People & Places

  • best place for a romantic rendezvous


    Let pocket paradise GREENACRES PARK transport you with its cascading river, lush greenery, pots of pink, yellow, and purple flowers, walls of ivy, and little tables that get splashed by water. Perfect for innocent handholding or a memorable stolen kiss.… More >>
  • best $5 romantic comedy


    Bring some friends and pay the entrance fee to go watch A WEDDING IN THE BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN. (Cheaper than going to see a Hollywood love flick.) Stare in at the wedding through the glass walls of the Palm House. It's like a 3D movie that at any moment could become interactive . . . You do the voices for… More >>
  • best place to test your cuteness


    Delete your photo from! Stop obsessing over those Friendster testimonials! The only true way to measure your "cuteness" is to let the snooty, hotter-than-thou wait staff at UNION SQUARE CAFÉ decide if you're eye candy enough to sit in the big picture window at the front of the restaurant. When a friend of mine took a hostess job there,… More >>
  • best club in which to get tetanus while making out


    No, it's not a cooking utensil—the FRYING PAN is an old-ass boat where concerts are put on. It's tempting to slip into one of the vessel's rusty nooks and slip somebody the tongue, but beware of pokey things coming out of the walls. You might walk away with more than somebody else's piece of gum.… More >>
  • best place to watch a walrus masturbate


    Though not as common as feeding time, self-pleasure occurs among the flipper-and-tusk set, and the NEW YORK AQUARIUM is likely the best place in town to observe a large aquatic mammal spanking the monkey. No, they can't see through the double-sided glass, so as you hum "Under the Sea" to the awkward Coney Island bump-and-grind, don't flatter yourself into thinking… More >>
  • best innocent way to get your date wet


    A big stick in your hand, a rocking motion, and dampness in your shorts—sound good? The DOWNTOWN BOATHOUSE ASSOCIATION makes single and two-person kayaks available for paddling about the Hudson for free on weekends and holidays from May 15 to October 15. Walk-ups are restricted to a protected embayment, but if you arrive by 8 a.m. on Saturdays a three-hour… More >>
  • best girls-only dildo party


    Sex-toy company SAFINA has a dream: to make their "Sexories" a household presence on par with Tupperware—and, in homage to those other durable plastic products, Safina's wares are sold in ladies' living rooms- cum-sex salons across the city. Hostesses are encouraged to welcome friends over for bagels, lox, and lube in exchange for a few freebies. Products include gloves with… More >>
  • best transformational salon and guest house


    Customers from as far away as Istanbul and Amsterdam come for help in turning the "he in you" into "the she in you." Immaculate, discreet, courteous, and set in a 125-year-old, 22-room Victorian, FAIRPLAYTV is an all-services salon selling wigs, shoes, dresses, corsets to size 42, and stem-to-stern makeovers that can be videotaped so you'll know how to do them… More >>
  • best explanation for the hordes of people calling phone-sex lines fantasizing about being submerged in a vat of ping-pong balls


    "Oh, God," my art teacher sneered when I told her I was going to see the Matthew Barney show at the Guggenheim. "He's like the TV Guide version of an artist." Yeah, well, backlash all you like, but the 'CREMASTER' CYCLE ADS ON THE SUBWAY oozed his lush, creepy images into the subconscious minds of every straphanger in the city… More >>
  • best place to bring a date if you have a foot fetish


    You love feet, but no one needs to know that right off the bat, do they? Ask your special new friend to dine with you at Japanese barbecue YAKINIKU WEST. Calm, you! Maintain a blasé tone: "Yes, yes, yes, yes, see you there, it's shoes-off dining, good, good, good." Once seated, pull the old drop-a-napkin and get your gander. Proceed… More >>
  • best last place for metal token freaks


    With the phase-out of the MTA's tidy little coin, few transactions require a token of any kind. Times Square's SHOW WORLD is one exception. At the end of a long corridor lined with dark moaning booths, a silent clerk sells slim copper tokens, four for a dollar. These buy three minutes with Show World's 128 hardcore XXX videos. With each… More >>
  • best penis monument


    "The salami," LA MELA waiter Diego Cordero calls the dining-room light: a wooden phallus sharpened at the head like a pencil on steroids, with bulbs for balls. He pulls the string, then serves a shield-sized platter of gnocchi to the families below the light, drawing laughs from the kids, smiles from the moms, and bemused frowns from the pops. No… More >>
  • best rack on a two-dimensional girl


    What is Miss New York City? It sounds like a Fluxus project, but really it's a beauty pageant, a magazine, a modeling agency, an art gallery, and a website selling hotpants and "skirts." But it's the PHOTO OF MISS NEW YORK CITY in the boutique's Nolita window that makes the enterprise worthwhile. The blonde in a white knit tank, her… More >>
  • best free nude life drawing classes


    It's true. On the third floor of the TOMPKINS SQUARE LIBRARY you can study hot-ass male and female forms in the rough while the sun pours through the windows from October until May. Best, guest modeling appearances by busty burlesque babe Dirty Martini aren't so rare. Saturdays 2:30 to 4.… More >>
  • best vomit-soaked booths and dancing girls


    So what if they had a movie based loosely on the bar and its patrons? COYOTE UGLY is still full of beer-drenched hecklers who can't get enough of the women parading their undergarments on top of the bar while doing shots off each other's bust lines. Unfortunately, most of the crowd gathers around the bar and the booths are usually… More >>
  • best williamsburg hipster scene transplanted to a strip club


    Though it's hard to top the raucous international dance party at 416 B.C., the PUSSYCAT LOUNGE provides for some equally absurd, equally all-inclusive weird dancing fun. That is, if you ignore the depressing basement area populated by a few lone strippers. Saturdays on the second floor, the vintage clothing and interesting haircuts entice you to do-si-do and twirl until what… More >>
  • best place to see columbia girls strip under fake names


    "I never slapped my own ass at TEN'S," one seasoned stripper confesses of this decidedly upscale "world class cabaret" where her undergrad co-workers included a Columbia economics major with a $200 wig, an "All-American" look, and the requisite spike heels and sheddable "cocktail" dress. "The food, the fun, the fantasy" is the slogan at this well-organized, three-stage joint; just prepare… More >>
  • best back crack


