint on Friday nights. The combination of people—neighborhood regulars sipping whiskey at… More >>
  • Best Media-Savvy Club


    Kevin Hedge worked the media like a fine-tuned violin upon SHELTER's opening last spring. Of course, the big joke is that Shelter is really the same old club—the much maligned Speeed—with a bigger sound system thrown in. Sunday nights are still dedicated to hip-hop, and you will still hear certain people refer to the venue as Speeed, but Hedge gave… More >>
  • Best Open-Turntable Night for the New Millennium


    It was going to happen eventually. Vinyl would be left behind for the digital revolution. IPARTY, held every Tuesday at APT, replaces Technics turntables with an iPod and allows audience members to play seven minutes of their favorite tunes. It's sort of a mix between a karaoke and open-turntable night, with strong audience reactions making the night fun and rowdy,… More >>
  • Best Rock And Roll DJ Duo


    Celebrities are "superstar DJs," trance and house DJs play mediocre, indistinguishable crap, and mixing is overrated anyway. The time has come for a proper rock 'n' roll DJ duo—a twosome that can properly slam down tunes while getting completely sloshed. DJ BOOZY JO AND THE BAG LADY are just what the rock doctor ordered. They go full out—mixing "American Girl"… More >>
  • Best DJs Who Spin Disco Records Your Mother Would Recognize


    Now, we don't mean to make METRO AREA'S MORGAN GEIST AND DARSHAN JESRANI sound old or out of date, it's just that, at their monthly APT gig, they prefer the Italodisco and electrofunk of the late '70s and early '80s: Was (Not Was), El Coco, B-Beat Girls. They make everything old sound new again. You might not recognize the tunes,… More >>
  • Best Petition Created By a DJ


    When the late, great Temple Records was about to close, the store's minimal techno guru DJ PLEXUS put a petition by the cash register. It asked the Temple elitists to vouch that they would frequent raver enclave Satellite Records if the store hired Plex. Keep in mind that Satellite is normally a piece of real estate where few purists who… More >>
  • Best Place For Roller-Dancing Lessons


    While THE ROXY gets mixed reviews for its usual club events, Wednesday night roller-skating is a unique disco dancing experience. The Chelsea hot spot is transformed from an oversized megaclub into a sexy skating party. Seemingly professional dancers glide by, effortlessly pirouetting while you struggle with a simple crossover. A kind, sweatband-clad dancer will teach you how to skate backward,… More >>
  • Best C&W Songs About Vaginal Infections


    The FIRST LADY OF CUNTRY went to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where almost everyone looks like a home-schooled freak and has a violin hickey, and put her talents towards forming an amazing band, the Cunts. She already has a dedicated following, who all sing along to her biggest hit, "Bladder Infection." Other favorites are the one about bulimia and… More >>
  • Best Club To Kick Some Shit


    Yee-ha, I'm a city dude and proud, but lately I've taken a mighty shine to this little oasis deep in da heart of Manhattan, the RODEO BAR. Good drinks, great food, no cover, and some of the best music this side of the Rio Grande. With local acts like Tandy, and Pennsylvania import Frog Holler, this tumbleweed in the Big… More >>
  • Best Middle East Peace Plan


    Sounding like a garage band from Greater Babylonia, PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER specialize in giving ancient Jewish tunes West African makeovers on Indian and Arabic instruments. With the cosmopolitanism of the scholar and the unselfconscious spontaneity of the itinerant punk, the band is a linchpin of the Jewish Alternative Movement based at underground institution the Knitting Factory—a fitting cauldron for their most-likely-to-cross-over… More >>
  • Best Meat Market Music Event Disguised as an Arty Affair


    You go all the way out to Queens, spending 40 minutes on the train and $6 to get in, and you wait in line forever—conceivably to support the arts. Yeah, right. You really go to P.S.1's WARMUP SERIES to check out the hotties. Why else would you sit on an underwhelming "urban beach" when you could have stayed on the… More >>
  • Best Street Musicians Who Can Speak More Than Five Languages


    At the CIRCLE LINE FERRY IN BATTERY PARK, you'll usually see hundreds of people snaking past the shore as a host of entertainers try to get their attention. With such a diverse crowd from across the globe, it's not surprising to Þnd a performer who has learned just enough multiple tongues to serenade passersby for that extra buck—from Chinese, German,… More >>
  • Best Free Cross-Cultural Entertainment


    In a city as allegedly diverse as our own, it's still a challenge to locate truly multicultural social events (pace certain baseball games, the Thanksgiving Day parade, and raucous subway rides). So it's a delight to watch at NYC arcades as teens of every ethnic persuasion attempt to outboogie each other on DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION consoles. After selecting a song,… More >>
  • Best Place To Hear Live Rock En Español


    Which should not be confused with the easiest place to hear it. Rocking out at LA KUEVA requires stamina. An extended dance party precedes all live performances, with patrons flailing to an eclectic mix of rhythms from warmer climes. When a band finally takes the stage in the wee hours, the crypt-like bar transforms into the world's tiniest arena, complete… More >>
  • Best Polyrhythmic Bar Stools


    For years, TITO PUENTE'S RESTAURANT redefined sitting in with the band—when the salsa rhythms really got cooking, the patrons would get off their asses, turn around, and start playing the genuine Latin-percussion conga drums that serve as the bar's stools. A couple of the "seats" had seen time in Tito's band, and he enjoyed rapping on them when entering his… More >>
  • Best Place To Hit on the Performer


    Maybe because the ticketing/guest list system is so inefficient, or maybe because of its cozy red plush booths and tightly packed crowds lining the bar, THE FEZ allows for lots of contact between patrons, and often with performers as well. The Fez tends to book more intimate acts—singer-songwriters, comedians, jazz musicians—than other venues, so the performer isn't quite famous enough… More >>
  • Best Home-Furnished Environment To Experience Avant-Jazz


    It's a safe bet you're familiar with the quaint, grungy ambience of CBGB, but you may not have ventured into the basement realm of its neighboring step-sibling. After descending the stairs, you find a Salvation Army-quality selection of vintage chairs, couches, tables, and sofas to recline in. If you're wise enough to show up on a Sunday or Wednesday evening,… More >>
  • Best Lost Refuge in a Club


    It just moved to Brooklyn, but until recently the SOFTSKULL PRESS shop was the secret to Tonic's success. If the opening act consisted of, say, a few record store clerks looping feedback and yelping, you could always pop into the front room, grab a volume of poetry or an art mag, and wait out the squall. In the summer there's… More >>
  • Best Place To Hear Church Music With God, Unamplified


    If the Sun Ra Arkestra were the band at your church, wouldn't you go more often? The McCullough Sons of Thunder brass band at the UNITED HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE make an anarchic, joyful noise as they wander the aisles during the service. For the past few years, they've had to share a double bill with an upstart… More >>
  • Best Place To Hear Church Music With God, Amplified


