Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Faux Outer Borough

    JERSEY CITY

    Not far over the Hudson lies a fantasy-land where the subway only costs $1.75, sales tax is 3 percent, and a studio apartment in a decent neighborhood can be had for less than a grand. JERSEY CITY isn't a wasteland anymore. The ethnic diversity has Queens beat; even its far-flung Journal Square PATH station is only 20 minutes from downtown… More >>
  • Best View of Backyard Pools

    F TRAIN BETWEEN CARROLL STREET AND SMITH-9TH STREETS

    Who knew the old Italian families of Carroll Gardens lived so well? As the cars ascend from the underground to the elevated tracks on the F TRAIN BETWEEN CARROLL STREET AND SMITH-9TH STREETS, riders get a good gander at the neighborhood's postage stamp backyards. A quick survey indicates that, at least in Brooklyn, swimming pool companies like Lomart and Vogue… More >>
  • Best Spot to See Four Boroughs at the Same Time

    ROOSEVELT ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE

    Sure, the fish stench is unavoidable, but so is the spooky yet laid-back allure of the old ROOSEVELT ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE. Sit by the edge of the water with a book and a nose clip and enjoy a postcard view of where Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn meet at the East River.… More >>
  • Best Borough Connector

    PULASKI BRIDGE

    The structurally functional PULASKI BRIDGE, which is really a drawbridge, traverses itty-bitty Newtown Creek and connects Greenpoint to Long Island City. Free from the frills of those gaudy suspension wires (I'm lookin' at you, Brooklyn Bridge), it carries regular bus service between the two nabes, and the pedestrian-friendly path means you can extend your Brooklyn waterfront bike tour into Astoria,… More >>
  • Best Gay Swim Team

    TEAM NEW YORK AQUATICS

    "Don't ask, don't tell" is hardly the policy at TEAM NEW YORK AQUATICS, a gay swim team where members clap for each other at the beginning of practice and sometimes take mini-breaks for back-massage lines. With two practices a day at colleges around the city, water polo on Sundays, and fairly frequent competitions, TNYA swimmers are intense, though there is… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch the Bronx Not Burn

    HIGHBRIDGE PARK

    There may be nicer areas of HIGHBRIDGE PARK, but if you scale the rocks at 178th Street, you can follow the line of cars from the George Washington Bridge down the Cross Bronx Expressway and over the Alexander Hamilton and Washington bridges to a very picturesque area of the Bronx— usually all by yourself. It's lovely in autumn.… More >>
  • Best Hill

    CEDAR HILL

    New York is not known for its hills. But CEDAR HILL in Central Park, located just south of the Metropolitan Museum, provides a needed bit of elevation change. Lined with evergreens, this grassy knoll allows open views of the sky as well as the East Side skyline.… More >>
  • Best Gay Volleyball

    BROOKLYN GAY VOLLEYBALL

    A loosely affiliated, colorful group of about 10 men meet Thursday evenings in Prospect Park for BROOKLYN GAY VOLLEYBALL, a recreational activity in which "everyone wants to be on the winning team at Excelsior," the local gay bar, after the game. Participants range from the cigarette-wielding to the serious, but it is above all social—as one participant says, "I love… More >>
  • Best Working Farm

    QUEENS COUNTY FARM MUSEUM

    Feeling the need to milk cows and shear sheep? QUEENS COUNTY FARM MUSEUM, a working farm since 1697, is the answer. Stick the kids on a hayride, then send them to learn "farm chores," while you guzzle moonshine and plow the tractor into the henhouse, just like Grandpa used to do.… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Sink

    BROWN

    In an era when the fanciest foods are the most humble, the old totems of restaurant quality are quickly becoming obsolete. To find a square meal in a hip neighborhood, try checking the bathroom first. The loo at BROWN, whose outstanding menu features heirloom beets and impossibly obscure cheeses, provides a simple bucket for washing up, perhaps left by the… More >>
  • Best Park to Watch Cricket Matches

    FLUSHING MEADOWS-­CORONA PARK

    Grubbers, jaffers, maidens, pie throwers, and sticky wickets . . . I may or may not be seeing such thingamajigs when I watch the various cricket matches at play in the fields of FLUSHING MEADOWS-­CORONA PARK on a Sunday afternoon. Perhaps I'm startled by the crisp white uniforms, or worried instead about the futbol matches that also take place in… More >>
  • Best Bathroom Science Project

    RESERVOIR

    It's greenish-gray, looks like a seashell, and is about the size of a jelly donut. It's the mushroom that's been growing in the men's-room toilet at RESERVOIR for several months. Depending on the bathroom traffic at this bar (and yes, grill) on a given night, the fungus is partially submerged, giving it an attractive two-tone contrast. As health department moles… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're Nancy Drew or a Hardy Boy

    FORT TILDEN BEACH

    Head to FORT TILDEN BEACH in the winter and you'll find yourself in a wonderland of abandoned buildings and rotting pilings. Then walk west at low tide and clamber over the rocks to the winter-shuttered grounds of the mysterious Silver Gull Beach Club. Look for clues and explore, but be sure to head back before the tide comes in, or… More >>
  • Best Restaurant to Watch Cricket Matches

    BUKHARI

    It seems the sport cricket exists largely to let ex­British colonies take symbolic revenge on their former imperial ruler. Commonwealth nations including India, South Africa, Australia, and the West Indies routinely give England a bloody good thrashing on the cricket pitch. And the best place to see this post-colonial payback televised is BUKHARI Pakistani restaurant, which serves up international cricket… More >>
  • Best Display-Only Antique Scientific Specimens

    B-4 IT WAS COOL

    Though it's got nice enough old-fashioned lighting, furniture, and clothing, you can't buy the items that set B-4 IT WAS COOL apart from other antique shops: a lovely exhibit of formaldehyde-soaked insects and fish, displayed along with containers of nitroglycerin and autopsy photos discarded from the city morgue.… More >>
  • Best Phone Booth in the East Village

    THIRD AVENUE BETWEEN 11th AND 12th STREETS

    Cell phones are making it harder to find a pay phone when you need one. Not only does the booth on THIRD AVENUE BETWEEN 11th AND 12th STREETS not reek of New York tang, but it faces a spa that makes the location smell like a rain forest. The Strand is around the corner, so if you need conversation fodder,… More >>
  • Best Place to See All the Colors of the Cultural Rainbow Brooklyn Has to Offer Wearing Silly Shoes

    MELODY LANES BOWLING

    There was a time when imported New Yorkers would never even think of living outside of Manhattan, and it was also a time when hipsters wouldn't be caught dead picking up a large dirty ball and heaving it at a few defenseless pins. Oh, how times have changed. MELODY LANES BOWLING manages to bring together Brooklynites from all classes and… More >>
  • Best Urban Rain Forest

    STUYVESANT SQUARE PARK

    An array of American and English elms form a canopy high above the overgrown gardens in the western half of STUYVESANT SQUARE PARK. Squirrels outnumber people in this four-acre oasis and frolic with various species of birds like it's all some Disney flick. A rat, dazed from the poison, wanders out to check out the fun. The air buzzes with… More >>
  • Best Place to Attend a Stranger's Wedding for Free

    BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN

    On the right sunny Saturday, the BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN offers a leafy respite from the city's humid hustle-and-grind. On an even righter sunny Saturday, it offers the chance to watch two New Yorkers enter the state of matrimony, without having to bring a gift or chat up anyone's doddering Aunt Tilly. Just stroll the gardens, look for custodians setting up… More >>
  • Best Indoor Boccie Ball