    I first limped into B CHIROPRACTIC injured and bruised from eight-hour-a-day dance classes and high-heeled cocktail waitressing. I was defeated. But after an hour-long lecture on the principles of healthy living and a month-long intensive of chiropractic care from Dr. Silk and Dr. Mike, I was back in the game. The best thing about this office is that you need… More >>
  • best unconvincing spanking


    To the deafening accompaniment of Guns N' Roses and other mainstream, unsexy rock, the internationally bored go-go dancers at the party known as FREAKSHOW @ FLOW, wearing incongruous schoolgirl ensembles, flail away at a short succession of trouser-dropping dudes who are obviously regulars,failing to make anyone forget that it's Wednesday night.… More >>
  • best place to feel sweaty back stubble


    The beats come on and the shirts come off—welcome to Saturday night at THE ROXY. The go-go dancers are on the bar, hands grope happily on the dance floor, and the bathrooms stalls are well-used—all against a throbbing techno backdrop. On the dancefloor, it's soon clear that some revelers had their last back-wax a few weeks ago. Scratchy and repulsive… More >>
  • best brooklyn-hipster haircuts


    The point of getting a haircut from a person instead of, say, a Flowbee is not solely to have good-looking hair afterwards—it's to make you feel like you're reinforcing the kind of person you want to be while you're actually getting your hair cut. If you aspire to be an NPR-listening, Reiki-receiving type, your cut awaits you in midtown; there… More >>
  • best lower east side hipster haircuts


    The Lower East Side salon KROPPS & BOBBERS is known for its work in dreadlocks and extensions, but every time I go, it's full of hot young things touching up their mod Rod Stewart 'dos and ironic mullets on their way to Pianos around the corner. I feel lame asking for my same old layered trim, but they somehow manage… More >>
  • best pussy wax


    I've been shaving between my legs since I first noticed hair there. Which was early, believe me. I have a lot of hair. I've been hearing about OLGA'S NAILS for years, but the fear has kept me away. And for good reason—my pussy is still throbbing as I write this. But finally, I feel comfortable wearing the skimpiest thong in… More >>
  • best thong-watching besides everywhere thanks to the trendiness of low-cut jeans


    The Central Park lawn known as SHEEP MEADOW attracts sun worshipers from all over. Sun worshipers are different from mere sun supplicants—the former need to brown ass cheeks in addition to backs. Hence the sea of wedgies on any nice day.… More >>
  • best source of flowered underpants for discreet flashing from a 1964 girl's bike


    An unofficial poll of Black Irishmen suggests that a brief flash of white under a fast-pedaling girl is far sexier than the look-at-me-I'm-wearing-a-pony-harness shout of a thong above a pair of jeans. There are branches of DAFFY'S throughout the city, but the Fifth Avenue store has the best selection of cotton panties. Lots of whites and flowers and occasionally the… More >>
  • best place to sidestep gross old stalkers to find cute cotton bikini underwear


    Joe Boxer has become a high-profile brand at KMART. Their cotton bikini underpants in nice bright colors make a pussy feel proud. Make a pussy sing: "I am what I am!" However, there is always a different gross old man with a snotty nose and gnarled back, loitering suspiciously in this area, not even pretending to look for something, just… More >>
  • best place to feel richly sensuous while spending like a cheap whore

    CENTURY 21

    CENTURY 21 is a traumatic shopping environment where crazy women snatch at items and random pricing can be alternately shocking and exciting. The lingerie department (however maddening to competitively tour) is a veritable treasure chest (ha ha ha)! Hellish clamor turns to glamour when you take that sheer little camisole home and look like three jazillion bucks in it.… More >>
  • best source of sexy yoga clothes


    Maybe it was the brochure. In it, the tow-headed model who looks like Kiki, the Norwegian sister of your grade-school crush, is dressed in gauzy pink-and-lemon pants and lying on a yellow naugahyde sofa. Or she's leaning against the stark silver walls of some downtown industrial something-or-other. She's too much, her Yogini outfits too Easter-egg sexpot adorable to believe. YOGINI… More >>
  • best way to sex up your straight boyfriend


    R.I.P. Raymond Dragon, source of all things Lycra, whose Chelsea shop never turned away a straight guy who wanted to show off a perfect ass. Some places still sell mens' thongs only as a New Year's Eve joke—all goofy neon-green and I-was-drunk-when-I-wore-this self-consciousness. If your man has the goods, MARDANA FOR MEN has what you want. Sleek rayon shirts and… More >>
  • best store to buy softcore valentine's day presents from snotty gay boys


    There are two main men at DELPHINIUM HOME. Their pants are high, their hair neat and parted. They'll speak when they think you're gonna buy something. But when you ask their advice on whether to buy your new boyfriend a shower curtain with people copulating on it or a naked girl swimming like a sperm, they will give a thought… More >>
  • best place to be completely ignored by the best-looking men ever


    Don't go to the Tuesday-night BEIGE AT B-BAR on a fat day—you will be judged, harshly. The crowd is pumped, primped, and prettied to the max as the cream of New York's gay community flirts and flits. Ladies, there's not much use for you here, but if you don't mind being wallflowers, grab a drink and watch the candy cruise… More >>
  • best job for picking up coeds


    Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's DOA, it's like you're . . . someone stop me. Although, if said clichés are true, think about a part-time book clerk gig at BARNES & NOBLE, and not just any one either: the main store (bet you didn't know they had one.) Textbooks! Students! During the rushes, thousands a day!… More >>
  • best bar for picking up a gay best friend


    The positive energy and friendly vibe at this meatpacking staple attracts gay men and the gals who love 'em, with a sprinkling of straight boys and lesbos tossed into the mix. Welcome to HELL, where everybody's your best friend over a cosmo. Straight girls have it best, basking in the glow of attention from their gay admirers as well as… More >>
  • best gay pickup joint


    Even Chelsea boys—hell, especially Chelsea boys—need 320 thread-count sheets, household 10-piece tool kits, and extra-large bath towels. So you can go shopping with your beau or shopping for a beau at BED, BATH, & BOYFRIENDS (ER, BEYOND). Even if you don't find the mancake of your dreams, you can probably walk away with a pretty classy can opener.… More >>
  • best place to join a new jersey bachelorette party ogling gay- male strippers


    More fun than watching VH1's I Love the '80s! Twenty years later there are still material girls who appreciate the finer things in life—Reaganomics, Duran Duran, hairspray (it's not just a musical), and curling irons. They can be found weekends at the HUNKMANIA fest. But if the bridge and tunnel traffic is too much, "hunks" can be delivered. Batteries not… More >>
  • best place to see policemen in tight pants do wide leg stretches


