Arts & Entertainment

  • Best midtown CD store

    FUTURE LEGEND

    Working in midtown sucks. Aside from the tourist hordes and the overpriced food, there's hardly anywhere decent to get the new Fiery Furnaces disc during your lunch break. The Virgin Megastore in Times Square had to suffice until FUTURE LEGEND opened its doors in Hell's Kitchen last year. The shop has the feel, and fair prices, of a St. Marks… More >>
  • Best cheap Japanese CDs

    BOOK-OFF

    Those attracted to import CDs but turned off by the high prices should check the used stock at BOOK-OFF, one of a string of Japanese businesses along a strip adjacent to the New York Public Library. The right wall of this brightly lit, immaculate store is dedicated to J-pop, and prices average $10 to $15 for a pristine shrink-wrapped product… More >>
  • Best karaoke CDs

    DVD ASIA CORP.

    The English-songs section of DVD ASIA CORP. has everything you need to get your karaoke party started. Video CDs are either single-artist (Sinatra to Spears) or genre collections (including country crooners). For an intimate evening, the Everlasting Love Songs or Romantic Classic Duetsseries may avail. At $10 for three VCDs, building a collection is easy. Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese CDs,… More >>
  • Best teensy reggae record store

    JAMMYLAND

    Internationally famous JAMMYLAND fulfills all your reggae/dub/dancehall needs in a packed space the size of a large closet. One may even ponder Ari-Up short shorts while perusing an amazing selection of vinyl, CDs, and cassettes at this East Village collector's haven, which carries topflight labels such as Pressure Sounds, Clocktower, Soul Jazz, Studio One, and Reggae Retro.… More >>
  • Best record store to stock up on used Sisters of Mercy CDs

    GENERATION RECORDS

    Besides housing Lola, a slobbery but lovable cat, GENERATION RECORDS boasts a used bin that consistently yields Christian Death, Death in June, Jucifer, and the Jayhawks at cut-rate prices. I've yet to shop for new merchandise on the main floor, but the basement's extensive used-vinyl and CD sections are carefully subdivided into rock, goth, experimental, punk, metal, and industrial. A… More >>
  • Best record store begging for more space

    TURNTABLE LAB

    It's one thing to go from a virtual space to a physical space, but what about when your physical space is about the size of a website? TURNTABLE LAB's storefront crams loads of vinyl into an awkward basement that can barely support the throngs of recordheads who patronize it. I know rents are high, but c'mon, guys. Only one real… More >>
  • Best Williamsburg record store-concert venue-local lounge

    SOUND FIX - CLOSED

    To audiophiles seeking a SOUND FIX, erstwhile Voice staffer James Bradley is the most conscientious pusherman around. His new store sports not only a bevy of recent releases and rare vinyl, but also a café featuring free intimate live shows—the Mountain Goats and Pedro the Lion were recent participants—which he hopes to make a biweekly institution. Bradley wanted to create… More >>
  • Best place for a record collector to have a nervous breakdown

    THE THING

    Deep in Greenpoint lurks THE THING, a charming, messy secondhand shop hiding a dark secret: Its basement holds allegedly the largest accumulation of used vinyl records in the city. And it's all completely unsorted. Descend into the hot, cramped dungeon if you dare, and you'll find among the thousands of discs everything from rare Factory first pressings to Sisqó remix… More >>
  • Best garage-rock cran

    J.D. MARTIGNON

    KFamous Midnight Records entrepreneur J.D. MARTIGNON, of the cigarettes and rattail, has been all up on New York garage since the late 1970s, and does not hesitate to get all Frenchman-bitchy on your ass (a good thing, since he's fighting a legal battle with the federal government over a totally bullshit charge). Try to visit him in person—his storefront space… More >>
  • Best thrower of no-bullshit far-flung indie-rock shows

    TODD P.

    Ah, the paradox of New York rock: There are concerts every night, but it's nearly impossible to have fun at one. Unless, of course, the show was set up by TODD P. A transplant from Portland, Oregon, where DIY doesn't become passé on your 21st birthday, Todd P. books some of this city's greatest musicians (Orthrelm, Currituck County) along with… More >>
  • Best local music blog

    PRODUCTSHOP NYC

    Jason "Last Name Unavailable" Productshop is not a scenester. Devoid of the irony-soaked Britney worship and questionable promotion of garage-rock dreamboats du jour that waterlog the battleship of NYC bloggery, PRODUCTSHOP NYC has provided readers with information about secret Prince shows, links to kitschy "Hey Ya" remixes, and exclusive coverage (with dubious credentials) of the Democratic National Convention. Now, if… More >>
  • Best new record label

    THE SOCIAL REGISTRY

    "Modern Music/Antiquated Ideals" is the motto of THE SOCIAL REGISTRY, the two-year-old imprint currently situated at the epicenter of Brooklyn's burgeoning noise scene. Not sure what those "antiquated ideals" are exactly (limited-edition vinyl?), but the music of freak-out collective Gang Gang Dance, dreamy droners Icewater Scandal, dirty indie rawkers Blood on the Wall, and electro-duo Ghost Exits is definitely modern.… More >>
  • Best place to pick up music nerds

    WFMU RECORD FAIR AT THE METROPOLITAN PAVILION

    Enter the huge hangar-like space filled to the brim with record stalls at the WFMU RECORD FAIR AT THE METROPOLITAN PAVILION. You'll see hundreds of pasty boys who'll be furiously flipping through crates of records (it's like the 75 percent-off Barneys sale for music nerds). Spot a cute one wearing a snug denim jacket and sporting a feral mullety mop.… More >>
  • Best ubiquitous opening act

    RATATAT

    Currently out on a cross-country headlining jaunt in support of two new albums—an eponymous debut and a collection of hip-hop remixes—the synthetically innocuous RATATAT seem completely out of their element. However, over the past year, the pulchritudinous pair of bedroom arena-rock instrumentalists (their titular onomatopoeia is misleading; think slow burn, not rapid fire) provided the ideal aural/visual background for drinking… More >>
  • Best DJ with ridiculous fashion sense

    TOMMIE SUNSHINE

    His sets are entertaining mishmashes of heavy metal, acid house, electro, and pop, but even if he just played silence, TOMMIE SUNSHINE would be amusing—because his fashion sense is as mixed as his music. When he arrived on these shores from Chicago last year, he was über-electro guy, sporting a fugly rattail, a super-tall pompadour, and checkered Vans sneakers. These… More >>
  • Best DJ's DJ

    DAN SELZER

    Besides the fact that he runs the nyhappenings music list, which makes him the most clued-in guy in town, DAN SELZER is the DJ music nerds who like early electronic, experimental, and post-punk want to hear when they leave the house. That's 'cause his record collection makes everyone green with envy, and also 'cause he knows how to string the… More >>
  • Best rock musician moonlighting as a DJ

    THEO

    You'd think a lady who's got full-sleeve tattoos on both arms and who used to be in a punk band called the Lunachicks and who frequently growls when she's onstage would be a really scary DJ. But THEO's actually quite good, especially for the "rock-dance" crowd. She plays a nice selection of the pop stuff, pushing some Kelis up with… More >>
  • Best white-kid trio dropping wiggity wack beats 'n' rhymes