    FLOYD NY

    Not much goes better with drinking six $2 cans of straight-from-Milwaukee brews than lobbing large inanimate objects around, which is precisely why weekend nights find FLOYD NY's indoor boccie ball court the site of nonstop competition. Floyd does it Midwestern style with an enthusiasm that knows not the term "flyover state." In between boccie battles, take a chance on the… More >>
  • Best Place to Express Your Annoyance at Tourists

    CALYON BUILDING

    Some Saturday afternoon, buy a pretzel and sit on an uncomfortable bit of midtown concrete "art" outside the CALYON BUILDING.Tear off a few pieces of said pretzel. See a slow-moving group of sateen-jacket-wearers approaching and throw the pieces in their path. Watch the pigeons swarm, and hear their confused cries. Guffaw guiltily, inside your mouth. Repeat.… More >>
  • Best Bird's Nest

    CENTRAL PARK ZOO

    In a city renowned for its lack of low-lying and alternatively high-flying animal wildlife, a bird's nest is something of a novelty, like finding a twenty just before it submerges in one of the city's mysterious froth-puddles. The small wicker island is shielded but still visible behind a concrete barrier of the CENTRAL PARK ZOO. At eye level, you're close… More >>
  • Best Spelling Bee for Adults

    FREDDY'S BAR & BACKROOM

    This isn't Broadway or grade school—you won't come away singing show tunes or with a plaque to show your mom—but the last Wednesday of every month you can be a spelling bee champion. With cheap beer and free cookies, the entry fee at FREDDY'S BAR & BACKROOM is one measly dollar and winner takes all—but be careful or you might… More >>
  • Best Place to See an Osprey

    JAMAICA BAY WILDLIFE REFUGE

    A number of ospreys—birds of prey with six-foot wing spans, almost made extinct by DDT—decided to nest in JAMAICA BAY WILDLIFE REFUGE. Sit by a brackish pond and you may see one of the birds swoop down, snatch a fish from the water, soar to a nearby roost, and rip it apart. And to think, you came here to escape… More >>
  • Best Place to Feed a Fish to an Egret

    PROSPECT PARK LAKE

    Haiku birds of the city landscape, egrets are as studious as pigeons at panhandling. Poised on one leg on the shore of PROSPECT PARK LAKE, the snowy white freeloaders wait for an urban angler to snag a catch. Then they stalk for a handout. To watch the outline of a fish make its way down the long, thin throat of… More >>
  • Best $20 Poker Tournament

    NEW YORK PLAYERS' CLUB

    When the NEW YORK PLAYERS' CLUB isn't being raided by the vice squad it is, by far, the city's best spot to go on a lazy Sunday afternoon to unload some steam . . . and 20 bucks. So grab a bialy up the street at Zabar's and place a couple bets on the ponies at the next-door OTB before… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Really Really Really Fat Goldfish

    JAPANESE POND

    Lest you think this will be an ad for adult diapers—it ain't. It's about a little hidden gem of an oasis nestled inside Prospect Park's Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the JAPANESE POND. "One of the oldest and most visited Japanese-inspired gardens outside Japan," and opened to the public in 1915, it's one of those great Brooklyn spots because, well, because it's… More >>
  • Best Place to Catch a Fish You Won't Eat

    HARLEM MEER

    As whitefish season in Coney Island draws to a close, local anglers turn to the vaunted Central Park goldie. But don't let the bucolic grace or Ye Olde New York name of the HARLEM MEER fool you; this is no place to bring along a fillet knife or a bucket of ice (except for chilling Pabst tallboys, which, in local… More >>
  • Best Playground for Grown-Ups

    ANCIENT PLAYGROUND

    Complete with two-story brick pyramids and Indiana Jones­style rope swings, ANCIENT PLAYGROUND is both an adventurer's paradise and a lawsuit waiting to happen. No matter—before they shut it down (but after the rug rats vacate for the night), take a friend and go for a climb. Romantic at dusk, just visible though the glass north wall of the Metropolitan Museum,… More >>
  • Best Place to Repel Children From a Community Garden

    SIXTH STREET AND AVENUE B

    There's an attractive one at SIXTH STREET AND AVENUE B, with shade, thick greenery, and workshops for kids. So why is the creepiest sculpture ever constructed its most recognizable feature? The sinister tower of stacked planks interspersed with legless rocking horses and decaying teddy bears hanging by their necks makes the monster under the bed seem cuddly.… More >>
  • Best Place for a Morbid Yet Scenic Picnic

    PRISON SHIP MARTYR'S MONUMENT

    Taking your gloomy girlfriend on a date? Settle into the grass beside the 143-foot-tall PRISON SHIP MARTYR'S MONUMENT. The nearby crypt holds the bones of 11,500 people dumped off British prison ships during the Revolutionary War. Thoughtful (and weird) Brooklynites saved the bones that washed up on the shore and eventually housed them here. Cast your eyes over a lovely… More >>
  • Best Place to Yell, "Stop Playing Hacky Sack!"

    SOUTH SIDE OF UNION SQUARE

    Guys, you're already holding up a big banner that says, "The Bush Regime Engineered 9/11" across the SOUTH SIDE OF UNION SQUARE. Do you really think it's a good idea to have two guys playing Hacky Sack next to it? I mean, wasn't there anywhere else they could do it? Because I have a few suggestions.… More >>
  • Best Place to Escape the 21st Century

    LOWER EAST SIDE TENEMENT MUSEUM

    History buffs hankering for a glimpse of working-class New York, circa 1900, probably already know Stephen Crane's sordid Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Betty Smith's aspirational classic, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. But nonreaders (heaven forfend) might prefer to step back in time through the doors of the LOWER EAST SIDE TENEMENT MUSEUM for an equally vivid glimpse… More >>
  • Best Residence for Aging Bohemians

    WESTBETH ARTISTS HOUSING

    Nobody moves from WESTBETH ARTISTS HOUSING until the Big Agent in the Sky makes the final casting call. As the population of the subsidized complex has aged, the building has been declared a NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community). When we moved here at age 47 (after a decade on the waiting list), we felt young compared to our neighbors, who… More >>
  • Best Disappearing Act

    ASTOR PLACE CUBE

    When the parks department covertly took the ASTOR PLACE CUBEaway for emergency repairs in March, rumors swirled, memorial replicas of PVC pipe were built, and a triangle of police barricade fences was set up in the cube's old spot. No clear date is set for its return, but here's hoping it's sometime soon. "Meet me at the fence triangle" doesn't… More >>
  • Best Place to Air Family Secrets

    STORYCORPS BOOTH

    Studs Terkel may prefer Chicago, but everyone knows that New Yorkers have the best goddamn stories on the planet. Witness the STORYCORPS BOOTH at Grand Central Terminal: Since opening in October of 2003, the booth has recorded over 3,000 stories, both charming (a 91-year-old man tells about flirting with the hostesses at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom in the late '20s) and… More >>
  • Best Creepy Private Library Open to the Public

    LIVINGSTON MASONIC LIBRARY

    There's more to Freemasonry than what your stoned cousin told you about the dollar bill, and if it's knowledge you seek, you can find it at the LIVINGSTON MASONIC LIBRARY. Let the architect be your guide through 150 years of arcane data while wondering what modern, "speculative" Masonry might be.… More >>
  • Best Large-Scale Chess Set on the Side of a Building