    The afternoon change-over at the MOUNTED POLICE HEADQUARTERS—TROOP B is a good time to be a peep: Cops of all physiques in tight jodhpurs take positions on the sidewalk, stretch their legs wide, and bend and stretch, bend and stretch. They tap the ground with their big hands, walk them to one side, the middle, and the other side. They… More >>
  • best place to take a poop


    Most of the time we dispense our #2 into the water of our mundane toilet bowls. But the city offers more entertaining places for evacuating the tail end of your alimentary canal—its 52 outdoor public pools. Our favorite: the HAMILTON FISH POOL, because of its proximity to the bistros of newly fashionable Clinton Street. So put the "bath" back in… More >>
  • best public restrooms


    Somewhere in New York, someone's got a studio apartment smaller than the personal toilet booths at the PENINSULA HOTEL. The fully enclosed, second-floor rooms de toilette feature French paintings on the marble-esque walls, and the sink area boasts designer hand soap and lotion and gold-inlaid towels. Don't forget an apple from the bowl in the lobby on the way out.… More >>
  • best place for public sex


    On weekends, the second-floor business center at the ESSEX HOUSE is deader than Quogue in February. So there's no better place for public sex than its men's room, featuring four toilets with floor-to-ceiling walls and doors. Opt for the one furthest to the left—the handicapped john ups the naughty factor, and there are plenty of creative uses for the support… More >>
  • best church not to have sex in


    ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL, begun in 1858, contains three organs. That's plenty, thank you very much. There's no need to lay any more pipe in there, as a couple taking part in a sex-in-strange-places contest put on by shock jocks Opie and Anthony proved—the copulating couple were arrested and the DJs fired. I prefer quietly masturbating in the pews, anyhow.… More >>
  • best upside to the smoking ban


    AVAILABLE TABLES AT SCRATCHER used to be rare as good parking spots. Sure, the place was smoky as a VFW Hall, but the friendly bartenders and relaxed vibe made it our favorite local. At 10:30 on a recent Thursday, seven of the 10 tables were free. The neighbors won't even let people smoke in front of the bar. Those bartenders… More >>
  • best place where even the non-smokers miss the smoking


    Like a scene from Moulin Rouge, PASTIS has always crackled with guilty pleasures: flowing wine, juicy burgers, baskets of thick bread, salty fries. And cigarettes. Let's face it: When smoking looks cool, it looks really cool, and nowhere did it look more fabulous than at Pastis. Now, without that familiar haze curling into the ceiling, things seem more sanitized and… More >>
  • best horrible inequity of the smoking ban


    Before the ban, KARMA was a sad little psychedelic rec room on the verge of extinction—empty every night except Saturday, when its worn velvet couches and rum-based "bikinitinis" lured B&Ters. Then Bloomberg slapped the ban on every bar within a 10-block radius—except for Karma, which qualified as a tobacco bar on account of its hookahs. Now it still displays horrendous… More >>
  • best place to smoke your big yellow face off


    Slipping victoriously through a trapdoor in Bloomberg's dicey smoking ban (clemency is granted to establishments that can prove 10 percent of their business comes from the sale of tobacco products), cigarette bar CIRCA TABAC offers patrons over 150 different kinds of smokes (both domestic and foreign) for open, under-the-roof puffing, thus granting huffers the simultaneous high of eschewing Johnny Law… More >>
  • best shop for secondhand smoke and first-class tobacco


    If you can see through the haute haze, your eye just might land upon the luxury tobaccos and opulent cigarettes (not to mention the handcrafted walking sticks, individual humidors, and luxury cuff links) at NAT SHERMAN'S. A smoker's destination since 1930, the shop now has the added attraction as one of the last establishments where smoking indoors is permitted, nay,… More >>
  • best place to pay for a show and not be let back in after a smoke break


    You'd think Bloomberg hasn't been to a venue since Fleetwood Mac started. The new anti-smoking bill has tied the hands of IRVING PLAZA, preventing ticket holders from leaving between acts to satisfy nic fits. Result? An even more pissed-off crowd inside fitting for their smokes, and an irate crowd outside, realizing that, for them, the show's over.… More >>
  • best place to find something to put your weed in


    With G.W.'s recent push for no tolerance on drug paraphernalia, it may be a matter of time before finding good glass is a thing of the past. Luckily, New York's many shops and street stands that sell glasswork haven't been a major target and at the BROADWAY OPEN MARKET, you can find one of the largest collections of glass to… More >>
  • best marijuana delivery service


    Back in 1999, when I started going into the city to see my boyfriend, the dotcom era was still in bloom, and he wooed me with its amazing new conveniences: Ben & Jerry's, Coen brothers DVDs, and eighths of White Widow, all luxuriously conveyed to his front door courtesy of Kozmo, Urban Fetch, and JOE. Since then, the silly websites… More >>
  • best place to smoke a joint outside


    Don't jump! Instead, do a jay in the MIDDLE OF THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE, where you won't be caught by cops turning a corner and can be like, "Dude, remember before 9-11, when you could see the towers from here?" and share other deep thoughts with a buddy. OK, go ahead and jump if you want.… More >>
  • best subway station if your sensesare chemically augmented


    Most subway murals are just sort of pretty—nice tilework, vintage ceramic finish if you're lucky. The new mosaic in the tunnel connecting the B/D/F/V and 7 lines at 42ND STREET/BRYANT PARK, though, is worthy of a blitzed bliss-out. Quotes from Goethe, Ovid, and Finnegans Wake loop around exquisite glittery metallic roots that break up the hallway's clean brick lines, and… More >>
  • best extra-value meal for nitrate-loving lushes


    East Village bong sessions necessitate munchie stops at CRIF DOGS, where stoners scarf down thick chocolate shakes, sloppy chili-cheese fries, and the eponymous fried franks. The only thing that's been missing is beer, and they've finally remedied that with icy Bud. For $5.50, you can enjoy two dogs and a cold can at one of their little picnic tables, and… More >>
  • best viagra alternative


    Forget conning doctors or scoring from Ecstasy dealers and indulge in Mother Nature's party starter at BLUE RIBBON'S RAW BAR. The current seasonal oyster is the Canadian Malpeque and they regularly feature Japanese Kumamotos farmed on the West Coast. Each squiggly love slug can be topped with a vinegar concoction, cocktail sauce, or the sexy Alonso sauce. Blue Ribbon's expert… More >>
  • best free birth control