    OPTI-GRAB

    True to the title of their EP Feed Ya Like a Lion, Make Ya Bounce Like a Bunny, OPTI-GRAB serve up giddy electro hip-hop goodies to the five boroughs, for reals. Forsaking aloof cool-kid antics for hysterical lyrics about Jersey guidos and parking-lot romances, the two fellas and one honey get loose on bass-thumpin' club sounds as they dance their… More >>
  • Best agit-rap shit-starter

    IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE

    His album drops are by Mumia Abu-Jamal, his lyrics are as close to high-minded conspiracy theories as reason allows, and he's the best hope politically minded hip-hop has had since Dead Prez discovered crunk. Or maybe since Hank Shocklee discovered the "fuck shit up" button on his mixing desk. A vet of the battle circuit, IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE is at work… More >>
  • Best politically active local musician everyone loves to hate but should respect

    MOBY

    For whatever reason, MOBY seems to inspire irritation—not only Eminem has dissed him. Maybe it's because he's a vegan, or because he's rich and you're not, or maybe it's the Christian and no-drinking thing. But Moby is more politically active than just about any other high-profile musician in New York. He will go to Democratic fundraisers and appear for free,… More >>
  • Best proof that one big album won't make you cool forever

    CARLOS D.

    Behind the DJ booth, in the dancefloor, in your bathroom—you name it, and Interpol's bassist and resident ghost, CARLOS D., is there. The ubiquitous scenester is always wearing the same black outfits and has probably made out with you and your friends.… More >>
  • Best new band

    WHITE MAGIC

    This threesome has no use for hipster fashion, post-punk, disco beats, oversexed sass, or noise for its own sake. Instead, WHITE MAGIC—led by ghostly siren Mira Billotte, formerly of Quix*o*tic—trace delicate, tensile pastorals that are at once simple and (sometimes ominously) grand: Their spellbinding folk-jazz EP Through the Sun Door announces itself like a whisper through a megaphone.… More >>
  • Best serpentine stage moves

    BABY

    Arguably the most physically attractive band in Manhattan, the members of the glam-dance-bubblegum outfit BABY know how to arouse an audience. Vocalist Craig Wedren (formerly of Shudder to Think) and his backup chanteuses form a trifecta of sirens whose sultry slitherings give Prince a run for his money. Baby's goal? "To seduce people into showing their secret dances," Wedren says.… More >>
  • Best band likely to injure themselves while performing

    M WORD

    Picture three white boys trying to make as much noise as they can while they wreak destruction on whatever venue they've invaded, knocking over chairs, getting up in people's faces, and creating a cacophony—that's the M WORD. Chris Weingarten uses so much force on his garbage-can drum, he has to wear goggles. Listen carefully, beware flying objects, and be prepared… More >>
  • Best new dirty word used as a band name

    SLUNT

    Screaming sex with jagged guitar riffs, growling vocals, illicit lyrics, ex-MTV VJ Abby Gennet, and a whole lot of leather, SLUNTprovide both an orgy of sound and a new dirty word to use around the water cooler. The local foursome plays grinding songs about gay cats, Siamese twins, and three-pump chumps, before encouraging us to find our own fetishes.… More >>
  • Best reminder that potty humor isn't just for fourth-graders

    THE ISOTONERS

    If you long for those distant days of youth when fart jokes ruled and "On Top of Spaghetti" was bliss, then gay punk-cabaret pinups THE ISOTONERS are made for you. Their hooky, idiot-savant originals about gynecomastia, knocked-up cheerleaders, stinky fingers, and drug-fueled debauchery brilliantly mix Paul Lynde camp with breathless Melanie-esque innocence. Do bring your favorite funny uncle (and his… More >>
  • Best reason to befriend an NYU student

    KIMMEL CENTER

    For a mere five bucks, the Olsen twins will be able to watch their favorite indie-rock acts perform at the intimate auditorium in NYU's KIMMEL CENTER, which this past school year featured the Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Magnetic Fields. Guests must be accompanied by students, so roam around Washington Square Park and look for new friends who can hook… More >>
  • Best bookstore to make noise at

    HOUSING WORKS USED BOOK CAFÉ

    Seems like you can't walk into a bookstore without knocking into a cup of coffee these days. At HOUSING WORKS USED BOOK CAFE, music writer and editor Alan Light has come up with (pun alert) a very "novel" idea by curating "Live From Home"—a monthly musical series benefiting various AIDS charities, and featuring folks like Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, Mary… More >>
  • Best way for New Yorkers to maintain the illusion of class privilege

    NO COUNTRY MUSIC RADIO STATION

    Because, you know, everything's better here in the big city. We'll ruthlessly push back attacks on our borders, lest there be infiltration by know-nothings who seek to diminish our way of life. We'll assert the primacy of a set of privileged aesthetic values so as to exclude by hyper-intellectualization. Yeah, and there'll be NO COUNTRY MUSIC RADIO STATION, either. Those… More >>
  • Best concert mecca for upper-middle-class cracker hipsters

    APOLLO THEATER

    What better place for Moz and his fans (people who think they have problems) to congregate than Harlem's APOLLO THEATER, an outlet created by/for the disenfranchised and subaltern. He kicked out some new jams, he kicked out some old jams, and he damn near looked happy. But where was Steve Harvey for the introduction?… More >>
  • Best hipster brutality by bouncers

    THE DELANCEY

    The opening-night festivities of Lower East Side nightclub THE DELANCEY got off to a rip-roaring start this summer when fights between bedraggled clientele and he-man bouncers erupted (one blogger: "Did somebody say 'Williamsburg is so gay'?"). Gawker linked to the reports, including photos of some poor college schlub in a choke hold, his cool suede sneakers clinging to limp limbs.… More >>
  • Best venue for short people to avoid

    IRVING PLAZA

    Many a great band play IRVING PLAZA, but I couldn't tell you about any of the shows, because I can't see a thing. Unless you're squished right up front with the obsessives and the kiddies, or you've got a precious V.I.P. balcony pass, you're screwed if you're under five feet two. While this goes for most venues, it's particularly true… More >>
  • Best music venue for short people

    BOWERY BALLROOM

    I am now going to give away how to get the best seats in the house at every BOWERY BALLROOM show. Take the stairs from the bar that lead to the right side of the stage. As soon as you arrive, squeeze in front of the stage, just a little bit away from the speakers. You are now golden, with… More >>
  • Best place to show up for a sold-out show

    MERCURY LOUNGE

    A hipper-than-thou aesthetic generally goes with good rock clubs, but it's in short supply at MERCURY LOUNGE, especially for those turning up ticketless for a sold-out show. The door guy politely eyes you, puts you in the standby line in his mind, lets you wander away for a beer or a knish, remembers you when you return, and then kindly… More >>
  • Best Day-Glo decor

    SATALLA - CLOSED

    Remember hanging out on floor cushions, eyeing black-light effects on psychedelic wall graphics? Ah, but you weren't hip to world music then. Step into SATALLA, where you'll find bong-worthy visuals, low-slung seating, and first-rate live music from around the globe. Mayor Bloomberg may have nixed plans for Middle Eastern water pipes and scented tobacco, but the joint still lives up… More >>
  • Best sanctuary for your parents' banished rec-room lighting