    In the wake of a 1997 Arhoolie comp, the foot-stomping "sacred steel" guitar tradition of the Pentecostal HOUSE OF GOD WHICH IS THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD has developed a following among blues fans and rock pros like Steve Gadd and John Medeski. The three-piece at the congregation across the street from the Gowanus Houses, however, belongs to 12-year-old… More >>
  • Best Place To Buy A CD Burner, Then Return It for a Full Refund


    Let's say you've been asked to cat-sit for someone who has thousands of what he considers to be very good or outstanding CDs. Visit NOBODY BEATS THE WIZ (or, as I like to call it, "the Wiz") on your way to his apartment. Charge the fastest stand-alone or computer burner in the store and spend two weeks broken out in… More >>
  • Best Excuse To Let A Single Venue Dictate Your Musical Taste


    You could devote yourself to music full-time. You could hit loft parties, WOMEX, and Arts Presenters conferences, and sit through all the acts at Sidewalk. You could log hours Napster-file-sharing and lurking around music listservs. Become a religious reader of every article in CMJ, Global Rhythm, Spin, Vibe, La Banda Elastica, Billboard, and Pollstar. Put in years booking SummerStage. Then… More >>
  • Best New Rock Club


    Ever since NORTHSIX opened last year, touring rock bands increasingly have been scheduling Brooklyn dates in addition to Manhattan ones—a very good thing, unless we're talking about the Pat McGee Band. The Williamsburg hot spot, which often books acts that could fill rooms twice its size, offers just about everything you could ask for in a live music venue: good… More >>
  • Best Rock Snob Jukebox


    When pasty-white rock critics tear themselves away from their computers long enough to venture out in public, they can't go far without their music. Lucky for us—I mean them—DADDY'S provides a jukebox chock full o' crowd-pleasers like Can, Wire, Nick Drake, Kleenex/Liliput, Gang of Four, Neu!, and Captain Beefheart to satisfy the most discerning of listeners. (Awww yeah, ain't nothing… More >>
  • Best Chance for Park Slopers To Avoid the Williamsburg Schlep


    Look in the mirror, pal: You're too old to ride the L train. Good thing SOUTHPAW, a huge shiny new rock club, has opened in the former 99-cent store across from the Key Food parking lot. With Maxwell's guy Toddophonic Todd Abramson handling the booking, you'll soon find a reason to check out the tiered lounge areas, wide Bowery Ballroom-style… More >>
  • Best Guitar-and-Gear Repair For Girls


    Actually, Sarah and her staff at SARAH'S GUITARS don't discriminate by sex; they provide great rock music gear and repair for everyone. But while such places often exude a thick cloud of old-fashioned macho even in 2002, a woman musician can breathe freely here. Sarah knows her stuff (she's the kickass lead guitarist of the band Slut 'Em Go) and… More >>
  • Best Membership for Guitar-Toting Hippies


    Members of the NEW YORK PINEWOODS FOLK MUSIC CLUB seem to come from the same stock as the purists who booed Bob Dylan for going electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. The decidedly acoustic bunch sports its share of tie-dyes and ponytails—long, short, thick, and thinning—and hosts some of the best traditional concerts in the city (Peggy Seeger, Jean… More >>
  • Best Classical Concerts for Marxists


    Following a different manifesto than most of the city's other classical music establishments, PEOPLE'S SYMPHONY CONCERTS gratify the masses at a price nearly everyone can afford: $23 for a whole six-concert series or $7.50 per single ticket. The performances, held at Gramercy Park's Washington Irving High School, have a distinguished 102-year history and the artists are anything but bourgeois. This… More >>
  • Best Outlet for Afropop Junkies


    The storefront of a continent, STERN'S hangs out a shingle for the respected world-music label and vast catalogue house. No fake baobab trees or kente-inspired murals, just a tidy cubicle stuffed with every hard-to-find domestic release you've ever heard of and every rarity you're not sure exists but know you can't live without. Africa and its emigrations are the focus—with… More >>
  • Best African CD Store


    Though he also maintains a store at 2095 Grand Concourse in the Bronx, African music connection TEJAN spends most of the week at his tiny storefront on Warren. Originally from Gambia, Tejan charges high prices for a street vendor ($14 for me, $12 for his buds), but his knowledge and warmth make up for it. He can find you the… More >>
  • Best Guy Selling Bootleg & Dancehall CDs


    Fifteen years late, hipsters like Mo' Wax figured out that Jamaican dancehall production is the last great mother lode of beats. How to confirm this yourself? Buy some riddim albums (one rhythm under many, many vocalists) or continuous mix CDs by DJs like Stone Love (the DJ Clue? of all things dancehall). After an hour-plus of the Diwali rhythm, there's… More >>
  • Best Latin Music Store


    Almost as much a Bronx institution (if on a much smaller scale) as the Yanks, CASA AMADEO (antigua Casa Hernandez) has been doing business since the 1940s, when it helped foster the Latin music boom that followed an influx of Puerto Rican immigrants during the second World War. Nowadays its broad shelves act as an unofficial archive of the music… More >>
  • Best Accident Waiting To Happen


    ACCIDENTAL CDS, RECORDS AND TAPES has been disappointing us lately. The last couple times we went by the Avenue A landmark, it wasn't on the verge of toppling over. In fact, its uncountable CDs, books, and tapes were actually stacked neatly! So perhaps this award is a bit premature. Still, something tells us that the—doesn't feel right to call it… More >>
  • Best Music Bargain Bin


    What is this? Patti Smith's Horses, the Who's Quadrophenia, Kraftwerk's Electric Cafe, and David Bowie's Lodger, all on good-condition vinyl, all with original inserts—for 50 cents each?! Am I tripping? No, but the clerks at MONDO KIM'S might have been when they put this gold in the cutout section. Maybe they were just rewarding me for wading through all those… More >>
  • Best MC in Need of Another High-Profile Arrest


    How the Fugees went from global pop geniuses to outpatients on expenses is still up for debate, but it probably has something to do with God and money. Lauryn sounds like a cracked-out busker for Jah, but at least she's punk rock, or hip-hop. Or something. WYCLEF JEAN, though, has put on so many hats, downed so many Pepsis, and… More >>
  • Best Indie Rapper Not Signed To Def Jux


    At most nerd-rap shows, the irregular crew of thugalikes stomping through the crowd and eventually, inevitably, ending up onstage is the Stronghold posse. They're all capable MCs, but C-RAYZ WALZ inevitably sets the crowd aflame. Imagine if Ol' Dirty Bastard was in Organized Konfusion, as likely to clobber you with vocabulary as with conspiracies and sheer erratic attitude. C-Rayz induces… More >>
  • Best Reason To Turn Down Your Radio


    Of the two local nonprofit jazz FM stations, Columbia University's WKCR is the wiser and the deeper. But undead on-air lack-of-personality PHIL SCHAAP gives those virtues a bad name, sucking the life out of even the most vibrant sides by pedantically blathering on about them for twice as long as the combined recording times of the version he played and… More >>
  • Best Reason To Listen To Star and Bucwild


