People & Places

  • Best election-year comic relief

    DEAD PRESIDENTS

    Co-run from an undisclosed location on Long Island, the DEAD PRESIDENTS' stealable-music website serenades every chief executive who ever became ex. As this boxed-set-in-progress regularly adds one theme song per dead prez—or two to four for the serially elected—expect a sonic big tent from bizarro bandshell period pieces to art-house spoken word. Log on and lend a nostalgic ear to… More >>
  • Best fake Republicans

    BILLIONAIRES FOR BUSH

    Those lovely ladies and gents of the wealthiest 1 percent, the BILLIONAIRES FOR BUSH, supply a patina of class (warfare) wherever unwashed activists gather, both locally and nationally, through their Get on the Limo Tour. Phil T. Rich, Robin Eublind, Iona Bigga Yacht, K. Ching, and billions more are adept at satirically exposing the depredations of crony capitalism, and they… More >>
  • Best regular demonstration

    CRITICAL MASS

    Protesters know how to throw down in this city, despite the best efforts of the po-po, yet the frequent mass-biking event CRITICAL MASS is one of the few exuberant expressions of dissent for its own sake. In other words, as much as we truly want to exile combustion-powered transportation from the city, we're happy enough participating in a global phenomenon,… More >>
  • Best hip political action committee

    DOWNTOWN FOR DEMOCRACY

    Hoping to turn "cultural capital" into political influence, DOWNTOWN FOR DEMOCRACY organizes art auctions, readings, and indie-rock concerts, and designs merchandise to raise money, visibility, and votes for federal, state, and local elections. While the PAC supports progressive Democrats and groups organizing in swing states, they are also out to prove that political participation can be a hip social activity… More >>
  • Best feminist literary whistle-blowers

    ELIZABETH MERRICK, LAUREN CERAND

    Why are the best male writers getting their work published in well-respected literary magazines while their female peers whip up dating tips in the Glamour ghetto? ELIZABETH MERRICK and LAUREN CERAND, writers and two co-founders of the all-women Cupcake Reading Series, blog about women writers they admire and rail against chick-lit crap. Merrick also posts a regular "reckoning" wit. The… More >>
  • Best free feminist lending library

    JANE DOE BOOKS

    Feminism is alive and well and living in East Williamsburg. Three young activists, inspired by punk rock and identity politics, started JANE DOE BOOKS last fall, turning a tiny storefront into a collectively-run library and event space. With over 15 volunteers and an ever expanding collection of books, Jane Doe is quickly becoming a vital community resource center.… More >>
  • Best international feminist organization

    V-DAY

    V-DAY—its V kinda stands for "vagina" and "valentine"—was started by black-bobbed playwright Eve Ensler (of The Vagina Monologues), and what makes it compelling is international focus: This past year, for instance, they organized an anti-violence protest in Juárez, Mexico, and presented feminist speakers from Baghdad, from Israel and Palestine (together), and from Iran. V-day has also focused attention on the… More >>
  • Best place to hug the earth with your feet

    MOO SHOES

    Feel guilty for being a vegan who wears leather Doc Martens? Then get your ass to MOO SHOES, a cozy, chic Lower East Side boutique that sells nothing but animal-friendly kicks, clothing, and accessories. Their products are expensive but well worth it, and while you're there you can pick up literature on everything from healthy eating to adopting farm animals.… More >>
  • Best environmentally friendly building

    AUDUBON HOUSE

    It may look like just another Noho brownstone accommodating a French Connection and an Aldo shoe store, but AUDUBON HOUSE is actually a remarkable feat of forward-thinking architecture and science. Built in 1891, the structure was dramatically renovated in the early 1990s to become the headquarters for the National Audubon Society. Audubon House features an energy-saving design, an emissions-reducing HVAC… More >>
  • Best street charity pushers you want to kill

    GREENPEACE

    My records show that I've paid those GREENPEACE suckas something like $120, all because I approached a crunchy cutie flagging down pedestrians on Second Avenue and was made to sign up for a $15-per-month donation schedule, which naturally I kept forgetting to cancel. Now it's all I can do to keep from shouting, "Must I take the shirt off my… More >>
  • Best place to experience how Communism leads to fascism

    PARK SLOPE FOOD COOP

    Part Pavlovian Conditioning, part Stanford Prison Experiment, the PARK SLOPE FOOD COOP, or "the coop," carries the best organic produce in Brooklyn—but you have to earn it. To shop, your entire household must join and stay in good standing (the Pentagon has fewer security checkpoints), so don't miss a work shift or you'll be making up two. To survive, serve… More >>
  • Best selfish reason for boosting the economy of the former Eastern Bloc

    EURO MARKET

    Some names you're still getting used to finding on a map are ones you wouldn't expect to find in the neighborhood grocery, but if juice boxes from Bosnia-Herzegovina and nine kinds of nougat from Croatia to Poland are your pleasure, the EURO MARKET grocery emporium is a lot simpler than air travel nowadays. To read through the multilingual ingredient lists… More >>
  • Best Cold War remnant

    'THE BERLIN WALL AND THE COLD WAR'

    The Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, glutted with patriotic battle simulators and helicopter remnants, prominently displays the outdoor tableau 'THE BERLIN WALL AND THE COLD WAR.' A 1960s-era U.S. tank, formerly the "front line of defense against the Soviet Bloc incursion," squares off with a captured battle tank. Between the two lies a large chunk of the Berlin Wall "rescued" by a… More >>
  • Best historically charged public meeting spot