    You know when you are poor and have no health insurance? Yeah, that sucks. And you would like to not get pregnant, and still do it, and get your period on time, or maybe find out if you have cervical cancer? It's good to have free gynecological exams and birth control pills. And this is actually possible if you call… More >>
  • best condom wall in a deli


    It fits that the deli serving the heart of Nolita has the most extensive condom wall—it's just inside the entrance of 40 PRINCE FARM, above the ATM and the selection of Beef Jerky. There are Lifestyle "luscious flavors" and Maxx: best of the larger condoms. Kimono brand is available in Sensation, Micro Thin, and Spermicidal Lubricant. Lifestyle Assorted Colors are… More >>
  • Illegal New York Nights

    the vices didn’t go away; they just went underground after hours

    Like those revered party capitals Sodom and Gomorrah, New York City is a town of vice. But since we're a city of cynics too, we revel in declaring this place totally over—a shtick as shopworn as Cindy Adams's chirping "Only in New York, kids, only in New York!" with the morning coffee. But don't toss the schmeared bagels just yet.… More >>
  • best place to realize the city's budget crisis is no joke


    The City of New York has made poverty an unattractive career option by funneling applicants for food stamps and other public assistance through the hulking MUNICIPAL BUILDING JUST OFF UNION SQUARE. A trip through the maze of institutional-beige hallways reveals the city's cash crunch in depressing detail: falling ceiling tiles, peeling linoleum, twisted vertical blinds, and maddeningly erratic fluorescent lights.… More >>
  • best helpful website


    For the million-plus drivers in New York City every day, there is nothing more sacred than the 32 government and religious holidays that suspend oppressive parking laws. THEALTERNATE-SIDE PARKING REGULATIONS SUSPENSION CALENDAR WEBSITE is invaluable when battling street sweepers. Beyond obvious freebies like Christmas and July 4 are nuggets like Immaculate Conception Day (December 8) and Shemini Atzereth (October 18).… More >>
  • best courtroom experience


    With über-masculinist vernacular and frontier justice surging on the political scene, there are increasingly few avenues for the meek to settle scores. Thanks to city government for looking out for the underdog. Whether you were charged too much or your cabbie spent the whole ride swearing at you, the TAXI AND LIMOUSINE COMPLAINT HEARINGS will help you savor the sweet… More >>
  • best-loved white man in harlem


    BILL CLINTON recently sent me a personal letter soliciting donations for his new library. I was flattered, but not as flattered as the proud residents of Harlem, in whose neighborhood the last great Democrat chose to put his post-presidential office. Incidentally, I heard Al Gore now has a place in Hell's Kitchen.… More >>
  • best housing activist (citywide)


    DAVE POWELL of the Met Council on Housing kept his troops motivated through a dispiriting and confusing rent season this spring, when laws protecting tenants were up for renewal in Albany just as the city's Rent Guidelines Board was setting this year's increases. Powell reached out, produced crowds, and disrupted bogus hearings. Tenants got screwed again but managed to scale… More >>
  • best housing activist (local)


    The HUD scandal du jour involves the so-called 203K program, under which sleazy middlemen bought rundown buildings and flipped them to nonprofits via HUD-guaranteed loans. Some of the nonprofits defaulted, the feds got the foreclosed buildings, and tenants were left high and dry. JAMES LEWIS organized the 203K tenants in 66 buildings into a group called Harlem Operation Take… More >>
  • best hollow victory


    ALAN HEVESI'S REVELATION OF TA BUDGET TRICKERY AND SUBSEQUENT STRAPHANGER'S LAWSUITS TO PREVENT FARE INCREASE. March 6—MTA raises subway fares to $2. April 23—New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi announces that the MTA hid half a billion dollars to justify a fare increase in 2003. May 14—NY State Supreme Court Justice Louis York orders a fare rollback. July 15—MTA's fare… More >>
  • best potential use of found mta money


    Waiting for trains can be hotter than Satan's sauna on platform, but the 4/5/6 at Grand Central is a pleasure, thanks to the SUBWAY- PLATFORM AIR COOLERS. So we'll be seeing more of these magic black boxes? Not likely, though the MTA says they're using less costly measures—improving ventilation by reopening closed street gratings and removing portions of mezzanine floors—to… More >>
  • best new public works project


    There was something darkly romantic about circumventing rusted, tetanus-inducing fences on dilapidated piers and watching a lustrous Jersey sunset while the Christopher Street crew engaged in public displays of fellatio and/or smoked crack. Sure, the brand-spanking-new HUDSON RIVER PARK, with its trapeze school, crepe stands, grass-lined piers, and ample bike and jogging lanes, is cleaner, safer, and family-friendly, but welcoming… More >>
  • best daily news digest


    It's just not possible to get through all the papers every day. So who'll do it for you? Ira Stoll used to do a great takedown of the Times, but he edits the Sun now. Gothamgazette. com is duller than dirt, and City Limits has its head up its ass. We wake to the soothing Canadian tones and wry wit… More >>
  • best political columnist


    The endless revelations about the inept double-dealing between the Brooklyn Democratic party and the judiciary have an elephant-in-the-room quality: It's hard to spin a narrative arc out of a problem that's so pervasive. ERIK ENGQUIST of the Courier Life newspaper chain is your Vergil through this Zadie Smithian underworld. He's funny, skeptical, and encyclopedic in his knowledge of the endless… More >>
  • best law that might finally get revised


    It came as a shock to everyone when the Department of Consumer Affairs announced a public hearing on the CABARET LAW—since multiple political groups have been trying to get the ear of the government agency responsible for giving the licenses ever since Giuliani resurrected the outdated legislation. The law, second only to the smoking ban, is one of the most… More >>
  • best nyc politician who actually keeps his word


    Though he was elected by the small hairs with a split Chinatown vote, City Councilman ALAN GERSON (Manhattan, District One) has done what few other city pols have: kept promises. Before the election, Gerson promised he'd fight the city's archaic cabaret law. After Gerson attended numerous Dance Liberation Front events, Consumer Affairs finally copped to the law's inanities and pledged… More >>
  • best republican likely to add years to your life