    LIVING ROOM

    Everybody likes a good rock light show, but it doesn't always have to be on the stage. If your mind wanders from the performance, you can always enjoy the retro lighting at the LIVING ROOM's latest space, the most impressive reliquary of Jetsons-geometry, wholly non-functional op-art chandeliers in one place in NYC. So even if you find your entertainment dollar… More >>
  • Best club that doesn't care about celebrities or rich assholes

    ROTHKO

    ROTHKO fills a gaping hole in New York nightlife. With its big red interior, the space is unpretentious and minimal, and the lack of bottle service indicates the club is about one thing: music. Already, the young party space has hosted Suicide, the Killers, LTD, Colder, and Inouk, and featured a Warp Records showcase and DJ sets from Franz Ferdinand… More >>
  • Best garage-rock venue

    THE HOOK - CLOSED

    In a totally industrial section of beautifully deserted Red Hook is a rad new venue (capacity about 450), which books garage's finest, like the classic, never-not-awesome oldsters the Lyres, and scene staples like Detroit's Demolition Doll Rods, not to mention plenty of fabulous local acts (the Shop Fronts, Little Killers, Dan Melchior's Broke Revue). Plus, THE HOOK—far away from the… More >>
  • Best punk club turned empty T-shirt signifier

    CBGB

    With an online boutique displaying sexy "punk" models hawking underwear and wallets, CBGB has willingly transformed itself into a suburban merchandising line. But even if every NYU student and the preternaturally unhip Colin Farrell sport tees boasting the club's logo, the birthplace of the Ramones and Television continues to host hit-or-miss auditions and 10-band bills packed with unknowns who've yet… More >>
  • Best endangered speakeasy

    FREDDY'S

    Not the least of the casualties of Ratner's bulldozers would be FREDDY'S, a delicately skanky dive bar with an ambience that dates to Prohibition, when its back room was a gin-u-wine covert operation. That space is now South Brooklyn's coziest venue for live music, with a whatever-ya-got mix of jazz, jug bands, and other jokers appearing nightly.… More >>
  • Best stadium-style seating that's not in a stadium

    NORTHSIX

    Contrary to standard rock clubs, where seating options include wobbly bar stools on which to duck drink orders all night and—gross—the floor itself, NORTHSIX is furnished with a well-carpentered hill of bench seats for optimum stage viewing. Sitting there is oddly reminiscent of high school gym class, where, from the sidelines, you'd relish watching classmates commingle in a stagnant game… More >>
  • Best seating policy

    LOSER'S LOUNGE AT FEZ

    Admission to the LOSER'S LOUNGE AT FEZ once required Herculean stamina: a long wait outside followed by a maddening last-minute crush as the balance of each line-waiter's party sauntered in. The middle of the queue got standing room; the back, bubkes. Then McGinty & Co. relocated to wide-open Westbeth, and a free-for-all ensued. For their return to Fez, the Losers… More >>
  • Best Prince cover

    'STARFISH & COFFEE' AS DONE BY A YOUNG JAPANESE BUSKER

    Forget Loser's Lounge: Try 'STARFISH & COFFEE' AS DONE BY A YOUNG JAPANESE BUSKER in Union Square or at the Met, dapper in canary yellow (a flashback to the VMA's crocheted suit?) with matching electric bass. He sings about what's packed inside Cynthia Rose's lunch box, popping and whistling, then further baffles by covering Bach suites and the Boss.… More >>
  • Best cover-band gimmick

    LI'L GN'R

    As if the real Guns N' Roses hadn't provided us with enough jokes in recent years—Chinese Democracy release-date announcements are always good for a laugh—along comes LI'L GN'R, the world's first Guns tribute band made up entirely of pre-teens. Just try not smiling when the co-ed Jerseyites, ages six to 12, welcome you to the jungle karaoke-style. Big Axl would… More >>
  • Best excuse to put midgets onstage for no good reason

    MINIKISS

    Let's get this straight: The world would be a better place if there were more festively dressed height-challenged musicians—helloooo, Prince! But as performances by MINIKISS at polysexual parties hosted by Murray Hill and Larry Tee attest, not all is glitz and glamour in the world of midget metal mayhem. Sure, when the mini wonders storm the stage in full Kiss… More >>
  • Best Tex-Mex quartet on the subway

    LOS PARRANDEROS DE NEW YORK

    If you happen to be shuttling through Brooklyn via the trains, you might be lucky enough to encounter LOS PARRANDEROS DE NEW YORK, decked out in small cowboy hats, fringe shirts, and leather boots, singing everything from traditional banda music (on guitars and accordion) to their own topical songs, which include a 9-11 tribute. Though their name translates to "the… More >>
  • Best dark old-weird-history orchestrette

    PIÑATALAND

    Brooklyn-based PIÑATALAND drudge up forgotten historical oddities and spin them into songs like "Ota Benga's Name," which tells the tragic turn-of-the-century fate of a Congolese Pygmy living with the monkeys at the Bronx Zoo. When they're not busy seeking out bizarre performance spaces (like the Atlantic Avenue subway tunnel), Piñataland dabble in politics. They recently recorded a rousing version of… More >>
  • Best anarchist parade group

    HUNGRY MARCH BAND

    Born from a group of non-musicians who wanted to participate in the Mermaid Parade (where they've marched into the ocean), the HUNGRY MARCH BAND now have a repertoire that includes bhangra, Latin, and Gypsy music. You'll find them not only at Lincoln Center and Lollapalooza, but also at a dog parade, a gay underwear party, a Harlem block party, and… More >>
  • Best interracial non-gender-specific gospel choir

    LAFAYETTE INTERNATIONAL ENSEMBLE

    It's an unwritten rule that black church choirs deliver roof-raising, foot-stomping hymns while their white counterparts are a tad more, uh, sedate. Not so at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian. The multicultural and multi-ethnic LAFAYETTE INTERNATIONAL ENSEMBLE praises Jesus with a jubilant abandon that transcends gospel stereotypes while bringing to mind that Prince lyric about "black, white, Puerto Rican, everybody just a-freakin'."… More >>
  • Best church offering salvation in the form of jazz

    ST. PETER'S CHURCH

    Begun in 1965 by Reverend John Garcia Gensel (now presided over by Pastor Dale Lind), ST. PETER'S CHURCH's music program offers Sunday musical services that aren't your standard gospel music fare (they call them "jazz vespers"), not to mention a yearly Lester Young Memorial Celebration. The idea of presiding over capricious folks spilling out from the clubs and into the… More >>
  • Best jazz concert series in a private residence

    MARJORIE ELIOT AND THE PARLOR JAZZ CONCERTS

    555 Edgecombe Avenue used to count Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Johnny Hodges, and Andy Kirk as residents. Today there is MARJORIE ELIOT AND THE PARLOR JAZZ CONCERTS. Every Sunday at 4 p.m. Eliot sets out folding chairs in her living room, cooks a batch of fried chicken, and showcases some of the city's finest musicians. Here on Sugar Hill, there… More >>
  • Best homemade food at an improvised-music festival

    VISION FESTIVAL

    One early edition offered fried chicken cooked up by brilliant bassist William Parker. Last year, Russian dumplings were the hit. Homemade eats help fuel the down-home ambience at the Lower East Side's VISION FESTIVAL. The annual spring event blends dance, visual art, and poetry with the best improvised music this planet has to offer. Hang with free-jazz heroes while basking… More >>
  • Best outdoor music fest