    STATUE OF MOHANDAS K. GANDHI

    Though a subway-friendly meet-up spot, the STATUE OF MOHANDAS K. GANDHI seems an odd tribute to the "political leader and social reformer," especially placed in the "traffic island southwest of the main park" alongside Diesel and nearby trinket-hawkers. But the slightly hunched, bespectacled, kindly, smiling figure does provide a quiet respite from bustling Union Square—now a center for both commerce… More >>
  • Best voice in the wilderness

    ORTHODOX ANTI-ZIONISTS

    If only Nixon could go to China, maybe only ORTHODOX ANTI-ZIONISTS can stand up at pro-Israel parades and say the Palestinian occupation is immoral. Conspiracy-buff websites often see Israel through a distorted lens, but in a supposedly democratic country, breaking the illusion of unanimity can only be healthy.… More >>
  • Best influence of Giuliani on world politics

    GENERAL JANIS KARPINKSI

    She said it herself: GENERAL JANIS KARPINKSI, on whose watch the Abu Ghraib tortures went down, said she was reading Rudy's book about leadership during her downtime in the desert. Leash the captives. Turn the page. Make the captives jack off in front of the girl soldiers. Underline a choice quote. Put a hood on the raghead and make him… More >>
  • Best possible mayor of NYC

    BILL CLINTON

    Bloomberg is a powerhouse of charm and intellect and all, but BILL CLINTON, that guy could make life under orange alert seem like livin' it up in the red-light district. He should win some office for his DNC speech alone. And that book? Dude has more energy than a young John Kerry in pursuit of Vietcong gunmen. And finally, while… More >>
  • Best Bloomberg-era finance gimmick

    ATLANTIC YARDS

    Bruce Ratner is the new Trump. No, he doesn't have troll hair: He's building an empire with other people's money. Some bankers are helping him buy the Nets, and Pataki and Bloomberg threw in hundreds of millions of your dollars so he can build his ATLANTIC YARDS, a small town with an arena in it, at Brooklyn's bustling epicenter. Number… More >>
  • Best long-running municipal finance gimmick

    BATTERY PARK CITY AUTHORITY

    When the alien life form known as the BATTERY PARK CITY AUTHORITY was grafted onto our city, the law that created it presumed that some of the income generated from its yuppie hordes would be used to create affordable housing. Thirty-five years later, this mayor (like his predecessors) proposes using the money for something else (in this case, a white… More >>
  • Best ridiculous use of MTA marketing dollars

    'IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING'

    In a world where people talk to themselves more than to others and a six-pack of batteries can be had for $1, being told to tattletale on a fellow commuter for suspicious activity under the 'IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING' campaign just might not be totally clear. Unless, of course, suspicious activity includes the blatant waste of taxpayers' dollars,… More >>
  • Best foulmouthed Irish stamp maker

    J.C. CASEY

    Fat, jovial, and unintelligible due to a combination of an Irish brogue and a lisp, J.C. CASEY doles out romantic advice and dirty jokes to customers in his East Village rubber-stamp shop. Quick to defend his "Batman Sucks" T-shirt or launch into an hour-long explanation of his nickname ("Squirrel"), J.C. never gets any work done. He's too busy holding court.… More >>
  • Best generation gap

    SENIOR CITIZEN BINGO LADY AT PETE'S CANDY STORE

    Though it's usually a pastime for cottonheads in Catholic churches, hipster bars have started playing host to B-I-N-G-O. Complicating matters is the SENIOR CITIZEN BINGO LADY AT PETE'S CANDY STORE. While the X Generation vamps ironically, this smoking gun keeps it real by shouting little-known rules, dissing potential cheaters, and gently chiding the caller to stop his dawdling. The old-world… More >>
  • Best religious figure you'll agree with

    REVEREND BILLY

    Those of you who remember squirming in your church seat at the mention of the word sinner will be thrilled when REVEREND BILLY of the Church of Stop Shopping takes the pulpit. He's a Jerry Falwell for the left, using the televangelist model to preach about how corporations have taken over, and how the Iraq war was "sold to us… More >>
  • Best Jehovah's Witness

    THE QUIET MAN WHO HANDS OUT 'THE WATCHTOWER' AT THE METROPOLITAN G/LORIMER L

    His whisper could be a mantra, but more likely he's just nervous. Be that as it may, THE QUIET MAN WHO HANDS OUT 'THE WATCHTOWER' AT THE METROPOLITAN G/LORIMER L makes Droopy Dog look like a cocksure speed freak and has done more to humanize his religion than packs of bothersome type A doorbell pushers. Sure, I've never seen him… More >>
  • Best subway panhandler

    DONKEY DUO

    They're a rare treat, but subway riders should pay attention and stand clear when the DONKEY DUO enter the train. These are not your tired old "Selling newspapers is not the best job in the world . . . " hucksters. Rather, they've created a getup whereby one rides atop the other, his legs kicking out as the other crawls… More >>
  • Best misogynist subway ranter

    CARL AT THE FIFTH AVENUE AND 53RD STREET SUBWAY STATION

    Wantonly eyeing the parade of stockinged gams and high-heeled flip-flops on the morning march up the escalators, I get a warning from above: "Woman love dog better than man!" or else: "Woman wear perfume to cover the stench of death!" It comes from the embittered, smirking station denizen CARL AT THE FIFTH AVENUE AND 53RD STREET SUBWAY STATION. WMD talk… More >>
  • Best performance artist on the morning commute

    OTIS HOUSTON JR.