    Bravo to MICHAEL BLOOMBERG for having the guts to forbid smoking in bars and clubs in the face of all that pissing and moaning and character assassination. He's extending the lives of employees and patrons alike. The hardcore smokers say bars and clubs will die. But in the long run, for every stinker who puffs away in public, there are… More >>
  • best way to generate money for the city by charging poor people


    Bloomberg's OPERATION IMPACT crackdown on the city's top crime areas by releasing police forces in droves actually worked. Overall crime is down 33 percent, and violent crimes in those areas are steadily decreasing. The downside is that areas with the highest crime rates are also low-income neighborhoods and hordes of police officers are pressured into writing senseless tickets. The most… More >>
  • best subway station to observe nyc's class structure


    From the 1/9 stop at DYCKMAN STREET, you can peer closely into what should be abandoned apartment buildings, while in the background and a bit to your left glisten the trees and the rock tops of the Fort that separates the rich from the poor, Inwood from Fort Washington: the wealthy on an island atop an island, up which the… More >>
  • best ready-made ruin


    Not like the decorative remnants of faux kings' castles they used to build into the overgrowth further up the Hudson, the IRISH HUNGER MEMORIAL is a real-life peasant's cottage salvaged to commemorate colonial casualties and shockwaves of immigration. Sunken into a patch of green amid the paved-over landscape, its grass-through-concrete uplift is clear and uncloying. Yet set so near ground… More >>
  • best marxist book club


    For artists and would-be cultural theoreticians who never quite made it through a Ph.D. program, 16 Beaver provides some respite from the cultural abyss of office-ness. Started a few years ago as an artists' collective, 16 BEAVER GROUP has expanded to include open weekly Monday-night discussion groups with accompanying readings. Along with a handful of other earnest intellectuals, you can… More >>
  • best bookstore to help you destroy a fascist regime


    With sections titled "Occupied Palestine (Israel)," "Atheism," "Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/ Transgender," and "U.S. Imperialism: Past and Present," you'd be right to guess that REVOLUTION BOOKS has a political agenda. Claiming to be "the largest explicitly revolutionary bookstore in the country," it lives up to its rep not only with Marx and Mao tomes translated into several languages but also workshops and lectures… More >>
  • best resurgence of grassroots energy in the democratic party


    For all the rhetoric of the Internet and democratization, a handful of people grabbing a drink and talking politics in dive bars for HOWARD DEAN MEET-UPS has grown to over 100,000 active supporters nationwide. The watershed moment was at Essex Lounge in March. Now people all over are getting organized to take back their party, and country. Believe the hype;… More >>
  • best demagogue local politician utterly ignorant of world affairs


    New York city councilman CHARLES BARRON struck a low note for a city that has historically played host to victims of oppressive governments on September 12 of last year when he feted Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe on the steps of City Hall. When Mugabe—whose campaign of murder, mass rape, and imprisonment of black political foes and white farmers has sent… More >>
  • best-dressed anti-war protesters


    Americans have been much less likely to engage in imaginative protest than their European counterparts (stringy-haired hippies are so Summer of Love). Enter the GLAMERICANS, "a non-partisan group of funky Americans" who injected some much needed humor into the big February protests with their high-fashion high jinks and fabulous fundraisers at various downtown bars. Their slogan: "Peace, it's the new… More >>
  • best homage to a foreign despot


    This hasn't been a good year for public statues of dictators—not when Saddam's sculpted image was smothered with the old Stars and Stripes and gracelessly felled on international TV. But not all bronze despots meet the same fate as their regimes. The STATUE OF VLADIMIR LENIN ON THE ROOF OF THE RED SQUARE BUILDING has avoided such ignominious toppling, even… More >>
  • best geopolitical coffeehouse graffiti


    Ahhh, the bathroom wall. Usually devoted to "for a good time call" epithets, it's been (mostly) elevated several levels at Columbia University nabe hangout the HUNGARIAN PASTRY SHOP. Of late, scribes have been debating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war in Iraq and offering opinions on Bush. (The consensus seems to be that he should be buried "in his… More >>
  • best place for a progressive political protest


    The problem for elected officials is that not only do they have to represent constituents, they actually have to live among them too. Jefferson called for a revolution every 20 years, but the Park Slope Greens found other means of registering dissent. The movement came to the HOME OF SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER in March to chastise him for support of… More >>
  • best place to apologize for the post's weasel fetish


    LE KIOSK, a corner café you may have walked by a thousand times but never patronized, is teeming with the young, bohemian French! They lounge about, eating perfect niçoise salads and blahing in their native tongue. Seated there among them, an outsider can enjoy all the edible and aural benefits of a mini-European getaway. Then, as you pick your teeth… More >>
  • best place to get in a fight about immigration


    As if we needed another reminder that labor being in bed with the left is a very old chestnut, union laborers working on the HOTEL GANSEVOORT CONSTRUCTION SITE have plastered their hard hats with "America is full" stickers. The meatpacking district may be a prime destination for foreign tourists, but all the union guys—the white ones—will tell you the country's… More >>
  • best patriot outlaws


    Bitch about the loud hogs and hogged parking spots, but the patriotism of the HELLS ANGELS is undeniable. The leather-jacketed bikers fly a Stars and Stripes "Love It or Leave It" banner daily, and on the Fourth of July their professional-quality fireworks are upstaged only by Macy's. Yes, police cruisers inch by periodically, but it can't be for the XXL… More >>
  • best place to 'support the troops' by drinking


    There was a time, when the bombs were still falling on Iraq, that American flags and motorbikes at the meatpacking district haunt the HOG PIT evoked a truly American promise. A cause to rally around with ideology and inebriation. Marxists, Marketists, and Motorcyclists. Americans one and all. Patriots with two-dollar Pabsts. The BBQ fires burn into the night, beers are… More >>
  • best place to buy a gas mask for your dog


    Well, OK, SAFER AMERICA may not really have masks for dogs, but it has a contagion-proof shelter ($225 if you get it with the air blower). For $1,085 you can get yourself a high-rise kit with a Tyvek suit, a respirator, and a parachute. They're Israeli, so you know that shit works. I feel safer just knowing they're there.… More >>
  • best class act


    If I were a trannie, I'd buy my training bra from VERONICA VERA, dean of Miss Vera's Finishing School for Boys who Want to Be Girls. She'd show me how to lift and push and suck and tuck and dye and blow-dry and cry and bat my twinkling blue eye, oh my! I'd meet with the honorary dean of photography,… More >>
  • best guy with a huge cock