    767 THIRD AVENUE

    Game buffs may marvel at chess matches happening in parks, but they're small stuff compared to 767 THIRD AVENUE, which boasts a three-story chessboard (supposedly the world's largest) and two-and-a-half-foot pieces moved every two weeks by a cherry picker. No casual games here—they're re-enactments of classic chess matches arranged by Russian champion Alex Rasic. What's more, if you guess the… More >>
  • Best Place to Do Tobacco-Related Research

    GEORGE ARENTS COLLECTION

    George Arents would have been pissed about the smoking ban. He bought his first book about tobacco at 17, and 60 years later, he owned almost every important tobacco-related work, plus many literary works that refer to tobacco only incidentally (Jack Kerouac is in good standing here). The New York Public Library now houses the GEORGE ARENTS COLLECTION, where researchers… More >>
  • Best Place to Sit on Library Books

    BRYANT PARK

    Next time you lounge on BRYANT PARK's grass, consider that 1.5 million books are less than six feet below your butt. Thirty-seven miles of the New York Public Library stacks run beneath the esplanade, in a storage facility added in the '80s. With books below, trees can't put down sufficient roots on the lawn, which is one reason for the… More >>
  • Best Bent Street Sign as Artwork in Manhattan

    ST. MARKS PLACE AND THIRD AVENUE

    The correlations between St. Marks' motley crews of gutter and mall punks are easy enough to spot (studded bracelets, pierced lips, black nail polish, Docs, teen ennui, check), with only a gold-card width to separate them. It took a drawing of Lotney "Sloth" Fratelli markered on a bent sign near ST. MARKS PLACE AND THIRD AVENUE to connect all of… More >>
  • Best Alternative to Yet Another Night of Karaoke

    MOVIEOKE

    A lack of singing talent doesn't deter too many karaokers, and a lack of acting skills is no impediment to taking the stage at Den of Cin's MOVIEOKE. Making use of DVD subtitles and a big projection screen, would-be Travis Bickles and Betty Rizzos dance and declaim their way through favorite film scenes. An overflow crowd waits patiently while Movieoke… More >>
  • Best Collaborative Film Experiment

    RIPFEST

    What do you get when you throw together professional writers, directors, composers, and editors with backgrounds from opera to The Apprentice to South Park and demand a short movie, ready to screen in 16 days? You get RIPFEST: divas, egos, catfights—and some incredibly creative and compelling film.… More >>
  • Best Bent Street Sign as Artwork in Brooklyn

    NORTH 9th AND BERRY STREETS

    Tanked at 2 a.m., stumbling out of either Teddy's or Brooklyn Ale House, don't look up when taking a leak on this particular signpost at the corner of NORTH 9th AND BERRY STREETS. Said sign has been bent so as to now hang directly overhead, stealthily appropriated for some Bob Ross­esque landscape art. It echoes the shadowy trees above it… More >>
  • Best Open Mic That Refuses to Die

    FACEBOYZ OPEN MIC

    Bullied out of Surf Reality's snug Allen Street digs, forced from Collective Unconscious on Ludlow, and abandoning the artistic abyss of Tribeca for East Village restaurant Mo Pitkin's—nothing has stopped FACEBOYZ OPEN MIC, the meeting ground for comics, outcasts, misfits, journal readers, conspiracy theorists, and guys who shove lit matches in their dickholes. Piercingly articulate fart enthusiast Faceboy has barely… More >>
  • Best Place in Which to Be Called 'Mama' by Almost Everyone

    FINE FAIR SUPERMARKET

    To the ladies at FINE FAIR SUPERMARKET in Alphabet City, just about everybody is "Mama." I, the antithesis of a mama, look quite like the rent-jacking hipsters forcing them out of their neighborhood. So when the head cashier at the grocery store said "Hey, Mama" to me, I felt as privileged as a Rockefeller and as protected as a Hell's… More >>
  • Best Mobile Art Show

    RIDER PROJECT

    Imagine never having to stand around antiseptic Chelsea galleries because instead a truck pulls into your neighborhood, bringing art to you. That's the idea behind RIDER PROJECT, which has journeyed into Bedford-Stuyvesant, Harlem, and Elmhurst, plopping into a parking space and setting up shop unannounced. Gradually, curious onlookers wander into the truck to see up-and-coming painters, sculptors, and video artists… More >>
  • Best Reinstated Pageant

    MS. SUBWAYS

    Miss Subways was last crowned in 1976. Twenty-nine years and one amended title later MS. SUBWAYS has returned to remind commuters to relinquish seats to the elderly and disabled and to avoid slips, trips, and falls. Crowned for being the woman who represents "the dynamic pulse of our diverse and exciting city," Caroline Sanchez-Bernat still has a few more weeks… More >>
  • Best URL-Turned-Verb

    FLAVORPILL

    When boredom strikes, FLAVORPILL nearly hits Google levels of far-reachingness. Too-cool scenesters might shy from giving the events-listing website its due credit. But take a crowded going-on and an honest attendee and you'll learn, truth is, it was probably flavorpilled.… More >>
  • Best Solar-Powered Restaurant That Showcases Movies and Art and Has Car Washes

    HABANA OUTPOST

    The popular Café Habana has a crazy cousin! It's HABANA OUTPOST, an offshoot located on an outdoor lot six months of the year in Brooklyn. At this solar-powered, seasonal outdoor restaurant you order online and dine at picnic tables surrounded by potted palms. Also in the works at this eccentric public space: random film screenings, Ronson-related DJ parties, a flea… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood for Summer Block Parties

    BED-STUY

    If you don't like little girls in matching spray-painted tees popping and locking in unison, 10-foot towers of speakers playing old-school reggae, neighbors acting like family, and/or burgers, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, corn, greens, and cold beer, then keep your ass out of BED-STUY come August, when the block parties really get thumping. And better yet, keep all your… More >>
  • Best Halloween Parade

    PARK SLOPE

    A family of humans dressed as giraffes; a trio of pugs masquerading as a pea pod, a baby carrot, and an ear of corn; a pit bull done up as a French poodle with poofs made from a gutted pillow; a barely upright toddler dressed as a chick with half a shell dripping fake yolk down its head. Forget the… More >>
  • Best Mural at a Burrito Place

    CLEMEN'S

    Picture this: A family of American Indians, dressed head-to-toe in traditional garb, crouch in the high grasses of an uncharted land called Brooklyn and point across the ocean at an eerily 2005 Manhattan, complete with skyscrapers and bridges. No, this is not the postmodern plaything of a P.S.1-er. It is the wall-to-wall mural by Javier Pintor at CLEMEN'S, one of… More >>
  • Best Halloween Doggie Costume Contest

    GREAT PUPKIN

    Big Bird. Yoda. Spider-Dog? You'll see these costumes and more at the annual GREAT PUPKIN in Fort Greene Park, where hip dog-owners clothe their canines in witty costumes and vie for prizes. Last year, a little pug dressed as Neo was a crowd pleaser as he gobbled gruel from a dish. Warning: There is a high potential for cuteness overload… More >>
  • Best Emergency Ferry

    PIER A FERRY LINES

    During a time of crisis, a quick and safe escape route from Manhattan to New Jersey can be found via the PIER A FERRY LINES. Pier A provided that timely exit during the August 2003 blackout. Meanwhile, lines at the 38th Street Pier, World Financial Center Pier, and Pier 11 in Wall Street stood several blocks long, creating waiting times… More >>
  • Best ATM at Which to Score a Free Twenty Bucks