    What better way to preach to the droning masses than to tape your mouth shut, balance a binder on your head, and wave money? Failing that, OTIS HOUSTON JR. (a/k/a Old Man Jr.) has been known to go shirtless in a snowstorm, squawking like a pikachu. He also power-lifts blocks of wood, and his signs brag about him walking the… More >>
  • Best grizzly East Village knower of the scoop

    RED

    His name is John Nicholson, but everyone calls him RED. He lives in the building at 14 St. Marks and has worked on this block for over 50 years. Since handling security at the St. Marks Baths from 1950 through 1977, Red has done overnight store security at New Corner Magazine. Every morning, he sits on a pile of newspapers,… More >>
  • Best cab driver

    IRIS JAVED

    If you want a driver worthy of a superhero comic book, you've gotta call IRIS JAVED. She's one of the very few female drivers in New York, and she has found her niche, safely shuttling women around the city. You'll feel safe in Iris's backseat—she's been shot twice and stabbed once (in non-cab-related incidents). Plus, she'll dish with you about… More >>
  • Best friend to harassed city parkers

    LOUIS CAMPOREALE

    Call it his 15 minutes in the spotlight, or headlights, but otherwise unassuming city employee LOUIS CAMPOREALE regularly puts on a cape emblazoned with a bold "PP" and rescues confused parkers from ticket-rabid cops. No, actually he doesn't—but he does publish books and calendars with parking tips, and keeps a handy website updated. He can't make a parking space open… More >>
  • Best doorman

    THOMAS ONORATO

    When you're out clubbing, there is nothing more stressful than dealing with the door situation. You arrive, you see a line of a million people, and you want to cry. The guest-list line is just as long as the plebeian line. You consider turning around and running home and eating chocolate ice cream until you explode, but then you see… More >>
  • Best real doormen in a neighborhood of fakes

    MARK AND JOE

    Dallas had the Doomsday Defense; Pittsburgh, the Steel Curtain. Hogs and Heifers has MARK AND JOE, two giants who work the nighttime door of the only real bar in the meatpacking district. These two guys are gentlemen, and they're always kind to girls and dogs, but they're dead serious about ID; try an end-around and you'll never see the inside… More >>
  • Best lothario rock-star barkeep

    JESSE MALIN

    Singer-songwriter-NYC music scenester JESSE MALIN is all spiky hair and soft-spoken charm as he welcomes the pretty ladies into his bar with a drink on the house and a smile. Flattering, sure—but I bet you know someone who knows someone he's hit on. He's a rocker who owns a bar, for God's sake.… More >>
  • Best Williamsburg celebrity

    NICK ZEDD

    His 'hood's known for simulating a down-and-dirty Lower East Side, but the real-deal filmmaker behind They Eat Scum, War Is Menstrual Envy, and The Cinema of Transgression rides the L and shops at Kellogg's. With a storied career linking Richard Hell, Richard Kern, Greer Lankton, Lydia Lunch, Jack Smith, and various body fluids, NICK ZEDD conjures the grime of Max's… More >>
  • Best B-list celeb easily confused with the crowd outside the Bowery Mission

    VINCENT GALLO

    While actor-director-musician VINCENT GALLO doesn't need to stand in a long line to get a bowl of soup, he sure loves roaming around the area and dressing like the less fortunate. If only he'd get off his cell phone and cast his street pals in his next project, the Lower East Side would not dislike him so much.… More >>
  • Best remnant of old Times Square sleaze

    JOE GALLANT

    Just when you thought New York porn has been totally banished to the back rooms of 60/40-compliant stores, here comes local smutmonger JOE GALLANT, whose name evokes horrified faces from those who know of his work. Think paint enemas turned into Jackson Pollock–like masterpieces. Think any of the dirtiest things you can imagine, then watch his videos—they'll be worse, guaranteed.… More >>
  • Best rebuttal of the myth that Jewish girls are frigid

    AMY SOHN

    There are still enough stereotypes floating around about Jewish girls who won't put out that sometimes the sluttier among us wish for a heroine (besides Monica Lewinsky) to represent us. Enter sex columnist AMY SOHN, who is always willing to investigate the inner reaches of the libido, just like the sexual powerhouses she interviews. Her new novel, My Old Man,… More >>
  • Best mermaid since Daryl Hannah

    JULIE ATLAS MUZ

    With its gigantic aquarium and elegant decor, the Coral Room has brought a touch of necessary glamour to the bar scene, and nobody makes it more special than burlesque queen JULIE ATLAS MUZ, who weaves her tail and starfish bikini past the tank's realistic-looking fish, waving and blowing kisses. This flexible blonde beauty looks just as natural gliding through the… More >>
  • Best East German transsexual since Hedwig

    JEFFERSON MAYS

    John Cameron Mitchell, it's been too long—Hedwig's been gone for years now and Chelsea's drag queens just aren't filling the bill. Enter JEFFERSON MAYS, the one-man tour de force in I Am My Own Wife, whose portrayal of German transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf scored him a Tony (which we'd love to see him portray as a Tina).… More >>
  • Best lesbian sex symbol

    STEPHANIE ADAMS

    Now that we have The L Word, people are starting to pick up on the fact that dykes can be hotties too. None more so than the tall, slender STEPHANIE ADAMS, who not only was a Playboy Playmate, but is a descendant of President John Adams and a writer of occult books. It's hard to turn a page in a… More >>
  • Best anonymous sex symbol

    NECK FACE

    His ubiquitous graffiti is ugly and clever and hilarious and perfectly executed, but it's mystique that makes NECK FACE so damn hot. Little is known about him—he's about 20 years old, an art student, mischievous, and likes to paint monsters with pointed, discomfiting captions. So how does he tag in sweet spots all over Manhattan and Brooklyn without getting found… More >>
  • Best street graffitist