    VILLAGE VOICE SIREN FESTIVAL

    I don't know what organization puts it on, but the VILLAGE VOICE SIREN FESTIVAL rocks! It is truly awesome! And a really great advertising opportunity for anyone who may be interested in co-sponsoring it! See the Web address below for more details! For real, though, I always have a swell time checking out the rocker foxes down by the beach.… More >>
  • Best outdoor concerts

    BROOKLYN BANDSHELL

    It's more intimate than Central Park's stage and distinctly Brooklyn-flavored—think Jamaicans turning out for Burning Spear. But our favorite feature of the BROOKLYN BANDSHELL (which is not, by the way, actually a shell but just some concrete, seats, and staging) has to be how it's such a compelling excuse to get stoned in public. (Again, think Jamaicans turning out for… More >>
  • Best way to lure hipsters into the sunlight

    EAST RIVER MUSIC PROJECT

    What better way to spend a summer Saturday afternoon than chillin' in the park with the river breeze in your hair and your favorite bands playing for free? Thanks to the civic-minded scenesters at the EAST RIVER MUSIC PROJECT, anybody with legs can walk down to the recently rehabilitated East River Amphitheater on the Lower East Side and catch the… More >>
  • Best place to indulge in your passion for all things ukulele

    MANDOLIN BROTHERS

    Seasoned uku-philes—or persons due to inherit—should venture out to the exquisite MANDOLIN BROTHERS shop. There one will find an ever changing selection of new and vintage Kamaka ukes (handmade in Kaimuki, Hawaii, since 1916), museum-quality Martins and Gibsons, and other wee treasures that range in price from reasonable to unspeakable.… More >>
  • Best place to buy exotic percussion instruments late at night

    WORLD TRIBAL SOUNDZ

    So it's supper time and you're in the studio recording your latest masterpiece when suddenly it comes to you: What this track really needs is a Peruvian goat-hoof rattle. But—tragedy!—all the uptown music shops have long since shut for the evening. What to do? WORLD TRIBAL SOUNDZ has those and just about every other percussion thingy you could name, plus… More >>
  • Best instrument maker-designer-player

    COOPER MOORE

    After jamming with saxist David S. Ware and impressing both Sonny Rollins and playwright Ntozake Shange, COOPER MOORE decided to go beyond his keyboard repertoire to become an inventor. Some of his creations include the 21-string horizontal hoe-handle harp, the teze (an eight-string electric zither played with sticks), the twanger (a two-string electric lute), and the xylophone-like ashimba, a few… More >>
  • Best dreams of living large while swinging hard while helping needy musicians

    JAZZ FOUNDATION'S ANNUAL RENT PARTY

    Wouldn't it be cool if you lived in a to-die-for Manhattan loft where hip jazzers stopped by to jam as you munched on grapes? Stop dreaming: Open your eyes and live it for one day each May at the JAZZ FOUNDATION'S ANNUAL RENT PARTY. You'll be a benevolent upper-cruster too: Tickets help fund housing and medical care for aging musicians.… More >>
  • Best place to step on people's toes without getting your ass kicked

    LINCOLN CENTER'S ANNUAL MIDSUMMER NIGHT SWING SERIES

    Where else can a man wear a purple shirt with chartreuse fringe, elbow a redneck in the ribs, and instead of being greeted with a trip to the ER, get only a "Sorry, pardner"? That's the beauty of LINCOLN CENTER'S ANNUAL MIDSUMMER NIGHT SWING SERIES. For a mere $15, you get dance lessons for every move from swing to samba,… More >>
  • Best post-war Japanese dance workshop

    NEW YORK BUTOH FESTIVAL

    Aided by masterful instructors, the NEW YORK BUTOH FESTIVAL offers instruction in this modern dance style. Using a variety of music (ambient, jazz, punk, traditional Japanese) as a backdrop, this art form is so personal that the choreographer is usually the dancer too. Organizer Ximena Garnica explains that with butoh, "form is more important than the dance," and likens it… More >>
  • Best place to be intimidated by dance moves of 12-year-olds

    CHINATOWN FAIR

    Although the CHINATOWN FAIR is consistently packed with local adolescents playing ninja-fighter video games, the arcade also features Dance Dance Revolution Extreme's electronically choreographed dance-offs to hundreds of indecipherable techno remakes. While out-of-place adults stumble awkwardly despite the instructions of a sweatband-clad digital icon, skinny boys swivel their hips and speed-stomp at appropriate intervals while lit arrows pass over the… More >>
  • Best hip-hop roller-skating

    EMPIRE ROLLER-SKATING CENTER

    Every Tuesday and Thursday night, the 21-plus roller-dancing crowd strut through EMPIRE ROLLER-SKATING CENTER, jiggling and shimmying in the center dance rink as if they weren't on four wheels. For an entrance and skate-rental fee totaling only $5 for ladies and $8 for guys, the fearless can flail to disco-y roller-hip-hop beats alongside seasoned roller dancers, against a backdrop of… More >>
  • Best party in Manhattan to dance sweatily to smart music

    NEGROCLASH @ APT

    Forget the dearth of hip-hop clubs in the city: Dance music and clubs that encourage it are dead. What's replaced them, thankfully, in the case of NEGROCLASH @ APT, is a high concept that shakes asses the third Thursday of each month. A couple of months ago, the party imported DJ Technics, the king of Baltimore club music, for his… More >>
  • Best party in Brooklyn to dance sweatily to smart music

    THE RUB @ SOUTHPAW

    Dirty hipsters have been trying so fucking hard to make rock music danceable that they've been ignoring the obvious: Franz Ferdinand is a dance band only if you've never met a person of color. Thankfully, the next gen has no problem communing under the tent of black and brown polyrhythms, and it does so at THE RUB @ SOUTHPAW, the… More >>
  • Best free disco

    RIFIFI - CLOSED

    Every Friday night brings Trash! to RIFIFI, flocked to by citywide Britpop and '80s lovers. Vintage Morrissey footage flickers on the screen of this former movie house while the dancefloor grooves to sounds from Depeche Mode, the Cure, and (of course) the Smiths. Like a high school dance party but less inhibited, the scene is abetted by frequent two-for-one drink… More >>
  • Best place to see your feet in a different light

    PASSERBY

    Forget your plantar warts, your athlete's foot, your bunions and calluses. The most homeless-foot-lookin' feet look fly jitterbuggin' out over the Saturday Night Fever floor at PASSERBY. The candy-colored squares flash in time to the tunes and make you want to gyrate and get thy finger pointing.… More >>
  • Best place to jog with rhythm

    DRUMMER'S GROVE IN PROSPECT PARK

    Jogging never felt so much like African dancing. For a quarter-mile stretch at DRUMMER'S GROVE IN PROSPECT PARK, Park Slope yupsters get down, get sweaty, and get jazzercised to a beat other than theiriPods'. It's live, it's fresh, and it smells like patchouli.… More >>
  • Best new age rave

    THE WAVE

    Sweaty, ecstatic bliss—without the fashionable narcotics—is the goal of Jonathan Horan's freestyle spiritual dance workshop, a voodoo trance ritual meets frenetic dance party. DJ Horan guides his silent and barefoot devotees through five musical rhythms, from mellow alt-rock to hip-hop and, inevitably, techno. The cumulative effect is THE WAVE, a feel-good moving meditation that will put blisters on your feet… More >>
  • Best parallel-parking tricks