    AVENUE A, BETWEEN 9TH and 10TH STREETS

    The East Village Crawl on a Saturday night leaves most with supermodel-skinny wallets. That's why you've got to learn to do the quick hand-sweep underneath the ATM on AVENUE A, BETWEEN 9TH and 10TH STREETS, directly across the street from the entrance to Tompkins Square Park and 12 steps north of the Pick Me Up Café. By some freak broken… More >>
  • Best Useless Second Floor

    PIANOS

    Granted, PIANOS has been good to its patrons, doling out booze and rock and roll like extra-sketchy strangers with candy. And on good nights, the main space gets crowded and cozy. Still, that second floor's the functional equivalent of some vestigial organ (get it? piano? organ?), sometimes doubling as an overflow room, other times a scaled-down stage for mediocre freak… More >>
  • Best V.I.P. Area Where You Can't See a Damn Thing Onstage

    IRVING PLAZA

    As one of the city's better-sounding midsize rooms, IRVING PLAZA hosts plenty of rising buzz bands (not to mention yellowing has-beens). These are the kinds of people you want to get a good look at. Act fast, though, if you plan on watching from the club's V.I.P. area: If you're not one of the first 10 to grab a spot… More >>
  • Best Place to Spend Your Summer if You Are Not in the Hamptons

    P.S.1's WARM UP

    It's only a 30-minute train ride instead of a three-hour trek, and there's sand, beautiful people, alcohol, and weird art sculptures. Instead of $1,000 for a summer share, $5 gets you entrée. P.S.1's WARM UP series, held every Saturday (July 2 to September 3 this year) from 3 p.m. till 9 p.m., is a fun romp in the sun with… More >>
  • Best Defeat of Clear Channel

    WEBSTER HALL

    Not that there's anything wrong with overpriced tickets, $5 waters, and Hootie & the Blowfish reunion tours, but when Michael Swier and the Bowery Presents took over concert booking for WEBSTER HALL last August (the first show was Sonic Youth), for a second I thought the rock scene here was on the up again. Then the Bravery played there, then… More >>
  • Best Rape of Classic Oldies Radio

    JACK FM

    Listeners were irate when Infinity Broadcasting unceremoniously yanked WCBS-FM and beloved DJ Cousin Brucie off the air in favor of a DJ-less iPod Shuffle of a station called JACK FM. Senator Chuck Schumer, a Brucie fan since childhood, lobbied for somebody to hire the man who introduced the Beatles at Shea Stadium. Brucie eventually defected to Sirius Satellite Radio, but… More >>
  • Best Summer Waterfront Concert Series

    RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL

    Cassandra Wilson at Battery Park, Aimee Mann at Rockefeller Park, Nellie McKay at South Street Seaport, and Richard Thompson at the World Financial Center Plaza: All were part of the RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL in Lower Manhattan. From June through September, this free series packs a varied musical lineup into several locations, including Wagner Park and Castle Clinton. Can you… More >>
  • Best Satellite Radio DJ

    HANDSOME DICK MANITOBA

    Yeh, HANDSOME DICK MANITOBA (nicknamed by Bangs and Tosches) saw hard times post-Dictators and even sold Christmas trees on the West Side Highway for scratch (Wotta shandah). Decades later, he's become the best DJ on Sirius satellite radio. Joan Jett is cool but listless. Mojo Nixon shouts too much. But word for word, hip for hip, Manitoba's got it down… More >>
  • Best Waste of a Perfectly Amazing DJ

    DJ SPINBAD

    Overlook the Power 105 gig— DJ SPINBAD cakes up by pandering to the lowest common denominator. His '80s Megamix, one of the great mix tapes of the '90s, pigeonholed him as a block-rocking party DJ—a 2 Many DJs for the common man. The result: A weekly gig for the uninitiated weekend warriors at Webster Hall daily bursts on Z100. If… More >>
  • Best Summer Venue for the 'Lite FM' Set

    JONES BEACH THEATER

    Tommy Hilfiger lends his name to the JONES BEACH THEATER, and the concerts become as mundane as his fashions. The baby boomer favorites are all here: Hall and Oates, Chicago, Donna Summer, Journey, James Taylor, Don Henley, the Allman Brothers, Meat Loaf, Stevie Nicks, Kenny Loggins. With or without Seals and Crofts (who will surely surface next year), there's always… More >>
  • Best Music on an Economics and Politics Radio Show

    BEHIND THE NEWS

    You wouldn't expect a program devoted to the analysis of power and money to be peppered with killer tunes, but BEHIND THE NEWS rocks. The show, hosted by author and Left Business Observer editor Doug Henwood, never uses music as on-air filler. Henwood plays cuts—post-punk, Russian pop, out rock—that hit hard. I've never heard a better setting for Gang of… More >>
  • Best Day of Radio

    FRIDAY, WFMU

    Every FRIDAY, WFMU's got Doug Schulkind playing rootsy jazz, cosmopolitan field recordings, and avant Top 40 from the swing era to date; Tommy Boy founder Monica Lynch digging in her crates of dance and mutant pop; and sassy punk rock from Mike Lupica. And it's all archived on the Web! Oops, there went a fifth of my workweek.… More >>
  • Best Rock Club for the Lazy and Limp-Legged

    TRIBECA ROCK CLUB

    When you're not allowed to dance at rock shows, why dodder in head- nodding impotence before the stage? Already an outcast by virtue of its location (closer to Wall Street than to Katz's Deli), TRIBECA ROCK CLUB further separates itself from the East Village vibe by placing two thick rows of bleachers alongside stage right, allowing older and/or lazier patrons… More >>
  • Best Radio Station That Used to Compete With La Mega

    LA KALLE

    When Latino Mix 105.9 flipped to become the (mostly) all-reggaetón LA KALLE in May, it was as much an embrace of the burgeoning form as it was a middle finger to their old competition over at La Mega 97.9, who are still stuck catering to a host of demographic interests—salsa, merengue, bachata, and so on. It's a thrilling KDAY-esque endorsement… More >>
  • Best Crunk Fix

    BALLER'S EVE

    The highest-rated show on East Village Radio, BALLER'S EVE, unleashes a steady stream of the best Southern hip-hop every Wednesday from 10 p.m. till midnight. Minski Walker and DJ Dirrty—a pair of soft-spoken Georgia boys diplomatically delivering sizzurp sounds to a Starbucks city—spin everything from the most exclusive Big Pokey screwed-and-chopped 12" to whatever Lil Jon­produced banger has the zeitgeist… More >>
  • Best General-Admission Venue for Geezers

    HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM

    Remember when you were young and stood for hours in a small, stinky GA club to see New Order? Felt pretty darn good about yourself didn't ya? HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM allowed fans to happily re- create this experience—and similar experiences for Devo, Kraftwerk, and Nine Inch Nails—without having to work for it. The venue boasts two levels of balcony seats and… More >>
  • Best Radio Station You Pretend to Hate

    WKTU

    It's preset number four on my car radio, after La Kalle but before Z100, because it reminds me of the old Hot 97, which tested the notion that freestyle (fans of Noel's "Silent Morning" stand the fuck up) could sustain a playlist and, maybe, a whole lifestyle. WKTU is delirious fun, forming a coalition of B&T Italians and uptown Latino… More >>
  • Best Radio Show for Hearing "Disco Train" Several Times on Repeat