    KUMA

    Okay, so KUMA's scrawled throw-ups and sparkling gold burners (always legible, always that left-leaning K) dominate risky targets like Canal Street vendor stalls and Bedford Avenue hatch doors, and he's everywhere in the sleepy industrial neighborhoods (L.I.C., Gowanus Canal) that are a bomber's paradise. Big deal. But waaaay-up-there L.E.S. building facades and highway overpass signs above York Street? That's some… More >>
  • Best demolition photographer

    SUSANNE WIMMER

    Though you probably wouldn't give them a second look, demolition sites are captured in their unusual beauty through a photo series by SUSANNE WIMMER. The oddly shaped structures and desolate landscapes around the Williamsburg waterfront have a strange allure. And unlike Wimmer herself, you can appreciate the work without a hard hat.… More >>
  • Best pyrotechnic action painter

    NAOKI IWAKAWA

    Oil, acrylic, sand, glass, and wood dust might be part of the average painter's palette, but NAOKI IWAKAWA also finds flames a useful medium. He lights up his canvases in the middle of music-backed gallery performances. In such a (literally) heated atmosphere, it's exhilarating to watch his creations come to life, but also helpful to know where the exits are,… More >>
  • Best jazz action painter

    JEFF SCHLANGER

    If you're at the Knitting Factory, Tonic, or Sweet Basil's and spot a kindly old gent in front sporting a yarmulke-like cap, passionately painting on a large sheet of paper, you're probably seeing JEFF SCHLANGER. His work happens as the concert happens, ending when the set is over and ready to be displayed on the club's walls. It's a good… More >>
  • Best glam hula-hoop troupe

    GROOVE HOOPS

    Originally a bunch of glam hippies who met at rock shows, the four men and two women of GROOVE HOOPS taught themselves extravagant hula-hooping tricks, donned glitter and spandex, and started performing with jam bands and burlesque acts. Although their strictly choreographed 20-minute set showcases their virtuoso stunts, their real appeal lies in their over-the-top stage presence.… More >>
  • Best public contortionist

    YOGI LASER

    Though he claims "exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet, positive thinking, and meditation" help him, some supernatural force must let YOGI LASER literally bend himself into a pretzel. Laser has twisted and crawled everywhere from the Apollo to local TV to the South Street Seaport, walking on his hands with his legs behind his head or squirming into boxes smaller than a… More >>
  • Best hypnotherapist

    DR. JOHN RYDER

    With his piercing eyes, shaggy dark coif, and beard, he's like a Prince-meets–Wolfman Jack hybrid. Armed with a Ph.D. and a mellifluous voice, DR. JOHN RYDER lulls you into compliance to kick those onerous habits. He squelched this writer's 15-year smoking habit for good in two sessions. Whatever your vice, insurance-friendly Ryder makes you a customized motivational tape of the… More >>
  • Best food-foraging guide

    'WILDMAN' STEVE BRILL

    Tavern on the Green seems that much more overpriced when you consider that there's a free all-you-can-eat buffet going on all the time in Central Park. Pith-helmeted naturalist 'WILDMAN' STEVE BRILL will show you what plant life is safe to nosh on—goodies like chickweed, sassafras, and wine berries—in his guided tours.… More >>
  • Best wine columnist for a gourmet magazine formerly published by the Italian Communist Party

    LEONARD BARKAN

    Gambero Rosso, or "Red Shrimp," is named as a pun on its leftist origins, but Italian Communists take food and wine as seriously as they do the revolution. LEONARD BARKAN, the New York wine editor for the magazine's English edition, is a native of Greenwich Village who divides his time between the Vermeer building in Chelsea and leafy Princeton, where… More >>
  • Best blogger likely to deservedly strike it rich

    LINDSAY ROBERTSON

    The blogosphere is filled with plenty of people out for juvenile high jinks, petty laughs, and gargantuan book deals, but there are some talents that eclipse anything you'll see on SNL, and LINDSAY ROBERTSON's one of them. Having honed her humor into the perfect blend of short, sharp, and snarky, she skewers everyone from Mary-Kate and Ashley to a video… More >>
  • Best new sportswriter

    LEE JENKINS

    It's kind of a shitty gig, as far as plum sportswriting jobs go, to cover the Mutts for the Times. The paper's pro-Yankee bias, most doggedly voiced by veteran columnist Murray Chass, kicks the Mets deep into the section unless somebody gets fired or into a fight. But newcomer LEE JENKINS, who took Tyler Kepner's beat when Kepner graduated to… More >>
  • Best pet communicator

    GRETCHEN KUNZ

    A self-proclaimed "interpreter between humans and their animals," GRETCHEN KUNZ uses her skill in "interspecies telepathic communication" to "tune to the right frequency" of problematic pets, including horses, fish, raccoons, and minks. For $35 per 20-minute phone session, she will explain to you, for example, why your cat urinates haphazardly. Although she establishes connections with animals via Reiki, shamanic training,… More >>
  • Best juice bar dog

    SATCHMO

    The dog has soul. He's friendly and smart, never yappy, and accepting of everyone. He appears to be smiling—which he may be, having been rescued to a good home after getting tossed from a moving car. He has done volunteer work as a "therapy dog" in nursing homes. His breed (bichon) is even non-allergenic. If you manage to find anything… More >>
  • Best impersonation of Star Jones as a chicken

    POPPI KRAMER

    The personalities on The View are ripe for mimicry, from Star Jones's questionably straight fiancé to Baba's nasal whine and Joy's annoying "humor." But nobody nails them better than comic POPPI KRAMER, who can easily be coaxed into doing her delightful squawking routine. Though the rounded, Jewish wisecracker looks nothing like Jones, she'll have you buck-bucking in laughter right along… More >>
  • Best evil person