    Tucked away in a pair of jeans in Brooklyn is one of the biggest dicks in the country. Bulging out of 33-year-old out-of-work actor-turned-writer JONAH FALCON, the 13-and-a-half-inch penis has turned the heads of NY mags all year. Rolling Stone featured the well-hung Yankee fan in an out-of-place double-page feature depicting the overweight Falcon in his bathroom. While his mother… More >>
  • best burlesque babe with an extremely fitting name


    She's busty and bawdy, blonde and bodacious, and her performances are a throwback to a more innocent time without being innocent, exactly. DIRTY MARTINI has a moniker named after the timeless drink that invokes all these things—a little bit of nostalgic class, mixed in with a smidgen of badness.… More >>
  • best hot lesbian party promoters


    The flyers for the femme fatale party Gloss, held at Meow Mix every Thursday, always feature the promoters RACHAEL AND CHLOÉ. It's a smart move—you think, "If any of the girls look half as good as they do, I'm in luck!" Alas, it's always a little disappointing when none of the ladies at the parties are as lovely as the… More >>
  • best-dressed bar-owning couple


    Most bar owners show up to work in a pair of stained jeans and a hole-ridden T-shirt. But even when they are not performing, CAMILLE AND JAMES HABACKER, co-owners of the cabaret space the Slipper Room, look chic. She, with her razor sharp cheekbones, full lips, and blond, bobbed hair, looks like a gangster's moll in her vintage dresses; he… More >>
  • best bar owner who drives a hearse


    Drop by the rocker outpost Bellevue Bar most weekends and you'll notice an imposing black hearse parked out front. "I always wanted a tricked-out hell ride," says owner JIMMY DUFF. "It suits my Halloween lifestyle." Duff bought the mint Caddy two years ago from a Rochester funeral parlor, and "had to throw out all the bodily fluid-stained drop cloths stashed… More >>
  • best preacher who drives a cab


    The Christian ministry "Rolling for Jesus" is run from PHILIP FRABOSILO's licensed yellow cab. Every inch of space is decorated with uplifting sayings and stuffed animals. Pastor Phil offers free candy and newspapers to startled passengers who recognize immediately this is not your typical cab driver. Between fares, he picks up food from restaurants and delivers it to homeless shelters.… More >>
  • best sufi mystic at bergen street quickie mart


    THE SHAYEK isn't just an elderly Sufi mystic who dyes his beard red with henna, speaks 17 languages, and has a photographic memory. He is also in communication with extraterrestrials—when he was learning Arabic, his classmates called him the "Space Shayek." The aliens, he's told, will come and enlighten us on Judgment Day. In the meantime, he strains to overhear… More >>
  • best reason to feel guilty but pissed while riding the j train


    Traveling to Bushwick, bet on delays at the leaky Myrtle Avenue stop, faded newspapers under the seats, and uncorked vitriol from the SURLY DEAF-MUTE GUY. This broken-down Moby look-alike forces eye contact then drops an instructional sign-language card on your lap; hand over spare change or endure the inevitable whup-ass! For nongivers, he snatches back his shit, sighs, and storms… More >>
  • best reason to make friends with sylvia plachy


    She's hardly ever in the Voice office, but all the ladies start a-whispering when she passes through. We all saw her crying on national television when her son, hottie ADRIEN BRODY planted a big wet one on Halle Berry and gave his moving Oscar acceptance speech for Best Actor. Then we all thought up a plot to make Sylvia our… More >>
  • best conan impersonator


    Don't ask if he was the one on that episode where O'Brien planted a double on the street—CLONAN takes the sincerest form of flattery seriously, and he can't help but feel it should've been him out there. If you meet the guy, which is a true pleasure, ask to see his "stupid human trick"—all I'll tell you is that it… More >>
  • best palindromic performer


    DEMETRI MARTIN's comedy show "If I . . . " may be the only performance as funny forward as it is backward. He's got a great handle on overhead projectors, the acoustic guitar, and bananas. He sees the world inside out, reversed, and then rearranges the letters in obsessive-compulsive perfection.… More >>
  • best aspiring weirdo


    He spray-paints his name on his tattered shirts, makes videos about himself, plays guitar, DJs, and draws on supermodels. He's JOSHUA GABRIEL, an ill-defined artist-musician whose creativity oozes into obscure forums. The true treats are his 40-minute freestyle tapes, in which he rhymes for 40 minutes nonstop while weeded out. A fluorescent sticker warns that frustration leads to "the development… More >>
  • best non-flammable decorator


    With outsider art passé, why not support a real outside artist? JAMES GALLMAN (a retired laborer sporting a Yankees cap, silver chains, and wispy mustache) shows up every day ("weather permitting") to work. Using pre-struck matches fashioned with wood glue and Exacto knives, he assembles earrings, bracelets, frames, and cabinets. While he has no business card ("people know where to… More >>
  • best user of paper and scissors


    You know those life-size figures that turn up all over walls downtown and in DUMBO—the ones with incredibly detailed cutout features and hair, and geometric patterns cut out of their bodies? The artist who does them is called SWOON, and her group the Toyshop Collective (also known as the Swoon Union) is dedicated to turning public spaces into art. They're… More >>
  • best desecrater of a new york institution (that it didn't self-inflict)


    If the Jayson Blair fiasco made you even more suspicious of the mainstream media, turn to art for some higher truths—GEOFF GROGAN's shredded New York Times collages, for instance. Recycling colorful scraps into scenes of comic-book conflict with indecipherable dialogue, Grogan pictures current geopolitics about as accurately as the regular Times, and with more admirable fabrication technique. The joke of… More >>
  • best unpublished literary critic


    It's unfortunate that, to hear this frog prince of a man's perspective on The Odyssey, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Summer Before the Dark, you have to attend Eugene Lang College. Pianist and literature professor HENRY SHAPIRO sees journey and teaches through intellect and emotion. Look out for his fiction. And please Henry, publish some criticism!… More >>
  • best silver-haired feminist short-story writer


    Once, lonely, I Googled LYNDA SCHOR and read Sex. Then I e-mailed her, offering chocolate, and she denied. I read True Love and Real Romance and felt awkward, horny, and sad, and cried reading about food and sex and the ways we consume ourselves and each other with our bodies. Superheroes get orgasmic on therapists; couples make irreparable swaps. home.… More >>
  • best lexicographer