    BEATS IN SPACE

    The Dance Reaction 12" debuted in '81—quite possibly on the same day Tim Sweeney was born, so much is each the other's avatar. His live DJ sets increase in number and popularity, but his NYU radio show BEATS IN SPACE remains his best project: international guests, offbeat Salsoul crate-digging, and at least two or three new dance cuts nobody knew… More >>
  • Best Way to See a Sold-Out Concert

    M4W CRAIGSLIST PERSONALS

    Women of New York, you may feel savvy scoring tix to that sold-out Coldplay show on Craigslist, but if you're still in the buy/sell section, you're missing the best deal in town. Surf on over to the M4W CRAIGSLIST PERSONALS, where music biz insiders (read: desperate losers) seek to bait hot dates with seats at hot shows—no charge. Dinner, drinks,… More >>
  • Best Lunch Hour Old School

    HOT 97 THROWBACK AT NOON

    You could reread all your old journals . . . or you could let the HOT 97 THROWBACK AT NOON jog your memory for you. Take a back-in-the-day power lunch . . . every weekday from noon to 1 with Mister Cee. He used to be Big Daddy Kane's DJ, so the man obviously knows how to tap into the… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Noise Pollution

    MISTER SOFTEE

    Despite fire from the likes of the Bloomberg administration and Neighbors Against Noxious Odors Incessant Sounds and Emissions (Neighbors Against NOISE), major props go to MISTER SOFTEE, who, threatened with a jingle ban in early 2005, emerged as reigning (noisy) public enemy. It's good news, anyway, that everyone's favorite soft-serve purveyor has yet to go the way of smoking-in-bars, lest… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Middle-Aged Guys Into Music

    ACADEMY RECORDS & CDS

    Maybe it's just a coincidence, but whenever I'm inside ACADEMY RECORDS & CDS, I'm the only female browsing through the bins. Unlike East Village CD haunts, Academy is always full of middle-aged guys looking through the discounted jazz or rock. Just start up a conversation, "Have you heard this?"… More >>
  • Best Old-School Rap Promoter/Manager

    RUZA BLUE

    As the '80s began, Kool Lady Blue brought hip-hop (still in its infancy) downtown with her Wheels of Steel nights at the Roxy and Negril, helping to launch Madonna, Run-DMC, and the Beastie Boys beyond the five boroughs. Nowadays, RUZA BLUE hasn't forgotten her roots—with her DJ agency, she manages Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa, keeping them gigging across America… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Hipster Party Promoter

    OXY COTTONTAIL

    Hipsters used to hate hip-hop—they thought metal was dance music. Kudos to OXY COTTONTAIL for changing all that. Whether importing Devin the Dude for his first New York show or bringing baile funk to clubland, she's consistently upped the ante for Williamsburg—I mean, Bushwick—ears. And with a new perch coordinating after-hours at Joe's Pub, she's cultivating a whole generation of… More >>
  • Best New Brooklyn Record Store

    EAT RECORDS

    It's the kind of place where handmade flyers bump against dog-eared rock bios, where the owners prattle over who gets to go to the Pencil Factory and who has to stay with the store. The vinyl is reasonable, it turns over quickly, and questions get answered with nary a sneer. So EAT RECORDS rules the post-ironic DIY north Brooklyn world.… More >>
  • Best Future Video Set

    GRETSCH BUILDING

    Grab a pair of binoculars and check out the follies of 50 Cent atop the historic GRETSCH BUILDING. Mr. Cent reportedly bought the penthouse and is now erecting his own mini Shangri-La above the hulking industrial building. From nearby roofs, one can identify a glass-enclosed poolhouse, a guesthouse, various other bungalows, and the main building, an impressive three-story mini-mansion with… More >>
  • Best One-Camera, Low-Budget Video Shot on the Subway

    SHOW ME THE MONEY

    In the post­9-11 terror-alert-orange Big Brother­searching-our-bags era, this one-camera underground gem, shot on the subway in the wee hours of the morn, may be the last of its kind. SHOW ME THE MONEY is a fun, tongue-in-cheek premise. Jor-El as hobo-rapper (complete with raggedy boarding school T-shirt) deliciously captures the essence of kids selling candy—not for no basketball team or… More >>
  • Best Snobby Record Store Clerks to Feel Really Sorry For

    MONDO KIM'S

    Going to MONDO KIM'S is an experiment in self-flagellation. Disdain practically seeps from the countertops. But when five employees were rounded up and held overnight in an RIAA-fueled raid over hip-hop mix CDs in June, you couldn't help but side with the clerks, who most likely don't get paid mondo salaries and who were just doing their jobs.… More >>
  • Best Title for a Hip-Hop Demo

    THE T.A.N. DEMO—THEATER OF THE ASSIMILATED NEGRO

    If Eminem and the proliferation of the Caucasian Underground represent Star Wars, then THE T.A.N. DEMO—THEATER OF THE ASSIMILATED NEGRO represents Melanin Strikes Back. Going from fun to sexy to smart to sarcastic to sublime, this auspicious debut, fashioned as "hip-hop for white people that like black people, and black people that like white people," is a gale of fresh… More >>
  • Best Battle Rapper

    IRON SOLOMON

    New York native IRON SOLOMON considers battling just a distraction from his burgeoning recording career, but he nonetheless decimated everyone at this year's Scribble Jam prelims. When faced with a wormy backpacker named Rabbi Darkside, diminutive loudmouth Solomon handily started "a battle to see who's more Jewish," threatened to "eat a cheeseburger in your synagogue," and added that he would… More >>
  • Best Death-Metal Selection for Yuppies

    MUSIC MATTERS

    Although mainly catering to Park Slope's pug-clutching, NPR-lovin' yupsters, MUSIC MATTERS boasts an impressively comprehensive selection of classic death metal, black metal, and grindcore. Don't be scared—they still have plenty of Spoon records, and owner Jason Figel is neighborly enough to move next to Mr. Hooper—though during the summer shorts season, you can spot his totally boss tattoo of the… More >>
  • Best One-Man Street Teams

    L.I.F.E. LONG, CREATURE, AND UNKNOWN

    New York institution Percee P hightailed it to Cali to play in Madlib's bomb shelter, leaving an MC-size hole in the sidewalk in front of Fat Beats, the primest real estate for demo-peddling rhyme-spitters. Luckily, nimble rhymers like L.I.F.E. LONG, CREATURE, AND UNKNOWN have been spending hot days and rainy nights selling excellent CD-Rs to Sixth Avenue's headphone-clad pedestrians—these hard-working… More >>
  • Best Use of 10 Musicians and Two MCs

    THE REAL LIVE SHOW

    A tangible animated exhibition, a genuine breathing display, a true personal spectacle: If ever a group lived up to their name, it's THE REAL LIVE SHOW. With a distinguished palette of players backing them (Joss Stone, Kelis, OutKast, Christina Aguilera), New York City purebred MCs Stimulus and Dionysos paint a pitch-perfect portrait of hip-hop's spirit. Check the album, check the… More >>
  • Best Williamsburg Metal Bar

    DUFF'S

    Gutterpunk-friendly Sweet Water became a salmon-serving café, but the devil-locked and Jesus-haired needn't grieve. Off Bedford's beaten path, a block from the East River, DUFF'S is a Hessian haven run by Jimmy Duff, former co-owner of the Hell's Kitchen oasis Bellevue. The interior includes Wendy O. Williams (with rifle), a guerrilla suit, and an array of Rob Zombie­style baubles. Dig… More >>
  • Best High-Energy Alternative Hip-Hop Act