    I'm not mad at NPR, but there's one mothersucker who makes me want to chain myself to a Rock Block and jump a Five O'Clock Free Ride: WNYC'S JONATHAN SCHWARTZ. Broadcasting weekends at noon, Schwartz promises a mix of "American Popular Standards, classical, rock and roll, jazz, and 'good talk,' " but delivers mostly cabaret and musical theater. Which could… More >>
  • Best Unsuccessful Local Subway Poster Campaign

    HOT 97

    Check out the jumble of signifiers in these posters: "We're flossing! We're street! We're friends! We're celebrities! We've been captured living our lives for you!" What we really are is engaged in a branding exercise that leaves everybody involved—Nas, especially—looking unconvinced by the tableaux they've been roped into. Nas and Angie Martinez playing pool on Houston Street? Ludacris, Mr. C,… More >>
  • Best Chance for NY Radio In Ages

    POWER 105

    Hey, I miss Jammin' Oldies too. But from the first rotations in 1998 of the Neptunes' break-out, Noreaga's "Superthug," Hot 97 has been the only New York station playing music that's genuinely exciting. With a playlist narrower than Jay Z's smile, the trailblazer is ripe for a challenge, and POWER 105 has stepped up. So far the newcomer offers only… More >>
  • Best Reason To Think That Radio Really Is In The Hands Of Such A Lot Of Fools Trying To Anesthetize The Way That You Feel


    POWER 105'S SWITCH FROM JAMMIN' OLDIES TO HIP-HOP—no, really, I think we need two motherfricking radio stations playing Ashanti. God forbid there's a gap of more than 10 minutes between airings of "Foolish." Why would I want to hear the Gap Band, or Eddie Kendricks, or Chic? That's old-fashioned and silly of me! Why would I want a radio station… More >>
  • Best Vintage Kitsch Excavation


    New York was a city subject to the plate tectonics of architectural fashion long before madmen set about remaking the skyline. Only recently have some subterranean layers been peeled back to reveal the sweeter historical strata. Chief among these are the bas-relief beaux arts eagles at the 14TH STREET/UNION SQUARE SUBWAY STATION. Grand in symbolism but humble in craft, this… More >>
  • Best Graffiti Sight-Seeing Tour


    No wonder Brooklyn's new logo has become a spray paint can. For the mere price of a $1.50 Metrocard, you can take your very own sight-seeing tour in New York's hot-spot artist borough. Hop onto the J/Z (BROWN LINE) TRAIN at Essex and Delancey and you're on your way. On the bridge, look between the interstices for some rare little… More >>
  • Best Subway Station To Live Near


    In its current construction phase, the ATLANTIC AVENUE/PACIFIC STREET STOP feels like the inside of a monstrous creature, with giant curved ventricles shooting off in three dimensions from the platform. And the station is certainly the heart of our gangly, nameless neighborhood (the post office says it's "Times Plaza," but we prefer "Atlantis"), which touches the corners of Park Slope,… More >>
  • Best Subway-Station Piss-Odor Pungency


    There's no better place to get dim sum and a whiff of urine than CANAL STREET. Take almost any line underground and come out to watch everybody crinkle up their nose, thinking to themselves, "What is that smell?" Feel the sewage from fish drainage above leak below. Watch the woman across the platform leaning on a pole, the dark spot… More >>
  • Best Stretch of Sidewalk To Play Hopscotch Around Dog Shit


    Every morning, while walking to work on EAST 4TH STREET FROM AVENUE C TO COOPER SQUARE, I am challenged by the huge amount of dog doo encountered on what would otherwise be a pleasant walk. Because the hazards to my shoes are too great, I stare at the ground from beginning to end; this, of course, means that I'm prone… More >>
  • Best Dog Run


    Carol Vinzant's apartment is equidistant between Tompkins and Washington squares, but there's no mystery where her allegiance lies. "The Tompkins run is bigger and more friendly," says Carol, the de facto manager of FIRST RUN. "We're a community." Washington Square has purebreds; Tompkins has mutts. And a newsletter (The Scoop), dog-themed picnic tables, and a Halloween parade. If you can't… More >>
  • Best Washington Square Park Spectacle


    In a city that embraces diversity in all of its shapes and sizes, even the world's quirkiest dog breed ought to have its own parade. And so twice each year, in the spring and fall, Washington Square Park is home to the DACHSHUND FEST, an exuberant celebration where the diminutive wiener dog stands tall. If you happen to be caught… More >>
  • Best Dog-Themed Gallery Space


    Four dogs of various breeds and sizes sit at the feet of their owners, occasionally yipping at each other, at this crowded, artsy café. GREY DOG'S COFFEE takes canine friendliness very seriously, decorating with picket fences and dog statues and offering up remaining wall space to dog-loving artists. And the food is quite good, especially the oversized sandwiches. Although they… More >>
  • Best Gallery Art Wallpaper


    For years, the kitschy designs of the '60s and '70s have kept wallpaper passé as a non-ironic decor choice. The hapless luxury item was all but laughed out of vogue. But after helping to re-create Syrie Maugham's air-soaked San Francisco bedroom for the pages of House & Garden, including a wall covering with curlicues that look like elaborate potato-prints, STUDIO… More >>
  • Best Culturally Relevant Bathroom Graffiti


    After hours of emo at NorthSix, garage rock at Warsaw, or electro at Luxx, any late-night pizza joint in Williamsburg is a welcome sight for empty stomachs and full bladders. At ANNA MARIA PIZZA & PASTA, it isn't the slices that are worth checking out, but the single stall in the back behind the drinks. While relieving that evening's adventures,… More >>
  • Best September 11 Survivor, Visual Arts Division


    Plush surveillance cameras; folk-art lamppost sculptures; devious plastic plants with leaves pruned in geometric shapes; animated architectural histories of Lower Manhattan; a memory registry with tchotchkes made to order from viewers' random reminiscences; and other mediations on loss, reconciliation, and the city's empty spaces—all are brewing in the NEW VIEWS art studios at the World Financial Center. The reincarnation of… More >>
  • Best Place To Watchbusinesspeople Play in Art


    Multicolored cows, kitschy elevated taxis, and enormous metal spiders have acclimated New York City dwellers to public art, but the city's busiest are still able to bustle by and brashly ignore the kooky sculptures. The three-year "Target Art in the Park" program, named for its Target sponsors and implemented by the Public Art Fund, wants to elevate MADISON SQUARE PARK… More >>
  • Best Global Urban Art Installation


    Since 1998, one exhaustively resourceful Parisian artist who goes by the sobriquet Invader has traveled around the world surreptitiously fixing small-tile mosaics of vintage Atari characters to urban sidewalks, building facades, and bridges. The name of his game is SPACE INVADERS. Through his mission, he's elevated the pixelated creatures to the status of global art icon and, having tagged London,… More >>
  • Best Free Museum of Faux Antiquities