    Though a member of the American Dialect Society and an avid reader of 19th-century newspapers, GEORGE THOMPSON is not your average lexicographer of slang—he has a sense of humor about it. Librarian by day, Mr. Thompson calls himself a "word collector," a phrase he dubs shorthand for "harmless crackpot." However, he has made some important contributions to the field: the… More >>
  • best ethnicity finder


    So you're filling out Census 2010 and wondering just what box should you check for ethnicity? Comedian and proud parent of Pootie Tang LOUIS CK will do the work for you. He asks the tough questions, like, "What color is your skin? A) Yellow, B) Brownishly white, C) kind of a 'jewy' color." Or "What is your father's first name?… More >>
  • best receptionist

    C.S. LEDBETTER III A/K/A STANLEY is the voice of The New Yorker—a booming baritone who answers the phone with lilting, melodic, smooth jazz seduction that would make the Moviefone guy blush. He's also the curator-art historian of the gallery on the 22nd-floor lobby and will gladly wax rhapsodic on poetry, art history, and philosophy while you're waiting to drop off… More >>
  • best air conditioner savant


    Don't know the difference between a Fedders SV12A10 Slider Casement Air Conditioner 12,000 BTU 115V and a Frigidaire FAK083J7V Chassis Room/ Window Air Conditioner 8000 BTU 115V? Bet 'MIKE' of Mike's Air Conditioning does. "He lives and breathes this stuff," his secretary says. Visit his barely converted garage repair shop in Canarsie and while you wait you'll probably hear him… More >>
  • best deliverer of bottles of bubbly


    WALTER BACKERMAN (A/K/A WALTER THE SELTZER MAN) bounds to my doorstep each week, hoisting his wares on his shoulder, much as his father, and his father's father, did long ago. He brings with him oft-mistaken-for-art thick glass bottles housed in a satisfyingly rough wooden crate—all older than the man himself—and takes the empties away. The bottles, while gems themselves, house… More >>
  • best clip-art mascot


    Next to Get Your War On, my all-time favorite use of clip art has got to be the mascot for UNCLE LOUIE G. The public face of the citywide Italian ices and ice cream chain is a genial-looking cartoon figure—a middle-aged, mustachioed guy with just two strands of combed-over hair on top—you may recognize from your Microsoft Clip Gallery. Locations… More >>
  • best block king and prince


    Elizabeth Street's older VINNIE VELLA AND SEAN MEANIN (older and younger, Sopranos and Cafe Habana respectively) are the reigning royalty of their local universe. You will almost always find one of the two on the street, chatting with hipsters, joking with neighborhood kids, charming passersby, hanging with family. Lots of bravado; good hearts. But don't call the area Nolita. Says… More >>
  • best way to digest a slice of grimaldi's pizza


    DUMBO has always been that intimidating, standoffish neighborhood, teasing you with cool things you can't find. Enter LOWELL PETTIT, who can not only navigate walking backward on cobblestone but can tell you what ship the cobblestones came in on. He'll hook you up with studios, galleries, receptions, and if you like what you see on the walls, he'll swing you… More >>
  • best four-foot-tall mac daddy who serves pizza


    Standing upright, and looking straight ahead, SAL AT ROSARIO'S stares directly at your breasts. But the ladies love him anyway and routinely kiss him on the cheek when they come in for that 4 a.m. drunken slice. He's been serving really good pizza all night to the Boricuas and Dominicans, the gentrifying designers and the weekend bridge and tunnel folks… More >>
  • best off-off-off-off-broadway show


    After you order a pizza, you could try to snag a table in the run-down seating area, but you'll have to wait an hour for your pie anyway and there's barely room for the customers who are eating. Plus you'll miss the second-best part: watching DOMINICK AT DIFARA PIZZA carefully assemble each order, from his delicate sauce to his perfectly… More >>
  • best underground culture resource


    When you first stepped off the boat, did you harbor fantasies about NYC's legendary Factory-like party scene complete with nihilists, nymphs, and nudists in massive industrial spaces with freaky art installations? Thanks to JEFF STARK, an ex-Salon. com editor with a healthy eye for the absurd, the cultural, and the Dada, you can. His weekly "Nonsense New York" e-mail is… More >>
  • best gossip


    How's this for a job: Read the city's papers and magazines and clip the juicy stuff. Surf for more cool blogs and such to link to, solicit random celeb sightings from wiseass New Yorkers, post your best e-mail from media insiders and playa hatas. Go to parties or openings at night and write them up. Where was I when Gawker… More >>
  • best person to listen to every day from 2 to 6


    If you don't work days or if you do but you slack hard, tune in 107.5 WBLS to listen to irrepressible gossip wag WENDY WILLIAMS. On an average day, Williams will cough into the mic about 20 times, say ignorant shit in a way that somehow makes sense, apologize for getting too mean, take withering criticism with aplomb, laugh lengthily… More >>
  • best unfunny local newscast funnyman


    Looking for TV news coverage even more pointless than the rest? Check out New York 1's "quirky" reporter, GEORGE WHIPPLE. In a highly polished tone that can only be described as alarmed and confused, he comes off like a grown-up, non-clay-based Mr. Bill. Whipple borrows Andy Rooney's tarantula eyebrows and intonates all statements like this???!!! When his arms are around… More >>
  • best surprise behind a microphone


    He was a clenched fist and a walking migraine of a professional baseball player, an apparent obsessive who took air-guitar practice swings in right field between pitches and erupted like late-period Mike Tyson whenever a call didn't go his way, but park a retired PAUL O'NEILL behind a microphone, as the YES Network did this year, and guess what? He's… More >>
  • best reason to go to the garden


    The Knicks get the ink, but the class act at the Garden is the Liberty, and their most exciting player is a tiny, sexy, blonde spark off the bench. BECKY HAMMON was having an All Star year before a torn ACL (the Achilles' heel of WNBA players) sidelined her painfully. She, and the Garden's best game, will be back.… More >>
  • best pro-sports bargain


    Piazza moans about playing first, and when Fat Mo goes down, Mets third-string catcher JASON PHILLIPS says gimme the damn first-baseman's glove. Sporting Buddy Holly-meets-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar specs, the rookie hit .298 this year, with a little power and a lot of hustle. How bad does the kid want to play? He and the missus induced labor with Jason Jr. so… More >>
  • best fantasy baseball player