    PHOENIX AND THE SHADOW

    Voodoo and Taron, frontman and -woman for PHOENIX AND THE SHADOW, take the stage like their names are Red Bull and Vodka. Once energized, you'll hardly notice that the set list reads like plot points for Girls Gone Wild ("When I'm Drunk," "Love in Your Mouth," "Smell My Fingers"). But do notice the eclectic sonic influences— jungle, reggae, rock, alternative,… More >>
  • Best Wrapper Who Also Raps (and Vice Versa)

    MIGUEL FROM CHIPOTLE

    A Chipotle burrito has over 1,000 calories and 127 total carbs, but that doesn't stop me from pigging out on MIGUEL FROM CHIPOTLE's brilliant short-order raps. "Is that all, sir?/You want guacamole?/How about a drink, sir?/Your girl's face like stromboli." Awesome.… More >>
  • Best Post-Electroclash Makeover

    TRASH BAR

    Once Berliniamsburg became homeless, electroclash disappeared like a guilty puppy. Continuing the burial, Luxx's transformation into TRASH BAR was unforgivingly total. The orange and magenta Willy Wonka paint job's covered and the Alice in Wonderland vibe's been reconstituted as a cozy neighborhood club/dive with an easily ignored white-trash theme (free Tater Tots with drinks). When hanging in the basement, a… More >>
  • Best Classical Pianist at a Fast-Food Restaurant

    ANDREW SHAPIRO

    In between shouts of "May I help the next customer please?" the Wall Street McDonald's occasionally features the lulling piano of ANDREW SHAPIRO. For over a year now, this one-time Philip Glass intern has entertained curious tourists with his own ambient compositions, played on a small platform over the entrance. He's understandably grateful to move hundreds of his CDs there,… More >>
  • Best Open-Air Opera Singer

    SCOTT REIBURN

    On warm summer nights, you might hear SCOTT REIBURN's rich baritone voice floating through Fort Greene Park. The jolly Juilliard grad says it's the best practice space in the city, so when he wants to let loose those golden pipes, he serenades the neighborhood with everything from Mozart to Donizetti, making Cumberland Street feel like Piazza della Signoria. His arias… More >>
  • Best Karaoke Bar

    WINNIE'S

    Tiny Bj girls grab the veil from a Jersey bridal party and challenge them to a fight while an informal after-party from the gay prom congregates in the back corner, and we all drink pitchers of nine-alcohol fruit punch and get laughed at by the cops. Jesse Jackson's dream has finally been realized at WINNIE'S, in karaoke form.… More >>
  • Best Plugged-In Street Vocalist

    SANDY

    Former hairdresser Santiago Barreto, better known as SANDY, sits outside East Village bistros or bops along the streets singing aloud to the music only he can hear on his FM radio. The amazing thing is that he actually sounds good belting out rock or disco classics. His brother was a Spanish singer, so talent runs in the family. Sandy now… More >>
  • Best Anarchist Political Folk-Punk Singer

    MISCHIEF BREW

    Erik Petersen, a/k/a MISCHIEF BREW, has the face of a sweet teenage boy about to get into some serious trouble. His music is a gypsy mix of folk, punk, and swing. The androgynous characters in his foot-tapping tunes lament the current condition of these United States and blaze alternative paths. And did I mention he's also a cutie?… More >>
  • Best Polish Nightclub

    CLUB EXIT - CLOSED

    Behind the ominous brushed-steel entrance to Greenpoint's CLUB EXIT lies one of the city's best nightclubs. Homemade and hip decor, an excellent sound system for increasingly good DJs, and decent drink prices have long remained the secret of the neighborhood's waning Slavic population, but lo! Punk promoter Todd P's been about, so the lid's about to blow.… More >>
  • Best Band Jesus Would Do

    SIN DESTROYERS

    Face it: Christian rock is funny. But why snicker amid the faithful when you can mosh among the heathen and ironically detached? Hilarious satiric band SIN DESTROYERS perform such new classics as "Thou Shalt Not Not Rock" and "Satan Is So Lame," while their Web presence offers us the singular opportunity to "click stigmata to navigate the site."… More >>
  • Best Funkin' American Idol Reject

    JUDD HARRIS

    Though among the first to go from last season's final 24, JUDD HARRIS's high energy earned him a devoted following on Internet forums. Now back in New York, the New Orleans native fronts funk-rock band Visible From Space, performing original tunes as well as a killer cover of Tower of Power's "What Is Hip?" Who'd wanna see Carrie Underwood do… More >>
  • Best Rock Club Bathroom

    KNITTING FACTORY

    Although the cliché is as old as the brittle layer of Johnny Thunders's heroin-puke coating the CBGB lithosphere, rock club bathrooms are disgusting. Much props to KNITTING FACTORY for redoing their WC with new sinks, new mirrors, and toilets so clean you could eat off them . . . or at least rest a drink on 'em without worrying about… More >>
  • Best Unsung Techno Producers

    EZEKIEL HONIG AND GREGORY SHIFF

    Local electronic knob twiddlers EZEKIEL HONIG AND GREGORY SHIFF don't have the hype machine on their tails. Honig makes what used to be called IDM (or intelligent dance music)—shifty beats with gobbling, gurgling ambient sounds grabbed from nature. It's pleasing and a bit jarring, perfect for clearing your head. Shiff's tracks are spacious, airy playgrounds for melodies to quiver and… More >>
  • Best Low-Key Comeback

    LADY MISS KIER

    So she wasn't spinning "Groove Is in the Heart." The club kids attending the We Care a Lot party on an early-summer Friday at Luke & Leroy's found her deck work deee-liteful anyway. Fifteen years after World Clique, LADY MISS KIER is back on the scene, this time as a DJ with a globe-trotting schedule. Having kicked her body- and… More >>
  • Best Pretentious Bathroom Graffiti

    TONIC

    The jazz snobs and chin-stroking avant goons who sit brokenhearted at TONIC must be saving their most meticulous arguments for their dissertations, since their precious toilet time is spent debating minutiae via Sharpie. One set of tags debates the need for more Afro-based bebop at the club, while a bon mot of interest to about seven people simply says: "Why… More >>
  • Best Band Name Designed to Defy Google

    MY FAVORITE

    They mulled over the Warholian names Blue Movie and the Chelsea Girls before settling on the infinitely awkward MY FAVORITE. Holdovers from the pre-blog zine scene, these Wrong Island refugees were new wave before it was retro and remain so now that it's passé. Andrea's voice is like a bowl of vanilla ice cream: somehow cold and yet sweet, straightforward,… More >>
  • Best Bangs in a Local Band

    TRA LA LA

    OK, so the humidity totally wreaked havoc on the 'dos at their record-release party, but the four gals of TRA LA LA still have great bangs, bordering on a Beatles-esque quandary as to whose are the cutest. Liane's are fresh and clean, while Nicole's hang in front of her eyes, shaggy-dog style. Erin's blond bangs sweep across one eye seductively,… More >>
  • Best Place to See Underground Techno Underground

    BUNKER @ SUBTONIC

    Friday night's party BUNKER @ SUBTONIC, which is really the basement of Tonic, is now the only reliable source for ultra-underground, weirdy-beardy experimental techno that would impress even the most hardcore Other Music clerk. Chin-scratchers have been treated to events like the Mini-Mutek Festival and artists as diverse as Safety Scissors, Monolake, and I-Sound. Sometimes, you walk into the dungeon-like… More >>
  • Best Girl-Fronted Next Big Thing

