People & Places

  • Best Vigilante

    Jimmy Justice

    Work for the city? Not too careful about how you drive? Jimmy Justice has his eye on you. There may be more egregious offenses performed by city officials than the U-turns and illegal parking that JJ catches with his video camera and posts on his YouTube channel, but he totally owns this narrow investigative journalism niche. And he's willing to… More >>
  • The Center of the Center of the World

    Pick any N.Y.C. street corner—say, West 8th Street and Sixth Avenue—and you're there, By TOM ROBBINS

    There is always a debate about whether New York is the center of the world—and it is a huge waste of time. Proof of New York's supremacy can be found on any street corner. To choose one at random, consider the intersection of West 8th Street and Sixth Avenue. You say, "Oh, right. Shoe stores and head shops! That is… More >>
  • Charles Barron

    Most Entertaining Politician (Progressive)

    Charles Barron

    There are plenty of joke candidates and pretend pols who make good copy. But Charles Barron serves on the City Council and is dead serious about the stands he takes, which just make them funnier. In July, the former Black Panther attempted a citizen's arrest of School Chancellor Joel Klein for continuing to serve after Albany failed to reestablish mayoral… More >>
  • Most Entertaining Politician (Not So Progressive)

    Pedro Espada Jr.

    Can there be any doubt? He held the State Senate to a standstill for a full month this summer, at one point brandishing the keys to the chamber for stunned reporters. He's constantly under investigation for something or the other. (The Wall Street Journal called him "A One-Man Full-Employment Act for NY Lawyers.") His son had to resign a cushy… More >>
  • Best Judge

    Jed Rakoff

    In one 12-page memorandum order, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff basically summed up the Wall Street meltdown and spoke for us commoners by blasting the government and the banks. Taking the unusual step of rejecting a settlement scheme cooked up by the SEC and Bank of America, the Manhattan judge tore BofA executives new assholes for lying to their shareholders,… More >>
  • John Paulson

    Best Paulson

    John Paulson

    A very tough call: Do you pick Henry Paulson, the Goldman Sachs CEO turned Treasury Secretary who gave his reckless pals who melted down Wall Street billions of taxpayer dollars to bail them out? Or do you pick John Paulson, the hedge-fund guy who bet that America would fail, and made billions of dollars when Wall Street melted down? The… More >>
  • Best New Snarky Media-Gossip Site

    the Awl

    Helmed by Gawker survivors Choire Sicha and Alex Balk, the Awl has the tart, sardonic, gleefully hostile tone you'd naturally expect from such stock, whether the topic at hand is Tea Partiers, Kanye West, or amusing bear videos. But it's also just a touch more surreal, whether it's Ryan Adams's inexplicable new video-game column (yes), Natasha Vargas-Cooper's dizzyingly dense deconstructions… More >>
  • Best Downtown-Minded Internet Savant

    Bucky Turco

    You've gotta respect Bucky Turco. The editor in chief of Animal New York, Turco is a streetwise guy who once unmasked the defiantly anonymous art-world star Banksy by publishing (alleged) pictures of him while manning Complex Magazine's blog, and promptly got a cease-and-desist from a representative law firm. Then after leaving "Marc Ecko's shopazine" (his words) to run Animal full-time,… More >>
  • Best Babel Fish to the Celebrities

    Courtney Love Translated

    Courtney Love's Twitter account was a social-media traffic accident. Practically every day, Kurt Cobain's frog-faced widow would fire off a seemingly endless salvo of 140-misspelled-character outbursts, often in frantic early a.m. spells, that were almost always complete nonsense. An example: "i think pretending to like unendurable music is like making your cat dance on its hind legs, you hate it,… More >>
  • Best Place to Vent Your Renter's Rage

    Launched in April of this year,'s appraisal feature—in which the site's readers assess how much a property on the market is actually going to get—is a fun little experiment in anger management. Here's how it works: 1) There is a bad, bad recession. 2) CorcoranBrownHarrisStevensDouglasElliman doesn't seem to notice, and lists an extremely narrow, poorly laid out, three-bedroom, one-bathroom… More >>
  • Most Addicting Site for Glamorous Narcissists

    Anyone who accessorizes all day and goes to parties all night spends any possible down time clicking on, photographer Patrick McMullan's site, where any event worth leaving the house for is documented with crystal clarity. In chronological order, starting with the most recent parties, the site has thousands of captioned photos of debutantes, celebutantes, wannabes, crashers, and plus ones,… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Blog

    Greenpoint is more than just the runoff collector for Billyburg hipsters, and Miss Heather of wants to make sure you know it. In addition to gleefully chronicling the real estate disasters of the recent bust (like Magic Johnson's pathetic condo, the Viridian) and amusing gentrification battles such as the New People versus Mister Softee trucks ("You bought a condo… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch Really Good Dancers Tango

    La Nacional

    La Nacional, the Spanish National Home, is a hidden gem located in the heart of the chaos of 14th Street. Go there on the right night, and you're in for a treat: The first floor is a traditional Spanish restaurant where the televisions are always tuned to Spanish news or soccer, and you can order good tapas and sangria (we… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Paper