    GLOBEX DRIVING SCHOOL

    At GLOBEX DRIVING SCHOOL, it's all about Giraud. He will teach you a parallel-parking method that totally works—unless you have a panic attack during your road test. Then nothing works except certain prescription drugs, and you'll have to work that out yourself. If you do have a panic attack, Giraud is pretty comforting. He won't laugh at you, even if… More >>
  • Best place to catch up on Victorian novels and M.F.K. Fisher's gingerbread recipe

    NYU'S FALES LIBRARY

    The treasures at NYU'S FALES LIBRARY more than justify the hoops through which you might have to jump just to gain access. The 106,000 volumes in the DeCoursey Fales collection of 19th-century English-language fiction include familiar authors in multiple editions and formats, as well as their less-loved contemporaries. And the Cecily Brownstone Collection of books on American cookery ranges from… More >>
  • Best local version of Colonial Williamsburg

    HISTORIC RICHMOND TOWN

    HISTORIC RICHMOND TOWN, a "historic village and museum complex" devoted to Staten Island's "bygone era," provides "trained costumed interpreters," bonnet-clad women and aproned men, to guide guests in slate writing and wood chopping. While visitors idle in a shoemaker's house, a reconstructed sawmill, and a tinsmith shop, teens possessing a "serious interest" in millinery or fireplace cooking can participate in… More >>
  • Best John Hughes re-enactments involving SNL cast members

    SOUNDTRACKS LIVE

    Despite ridiculously busy schedules, Saturday Night Live regulars Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Jimmy Fallon all made time to pay tribute to the beloved genre of '80s teen comedies. The variety show SOUNDTRACKS LIVE takes a classic like Pretty in Pink and stages the movie live, interspersing cheeky interpretations of scenes with performances of songs from the soundtrack. Finally, '80s… More >>
  • Best club in which to have your day acted out as a dream

    RESPECTO MONTALBAN

    On Saturday nights at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, improv troupe RESPECTO MONTALBAN performs "Good vs. Elvis," a series of kooky long-form sketches. In the final and funniest skit an audience member submits to a brief awkward interview pressing for details about his or her day's events, dreams and desires, and life motto. This then gets rehashed in nightmare form… More >>
  • Best performance space to test the limits of theatergoers

    RICHARD FOREMAN'S ONTOLOGICAL-HYSTERIC THEATRE

    For any arts patron enamored by the Great White Way or even most Off-Broadway fare, the signature style of RICHARD FOREMAN'S ONTOLOGICAL-HYSTERIC THEATRE is an acquired taste at best, full of surrealism, nonlinear plots, and actors shouting hermetic catch slogans. Nevertheless, even detractors would have to admire the man's steadfast work, almost consistently keeping up a play-a-year schedule here since… More >>
  • Best Broadway theater turned hipster hangout

    THE TANK

    With an obscure but growing lineup of indie bands, underground films, and performances ranging from comedy to puppetry, THE TANK reclaims a theater storefront near Times Square for those with a taste for highbrow irony and cheap beer. The creative space's rec-room feel and low-key outdoor terrace offer the comforts of college, confusing nearby theatergoers and seedy neighbors with its… More >>
  • Best wacked-out half-art-house movie theater

    COBBLE HILL CINEMA

    The stairways at COBBLE HILL CINEMA are lined with busted, enormous painted faces, enough to intoxicate you with amusement even before you sit down. Here Marilyn looks like she just had her wisdom teeth out, Jack Nicholson grins goofily with crap oozing out of his lips, and Marlene Dietrich's eyebrows look even more fucked than in real life. The exterior:… More >>
  • Best midnight movie

    'WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER' AT VILLAGE EAST CINEMAS

    Though it sounds like a joke of a movie, the joke's on you if you missed out on the midnight screenings of laugh fest—great date flick 'WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER' AT VILLAGE EAST CINEMAS. Somehow, the goofball comedy starring the likes of Janeane Garofalo and numerous SNL alumni, combined with a not-so-crowded theater, quickly became a ticket to gropesville. Too… More >>
  • Best summer two-for-one deal in the dark

    DOUBLE FEATURES AT THE THALIA

    Remember the old days when movies cost a nickel and the local theater showed double features every Saturday afternoon? Probably not. DOUBLE FEATURES AT THE THALIA (Symphony Space), however, harken back to such historic times. Once the stomping ground of Woody Allen, Peter Bogdanovich, and Martin Scorsese, who called it his film school, for 10 bucks the theater still offers… More >>
  • Best $10 peep show and a movie

    LOEWS VILLAGE VII

    Plunk down your $10.25, grab your popcorn, and head up to the seventh floor of the LOEWS VILLAGE VII. Drop anchor on the bench and look out the window, where the ultimate reality program—100-plus NYU dorm rooms across Third Avenue—plays out across the way. Ignore the perv! message some coed has somehow scratched into her window. The movie's optional.… More >>
  • Best writing class

    SILK SHEETS: WRITING EROTICA

    We have reached critical mass: There is one writing course or workshop for every resident of Manhattan. Novels, memoirs, journalism, degree programs—you name it; there are 40 of them. None of them beat Tsaurah Litzky's SILK SHEETS: WRITING EROTICA, offered by the New School's Adult and Continuing Education division. The frequently-published sexy Jewish grandmother doesn't just hand out a zillion… More >>
  • Best snarky publication

    'NEW YORK TIMES' TV WEEK

    The best job in publishing belongs to whoever writes the summaries in the 'NEW YORK TIMES' TV WEEK—succinct, spot-on, and unabashedly subjective. It's a wonder The Believer hasn't taken them to task for snarkily summing up Governor Schwarzenegger's film Commando as "The usual." Attention literary agents: The bastard, bitchy-queen child of Dorothy Parker and Lydia Davis walks among us. Get… More >>
  • Best publication designed to last precisely one train ride

    'AM NEW YORK'

    At a slim 30 pages full of Associated Press reprints, 'AM NEW YORK' probably isn't bucking for any Pulitzers, but if you crave a quick hit of news for your commute, this little paper gives you what you need. And with helpful features like weather, train service reports, classified ads, and arts listings, it does have a nice local feel,… More >>
  • Best public transportation disappointment

    AIRTRAIN

    Remember how it used to totally suck to get to JFK Airport? Once, you had to take a subway alllllll the way to Howard Beach, and then hop a free bus to the terminal. But thanks to the new $1.9 billion AIRTRAIN that opened this year, now all that is required is to take a subway allllll the way to… More >>
  • Best bus line from Loserville

    M15

    The M15 coasts along First Avenue from lower Manhattan to East Harlem, picking up all sorts of degenerates, crackheads, drunks, and freaks. They never make it uptown; most of them get off at Bellevue over on 27th Street, or some other meeting spot for crazies. Don't be surprised if you witness a girl fight and an itchy dude without underwear… More >>
  • Best transportation to a shopping destination

    IKEA SHUTTLE

    Servicing those who swear that Scandinavians make the best $29.99 bookcases in Jersey, the complimentary round-trip IKEA SHUTTLE taxis hundreds of furniture-and-Swedish-meatball-hungry New Yorkers from Port Authority to the Elizabeth, New Jersey, location every weekend on the half hour from 10 a.m. till 2:30 p.m. There's never much room for pre-packaged armoires (don't count on any empty seats), but the… More >>
  • Best way to get back to Queens or Brooklyn during a blackout