    OMAROSA MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH

    Anyone who has seen The Apprentice is familiar with standout OMAROSA MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH. Omarosa functioned like the wicked stepsisters in Cinderella. You knew they weren't going to emerge victorious, but they drew you in and got you hooked. Omarosa was vital. Her first website was hilarious (smooth music, glamour photos, lecturing information). Her latest website was less engaging, but should have… More >>
  • Best relic from the early days of Turkish MTV

    DEFNE HALMAN

    In the late '80s, Turkish national TV introduced Video Music Turkey, and its indigenous answer to MTV's Martha Quinn was DEFNE HALMAN, a star of stage and screen and (mind you) daughter of the country's first minister of culture, Talat Halman. Her pronunciation of American band names and funky outfits, even when subdued to pass the censors, started a rage.… More >>
  • Best fake tan on a local weatherman

    SAM CHAMPION

    Perhaps he's hoping to conjure cloudless skies, or maybe he scored a free lifetime membership to the local Hollywood Tan. Whatever the origin of that uncanny orange glow, WABC's SAM CHAMPION manages to titillate: Chelsea boys maintain the hyper-coiffed meteorologist gets hotter every year, and there's even a local rock trio named after Mr. Ivory Teeth. Still, it's hard to… More >>
  • Before the Empire Strikes Back

    Best Lost-Public-Art Walking Tour

    SUBJECT — Best Lost-Public-Art Walking Tour LOCATION — Manhattan, Queens Is "public art" oxymoronic? Can the work of fierce individualists be embraced by the masses? Gotham yields no easy answers. Staffers call the massive mural over 30 ROCKEFELLER PLAZA's reception desk the "Wailing… More >>
  • The City Rests in Peace

    Great New York Tributes to Deaths and Disasters

    SUBJECT — Great New York Tributes to Deaths and Disasters LOCATION — Bronx, Manhattan New York may be the city that never rests, but it's got no shortage of shrines to the eternal sleep. The town is as ephemeral as anywhere else and there are plaques, memorials, and monuments all… More >>
  • Sneaking Past the Ghosts

    Best Abandoned Buildings

    SUBJECT — Best Abandoned Buildings LOCATION — Brooklyn, Jersey City, Roosevelt Island, Staten Island Ignoring "No Trespassing" signs, scrambling over chain-link fences, crawling through broken windows? All business as usual when breaking into abandoned buildings. An urbanite's answer to mountain climbing, exploring vacant structures can be… More >>
  • Everybody Slept Here

    New York's Best Historic Homes

    SUBJECT — New York's Best Historic Homes LOCATION — Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens My day begins when I see an employee of Tic Tac Toe dusting a huge strap-on harness with a yellow featherduster outside of 161 West 4th Street, where BOB DYLAN rented his first New York City apartment (think… More >>
  • Clean-Up Comes True

    The Vanishing New York of Taxi Driver

    SUBJECT — The Vanishing New York of Taxi Driver LOCATION — Manhattan Although the picture was shot fewer than 30 years ago, director Martin Scorsese's 1976 Taxi Driver, a quintessential New York movie (albeit one of the nightmare variety), today looks as if it might as well have been lensed… More >>
  • Leaving It All Behind

    The Best Places to Say Goodbye

    SUBJECT — The Best Places to Say Goodbye LOCATION — East River, Hudson River, Manhattan, Outer Space If you have to say goodbye to a person or your youth or a job or some dumb book proposal that didn't work, go to New York's oldest places—an… More >>
  • How to Keep Your Circle Vicious

    Algonquin Round Table

    SUBJECT — Algonquin Round Table LOCATION — Manhattan These days it seems that glowing productivity is not a prerequisite for public notoriety. Hell, I still see Courtney Love in the papers all the time, and besides wailing on a couple of mediocre albums, all she ever does is date… More >>
  • The Greening of New York

    Irish American Landmarks

    SUBJECT — Irish American Landmarks LOCATION — Manhattan, Queens Bestowing as the nationality does a license for debauchery and frankness, almost everyone wants to be Irish at least once a year—preferably on March 17. But at one time, America's population of true Irish immigrants rivaled the population of the… More >>
  • Words of the Prophets Take to the Rooftops

    The Extreme Graffiti Hall of Murals

    SUBJECT — The Extreme Graffiti Hall of Murals LOCATION — Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens Les had no equipment but a backpack full of spray cans. (He admits he's tried on a harness. "But fuck no, I never used it.") He scoped out the Manhattan Bridge and found a flimsy drainpipe… More >>
  • Best dollar store for baby shower gift basket assemblage

    TWINS 99 PLUS

    Cool, simple Japanese itemry lines the shelves of TWINS 99 PLUS. There are containers that click closed, plastic silverware sets, little foot-shaped carpets, and towels with simple colors and designs—all manner of budget goods that could be useful and stylish for moms and tots. A great pit stop to ransack, and you'll take home treats for yourself, too.… More >>
  • Best place to buy cheap Hello Kitty underwear to make your girlfriend look like a Japanese schoolgirl

    PAY/HALF

    Living out your anime-influenced sex fantasies can be expensive, but not if you shop at PAY/HALF. Panties with Hello Kitty's smiling face peeking out from all sorts of inappropriate places range from $2.50 to an even five bucks. After your girlfriend wears them, you can sell them in a vending machine to recoup your losses (although the ticket to Osaka… More >>
  • Best lingerie store