    The Wave of Long Island

    Fate led us to The Wave of Long Island, "Rockaway's Newspaper Since 1893," and we have lauded it ever since. Sometimes our praise has been fanciful, as with our Pulitzer Prize nominations for the hideous editorial cartoons of Robert Sarnoff. And there's as much happy-clappy stuff in The Wave as in any other neighborhood tab. But Rockaway is a fascinating… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood for Celeb Watching

    West Village

    Times Square only approaches a fun level at around 7 p.m. because that's when you see all the Broadway stars, not quite made up yet, racing to their theaters to sing and dance for their touristy fan base. It's a sight potentially filled with too much information, but it's stellar nonetheless and definitely something to tweet about. But way downtown,… More >>
  • Best New Public Space

    High Line

    Embrace the hype, people. Like the Second Avenue subway and the Brooklyn Whole Foods, the High Line always struck us as something that would never actually happen. So just the fact that they got 'er done ("they" = Friends of the High Line; landscape architects James Corner Field Operations; architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro; a whole bunch of horticulturalists; and,… More >>
  • Best Public-Access Show

    Media Funhouse

    Most of the pleasures of public access are low-rent, low-brow, and loco. It's mainly a place where self-promoters spout off at wearisome length, regardless of interest or relevance. So it's a shock to turn on Media Funhouse—the Manhattan Neighborhood Network filmcrit show hosted by hyper-cineaste Ed Grant—and see interviews with Alan Rudolph, Ken Russell, Marco Ferreri, and Carol Lynley, to… More >>
  • Best Alt-Museum

    The Museum of the City of New York

    "Of all museums/I've a pet museum/And it's not the Modern/Or the Met Museum/But it suits my taste/Like a knife suits a fork/The Museum of the City of New York." We don't know where that doggerel came from, but MOTCONY suits our taste, too. Its exhibits are not always exciting ("Growing and Greening in New York"?), but they're often charming and… More >>
  • JE Englebert

    Best Self-Publicist

    JE Englebert

    In a city full of hustlers and hawkers, where Barnum and Trump have both ruled, it takes a lot to be king of the self-promoters. The smart play is to appear to promote something else, but make sure your name is all over it—and make it sensational. JE Englebert first came to our inbox last year, when the self-styled "club… More >>
  • Willie Geist

    Best TV Sidekick Who Deserves His Own Show (At a Reasonable Hour)

    Willie Geist

    We're not sure when it happened exactly, but some time over the past year or so, Morning Joe became a big part of our wake-up TV routine. Yes, Joe Scarborough can be overbearing, and we don't agree with all the show's politics, but its looseness and general level of intelligence is easily appreciated. (Also appreciated—co-host Mika Brzezinski's boots.) But we… More >>
  • Best Little Newspaper That Beats the Odds

    Norwood News

    Someone forgot to tell the plucky publishers of Norwood News that the days of newspapers are over. For that matter, in the northwest Bronx—where this little tell-it-like-it-is biweekly paper is based—the days of newspapers never really began. Until Norwood News was launched back in 1988, New York's dailies didn't bother to send too many reporters to cover the rapidly changing… More >>
  • Best Publicity Stunt

    Park Avenue Winter

    In March, when uppity restaurant Park Avenue Winter announced that it would give away free meals to girls dressed in school uniforms in a nod to the massive success of Gossip Girl, both nubile TV fans and perverted old men let out a collective "OMFG!" The week-long gimmick earned the eatery a firestorm of publicity; every news outlet seemed to… More >>
  • Coolest Philanthropist

    Amy Vennema

    Amy Vennema may be Manhattan's truest meeting of style and substance. The designer behind AV max, the successful national fashion jewelry line (Bloomingdale's is a carrier), is also one of the founding members of New York Cares, the wonderfully expansive local charity that brings more than 43,000 volunteers to soup kitchens, convalescent halls, food drives, and more. This June, Vennema… More >>
  • Best Reimagining of a Crosstown Expressway

    VISION 42

    If it's good enough for Portland and Seattle, then why isn't New York equipped with a light rail (aboveground) express for crosstown travel, done in an economical, environmentally sound way? The answer to that question may come from VISION 42, an initiative spearheaded by architect Roxanne Warren and co-chair George Haikalis. The group proposes a two-and-a-half-mile-long, car-free route across 42nd… More >>
  • Most Attractive Baristas

    B Cup

    Choosing your coffee shop is a crucial decision in New York; it's your brain's calm port in the storm, a place for deep contemplation, overdue paperwork, and the skimming of ginormous books. The java is secondary, but it shouldn't suck. We prefer B Cup in Alphabet City, because the oasis meets our most important requirement: that the baristas be cute.… More >>
  • Most Disgruntled Business Owner in Town