    NEW YORK WATER TAXI

    If newsworthy events halt the subways and snarl bridges, scoot across the formidable barrier of the East River in a NEW YORK WATER TAXI. The plush seats are cozy, the views are seductive, and there are nine Manhattan ports. Board at 34th Street and you'll debark in Queens about three minutes later; for weekend disasters, the schedule deems you'll aim… More >>
  • Best free sightseeing trip around Manhattan's lower tip

    STATEN ISLAND FERRY

    The 30-minute ride in the STATEN ISLAND FERRY may not be luxurious, but the view of Brooklyn, Governor's Island, and the Statue of Liberty is spectacular. Just remember to switch sides once you make it to the forgotten borough, and don't leave the boat—it will only ruin the romantic experience.… More >>
  • Best Little Senegal

    116TH STREET AND MALCOLM X BOULEVARD

    Yes, a taste of West Africa on the West Side of Harlem: 116TH STREET AND MALCOLM X BOULEVARD is the center of a growing Senegalese commercial district and community that speaks Wolof and French, serves thiebou dieune, and maintains homeland traditions in community-building and hospitality. Rent Little Senegal (2001, directed by Rachid Bouchareb), a sort of Roots in reverse, for… More >>
  • Best Tibetan temple in Staten Island

    JACQUES MARCHAIS MUSEUM OF TIBETAN ART

    More a ranch-style house up a steep residential hill than a museum, the JACQUES MARCHAIS MUSEUM OF TIBETAN ART offers little more than what looks like a crazy lady's Buddhist antiques collection: a yak milk-based tea-making urn, an imported Siberian orange tree, a Buddhist altar, and some "chic sherpa hats of the Himalayas." The required monotone droning of the teenage… More >>
  • Best church

    ST. PAUL'S CHAPEL

    Famous for escaping the fall of the towers across the street unscathed and then hosting rescue workers, the wondrously modest ST. PAUL'S CHAPEL, with its tiny graveyard and worship space filled with 9-11 memorabilia, has helped dignify the pilgrimages to ground zero and serves as a poetic counter-symbol to the culture of fear cultivated by our current administration.… More >>
  • Best new language

    LESUHORVE

    Words are such a pain in the ass. Wouldn't it be better if we could all communicate through color? Without the side effects of hallucinogenic drugs? Lucky for you, Daniel Wright has invented a new language and he'll teach it to you for $150. Essentially LESUHORVE (La-soo-hor-veh) looks like color bars on your TV set, but Wright says he chose… More >>
  • Best oral history project

    STORYCORPS

    There are 8 million stories in the Naked City, sure, but how many are immortalized in the Library of Congress? Well, yours can be, thanks to STORYCORPS. For just $10, you get 40 minutes in a soundproof recording booth in Grand Central to play interviewee or interviewer with a friend or family member. You'll also get your own CD of… More >>
  • Best place to scream out your frustrations

    DESOLATE BLOCK OF RODNEY STREET

    Layoffs, skyrocketing rents, orange alert—who needs therapy? Maybe you just need to free your inner banshee for a few minutes. Try the DESOLATE BLOCK OF RODNEY STREET just south of Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the BQE goes elevated and the ruckus of overhead trucks will allow you to purge your angst without attracting the folks with the white… More >>
  • Best weepy self-congratulatory poetry slam

    PINK PONY WEST POETRY READING SERIES

    Sometimes poetry open-mic nights take on aspects of group therapy. Perhaps because the PINK PONY WEST POETRY READING SERIES is a feel-good open forum for all kinds of amateur slammers, middle-aged folklorists tend to burst into self-created hymns while others dominate the stage with cringe-inducing sexual innuendos. The pleasant dark-wood basement feel and the ready drinks at the Cornelia St.… More >>
  • Best museum exhibition captions

    MET'S COSTUME INSTITUTE

    While fashion is, for most non-industry folks, either a non-issue or merely an armchair sport, those clever folks at the MET'S COSTUME INSTITUTE see it in a more populist light—one that serves history with humor and high concept. Flawlessly curated by director Harold Koda, exhibitions such as last year's heavenly "Goddess," which outlined classical mythology's influence on some two millennia… More >>
  • Best museum for people who talk to invisible animals

    LIVING MUSEUM OF CREEDMOOR PSYCHIATRIC CENTER

    Devoted to the artwork of the mentally ill, the LIVING MUSEUM OF CREEDMOOR PSYCHIATRIC CENTER lets you peek into the minds of some of New York's kookiest artists. What's on display ranges from whimsical to surreal to downright disturbing. Who says mental handicaps are only for presidents and Oscar nominees?… More >>
  • Best art exhibit

    DRUNK VS. STONED

    To our glassy-eyed amazement, we discovered that last spring's DRUNK VS. STONED art exhibit wasn't at all half-baked. The vibrant sketchbook dawdles and beer-can penises were alternately funny and intoxicating, and the act of wandering in randomly off of the street disconcertedly transporting. And then there was the brashly neurotic back room littered with inexpensive homemade books, CDs, and clothing:… More >>
  • Best Lite Brite

    WALT WHITMAN LITE BRITE PORTRAIT

    If I were an artist, my primary medium would be Lite Brite. Oils are just so last century, you know? I'd be like the modern-day Seurat, producing life-size portraits with those tiny little light plugs. Alas, I haven't the time. I can at least admire the WALT WHITMAN LITE BRITE PORTRAIT at the Bowery Poetry Club, a café that regularly… More >>
  • Best unofficial landmark

    PEPSI-COLA SIGN

    The PEPSI-COLA SIGN emanates from a distance in all its red neon glory along the Queens side of the East River. It marks the entrance to the borough, and signals a bygone time when ships would steam up to the plant below and unload sacks of sugar from Havana. It still stands a few feet away from where it was… More >>
  • Best pinwheel sculptures made from cans and laundry detergent bottles

    9TH STREET COMMUNITY GARDEN AND PARK

    Sustainability is a hot topic, and not to be outdone, Alphabet City's beatniks found a novel new way to recycle their garbage—make it into pinwheels and flowers, then hang the creations on the fence of the 9TH STREET COMMUNITY GARDEN AND PARK. A trained eye can spot Arizona Iced Tea cans and Au Bon Pain plastic cups shredded into petals,… More >>
  • Best place to see numerous bug-infested stuffed animals strapped together

    CORNER OF GRAHAM AVENUE AND FROST STREET

    The oversize teddy bear's purple color has faded to a spotty magenta after years of exposure to wind and rain while hanging off the top of a telephone poll at the CORNER OF GRAHAM AVENUE AND FROST STREET in Brooklyn. Its stuffed companions, torturously strung up in some kind of noose, don't look remotely cuddly. Rather, they conjure images of… More >>
  • Best dead-animal collection

    HARVARD HALL

    Overheard during a lecture by some dude in a suit: "Whoa! What's with that massive purple elephant head?" Mounted in the place of honor in the Harvard Club of New York's cavernous HARVARD HALL, the century-old pachyderm trophy with extended trunk crowns a trove of animal corpses—sailfish, moose, antelope, and more—that would make an enterprising taxidermist, well, rich and powerful.… More >>
  • Best amusement ride that shits