    THE HONG KONG

    Yeah yeah wha? Some girls are bigger than others, and 10 bucks says this one's gonna be too big for New York City come this time next year. THE HONG KONG's vixen lead singer Catherine Culpepper would probably beat Karen O in a fistfight (probably already has), and the band's not half bad either. They're Blondie redux for the blog-rock… More >>
  • Best All-Girl Band Gimmick

    MAIN SQUEEZE ORCHESTRA

    The MAIN SQUEEZE ORCHESTRA is a New York City­based, dozen-plus, all-girl accordion troupe that overflows the scales of feminine virtue in the name of song. More sugar cube than vegan icing, they do cabaret and camp along with all the bellows' best, while dressed, coiffed, and rehearsed like some Central European Berry Gordy fantasy.… More >>
  • Best Avant-Garde Music Venue Located Inside an Industrial Park Silo

    ISSUE PROJECT ROOM

    New hip experimental-music joint ISSUE PROJECT ROOM is so far downtown it makes Tonic look like it's on the Upper East Side. The massive new space, carved out of an industrial park silo and perched on the Gowanus Canal, is already attracting legends like Pauline Oliveros and John Zorn. Get down to improv accordion skronking, sound sculptures, bizarro films, and… More >>
  • Best Use of a Chapman Stick Since King Crimson's Discipline

    BEHOLD . . . THE ARCTOPUS

    OK, technically Colin Marston of BEHOLD . . . THE ARCTOPUS plays a Warr Guitar—the fretted, less-vertical cousin of the Chapman Stick—but only folks as geeky as he is know the difference. Watching the NYU music-tech graduate hammer out choppy time-sig-addled death metal on a thick 12-string log is as unabashedly cool as his band's Troubleman Unlimited connection and as… More >>
  • Best Band With a Glockenspiel

    LAS RUBIAS DEL NORTE

    Olivier Conan, owner of Park Slope avant-garde music bar Barbés, fronts a fierce band that plays popular Latin music: boleros, cha-chas, and cumbias. The members of LAS RUBIAS DEL NORTE are a bunch of enthusiastic guy musicians from diverse countries and two Caucasian songbirds with classically trained voices. (Hence the name, "the Blondes of the North.") One of the warblers… More >>
  • Best Band With a Glockenspiel

    LAS RUBIAS DEL NORTE

    Olivier Conan, owner of Park Slope avant-garde music bar Barbés, fronts a fierce band that plays popular Latin music: boleros, cha-chas, and cumbias. The members of LAS RUBIAS DEL NORTE are a bunch of enthusiastic guy musicians from diverse countries and two Caucasian songbirds with classically trained voices. (Hence the name, "the Blondes of the North.") One of the warblers… More >>
  • Best Dungeon-Like Place to See Bands

    LIT LOUNGE

    With the closing of so many of New York's smaller, gritty music venues in the past few years, it's hard to find a place to see bands where there's great sound and it's intimate enough that you can actually get some of the rockers' sweat on you. The basement at LIT LOUNGE solves this conundrum. The stone walls make the… More >>
  • Best Epic Avant Rock

    TIME OF ORCHIDS

    Seeing TIME OF ORCHIDS live is a crazy experience. While some songs top out at 10 minutes, moving from disjointed metal to eerie dream pop, others are 55 seconds of pure insanity. Their new Sarcast While features vocals by Julee Cruise and is out now on Jon Zorn's Tzadik Records.… More >>
  • Best Brooklyn Band Named After a Member of the 'Axis of Evil'

    IRAN

    Noise-pop purveyor Aaron Aites, a/k/a IRAN, belts out some of Brooklyn's loveliest below-the-radar sounds. Generally a one-man bedroom project, he records and plays occasional shows with TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone and a revolving cast. Surprisingly, Aites's forthcoming album eschews crackly lo-fi for multi-track, marching-band high. This, coupled with the eventual release of his expansive documentary on Norwegian Black… More >>
  • Best Venue That Doubles as Someone's Living Room

    THE WOODSER

    After a few couches and a letterpress are shoved into the bedroom, the unfashionably tidy apartment of Roy Styles becomes THE WOODSER, Williamsburg's coziest venue. The wood-paneled floor makes a great seat to catch Anticon's Why? and the anthropomorphic felt tree called Brother Danielson, and the rolling hills of pillows lining the upstairs loft space are a sublime place to… More >>
  • Best Homoerotic, Lackadaisical-Chic Press Photos

    GRIZZLY BEAR

    Brooklyn-based quartet GRIZZLY BEAR have generated some buzz with their sleepy, psychedelic first album and dynamic live shows, but everyone is really twittering about their suggestive press photos. Band members are pictured sprawled out on a shag carpet, in front of a sign on a barn proclaiming, "Gay Seed, Inc.," and most blatantly, shirtless and shaving each other's faces in… More >>
  • Best Brooklyn Band Name Trend

    ANIMAL NAMES

    Double Leopards, Grizzly Bear, Panthers, Japanther, Mouthus (Brooklyn for "Moths"), and Fannypack (a species of elephant), not to forget Panda Bear and Animal Collective—OK, guys, we get it. But think of all the other possibilities outside ANIMAL NAMES: You could name ourself after an author! A favorite sandwich! A food-borne illness! You could make up a word, then use that… More >>
  • Best Open Grill in a Music Venue

    THE DELANCEY

    Forget open bars, because on Sunday nights between 6 and 8, THE DELANCEY has an open grill on its rooftop. With the Williamsburg Bridge right in your face, you can chomp down on free hamburgers, hot dogs, and sometimes chicken before you make the switch to drinking, or just go home with a full belly.… More >>
  • Best Needlessly Confusing Noise-Rock Rivalry

    THE BUNNY BRAINS AND BUNNYBRAINS 88

    Both boasting an original member of a prolific sub-Buttholes terrorpsych band, THE BUNNY BRAINS AND BUNNYBRAINS 88 just cannot get along. The Bunny Brains (think Pussy Galore meets Jefferson Airplane) fabricate legend status via an inexplicable four-CD retrospective, while the superior BunnyBrains 88 (think Pussy Galore meets Comets on Fire) just spend all day blogging about how much the other… More >>
  • Best Hipster Infighting

    L TRAIN IPOD WARS

    A few months ago, The Brooklyn Rail ran a piece on the L TRAIN IPOD WARS. These showdowns happen when you're approached by someone—perhaps a girl with bangs—flashing her iPod display screen and demanding to see yours. If she's playing Eggs while you're blasting the Bravery, she walks away the victor with her precious cred intact. Hipsters be warned: If… More >>
  • Best Bar to Hear Boney M While Snacking on Free Pizza

    CAPONE'S

    As if the free personal pan with every brewski weren't enough, Fridays and Saturdays at CAPONE'S mean free '80s disco too—the free love will cost you, though ($10). The place collects Paradise Garage and Warehouse comparisons like Stimpy does boogers, but the future is now, folks, so visit disco.net and grab the free live DJ podcasts for your night flights.… More >>
  • Best Rant Against a Band to Agree With Even if You're a Fan

    JON PARELES'S "THE CASE AGAINST COLDPLAY" IN THE TIMES

    He's one of those music journalists who always take an even, measured tone; he really seems to strive for objectivity, sometimes to the point where the reader can't tell whether or not he likes the band he's reviewing. But JON PARELES'S "THE CASE AGAINST COLDPLAY" IN THE TIMES left no doubt about where he stood. Among the hilarious insults: Coldplay… More >>
  • Best Magazine Obsessed With Vinyl