    Surely ABC CARPET & HOME, the six-floor vertical bazaar in the Flatiron District, is intended as a store. But all my references are cinematic: the heaping imports of bejeweled fabrics and upholstery, intricately carved cabinets, and multicultural sundries recalling the treasures of some lost city in a bad French Foreign Legion flick; the jostling of Tiffany lamps against minimal '50s… More >>
  • Best High-Art Conceptual Joke—It Just Has To Be


    The funkiest-looking gallery in Chelsea pretends to be a store for an imaginary clothing line called COMME DES GARÇONS (and just how barbed is that title, anyway?). You enter through a womb-like steel tunnel, and emerge into a bit of free-form architecture in which clothing-inspired art objects are racked and stacked with hilariously high "price tags." The best part is… More >>
  • Best Place To Impersonate Art


    Traditionally, museum visitors remain at a specified distance from a viewed piece of art. Erwin Wurm invites the spectator to break these boundaries through his whimsical "One Minute Sculptures," as part of the Tempo exhibit at the MOMA QNS. Scrawled diagrams across the wall and small platforms instruct museumgoers to hold multiple tennis balls against the wall with their body,… More >>
  • Best Reason Public Art Should Come With An Expiration Date


    Norman B. Colp's god-awful Burma Shave routine, THE COMMUTER'S LAMENT—the series of signs in the tunnel between Times Square and Eighth Avenue that starts "Overslept/So tired"—has been annoying 7-train riders since 1991. The idea of displaying some kind of sequence-based art there is pretty clever—but would it kill someone to change it every once in a while?… More >>
  • Best Reason To Hate Ugly Public Art

    METRONOME, 1999

    METRONOME, 1999, by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel, is an enormous wall sculpture ambitiously exploring "the nature of time, geographical, historical, astronomical, as well as past, present, future and the infinite [sic]." The main panel is composed of gold-flecked brick rippling away from a smoking hole. A chunk of rock, floating cylinder, and reaching hand adorn it. To the left,… More >>
  • Best Staircase


    It's hard to believe that the APPLE STORE will stick around for more than a couple of years—it just seems a little too late-'90s. But even if you're not interested in iMac tutorials or having your questions answered by the shop's resident geniuses, there's that staircase, an architectural beauty made entirely out of glass, frosted on the footing to thwart… More >>
  • Best Edible Sculpture


    Who says fine artists can't put food on the table, or at least on a stick? CARVED-MANGO VENDORS do it all the time, with their outsized natural lollipops in fanciful floral motifs. Even the snack 'n' sugar-water giants know that, above all, people crave novelty and unique objects (you better believe everyone's drinkin' Pepsi Blue for the blue, not the… More >>
  • Best Aesthetically Pleasing Landfill


    In 1986 a group of artists led by Mark di Suvero transformed an abandoned strip of land by the East River in Queens from an illegal dump site into the SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK, an outdoor studio and exhibition space for large-scale works of art. The park's current pieces range from conceptual (a tombstone with accompanying chalk inviting visitors to scrawl… More >>
  • Best Pedestrian Footbridge To A Mental Institution


    A true architectural monolith extending from the coastal plain of southern Spanish Harlem, the WARDS ISLAND FOOTBRIDGE provides a view that encompasses the East Side of Manhattan and much of Queens, including a stretch of rather inoffensive water known as Hell Gate. Once across the bridge, one is treated to Wards Island Park, a lovely bit of tree and trail… More >>
  • Best Public, Preserved 19th-Century Home


    Unless you've got loads of cash, posh friends, or a real estate license, you probably haven't seen much of the city's townhouses—once the epitome of spacious, suburban single-family dwellings. Many are privately owned today—or, more likely, dissected into teeny apartments. A trip to the MERCHANT'S HOUSE MUSEUM—the only preserved 19th-century home in Manhattan—reveals the real lay of the landings. The… More >>
  • Best Hotel Experience For The Money


    Anyone who's walked up Fifth Avenue from the Flatiron Building has probably noticed the GERSHWIN HOTEL: It's a fire-engine-red building from the 1920s, with giant flame-like ornaments spiraling up. The lobby loudly welcomes visitors with artwork on every wall, including two original Lichtensteins and a Campbell's soup can signed by Warhol. Every room has a portrait of Picasso. Owner Suzanne… More >>
  • Best Architectural Walking Tours


    The MUNICIPAL ARTS SOCIETY is best known for its free Wednesday tours of Grand Central. After all, as one guide jokes, they "own the building." Although Jackie Onassis spearheaded the campaign to save the historic station in the 1970s, she acted on behalf of the M.A.S. (The nonprofit has a long history of advocacy for landmark preservation, excellence in urban… More >>
  • Best Place To Stop And Smell The Flowers


    Although it's not the largest park in the boroughs, the 52-acre BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN offers more than 12,000 species of plants to cure those inner-city blues. For a $3 charge you can stroll the gardens on your afternoon off to reconnect with nature and enjoy the wildlife. The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden offers a serene overlook of the man-made and natural… More >>
  • Best Historically Documented Strip Of Grass


    At the end of Catherine Street, which becomes the Catherine Slip, lies the CATHERINE MALL, an unassuming grassy median strip haphazardly lined with shrubs, located directly between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges—a few steps from a smashing view of the East River. Despite its rugged appearance, the measly .0143 acre is adorned with a 570-word sign, detailing the history of… More >>
  • Best Place To Knit


    As the economy continues to wend its way down the crapper, in-transition dotcommers and freaked retirees can sit side by side and find cozy comfort knitting and purling in the cramped KNITTING SALON in Park Slope. Prophet, the Salon's owner, invites you to pull up one of the rocking chairs and learn the calming effects of community knitting as you… More >>
  • Best Place To Be A Lesbian, Or Just To Read Up On It


    By its own description, the LESBIAN HERSTORY ARCHIVES is "the kind of place that inspires fantasy." The oldest and largest lesbian archive in the world, the limestone townhouse in Park Slope boasts tens of thousands of volumes, from a slew of 1950s paperbacks with intriguing titles like The Women's Barracks to gay women's periodicals such as Does Your Mama Know?… More >>
  • Best Back-Alley Church Bingo Night Run By Manly Hispanic Women


    Bingo, they say, is America's favorite number game. The city boasts a variety of parlors, though none are as relaxed, gritty, and downright confusing as this one: At 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday under the fluorescent lights of the OUR LADY OF SORROWS cafeteria, boards are cheap ($1), steamed hot dogs are too ($1), and the jackpot runs over… More >>
  • Best Place To Observe Traditional Chinese Domino Tournaments


    COLUMBUS PARK is not a place where you sit and read inconspicuously on lazy afternoons. In this cement square located on a quiet tree-lined street in Chinatown, the only noise one can hear is the furious clicking of dominoes and raucous betting cries. The folding tables and chairs that line the center of the park are reserved solely for men,… More >>
  • Best Intimate Chess Tournament


    If you're a novice chess player, intimidated by the competitive games in nearly every New York park, or if you just want to impress your date with your strategic pursuits, I'd advise bringing your chess partner of choice to the TEA LOUNGE in Park Slope. Or order a tea sparkler and invite one of the twentysomethings strewn about on mismatched… More >>
  • Best Gaming Geek Paradise