    AGENT PROVOCATEUR

    Victoria's Secret is sooo 1999, what with the gold-detailed clubhouse of AGENT PROVOCATEUR just around the Soho corner. Boyfriends, fluff up your egos: Red-lipsticked agents wearing pink shirtdresses and stilettos direct aspiring agents and their lovers to pink dressing rooms with rose stools to don polka-dot quarter-cup bras, denim corsets, and pink froufrou heels that transform everyday gals into '50s… More >>
  • Best unlikely place to buy vibrators

    EVE'S GARDEN

    If you're a high-powered businesswoman or socialite homemaker with a sexual urge to satisfy and a squeaky-clean reputation to protect, you might not want to be spotted waltzing out of Toys in Babeland with a telltale shopping bag in your hand. Head over to EVE'S GARDEN, demurely tucked away on the 12th floor of an office building near Carnegie Hall,… More >>
  • Best store to buy creepy adult toys for kids and sexy kids' toys for adults

    KID ROBOT

    The feminist fuss over Barbie is fodder for deliciously creepy doll play at KID ROBOT, where science fiction geeks shop for newborn nieces and ménages à trois simultaneously. Twiggy stands 12 perfectly proportioned inches in a striped spacesuit-cum-mini alongside devilish partner Moon Girl. For coed fun, there's Gas Man Gulf and Navy Seal CQB. For the little'uns, Little Inky Dunny… More >>
  • Best sex playground for giants

    CHELSEA WATERFRONT PARK

    No need to pay entry fees or write essays on why you are the ideal guest at a sex party when New York's great outdoors provides the tools for all the dirty pretty public play a woman needs. Pastel-colored dildos stand six-to-eight-feet tall on gravel ground overlooking the Hudson. As commuters zoom by and high-waisted foreigners stroll from Chelsea gallery… More >>
  • Best place to dispose of a dead body

    UNION STREET BRIDGE

    Surrounded by the second-biggest casket company on the East Coast, UNION STREET BRIDGE links Park Slope to Carroll Gardens in the smelliest way possible. The water below lies rich with dead fish, car oil, and bacterial slime. Some passersby tear across the bridge, fingers clenching nostrils. The rest feverishly speculate about the Brooklyn real estate boom they could spearhead by… More >>
  • Best place to commit a copycat suicide

    BOBST LIBRARY

    Looking to make the leap? NYU's BOBST LIBRARY has anticipated your every mood swing by arranging its floor tiles in the shape of spikes. Now, when strung-out college kids peer down from atop the 12th floor, they're discouraged (or not) by the image of being impaled. Voted America's number one "dream college," NYU has seen at least four "falls" in… More >>
  • Best no-hassle bathroom

    KGB BAR

    The ghosts of New York's once prominent public facilities mock us with their crumbling facades. Cafés actually want you to buy something before they let you even see the restrooms. And urinating on the street is just so '80s. Thankfully, due to an architectural oddity at the KGB BAR, you can pee for free any time. As the bathrooms are… More >>
  • Best bathroom to make you feel like a fat, ugly, uncool loser

    BUBBY'S

    After gorging on a slice of BUBBY'S famous "Mile-High Apple Pie," you may find yourself seeking refuge in the Tribeca restaurant's ladies' room. But leave all self-esteem on the stairs going down to the basement, as the lavatory walls are decorated with black-and-white photos of skinny, gorgeous hipsters smoking, drinking, and having the time of their lives. Exactly what you… More >>
  • Best place to whiff pachyderm poop

    QUEENS/MIDTOWN TUNNEL

    All eight years as mayor, Giuliani walked through the QUEENS/MIDTOWN TUNNEL with the Ringling Bros. elephants as they marched into Madison Square Garden for the greatest show on earth. They even named a baby pachy after him. He got rid of prostitutes and homeless vagrants. And yet Giuliani welcomed, with open arms, the most flatulent creatures on earth.… More >>
  • Best metal testicles

    SCHOLAR'S LION

    When Columbia University celebrated its 250th anniversary this spring, it unveiled a new addition to its Morningside Heights campus: the gigantic SCHOLAR'S LION sculpture. Standing in a plaza in front of a lecture hall and the gym, its roar directed toward the business school, the lion quickly became known among students for the lopsided, oversized balls between its hind legs.… More >>
  • Best place to fondle a stranger

    CUDDLE PARTIES

    Are you so lonely that the thought of affectionately touching the feet of a total stranger really warms you? Conceived by two "relationship experts," CUDDLE PARTIES are hosted Sunday mornings at a private apartment. Admission is $30 ($20 if you bring a friend); attendees must wear pajamas. But don't try anything more than some harmless neck nuzzling—sex is strictly forbidden,… More >>
  • Best place to grab your honey's booty while watching the sunset

    BROOKLYN PROMENADE

    After years of agonizing searches, you've finally found it: the perfect tush. So now you need a public place where everything is in such precise harmony. The moon and the stars, the breeze and the city, the hand on the butt: Get thee to the BROOKLYN PROMENADE as the sun is retreating and the Manhattan skyline burns red and purple.… More >>
  • Best psycho massage

    CARAPAN

    Think "spa environment" and you imagine a clean, bright room, maybe some light, polished wood. Not so at CARAPAN. The walls are blood-red, the waiting room is dark and cave-like, and a dingy Southwestern theme dominates the mood. Incense smoke flares upward into the somber dankness like a warning: "Put your clothes back on!" A masseur recalls Frank of Blue… More >>
  • Best ex-massage parlor turned into a club of the same name

    HAPPY ENDING - CLOSED

    There's no more rub 'n' tug or discreet towel tuck to be had on the lower level of the once notorious Chinatown massage parlor HAPPY ENDING, which is now yet another dimly lit and woefully fashionable bar. The saunas remain in place, providing curiously tiled booths for its tense and fully-dressed clientele, but the service, while competent at pouring drinks,… More >>
  • Best Korean spa