    KENSINGTON STABLES

    I can only assume that crap regularly falls off the rickety Coney Island roller coaster. The rides at KENSINGTON STABLES, meanwhile, are supposed to shed useless stuff. It gives you something to snicker at while horsey-riding—English or Western!—through three and a half miles of woods and meadows in Prospect Park. You'll be pooped afterwards, but it's worth it!… More >>
  • Best view of the Brooklyn Bridge from a toilet

    MUNICIPAL BUILDING

    Having the ultimate no-frills wedding? Hand-delivering your lobbyist report? Scouting locations for the next Terry Gilliam movie? Whatever brings you to the foreboding MUNICIPAL BUILDING, don't miss the opportunity to appreciate the wonders of New York's favorite suspension bridge from the last stall of the third-floor women's restroom.… More >>
  • Best all-natural freak of nature

    CAMPERDOWN ELM

    The bonsai-like CAMPERDOWN ELM just southeast of the boathouse in Prospect Park traces its lineage back to one mutant plant found in Scotland around 1840. A forester grafted the strange seedling to a Scotch elm in the Earl of Camperdown's gardens, and a rare, sterile new species was born. When Dutch elm disease menaced this tree, New York's only Camperdown,… More >>
  • Best place to be relentlessly delighted by sea birds

    PUFFINS AT THE BRONX ZOO

    With only a glass box of water and a faux rock wall to work with, PUFFINS AT THE BRONX ZOO continuously foster more instant delight than their languid, showbiz relatives, the penguins, and they'll keep it up for hours. These guys even come up to the glass to say hello as soon as you arrive, whether they know you or… More >>
  • Best secret beach on Long Island

    FIELD FIVE

    Even in New York, the Man doesn't want you naked on the beach with your dog. Fortunately, thanks to our friends in the red states, the Man does not exercise his jurisdiction on federal land. Park at the back of FIELD FIVE at Robert Moses State Park, walk down the road toward Fire Island and the Lighthouse, and be at… More >>
  • Best secret beach in New York City

    FORT TILDEN

    Riis Park, waaaaay down Flatbush, is lovely. But for extra privacy, drive west to FORT TILDEN: Pass the main entrance, park at Beach 193rd Street, and behold a deserted, mile-long strand of pristine sand. Come out of season—between June 15 and September 15 you'll need a season fishing pass, $50 at Floyd Bennett Field (and you have to show them… More >>
  • Best outdoor activity you didn't think you could do in Manhattan

    FLY-FISHING FOR STRIPED BASS

    There are plenty of outdoor activities to do here in the city, like . . . jaywalking. But you can also unleash the outdoorsy type within by FLY-FISHING FOR STRIPED BASS. Bass run in the waters around Manhattan twice a year: The spring run begins in April, and the fall run in September, with the bass sometimes topping 30 pounds.… More >>
  • Best public-access show

    'ROBOSHITHEAD'

    Let's face it. Network television is a bore, and cable shows are only a half-step better. So thank goodness for the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. When you're home on Thursday at midnight, check out 'ROBOSHITHEAD.' It's half an hour of bizarre, absurdist comedy—the perfect joining of existentialism and toilet humor. The show is written, directed, and acted by hottie Chuck Stern,… More >>
  • Best examples of how to dress like a fool and be as presumptuous as a 1930s dadaist

    TIME OUT NEW YORK'S PUBLIC EYE SECTION

    "Hi, I'm a waiter, but my $500 shoes are Prada and the last great meal I had was at Nobu." Who the hell are these people in TIME OUT NEW YORK'S PUBLIC EYE SECTION? These self-described "artistes" somehow manage to mix high-end fashion, entitled attitudes, and bad hair into a woozy canvas of narcissism. Why don't they spend their parents'… More >>
  • Best new comics magazine

    'INDY' MAGAZINE

    The first issue of 'INDY' MAGAZINE focuses on the 2004 Angoulême comics festival in France; the second looks at the avant-comics adaptation of Paul Auster's City of Glass. Thankfully and unsurprisingly, Indy's "long, articulate features, copiously illustrated" are also alert to luminaries like Art Spiegelman, Francoise Mouly (a 7,000-word interview), and Ben Katchor.… More >>
  • Best horror magazine

    'FANGORIA'

    If you're in the 18-to-34 male demographic and consider George Romero and Wes Craven gods, chances are you need no introduction to 'FANGORIA,' published by the New York–based Starlog Group. This year, the mag quietly marked its 25th anniversary of fetishizing onscreen gore. Here's to another quarter century of the only publication that treats Freddy and Chucky with the respect… More >>
  • Best news for nerds

    WORLD HORROR CONVENTION

    The first "world" convention of science fiction fans was held in New York in 1939, and in the decades since, the speculative fiction community has grown enormously. There are world cons for SF, fantasy, and horror, but none of them have been held in Manhattan since 1967. In April 2005, legendary fantasist Harlan Ellison, hometown hero Jack Ketchum, and Bubba… More >>
  • Best new blog

    CURBED.COM

    Well before blog became a verb, Lockhart Steele was entertaining and informing us with his self-titled website, an acerbic and very funny look at all matters Lower East Side. Steele recently introduced his latest creation, CURBED.COM, an insider's look at Gotham real estate—open-house pix from multimilliondollar penthouses, the dish on new development, and links to intriguing scoops.… More >>
  • Best blog to make you seem smarter at cocktail parties

    COLLISIONDETECTION.NET

    Which Blur song rocks the Fibonacci Sequence? How do you hack a Furby? And what kind of sound does your face make? Find your crib sheet at COLLISIONDETECTION.NET, the web's go-to site for brainy technobabble-meets-pop-culture references. Tech geeks and Luddites alike will marvel at the daily tidbits from journalist (and M.I.T. alum) Clive Thompson, who writes about techno-arcania with wit… More >>
  • Best-named party

    'THE BEST IDEA EVER, AND THEN EVERYTHING GOES HORRIBLY HORRIBLY WRONG'

    A ton of stuff could have gone awry at 'THE BEST IDEA EVER, AND THEN EVERYTHING GOES HORRIBLY HORRIBLY WRONG.' This one-off party, held last spring at Volume by art collective Madagascar Institute, was a benefit for a friend who allegedly blew off half his face with a confetti gun and needed several rounds of surgery. But Madagascar successfully created… More >>
  • Best e-mail list for fringe events

    NONSENSE NYC

    Brooklynite Jeff Stark's weekly NONSENSE NYC e-mail newsletter is an explosion of the out-there: all the news you'll need about underground dance nights, rooftop films, burlesque shows, street theater, punk rock performances, political protests, open-mic nights, puppet shows, and vegan dinner parties happening around town in the next seven days.… More >>
  • Best real-life video game

    PAC-MANHATTAN

    Organized by grad students at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, PAC-MANHATTAN hit the streets around Washington Square earlier this year, featuring a wacky dude in a yellow Pac-Man costume pursued by a quartet of guys dressed up as ghosts. All got instructions via cell-phone from players in a central control room. The hosts of I Love the '80s would have loved… More >>
  • Best place to deal like a gangster

    PLAYSTATION

    You'll need an introduction to get into PLAYSTATION, a clandestine poker club in a clean, smoke-free, windowless room somewhere in downtown Manhattan. But once you're past the security cameras you'll be sitting down with some serious semipro players, including a contingent of Roma, or Gypsies. Start at the $5 tables.… More >>
  • Best place to mistake a Jew for a WASP