    Back when I was a clueless 11-year-old, high schoolers advised me that playing Dungeons & Dragons would make me cool. Foolishly, I listened, and ran to the COMPLEAT STRATEGIST to get my own Monster's Manual, 12-sided dice, and some other archaic tchotchkes mom shoved into storage as soon as my hormones kicked in. Those left untempted by Gina Breuer's sweet… More >>
  • Best Video Game Magazine


    Take the p.c. out of PC Gamer and you get FOUL, the magazine for guys with joystick wrist and hairy palms. Highlights of the six-times-a-year mag, edited by Jesse Labrocca, owner of video game shop Multimedia 1.0, include the Hot Chick Centerfold and service pieces like "How to Get Laid at E3." Although nowhere near as vile as its name… More >>
  • Best Comic Book Museum


    Gertrude Stein would say "But there's no there there." And it's true. The good people behind the NEW YORK CITY COMIC BOOK MUSEUM haven't raised enough cash to buy their own building yet, but since 1999 they've been generating special events, school curricula, and public seminars to promote "the historical and artistic legacy of comic book culture within the context… More >>
  • Best Art Movement, Comics Division


    The first-rate art-comics publisher Highwater Books recently relocated to Brooklyn, and there's an energetic comics community to keep it company there—notably the artists associated with OUBAPO AMERICA. Tom Hart, Jason Little, and Matt Madden were inspired by a French comics movement that branched off from the Oulipo literary group; their early experiments with radical constraints, like creating an entire story… More >>
  • Best Geek Culture Readings


    Most literary events in Manhattan don't feature an author reading from the first chapter of a novel where the titular character gets his head blown off by a shotgun. But when the reader is horror author Jack Ketchum and the reading series is the NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION READINGS at Dixon Place, that's only expected. One Monday a… More >>
  • Best Cosmic View


    Escape by ferry from the Manhattan Galaxy's glare to the sparsely inhabited world of Staten Island, then take the S78 bus to the GREAT KILLS PARK and hike toward shore. More stars will delight your naked eyes there than anywhere else in this city, according to astronomer Arthur Upgren, who calculated regional light pollution levels. If you've got 20/20s, and… More >>
  • Best Place To Rediscover Your Inner Dork


    So you moved to New York, and all of a sudden those horn rims and Izod shirts made you an arbiter of cool. Well guess what, Poindexter: There's nothing wrong with embracing the ill-contained dweeb your friends already know you are. Five minutes among the enchanting minerals and musty animalia stored at the MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY should persuade you… More >>
  • Best Place To Meet A Robot


    Hidden upstairs from the Erica Tanov boutique in Little Italy, you'll find a small claw most people will see only on TV in 2004, when it's digging into Mars rocks for signs of life. If you're hoping to meet C3PO's first cousin, then the RAT (rock abrasion tool) blows. But if your daydreams include mechanical inchworms burrowing through the ice… More >>
  • Best Hope For Computer Geeks To Get Some Fresh Air


    With a wireless ethernet device in your laptop, you can theoretically connect to the Internet anywhere there's a Wi-Fi network. The volunteers behind NYCWIRELESS.NET are attempting to map out the locations of every public space in New York where the pastier-fleshed among us can get a cable-free connection. This summer, they also arranged for Bryant Park to become a Wi-Fi… More >>
  • Best Isp For Control Freaks


    New York's longest-running Internet service provider (they've been at it since 1989), PANIX costs a little more than the fast-food ISPs—$325 a year for dial-up or one-channel ISDN—but you get your money's worth. If you're the kind of user who enjoys tinkering with your online environment, every account comes with a UNIX shell (a shell alone is $100/year). When you… More >>
  • Best Place To Blow Your Inheritance While Erasing Spam


    If you find your wealth suffocating and would like to squander it, have your driver drop you off at WEB2ZONE INTERNET CAFE. Squint through deep darkness toward your keyboard and sign in, guesstimating key location. As time flies by, close the Web2Zone advertisement pop-up, open the Internet, and sign into your e-mail account. Proceed to erase and block your penis… More >>
  • Best New York E-Mail Usage


    Remember when you needed friends to hear about good parties? No more, since the emergence of a bevy of FREAKY-PARTY UPDATES that inform thousands of hipsters each week how to support the local fringe culture. The populist Flavorpill ( balances the underground and downtown with a mix of zippy music, art, and theater listings, spreading the word to 25,000 readers… More >>
  • Best Resource For Cointelpro


    Every Thursday, Jeff Stark's e-mail bulletin NONSENSE NYC provides advance warning of nifty cultural and countercultural weirdness—art happenings, odd parades, semi-licit dance parties, free movies, burlesque shows, chainsaw ice sculpture, juggling conventions, Stevie Nicks impersonation contests, you name it. Should the Men in Black ever want to destroy the central nodes of alternative culture, they now have a one-stop guide… More >>
  • Best Way To Peek Into Your Neighbors' Lives


    There are thousands of New Yorkers with weblogs, and NYCBLOGGERS.COM has taken it upon itself to organize them all geographically. At this point, they've got over 1300 of them. A lot of them aren't updated very often, even more are consistently dull, and a few are Way Too Much Information. But there's a certain illicit thrill to reading the diaries… More >>
  • Best Church To Worship At When The Others Won't Have You Back


    Churches are notorious bastions of exclusivity, conformity, and conversion . . . but not the MIDDLE COLLEGIATE CHURCH. This is the ideal place to worship the Lord if you also happen to worship same-sex sex (merely one example). Which is to say senior minister Reverend Gordon Dragt actively promotes an open environment for a broad community of what he labels… More >>
  • Best Way To Find Whatever It Is That You're Looking For


    Not only did I use it to find most of the addresses I needed to write my other best-of blurbs, but NEWYORK.CITYSEARCH.COM helps me find bars, restaurants, shops, and museums all the time—and I've yet to come across an incorrect phone number or location. Though I wouldn't trust the volunteered reviews, many of which appear to have been submitted by… More >>
  • Best Place To Get Taught Things You Already Know


    Matilda leafed through the latest LEARNING ANNEX catalog in amazement. "Wow, for a mere $59 I can learn how to stop being nice!" she thought. "Or how about how to get rid my clutter, or cut up my T-shirts, or paint my jeans? I've never seen anything like this." She kept flipping and found "How to Buy, Sell, and Profit… More >>
  • Best Place To Find Slightly Used Expensive Furniture In The Dumpster


    It's amazing to see the amount of waste New Yorkers produce, but when rich art students throw something away, you might want to check twice to see if it's really junk. With mom and dad's steady pizza fund and a pretty good sense of style, PRATT INSTITUTE students tend to discard some of the nicest garbage. You might find the… More >>
  • Best Potential Cult Merger