    In fairness, the Mets are exempted, as their entire roster is fantasy/rotisserie baseball suicide. However, given the number of Yankees with sick stats (Giambi, Rivera), presenting this award to ALFONSO SORIANO is no hollow gesture. Soriano does it all: hits for power and average, steals bases, scores runs. Defense is his only weakness; luckily, in fantasy baseball, it's irrelevant.… More >>
  • best chance to become another tiger woods in another white-dominated sport


    You wouldn't know if from all the sneaker commercials, but African Americans excel at sports other than basketball. Olympic medalist PETER WESTBROOK put his fencing saber to good use with a foundation that teaches the sport to hundreds of inner-city students: One of his recent protégés, Keeth Smart, is now ranked number one in the world with a sword. Plus,… More >>
  • best horse whisperer


    Wearing leather chaps and denim vests and being a master of the Western horse-riding technique are hardly character traits expected from a Brooklyn native, unless of course you've been lead through Prospect Park on horseback by JOEL AT KENSINGTON STABLES. He takes riders out bare-chested and when asked where he learned to love riding, Joel barks, "Brooklyn! Where da ya… More >>
  • best justified misanthrope


    A reptile expert, a purveyor of progressive-message T-shirts, an animal rescuer with access to the deep chambers of the notorious Center for Animal Care and Control, a hardcore bicyclist who restores bikes. A born matchmaker between the problem and the solution, resting temperature 93 degrees. That unflappable. With a million dogs abandoned at his gates, a million lame explanations ("I… More >>
  • best dead-for-100-years elephant


    In 1903, one of the stars of Coney Island's Luna Park was publicly electrocuted (and her execution filmed) by a crew hired by Thomas Edison: TOPSY, a three-ton pachyderm. (She'd killed a trainer who fed her a lit cigarette.) The artist Gavin Heck is obsessed with Topsy and her fate; this summer, thanks largely to his activism, the Coney Island… More >>
  • best baby baboon


    Structurally designed similar to the Central Park Zoo, the Prospect Park Zoo disappoints by substituting pigeons for penguins. So naturally kids race by lame dioramas of hamster habitats and instead peer excitedly at eight hamadryas baboons. NYALI, the tiniest of all, just born in May, clings to the underside of its mama's belly as they race through their rock habitat,… More >>
  • best nail shop poodle


    Generally speaking, miniature poodles are irritating and annoying—usually owned by women of a certain age who live uptown and only own Louis Vuitton handbags. Screw them. This mini-poodle, ALMA, however, has more personality in her itty-bitty three-pound body than most pit bulls. She makes going to get your nails done more fun, and it's really cute when she barks like… More >>
  • best store dog


    Do you make your boyfriend come with you to try on moccasin boots, huge leather clutches, and sundresses every Sunday after your Russ & Daughters bagel? Well, you should, and you should bring him here because not only can he sit while you survey a mouthwatering selection of vintage shoes, bags, and clothes (in that order), but he can play… More >>
  • best outdoor sculpture to fondle


    Wanna reach out and touch someone? There's a stacked naked babe available 24-7 for free. All right, so she's 15 feet tall and made of bronze, but she'll surely put a smile on your face (and perhaps your crotch). CYBELE: GODDESS OF FERTILITY, a 1993 sculpture by Mihail Chemiakin, stands outside the Mimi Ferzt Gallery, proudly displaying her anatomical assets:… More >>
  • best race-baiting dipshits


    There's lotsa Bible-thumping douche bags in this country, but the BLACK ISRAELITES are probably the most obnoxious. You can occasionally find a pair of them, black dudes in trad Middle Eastern garb, on the corner of 14th Street and Union Square West, interpreting quotes from the Good Book as anti-race-mixing imperatives. They're such cowards they'll excoriate black women walking by… More >>
  • Poverty, Chastity, Chanting, and Beer

    a perfect day for a monk in new york city

    Though the life of a monk is highly regulated and ritualized, New York City is versatile enough to provide multiple venues in which to fulfill your duties as an aspiring oblate. To meet the demand for authentic 13th-century cowls, for instance, there is the Halloween Adventure Shop (104 Fourth Avenue, 212-673-4546), offering a one-size-fits-all brown robe and rope belt for… More >>
  • Old Porn Beneath The Floorboards

    hidden treasures at the museum of natural history

    The giant whale, the giant collections, the giant reputation—the American Museum of Natural History is not exactly a hidden treasure of New York. But after an enjoyable tour past the beautifully constructed exhibits, there are still a few little extras to look for, tucked in among the stuffed monkeys and wax plants. The… More >>
  • Too Much Flicks Every Day

    new york city’s best peep shows

    What is hidden will be revealed. Ain't that always the way? I'm not breaking any big story when I say that, since the Giuliani administration, good New York City peep shows have been hard to find. You can still score potato pancakes at three in the morning, but try to check out some chick's flapjacks at four in the afternoon… More >>
  • Bewitching New York

    mysterious keepers of valuable millennial secrets tell you more about you than you know yourself

    A thin embroidered curtain separates the rest of the kitchen from Maria's "office." On the stove, a pot with yellow rice sits unattended while she consults Carmen, a middle-aged woman with an uncontrollable problem. Instead of a desk, Maria sits in front of an altar crammed with statues of saints, a fruit basket, candy, half-smoked cigars, honey, glasses filled with… More >>
  • The Transcendental Eyeball

    looking at new york as it looks right through you

    You became a transcendental eyeball," she said. "Oh, God." I was telling a friend how I went to Grand Central Terminal one night because of that left-behind feeling when the whole world runs off to a house, a beach, a moon—and all the work projects in the world become like small, dusty objects in an old science museum that… More >>
  • Throwing Up Absurd On The Mean Streets

    the top 10 places to puke your guts out in new york city

    Pukey since childhood (a vigorous ice cream and pizza overeater, I routinely threw up on the dinner table, on waiters, in the backseat of my dad's Saab, in my little brother's lap), and also scared of puking (every time I have to, still, death always feels preferable), my recent bad experiences (barfing into my own $300 leather purse while zooming… More >>
  • Subterranean Homesick Blues

    new york city's best subway buskers

    At the incline leading to the shuttle at 42nd Street/Grand Central Station, a tumbling dwarf in a rhinestone shirt is folding an exercise mat. An hour later, at the Union Square terminal, Michael Jackson refuses to perform until the bemused crowd scuttles closer to experience his broke-ass "Billie Jean." A distant saxophone overheard at Penn Station leads to a dead… More >>