    WAX POETICS

    Andre Torres began WAX POETICS "to pay homage to the funky records that have inspired hip-hop DJs and producers over the last three decades." Comprehensive and multisubjectival, "the National Geographic of hip-hop" goes bimonthly in 2006 and plans for a record label that will possibly re-release what Torres calls the "most unusual LP," Gaudenzia House's Drugs Won't Get It, People… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Where You Can Sit Next to Mos Def

    THE PINK PONY

    It's Sunday morning and you're tired of battling the tourists over the sidewalk and desperately need a fulfilling breakfast. Well, so does Mos Def. The actor-musician is spotted almost weekly at the bar of THE PINK PONY. He orders light and always has a script in hand. He also recommends the granola bowl and French toast.… More >>
  • Best Blog by a Writer From 'The New Yorker'

    SASHAFREREJONES.COM

    It's fun enough to flip through The New Yorker on the train, reading about Diplo and Paul Wall while everyone around you assumes you're soldiering through the latest on Iraq and Edmund Wilson. At SASHAFREREJONES.COM, the magazine's top-notch pop critic spews the uncut version of his signature blend: Imagine a really smart, really excited kid pulling off an impersonation of… More >>
  • Best Blog for Knowing What Scenester Concerts to Avoid Every Night

    BROOKLYN VEGAN

    The accolade sounds meaner than it should, but I do blame BROOKLYN VEGAN for filling every good-to-great show with camera-phone looky-loos and people taller and typically more attractive than me and my rock-crit buds. Thanks, Vegan—I can't see the stage, and your dude just spilled his mascara on my shirt.… More >>
  • Best Live Smooth Jazz With a Stand-Up Bass Over Sunday Brunch

    ONE91

    Donning sunglasses to hide the circles under your eyes, huddle in ONE91's backyard under the shade of an umbrella, letting the mellow rhythm of the two-man jazz band's live stand-up bass wash over you, while the sweet vocals put your world back together. Well, it's either the vocals or the three drinks included with brunch that make life seem good… More >>
  • Best Reimagining of the Vision Festival for Post­Sonic Youth Hipster Kids

    NO FUN FEST

    Noise is haphazard. Found objects collide with guitar strings in New Zealand; an iBook makes out with a delay pedal in Switzerland. But once annually, far-flung avant-punks, noise purists, and free improvisors swap sounds (and merch) for three days at Brooklyn's NO FUN FEST. The sonic bestiary onstage is mirrored by a capacity crowd of beardoes, fashionistas, and art schoolers,… More >>
  • Best Music Distribution Run by a Rivethead

    TESCO ORGANIZATION

    Jane Elizabeth, basement Valkyrie and supporter of all things Industrial, started the Gotham arm of Germany's TESCO ORGANIZATION after 9-11. The subsequent philosophy: "In the face of unthinkable destruction, anything is possible." With enough support from the listening public to hire an employee last year, Ms. Eliz prospers at disseminating sounds from the emptiest quarters: pure noise and other musics… More >>
  • Best Reason to Leave the State for Dinner and a Show

    MAXWELL'S

    The journey to MAXWELL'S is on par with the destination. Revel in the womb-like oval splendor of your PATH station. Exit at Hoboken and cherish your breathing room from that unsexy metropolis across the river. Stroll down the unblemished, mostly Starbucks-less Washington Street and confront the fact that you're about to see (and possibly dine with) Sonic Youth, the reunited… More >>
  • Best Unnecessary but Totally Rad Use of the City's Money, Music Division

    NEW YORK NOISE

    The city government knows that even indie rockers need to be instilled with a sense of civic pride—after all, who else is gonna buy up those Williamsburg luxury condos? Hence NEW YORK NOISE, the weekly television show devoted to music videos, live footage, and high jinks from bands that ride the L train. Recent episodes featured Animal Collective eating cupcakes,… More >>
  • Best Affordable Studio in Which to Record Your Masterpiece

    THE FORT

    Frankly, only chowderheads and vain purists still fight the lame-o "tape vs. digital" battle. At this point, who gives a blip, so long as it sounds right for what you're doing? THE FORT—deep in post-slum Bushwick—has excellent analog and state-of-the-art computer equipment (plus heavenly acoustics), so you can rock out on either. Or both, if you like—which I do. And… More >>
  • Best Inconvenient Garage Rock Venue

    THE HOOK

    Although the eclectic lineup at THE HOOK is usually of the local metal-post-garage-punk-electronic-funk variety, occasionally GZA or Thurston Moore will play. While the dive's triple-pun emblem (a red hook), its dungeon-like downstairs, generic oversize upstairs, and glorious outdoor patio don't quite mesh, these incongruities in music and decor make it an appealing (albeit out-of-the-way) destination.… More >>
  • Best Vendor of Vintage Keyboards

    TWO LINES MUSIC

    Sometimes you simply can't go on without that late-'60s Mellotron—or more practically, that hard-to-find patch cord for your favorite old modular synth. At such moments of desperation, visit TWO LINES MUSIC, with two locations to serve your vintage-electronic needs. The folks at their downtown showroom—bigger, and therefore with more nifty gear, plus it isn't on soul-crushing 48th Street—know everything there… More >>
  • Best Mighty Wurlitzer

    BROOKLYN PARAMOUNT THEATRE

    Survivor of the Mad Bomber's 1956 explosions and the Alan Freed­ produced Chuck Berry­Buddy Holly revue the following year, 1928 cinema jewel the BROOKLYN PARAMOUNT THEATRE still holds the world-renowned Wurlitzer Opus 1984 that accompanied Long Island University's basketball games with everything from glockenspiel to machine guns, rising majestic and dreamlike for pre-game and halftime performances. Crippled last year by… More >>
  • Best Place to Hear Country Music While Maybe Getting Groped by Christian Slater

    BROTHER JIMMY'S BAIT SHACK

    Tears fall into beers at BROTHER JIMMY'S BAIT SHACK, though the cause can vary night to night. Typically it's the soundtrack—where else in the city can you reliably hear Toby Keith, Gary Allan, and Brooks & Dunn any night of the week? Typically, you can share the pleasure with bankers who consider themselves ragemasters. But if you're lucky, in between… More >>
  • Best 19th-Century Steve Vai Throwback

    HARPOLYRE

    O, gaze ye upon all three necks of the totally kickass HARPOLYRE. Sweep o'er the boundless carpeted expanses of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, march stern to the translucent catacombs enshrining the musical-instrument collection, and lay raptured eye upon this, a French ax from 1830, a wheedler's dream with three necks reaching lustily to the sky. Rock gods, toward thee… More >>
  • Best Venue to Watch a Sunset From

    BOWERY BALLROOM

    Besides the fact that butts recently warming its seats belong to the likes of David Bowie and members of the Bouncing Souls, the brass and iron that hold up the upstairs bar at the BOWERY BALLROOM have been through a hell of a lot more than just rock and roll—these structures have been in place since 1929. Though there are… More >>
  • Best Hootenanny Series

    CASHANK HOOTENANNY JAMBOREE

    The last Thursday of every month, Buttermilk hosts the CASHANK HOOTENANNY JAMBOREE, "an acoustic classic country jam" where everyone is invited to play country songs from before 1970, preferably written by Hank Williams or Johnny Cash. Songs must contain four chords or less, so eager locals, filling the room with their banjos, fiddles, washboards, and tambourines, can follow along. The… More >>
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