    They're bright, they're loud, and once you join them you'll never want to leave: CRUNCH AND THE HARE KRISHNAS need to merge agendas, ASAP! In their pamphlet, Crunch is described as "a movement which is growing as we continue to perfect our ability to create an environment where our members don't feel self conscious, and don't worry about what others… More >>
  • Best Health Benefit Of New York Sports Club


    If one drinks daily, while traipsing through our fair city, the doctor's recommended allowance of water, one will eventually encounter her fair share of filthy fecal facilities. The mayor's office would have us all pay for public Porta Pottis, but however could 25 cents per tush keep so many bowls sparkling clean? That pesky 90-some-odd-dollar monthly membership fee at New… More >>
  • Best Spectator Sport Experience


    Anyone who has ever taken the A, C, E, or F train to the West Village has witnessed some intensely competitive basketball games. And anyone who has lingered long enough has been mesmerized by the activity on the adjacent WEST 4TH STREET HANDBALL COURTS. At nearly all hours of the day, men and women beat the ball against the wall… More >>
  • Best Small-Town Stadium


    Home to two-year-old Mets farm team the Brooklyn Cyclones, small and homey KEYSPAN PARK offers a perfect view of the Coney Island beach, and it's blissfully free of the corporate gloom that overshadows the city's larger stadiums. Not that there aren't sponsors, but you're more likely to see ads for a local DJ who does weddings and bar mitzvahs than… More >>
  • Best Place To Experience A Small Midwestern Town's Nightlife


    Though bowling is one of those nighttime activities that's so unhip it's hip, you'll rarely find twentysomethings trawling around PORT AUTHORITY LEISURE TIME BOWLING CENTER. Instead, the PALTBC positively screams Friday night in Backwater, Indiana: The crowd is full of the kind of Levi's-and-cheap-T-shirts middle-agers who wouldn't last a minute in Soho, big screen TVs are always sports-attuned, and after… More >>
  • Best Place To Watch Serious Hoops While Sipping Belgian Beer


    It's a bad time for a basketball-watching jones. The Knicks suck and the Nets play in Jersey, and both are inactive until fall. Thank god for VOL DE NUIT, which offers a wide selection of Belgian beers, a dark and cool drinking environment, and even a view of the Cage, the best-known hoops playground in Gotham. Score a window seat… More >>
  • Best Place To Watch Televised Rugby


    The 8 a.m. sip of Guinness is a bit harsh, but such is life for a rugby fan at MCCORMACK'S. Even if you don't know a ruck from a scrum, you should sample rugby culture at least once in your life. Winter and spring mean the best of the British Isles and European nations, while summer is the southern hemisphere.… More >>
  • Best Place To Watch Irish Football


    GAELIC PARK in Riverdale is a bastion of genuine Irish sport in the city. On Sunday afternoons in the autumn, the howls of Irish and Irish American football and hurling spectators echo through the suburban streets. Half the entertainment for the uninitiated is deciphering the sport itself. Upwards of 30 players crowd the field and tackle, kick, and grab for… More >>
  • Best Place To Duck Flying Soccer Balls


    It's not a sport, per se, but it could be. At any given time, there are approximately four intense games of soccer being played in Williamsburg's MCCARREN PARK, so be alert. Your mission: walk the track and try to avoid being pelted. Joining you will be little old ladies, maniac kiddies on tricycles, and hipsters who jog in vintage tennis… More >>
  • Best Place To Play Wiffle Ball


    I write this before a Bobst library window overlooking WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK'S SOUTHEAST CORNER. Naturally, I'd rather be with two or three buddies swatting white plastic balls in one of the dusty triangles below, seeing friends stroll by, wishing for a beer, impressing pretty ladies, amusing little babies, and hearing hip-hoppers sarcastically track the game ("Damn, Pedro Martinez"). Annie Dillard… More >>
  • Best Place To Play Kickball With Drunken Baseball Players


    Officially, you sign up to use Central Park's NORTH MEADOW BALL FIELD, but try stopping by during playoffs, when early elimination can mean an open diamond, and, if you're especially lucky, a team celebrating with beers some guy sells out of a filthy cooler. Sports are mostly boring to watch and frightening to play, but the big red ball you'll… More >>
  • Best Place To Score Love


    While the rest of the country is seeking refuge in church, drugs, and psychiatry offices, Queens is playing tennis. And at the USTA NATIONAL TENNIS CENTER, the largest tennis stadium in the world, we're hooked. Opened in 1997, the home of the U.S. Open seats up to 23,000 spectators. For $20 an hour, anyone can volley back and forth on… More >>
  • Best Olympic Diving Pool


    Did someone say Williamsburg? How passé. Brooklyn's got nothing on Queens when it comes to Olympic swimming and diving, free for the public. Certain hours are reserved for grown-ups to swim laps, but soon enough the pool is full of loud teenagers and whole families partying away the heat wave while the rest of the city schleps around in the… More >>
  • Best Public Swimming


    Forget overpriced gym memberships and jogging in sweaty overcrowded streets. Forget the swanky and uptight Chelsea Piers. For $2 you can splash and giggle and dolphin dive in RIVERBANK STATE PARK's enormous indoor and outdoor pool complex. Rec swim is a community event, a rare treat in this anonymous urban indoor gym world. You'll dodge elaborate pool games and swimming… More >>
  • Best Decommissioned Army Base For Sunbathing


    Over 8 million people visit Jones Beach every year—and that's just Jones Beach. Though Robert Moses built his empire of beaches and parkways for the city's thousands of sweltering tenement dwellers, the Long Island shore more often resembles a desert of vanquished sand castles than the dreamed-of pleasure kingdom. You might find some relief at FORT TILDEN, an old military… More >>
  • Best Day Trip To A Semi-Nude Beach


    To reach BREEZY POINT BY BICYCLE, head down Ocean Parkway, the oldest urban bike path in America. Resist the temptation to throw down at Coney Island (there's smoother sand ahead). Pedal on down Neptune Avenue, past the Russian mobsters and the fishmongers, along the Belt Parkway bike path, over Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. You're in another world—a world free from… More >>
  • Best Way To Ride an Octopus


    Unlike your standard impersonal horse-populated merry-go-round, the TOTALLY KID CAROUSEL is full of goofy imaginative animals designed by neighborhood children. Each kid's drawing hangs above the constructed creature, with his or her name scrawled on the floor. Mutant fish sit beside oversimplified snails and misproportioned ostriches. The octopus was especially tricky to translate into a rideable carousel animal, but its… More >>
  • Best Near-Concussion For A Sunny Day


    The CYCLONE, Astroland's rickety wooden city landmark, was renovated in 1975. Yet in the throes of its multiple steep drops, crashing thuds, sharp neck-twisting turns, claustrophobic seating and shakes that could rattle even Katherine Hepburn, it sure as hell feels like 1927 again. Yes, Coney Island's brain-pounding roller coaster has been a staple of boardwalk summers for most of the… More >>
  • Best Ferris Wheel Ride While-You-Wait