    Nick Sprayregen

    New Yorkers are a generally disgruntled bunch. We live in a city where it's impossible to avoid stepping on someone else's toes, and the mere act of breathing can set a neighbor off. But even in this perturbed crowd, no one's irritation approaches that of Nick Sprayregen. The feisty and handsomely rich owner of Tuck-it-Away Self-Storage, a 300,000-square-foot warehouse off… More >>
  • Best Old-School Reporters Turned Bloggers

    Gabe Pressman and Leonard Levitt

    You can't get more old-school tabloid than reporters Gabe Pressman and Leonard Levitt, but these days, they're both found mainly in cyberspace, where they're still pounding away at wrongdoers and the abuses of the permanent government with some of the toughest prose around. Pressman started out in the '50s at the old World Telegram and the Sun before becoming the… More >>
  • Best Small-Business Lobbyist

    Richard Lipsky

    Lipsky the lobbyist is usually found on the steps of City Hall: He's the guy in the suit, with a shock of dark hair and a brush mustache gone gray, talking nonstop into a cell-phone device in his ear. In a city where lobbyists get paid big bucks to whisper quietly to influential politicians, Richard Lipsky will have none of… More >>
  • Best Assembly Mouth That Roars

    Richard Brodsky

    If Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky could run for office in New York City, Mike Bloomberg's brazen bid for a third term might really be on the ropes. Back in January, Brodsky—a 27-year veteran Assemblyman—gave the Bloomberg administration its toughest case of conniptions yet when he released a series of startlingly embarrassing e-mails between top city aides and lawyers for the… More >>
  • Best Reason to Put a Ring On It

    Grand Opening

    Last summer, New York had a few less single ladies—and single gentlemen—when Grand Opening, a conceptual boutique, became a pop-up wedding chapel. The store, which had previously functioned as a barn, ping-pong parlor, and drive-in theater, transformed into a Vegas-style church. In this recession, pricey weddings are out, and nuptials don't get much cheaper or smaller than those held in… More >>
  • Best Ex-Prisoners' Publicist

    David Rothenberg

    New York's Broadway theaters have spawned the world's greatest publicists, but only David Rothenberg—whose clients have ranged from Richard Burton to Alvin Ailey—can claim to have also launched the first organization to help ex-convicts. In 1966, Rothenberg, promoter of the original production of Hair, became intrigued by a play about prison conditions called Fortune and Men's Eyes. Dipping into this… More >>
  • Best Cheap Advice on Everything From Credit Cards to Chicken Soup

    Good Advice Press

    Good Advice Press is a modern Farmers' Almanac—one-stop shopping for everything you need to know and everything that ails you. Years before no-down-payment and balloon mortgages became the bankers' favorite toy to hook unsuspecting buyers with, writers Marc Eisenson and Nancy Castleman were warning readers about how not to get taken for a ride in mortgage negotiations. And if you… More >>
  • Best Community Garden in a Place That Sorely Needs One

    Phoenix Community Garden

    You bike for what feels like miles without seeing a single tree. You pass identical city blocks that contain only boarded-up storefronts, tiny churches, and hair salons. You see a man place a chaise longue on the sidewalk of traffic-clogged Atlantic Avenue, as if there weren't any pleasanter place to catch some sun. And then you arrive at the Phoenix… More >>
  • Best City Block

    East 4th Street

    The West Side has its Lincoln Center. Nice, but a little garish for our taste. The East Village, on the other hand, has East 4th Street, a block-long cultural retreat boasting no fewer than 12 theaters, eight dance and rehearsal studios, and a screening room for avant-garde films. East 4th Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue is where La… More >>
  • Grand Hyatt Hotel

    Most Accommodating Hotel Lobby

    Grand Hyatt Hotel

    It's sterile and ugly, we know. And it's Trump—but we repeat ourselves. Still, for waiting-on-a-friend purposes, the Grand Hyatt Hotel has one great advantage: As long as you look marginally respectable and don't make a scene, you can (in our experience) stay for an hour or more without security hassling you. Maybe it's because the seating is very uncomfortable, which… More >>
  • Best Waterfront Hangout

    Red Hook

    There are few better ways to spend a summer day than biking over to Red Hook, picking up something delectable from Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies (204 Van Dyke Street, 718-404-6911), and finding a place to drape your feet over the promenade while you eat. This is one of the great simple pleasures of a New York summer. Who doesn't… More >>
  • Flatbush Caton Market

    Best Ethnic Market

    Flatbush Caton Market

    At some point south of Prospect Park, when the retail on Flatbush Avenue becomes dominated by roti shops and bakeries selling Jamaican patties, you come across a building that belongs in another time and place. Made of corrugated sheet metal, like a super-size Third World shanty, the façade is bright emerald green with giant blue palm trees painted over it,… More >>
  • Akwaaba Mansion

    Best Romantic Getaway in a Far-Flung Pocket of Brooklyn

    Akwaaba Mansion

    Looking to have a romantic getaway weekend without having to even leave the borough in which you live? We suggest making a reservation at the Akwaaba Mansion, a bed-and-breakfast located on a leafy brownstone block in the section of Bed-Stuy that real estate agents like to call Stuyvesant Heights. This mid-19th-century mansion has the feel of an English country estate… More >>