    YI'PAK

    Don't call it a back-and-whack. In its two spaces, the women's and the men's, the underwear-clad ladies of YI'PAK perform a thoroughly refreshing battery of deep massage, salt washes, exfoliations, and plain scrub-downs (crevices included) on your naked body. You can just call it a spaaaaahhhh.… More >>
  • Best place to get slathered in chocolate

    AJUNE DAY SPA

    The Godiva Chocolate Body Wrap is a treat worthy of Oscar nominees, and it can be yours at AJUNE DAY SPA. Chocoholics become personalized Hershey's Kisses, slathered in a warm mixture of chocolate and mud (said to be good for the circulation), then wrapped in foil as the mixture does its work. The only downside—you can't eat any. But you… More >>
  • Best free haircut for short-haired girls

    CROPS FOR GIRLS

    Although hairdresser Michael claims he can cut any length hair, he prefers the lengths "medium short," "short," and "very short," as indicated by the sturdy metal binders available in the trendy-ish waiting area of CROPS FOR GIRLS. Albums of "before" and "after" pictures of smiling customers holding their freshly cut hair in their hands sit alongside a braid of human… More >>
  • Best old-lady salon for cheap up-'dos

    NANCY ANN BEAUTY SALON

    This is the kind of local place so cool—note their sign in polite cursive designating NANCY ANN BEAUTY SALON and their ancient, blue hair-drying salon chairs—that you're scared to go in and disrupt the amazing camaraderie of the old-school vibe. But when you do it's totally worth it: For a mere $15, I got a beehive from an eminently nice,… More >>
  • Best virgin eyebrow waxing

    PASTEL

    Bulging brows are a curse that even the most un-vain girl may worry about. But if you're squeamish and want a gentle touch that won't send you screaming out the door with only one eye done, try PASTEL. Their soothing waxers talk you through the process, dabbing on the wax and yanking it off without any hint of sadistic pleasure.… More >>
  • Best sensitive pap smear

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD

    Pap smear day is nobody's favorite, but after waiting in three different lines at PLANNED PARENTHOOD, you will have forgotten where you are and what you are doing. So when you hear your name called, it's like the freakin' Price Is Right. You run on down to the office and before you can say, "I went to Planned Parenthood and… More >>
  • Best free sauna

    WEST 4TH STREET SUBWAY STATION

    Looking to shed some quick pounds? Why spend hundreds of dollars a year on a gym membership when you can use the sauna known as the WEST 4TH STREET SUBWAY STATION for free. With temperatures reaching the 100 degree mark, the intense, stifling dead air of the station can easily make your thighs thinner for that date or those abs… More >>
  • Best free swimming pool

    77TH STREET SUBWAY STATION

    Does the scorching pavement make you nauseous? When the sky turns black and the heavens open up, skip over to the Upper East Side to refresh yourself in the depths of the 77TH STREET SUBWAY STATION, where the water level reaches your calves in less than five minutes. Watch as the children splash in the contamination and the commuters frantically… More >>
  • Best free used syringes

    CONEY ISLAND

    Does anyone really want used syringes? Ever? Certainly not stuck in the bottom of your foot when you're strolling the shore as the summer crowds dissipate and CONEY ISLAND's natives reclaim the beach. Kobiyashi and mermaids are long gone; all that's left is the splintered Cyclone, Russian shops with velvet clown paintings, and piles of junkie gear.… More >>
  • Best strip for pot paraphernalia

    EIGHTH STREET BETWEEN FIFTH AND SIXTH AVENUES

    Besides being a fashion-shoe and novelty-T-shirt destination, EIGHTH STREET BETWEEN FIFTH AND SIXTH AVENUES is a one-stop spot for plastic bongs, hand-blown glassware, peripherals like bowls and slides, and—how cool!—marijuana-leaf-adorned tchotchkes. The proprietors will try and rip you off, of course, but a simple nod in the direction of the street sets most of them straight.… More >>
  • Best smoking area in a bar

    LARRY LAWRENCE

    LARRY LAWRENCE, a semi-hidden Williamsburg watering hole, brims with impressive design elements, including a skylight and a long, cedar-scented hallway. But the smoking deck tops them all. Literally. To light up, you ascend to a petunia-festooned balcony—part tree house, part skybox—from which you can gaze out over the interior of the bar through an enormous plate-glass window. It's the only… More >>
  • Best bar at which to fake an orgasm

    REMOTE LOUNGE

    Sorry, Katz's Deli, your streak has been broken. This year Porno Karaoke at the REMOTE LOUNGE was the place to simulate screams of ecstasy in public. Unfortunately it didn't last, and the bar no longer reverberates with the grunts and groans of patrons taking their cues from on-screen skin flicks. Ah well, easy come, easy go.… More >>
  • Best free softcore porn

    CALVIN KLEIN BILLBOARD

    She's hot, topless, and barely 18. She's lying on top of him, her back to his chest. His naked, smooth, perfect chest. One of his hands is on her breast, and you wonder in breathless anticipation what will happen next. Until you're jarred back to reality by the blaring taxi horns reminding you you're on a public sidewalk, looking at… More >>
  • Best place to buy trashy Spanish magazines

    LIBRERÍA LECTORUM

    Although an extremely reputable provider of quality foreign imprints, seminal literary anthologies, and a wide selection of children's books, LIBRERÍA LECTORUM does also cater to curious adolescents and thirtysomething women's-magazine readers. Telenovela magazines abound alongside lessons on how to ¡clímax! from Cosmo and the ever raunchy Maxim para Hombres. There is also a helpful sexología section, offering titles on masajes… More >>
  • Best bar in which to watch porn