    It ain't no Cyclone, but if you can stand the snail's pace walk through tourist-ridden Times Square and the inevitable lines that snake around the ground floor, the Ferris wheel at TOYS"R"US is well worth it, surpassing even FAO Schwarz's Big-era oversized keyboard as the best toy shop attraction in midtown. The multi-tiered store is a wonder in itself, but… More >>
  • Best New Midnight Movie Tradition


    It's fast becoming (along with Ghost World) the thinking misfit's answer to The Breakfast Club, so if you haven't already caught DONNIE DARKO at Two Boots Pioneer Theater, what's your excuse? Richard Kelly's hilarious, dreamlike evocation of late-'80s suburban adolescence was made for the midnight screen, especially given its lush cinematography and a time-travel preoccupation that encourages repeat viewing. Indeed,… More >>
  • Best Way To Easily Make a Movie


    Suitcase in hand, Xavier arrives fresh off the train into NYC, ready to become Hollywood's newest playboy. Unfortunately, he doesn't have an idea, a camera, or the slightest idea how to begin. Fortunately, he stumbles upon the DIGITAL FILM ACADEMY, which offers him everything he needs. He learns how to write a screenplay and direct, using their live actors. And… More >>
  • Best Job To Run Into Both Celebrities And Scary Village Wanderers


    Most of the time you'll be dealing with the typical duties of a part-time theater attendant, but every so often, your work at the TWO BOOTS PIONEER THEATER will be made less ordinary by visits from actors Janeane Garofalo, Steve Buscemi (friends of the owners), Susan Sarandon, and Robin Tunney. (Plus, MTV news correspondent Gideon Yago often rents movies at… More >>
  • Best Alternative To The Angelika


    Though the concession stand in LANDMARK'S SUNSHINE CINEMA's former Yiddish vaudeville house also offers cappuccinos with its popcorn, going to the movies at the Sunshine is a most Un-gelika-like experience. For starters, there are the five aboveground screening rooms, all a lot less cramped than their coal-mine counterparts eight blocks west. Some have absurdly comfortable stadium seating; all have digital… More >>
  • Best Alternative To The Angelika


    Though the concession stand in LANDMARK'S SUNSHINE CINEMA's former Yiddish vaudeville house also offers cappuccinos with its popcorn, going to the movies at the Sunshine is a most Un-gelika-like experience. For starters, there are the five aboveground screening rooms, all a lot less cramped than their coal-mine counterparts eight blocks west. Some have absurdly comfortable stadium seating; all have digital… More >>
  • Best Tax Write-Off


    So you've got a closet full of beautiful designer crap you never wear anymore, and shelves groaning with books you can't use, and you keep thinking you're going to take them down to the Salvation Army, but then you remember that they're not so keen on gay people, and you flip on the TV instead. Indulge that charitable impulse by… More >>
  • Best Place To Pick Up A Stubborn British Accent, Figure, And Attitude


    Every restaurant in New York needs a Nicky's Rules list: a list of things diners must know before (and after) they dare to dine at TEA & SYMPATHY, the exclusively British hole in the wall on Greenwich Avenue. Words to the effect of "You must pay at least 15 percent gratuity, and if there is a line to get in,… More >>
  • Best Way To Meet A Mayan Priestess


    One can rarely see the moon through the surrounding East Village architectural landscape surrounding the FULL MOON RITUAL. But to make up for it, an ethereal atmosphere is created via a softly tapped drum, two droned organ tones doused in plenty of reverb, and a projection of the moon through a hole in a black curtain. Besides the pleasant ramblings… More >>
  • Best Place To Visit 189 Different Countries All At Once


    You wish you could go places, but you're stuck here in the city. You're broke, and Orbitz isn't going to help. Maybe it's time to step into "the house where the world meets," and check out the UNITED NATIONS. The UN isn't technically in New York, but rather on international territory shared by all 189 member countries. So while your… More >>
  • Best Place To Score A Tourist

    PIER 16

    It is difficult for local New Yorkers to mack on tourists due to pedestrian velocity. The mood, though, is Otis Redding-perfect at PIER 16. This prime out-of-towner "chance encounter" spot is lively with meandering tourists ready to be cruised. You may appear to be a confident waterside local checking out the Peking (a massive merchant ship), "just leaving" the W.O.… More >>
  • Best Tourist Site To Avoid


    I understand and support the fact that people need to confront the WTC disaster in order to begin healing, and that for some, visiting GROUND ZERO helps them come to terms with our collective loss. However, that the site became, for all intents and purposes, a tourist attraction like any other (the Empire State Building, or World's Largest Ball of… More >>
  • Best After-Work Spot To Mock Overweight Tourists


    On Thursday nights throughout the summer, my co-workers and I flee to SEQUOIA at the South Street Seaport to sip cheap frozen daiquiris and the intoxicating fumes of the East River. But the true entertainment comes from observing our fellow Americans from the provinces as they board the Beast, New York's largest and loudest speedboat. Go ahead: Laugh at a… More >>
  • Best Place To Avoid Models


    Competing with 110-pound glamazons in Manolo Blahniks can do serious harm to a single gal's ego. No longer satisfied with Bungalow 8, models have infested the N train, the falafel stand, your office. Our suggestion: Hit up places usually left to tourists and homeless people. Next date, suggest a stroll down the new 42nd Street, where you can share limited… More >>
  • Best Reason To Stop Gawking At People Cooler Than You


    The kids with thigh boots and tacklebox faces have nothing on the STUFF GROUND INTO THE PAVEMENT BY THE ASTOR PLACE CUBE. At the corner of East 8th and Lafayette streets, mere steps from the hipster-magnet cube, scrolls a sequence of items that have become part of the pavement—coins, pop-tops, bits of jewelry, a collection of screws, part of a… More >>
  • Best Magazine To Make You Hate Hipsters Even More


    VICE MAGAZINE was just fine when its "Dos" and "Don'ts" were still funny, its political incorrectness less rote, and it didn't print dead-serious, irresponsibly cut-rate "investigative" pieces. (The reviews and art photography always sucked.) And considering just how carefully its writers cultivate their snide hipness, you'd think that the magazine—sharing its name with the clothing store that puts it out—would… More >>
  • Best Place To Read 'In Style' Magazine In Hiding


    Next to clipping out headlines about Gwyneth Paltrow Enchantress Siren (to wit: "She's sweet, she's skinny, but there's just something about Gwynnie"), my second favorite form of edification is dissecting InStyle magazine each month. The ritual takes place around the corner at the divinely divey CHELSEA GRILL because it is not so dimly lit that I can't devour "Kiefer Sutherland… More >>
  • Best Place To Spot Adults In Insect Costumes


    Perhaps because the CENTRAL PARK ZOO is so small, or maybe because all zoos aim to include children in the wildlife experience, it has almost as many fake animal sculptures as actual animals. In fact, confused children can be seen petting goat statues in the farmyard section instead of the real live slobbering goat caged behind it, as parents sit… More >>
  • Best Insane, Hilarious Guerrilla Theater