    HEIGHTS CASINO

    Formerly host to the Brooklyn Debutante Ball, the HEIGHTS CASINO specializes in recreating the good old, all-white splendor of early-day racquet clubs: bourbon at court-side, squeaky-strict dress codes, and an unabashedly impossible member-screening process. The center court (which runs at $43 an hour for members only) is straddled by wicker table sets and a grand piano. This year, the club… More >>
  • Best place to show off your inner nerd

    BIG QUIZ THING

    Nerds still exist, and you can find them at the Slipper Room's biweekly BIG QUIZ THING, which tests smarts about everything from current events and magazine covers to history and television. Special rounds can range from breakfast-cereal haiku to Elvis impersonation, and a musical guessing game will impress the audiophiles. The competition is fierce but friendly, as factoid-obsessive teams with… More >>
  • Best excuse to punch a stockbroker

    CHURCH STREET BOXING GYM

    At CHURCH STREET BOXING GYM, a real-deal—no air-conditioning or TV—fitness facility in Tribeca, you can get in the ring, do your little jab-upper-cut-hook bit, and take out your frustrations on some overly confident Wall Street financier. What would feel better than to knock that smug grin off his clean-shaven face? When you leave, you won't care that he makes 10… More >>
  • Best place to knock out your boss

    WHITE COLLAR BOXING AT GLEASON'S GYM

    You've worked Sundays for the past six months straight and been denied vacation, and dammit, you're angry. Why not challenge the Man to a few rounds of WHITE COLLAR BOXING AT GLEASON'S GYM, home to Jake "The Bull" LaMotta and Mike Tyson? Even Ali's danced here.… More >>
  • Best place to see that celebrities really are like us

    CRUNCH

    You can keep pace with Robert Loggia on the treadmills or spot Carlos "Madonna BabyDaddy" Leon pumping . . . well, not Madonna, at the CRUNCH on Lafayette at Astor Place. This is the workout spot of choice for all manner of demi-celebrities, from über-hip photographer Terry Richardson to Michael "easiest star-sighting ever" Rapaport to pre-Cheeto-bingeing Britney. To increase your… More >>
  • Best place to watch speed chess

    BRYANT PARK

    No need to watch Samuel L. Jackson's chess stratagems as street metaphors on fast-forward in Fresh when you can mill about BRYANT PARK at lunchtime and watch the dedicated unfurl checkered mats at the table for a speedy match before their 1:00 teleconference. The best part is seeing how evenly matched the suit-and-tie set is with players who slept in… More >>
  • Best indoor shuffleboard

    NANCY WHISKEY PUB

    According to the bartender, the shuffleboard at NANCY WHISKEY PUB is "not the kind old people play on cruise ships," but rather a surprisingly addictive pub sport, livening up this Tribeca sports bar with drunken victory shouts that can be "heard all the way in Battery Park." Rich, a seasoned competitive player, is happy to teach novices how to develop… More >>
  • Best place to practice spelunking

    LA CAVERNA

    Forget Howe Caverns. Why make a 200-mile drive when you can stay in the L.E.S.? Bar/restaurant LA CAVERNA, a man-made cave located a flight of stairs below Rivington, gives new meaning to the phrase "underground club." Those with modern Stone Age sensibilities will appreciate the venue's stalactites, gurgling waterfalls, and neo-primitive wall art, all courtesy of a team of Italian… More >>
  • Best kite flying

    PROSPECT PARK

    Sure, flying kites on the street in midtown is great, but the leisurely pace and wide-open spaces in PROSPECT PARK are most conducive to unrolling what seems like miles of string and holding it steady. Kite watching is pretty sweet, too, whether you've got your eyes on stately, colorful specs or those occasional homemade non-fliers repeatedly hoisted by untalented children.… More >>
  • Best bike ride involving wind-inflated suits

    AEOLIAN RIDE

    Some cyclists ride like the wind; AEOLIAN RIDE cyclists just plain like the wind. Inspired in part by Critical Mass, Brooklyn artist Jessica Findley in June debuted this occasional public-art spectacle, featuring 50 bicycle riders in nylon. The project goes global in November when it breezes through Cape Town, South Africa.… More >>
  • Best place to watch basketball after the NBA playoffs are kaput

    WEST 4TH STREET BASKETBALL COURTS

    If you can't handle the Kobe drama and lost hope watching skill-free NBA stars receive Olympic whup-ass, you'd do well to peep the action at the WEST 4TH STREET BASKETBALL COURTS. Located in the Village and usually surrounded by gaping tourists, "The Cage" is the premiere spot for shit-talking pickup games, fast-paced sponsored tournaments, and occasional old-timers practicing foul shots… More >>
  • Best full soccer field in the middle of a residential neighborhood

    METROPOLITAN OVAL

    It's a sleepy section of Queens, far enough out for people to live in houses and drive cars. Walk down a quiet street, follow the concrete driveway down a hill, and there it is: the best soccer field in the city. METROPOLITAN OVAL offers a regulation-size sea of pristine artificial turf, with the Manhattan skyline glittering in the background.… More >>
  • Best place to watch hipsters make it to third base

    MCCARREN PARK

    A shortstop with a faux hawk and leg warmers is a disorienting sight, but pub league games at MCCARREN PARK add an unexpected dimension to the Williamsburg-Greenpoint community. The grounds are also crammed with sprawling family picnics, trackside break-dancers, a pool filled with nothing but graffiti, and a recurring pair of Hasidic Jewish men engrossed in an endless game of… More >>
  • Best setting for a baseball game

    KEYSPAN PARK

    Down the line in left is Coney Island's most famous attraction, the Cyclone. Towering over right like a foul-pole extension, the picturesque Parachute Jump. In between, shore breezes blow over the tacky neon scoreboard of cozy KEYSPAN PARK. And unlike the parent club at Shea, the single-A Cyclones win more than they lose.… More >>
  • Best place to park for Yanks games

    NORTH OF THE STADIUM, ALONG THE 4 LINE

    Easy: NORTH OF THE STADIUM, ALONG THE 4 LINE! Compare the MTA grid to a decent city map and check out all the intersections on the 4 line starting two or three stops north of Yankee Stadium. Drive to any of those intersections. Drive around. In little time, you will find free street-side parking a short walk from a subway… More >>
  • Best place to fix your NASCAR jones

    BUSTER'S GARAGE - CLOSED

    Much of Tribeca may lack the essentials—grocery store, movie theater—but fans of motor sports don't have to leave their 'hood to watch NASCAR, thanks to BUSTER'S GARAGE. Sunday is race day in the former auto-repair shop, where NASCAR Girls hand out the schwag, and men named Bud drink Bud while watching Dale and Jeff trade paint.… More >>
  • Best place to watch the Mr. Softee trucks come home

    PARKING LOT AT CARROLL AND NEVINS STREETS

    They travel in lines, like elephants, heading here after a day dispensing New York's favorite soft serve. In the afternoon, the narrow PARKING LOT AT CARROLL AND NEVINS STREETS in Brooklyn looks like any other. But by 11, it's all bow-tied-ice-cream-headed-guy-emblazoned trucks: I dream of switching on that tinkling signature tune in every one, at four-beat intervals, and dancing in… More >>
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