    BELLEVUE

    We haven't been back since a recent change in management (though we plan to return next time we're in Hell's Kitchen), but we hope metalhead mecca BELLEVUE continues the tradition of showing classy old pornos on crappy sets above the bar, especially ones involving Betty Page getting tied up, gagged, and transported places in the trunks of automobiles.… More >>
  • Best make-out bar

    TONIC

    "You could sire a child" down there on any given Thursday evening, is how a friend of mine—an avid regular—characterizes the potential of TONIC. This avant-ish club houses a rarefied drinking hole in its basement: a dimly lit concrete chamber where you sit in huge wine caskets—Tonic has five former Kosher barrels, to be exact—illuminated by seedy lightbulbs, including some… More >>
  • Best teen date spot

    PARK SLOPE PAVILION

    I always wondered where parents hid the Slope's young adults (did they just roll tykes downhill when they started to outgrow the baby carriages?) until hitting the PARK SLOPE PAVILION on a Friday night. Maybe it's just me, but the adolescent hormones swirling around in that joint could rub off on even the most grizzled, serious-minded moviegoing couple. After all,… More >>
  • Best museum for a Plathian date

    FRICK COLLECTION

    The FRICK COLLECTION is the stuff of 1960s poetry, as in Frank O'Hara's "Having a Coke With You": "I look/at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world/except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it's in the Frick/which thank heavens you haven't gone to yet so we can go together the… More >>
  • Best place to look cultured with a woody

    MUSEUM OF SEX

    So when you were a kid, they dragged you through vast rooms filled with artifacts from thousands of years ago. Then you got older, and folks stood there at MOMA marveling at Picasso and Dalí. All this time you were bored . . . stiff. Well, have I got news for you! The MUSEUM OF SEX has exhibitions entitled "Get… More >>
  • Best reading series to give you a hard-on

    EAST SIDE ORAL

    While you don't always know what to expect at Elise Miller's provocatively titled monthly reading series EAST SIDE ORAL, you're guaranteed at least one round of hearty laughter, one uncomfortable pause, and one moment of extreme arousal. Every second Sunday at 5 at the Living Room, a literati crowd delights in hearing writers such as Jonathan Ames and Lynn Harris… More >>
  • Best way to fill your inbox with unsolicited cock shots

    CRAIGSLIST'S WOMEN SEEKING MEN

    You're home, alone, maybe wearing sweatpants. You're online, restless, bored. Want to feel womanly and desired? Head to CRAIGSLIST'S WOMEN SEEKING MEN and voilà—one innocent little post unleashes a flood of responses, many of the visual (and visceral!) kind. You don't have to say much—basically mention that you're female, that about covers it. Let the parade of cocks begin! (But… More >>
  • Best book recommendations

    NERVE.COM PERSONALS

    You don't have to be single—or even interested—to enjoy the book recommendations on the NERVE.COM PERSONALS. Ugly people with smart profiles may not end up in your bed, but there's room for them on your bookshelves in the form of gems by Maugham, Eugenides, Winterson, and perennial recommendee David Sedaris. Dammit, if it's good enough for NYC_PartyGrrrl_04 then it's good… More >>
  • Best website to see your neighbors naked

    THATSTRANGEGIRL.COM

    Tired of porn chicks all being blonde, busty bombshells you could never talk to, let alone seduce? Look no further than New York–based THATSTRANGEGIRL.COM, where you can see people who look like your friends and neighbors in all their lusty, earthy glory. Exceedingly normal male and female college-age exhibitionists pose alone or together. It's amateur porn for and from your… More >>
  • Best Queens topless strip club close to Manhattan

    SCANDALS

    The vivacious girls of Queens can make your dollar go a long way, and they're not insulted if you ask them to turn around and shake their booties for a buck. Right at the foot of the 59th Street Bridge sits SCANDALS, where you'll find a girl for every flavor—African American, Russian, Colombian. She's friendly, neighborly, and doesn't put on… More >>
  • Best club to watch semi-naked transvestites dance to the Cure with taped nipples

    OPALINE

    It's not unusual to find Manhattan clubs with gay men dancing in a conga line to the Weather Girls, but what makes the East Village's OPALINE different from the rest is the '80s new-wave vibe during Saturday's free Underwear Parties, which bring princesses from both genders and a couple of Converse-wearing boys.… More >>
  • Best bar to see single girls dance to Madonna with their gay boyfriends

    SODA BAR

    SODA BAR is like those parties people had in their dorm rooms in college, except with a lot of space. It's a good old drunken time and a serious regulars spot. You don't have to get in your hot-girl tube top. You can bike over in your "drunk neighborhood" clothes and fit right in. There's a pool table and a… More >>
  • Best depressing nudie bar

    WILD WILD WEST

    Maybe it's that I've only wound up there at 2 a.m. in the middle of the week and spent every last dollar I'd intended for a cab ride home (I'm begging you: Install an ATM!), but WILD WILD WEST dredges darkish memories for me. The ladies—sassy and down-to-earth, if not earth-shatteringly talented dancers—are of course the highlight. But ass-slappers, beware.… More >>
  • Best historical re-enactments

    LES FRERES CORBUSIER THEATRE CO.

    Ben Franklin a sodomite? President Harding pursued by a giant lobster? The Shaker sisters getting down to Kraftwerk and Kool Keith? High school history classes and PBS docs could learn a thing or two from the perverse pageantry of LES FRERES CORBUSIER THEATRE CO. Larding the annals of American history with anal sex and huge cocaine binges, these iconoclasts will… More >>
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