    Chengwin is a gigantic, brave half-chicken-half-penguin; his nemesis is Chunk, a half-chicken- half-skunk. They have public pro-wrestling-style battles, in elaborately staged scenarios, for no reason other than it's unbelievably fun. As the wedding procession for Chengwin and his half-dove sweetheart Chove a few months ago wandered down 10th Street, the fuzzy critters were detained by a couple of cops—who gave… More >>
  • Best Cheap Night Out For Aspiring Smart-Asses


    Unless you happen to witness a bidnessman getting attacked by pigeons in the park, good comedy doesn't come any cheaper than a Sunday night at the UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE THEATER, when the UCB members themselves—along with a couple of choice guests, oftentimes SNL cast members—perform a free hour-long improv show. On other nights teams, troupes, and individual comics perform everything… More >>
  • Best Prosthetic Dance Props


    Innovative, swanky, and mind-boggling, ANTI-GRAVITY defies any traditional gymnastics or dance origins it may have. Almost superhuman in stance, Anti-Gravity's artists concern themselves with conjuring graceful and shocking means of hoisting themselves into the air. In fact, much time and money goes into researching new aerial elements to incorporate into their performances. Their latest new aerial prop is the "Anti-Gravity… More >>
  • Best Reason To Be Creeped Out By Magicians


    As Arthur C. Clarke almost said, any sufficiently expensive trinket is indistinguishable from magic. Step into the cramped entrance of TANNEN'S MAGIC SHOP and you'll find out just how expensive the relevant trinkets can be. Founded in 1931, Tannen's carries basically every prop a magician can use, and they'll demonstrate any trick that doesn't involve, say, wild tigers or giant… More >>
  • Best Low-Rent Theatrical Multiplex


    Amid the crush and hustle of midtown, who knew a sprawl was possible, but the CHASHAMA complex of theaters somehow manages to loll luxuriously over four converted storefronts on 42nd Street. Founded in 1995 by members of Reza Abdoh's legendary Dar A Luz company, and maintained by a breathtaking amount of grants, Chashama plays host to a dizzying schedule of… More >>
  • Best Social Event To Help Improve Your Vocabulary


    Surely I shall be ostracized by the scathing, hoity-toity literati of Manhattan for this exaltation of a MCSWEENEY'S READING, but truly I care not a fig for those prigs. So full disclosure: Aside from an audience of bespectacled, bookish dreamboats who sip gin and tonics from folding chairs and the cynical writers who orate their satirical dispatches slouched atop stools… More >>
  • Best Place To Confuse You About The Politics Of Bankruptcy


    Hold on a sec, KMART—you're still open, your prices are still the same, and you still don't restock? What does "bankrupt" mean nowadays . . . ? Reader! Remember how, previous to Kmart's January 2002 declaration of bankruptcy, the word carried promise of mass price-slashing, connoted discount bins piled high with booty, drastic price reductions shouted out on florescent posters,… More >>
  • Best Response To Common Sleaziness


    Every woman has had the experience of feeling threatened or demeaned by your average asshole who yells "nice ass" or "smile baby." The STREET HARASSMENT PROJECT holds weekly meetings to share stories and to plan workshops and demonstrations. Join a "counter-harassment party" of women who patrol parks. Hand out cards to offenders saying, "This card has been treated with an… More >>
  • Best Emblem Of Manhattanite Condescension Toward Outer Boroughs


    It's not as if Long Island City sighed with relief that culture had finally arrived to civilize us when MOMA QNS set up—hello, we already had P.S.1—but you'd never know it by the museum's strange fascination with the "sub-way train" that we bridge-and-tunnel savages use. The abstracted drawing of a redbird's cab that they've plastered all over and stuck in… More >>
  • Best Place To Wear White And Pretend You're In The Hamptons


    For a gratuitous fee that's far less than advantaged families pay for the real thing, you and your resort-starved friends can load onto a rickety, big, old boat at Pier 16 and spend 90 minutes cruising the very lower tip of eastern Manhattan (the Brooklyn Bridge to Lady Liberty and back again), grooving slowly among a beer-drinking crowd to sentimental… More >>
  • Best Oddball College-Radiotalk Show


    Every college campus needs at least one wild-haired, rhetoric-spouting, borderline-deranged radical who never changes his or her clothes. Columbia has many, but none as charismatic as sophomore Merlin Chowkwanyun (yes, that's his real name), host of the weekly BOMB THE HAMPTONS radio show. On air, Chowkwanyun conducts "guerrilla interviews" with media figures, chats up strippers and porn stars, and takes… More >>
  • Best Public-Access Tv Show


    Monday night at home, and you're indulging in an herbal livener—you usually wait till the weekend to do this, but your job sucks so much that you just need to relax already. Flipping channels, you stumble across what looks like a Kroft Superstar hanging out at a comic-book convention. Then they switch to folks in similar costumes abducting a woman… More >>
  • Best Television Substitute


    Forget Jacques Cousteau documentaries—for a truly awe-inspiring look at the rich diversity of the undersea world, venture forth to the fish markets of Chinatown. At HO CHOY FOOD MART, the bins and tanks teem with close-up-worthy fish species from all over the planet. Marvel at the enormous eels shimmering past, the jousting live blue crabs, the frogs peering coyly from… More >>
  • Best Street To Entertain An Impecunious Crowd


    "We're showing up around noon," we tell the kind folks at Vegetarian Paradise 3 (33 MOTT STREET, 406-6988) when there's a big crew coming for brunch. "There'll probably be about 15 of us." We turn up a little early to hold the space, then ignore the main part of the menu, order one of every kind of dim sum it… More >>
  • Best Annual Block Party


    Held in early summer, the Eldridge Street Project's free EGG ROLLS & EGG CREAMS shindig is multiculti in exactly the right way. It's an excuse for the Jewish and Chinese communities of Chinatown to mingle in the pleasant old Eldridge Street Synagogue, listen to live music from both traditions, watch calligraphy demonstrations, and nosh on the relevant foods. (Neither of… More >>
  • Best Place For A Community Barbecue

    PIER 25

    Kids taking a break from a mini-golf game run to the snack bar for some ice cream. The picnic tables lining the pier are filled with lounging business people on a lunch break. "Cheeseburger!" the cook shouts from the grill, and as you squirt on the ketchup you feel like you are in the backyard you can't afford to have.… More >>
  • Best Quaint Neighborhood Post Office


    When a classified ad describes an NYC apartment as "cozy," we all know to read "claustrophobic." So if I were renting out the GREENPOINT STATION POST OFFICE, I'd say it's "com- fortably compact," or "pleasingly personal." And you still wouldn't believe me. But hey, I'm a big fan of the U.S. Postal Service, so maybe I'm easily pleased. This little… More >>
  • Best Place To Feel NY Cares What You Do, Sort Of


    In NYC, everyone couldn't care less what you do with yourself. Murder a rat. Snort coke off someone's ass. Don an X-rated clown suit for an afternoon walk. Scream, and clutch an open wound. No one wants to be involved. But there is one place where people care what you're up to . . . sort of: JFK AIRPORT. Here,… More >>