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People & Places

  • Best Whistleblower

    Adrian Schoolcraft

    Adrian Schoolcraft was a Brooklyn police officer who secretly recorded his supervisors in Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct and brought New Yorkers an unprecedented, intimate look behind the Blue Wall of Silence. That glimpse revealed that street cops are under intense pressure to arrest people for doing little or nothing at all, while at the same time intimidating victims of actual crimes… More >>
  • Best Environmental Gunslinger

    Eric Goldstein

    It's one thing to spend decades fighting the good fight on urban environmental causes when the odds are always stacked heavily against you, what with the endless supply of lobbyists that megacorporations and giant utility companies can harness on a moment's notice. It's quite another to do so and actually win a few of those battles, while remaining cheerfully upbeat… More >>
  • Best Newspaper Columnist/Radio Show Host

    Errol Louis

    The pairing of newspaper columnists with radio goes back as far as Walter Winchell. When done well, it's a lively combination, merging points of view with the rat-a-tat-tat of breaking news. Right now, the best local practitioner of this double play is Errol Louis, the Daily News columnist who hosts a 6 a.m.–9 a.m. weekday talk show on WWRL 1600… More >>
  • Union Square

    Best Example of Embarrassing Public Art

    Union Square

    Union Square once boasted a glorious trademark image in the giant sign over the old S. Klein department store on the park's east side: "S. Klein on the Square," it proudly announced over a massive angled L-square ruler. S. Klein fell long ago to the jackhammers of Zeckendorf's banal towers that replaced it, but there was a chance to revive… More >>
  • Best Gold-Digger

    John Paulson

    John Paulson has the kind of Midas touch that turns gold even more golden. Infamous for having turned billions in profit by betting against America in the 2007–08 subprime-mortgage disaster—he bet that the housing market would crash—he then hired former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan as an adviser to help him weather the resulting Street meltdown and possible blowback. While the… More >>
  • Best Self-Promoting Blogger

    Pam Geller

    The Ground Zero mosque furor has brought out the worst in a lot of people, but that can't be said for Pam Geller. The virulently anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist has been a hatemonger since long before it started. But the fact is, of course, that the fiftyish radical Zionist who used to work in marketing at the Daily News is often… More >>
  • Best City Hall Press-Room Veteran

    David Seifman

    A steady stream of reporters flow in and out of City Hall's Room Nine and its basement annex. Detailed there by their newspaper bosses, they are condemned to endure and record the nonstop circus of mayoral and City Council pronouncements. Most eventually stagger away, relieved of duty before the horror of petty political posturing induces traumatic brain injury. But some… More >>
  • Murray Richman

    Best Lawyer to Call When the D.A. Indicts You

    Murray Richman

    Felonious activity is always New York's steadiest growth industry, which is why so many great criminal defense attorneys are found here. What makes Murray Richman a standout against so much worthy competition is his ability to not only get you off the hook, but keep you in stitches at the same time. "Don't Worry Murray" started out 40-plus years ago… More >>
  • Chase branch on Montague Street

    Best Temple of Money

    Chase branch on Montague Street

    Banks these days are strip-down models. The new chains that have popped up all over town in recent years don't even bother with teller windows, let alone a little marble on the floor. Thankfully, there are still a few of the grand old institutions that have not been turned into health clubs or Trader Joe's and instead accord our hard-earned… More >>
  • Best Cyber-Prison Breakout Artist

    Bernie Kerik

    Say this for Bernie Kerik, the former police commissioner whose many lies and crimes led him to plead guilty to fraud and receive a four-year sentence: He hasn't let prison shut him up. From behind bars in the federal detention center in Cumberland, Maryland, Kerik has filled us in on all those gripes and opinions we'd hoped to be spared… More >>
  • Best Restaurant-Bar That Sticks Up for Its Neighborhood

    Teddy's

    There are lots of reasons to go to Teddy's, the lovely century-old North Williamsburg saloon at the corner of Berry Street and North 8th: Good food, live music, fine company, and a great jukebox, all of it illumined by those wonderful stained-glass windows bearing the bar's original name, Doelger. There is also the comfort that owners Felice Kirby, Glenn Kirby,… More >>
  • Best Developer of Young City Writers

    New Youth Connections

    One of the wonderful lessons taught by New Youth Connections, the inner-city teen writing program launched back in 1980, is that when you ask kids to write about their everyday lives, they can be both clearer and more eloquent than any professional journalist or academic. The program's publications have allowed city kids to tell stories on issues ranging from confrontations… More >>
  • Newtown Creek

    Best Nature Walk Through a Sewage-Disposal Plant

    Newtown Creek

    They tried to pretty up sewage plants years ago by dubbing them "waste-water treatment" facilities, but it's tough to fool folks about those tell-tale odors. These days, you can take a trip into the future by walking the new nature path created around the city's largest sludge refinery, on Newtown Creek off Greenpoint Avenue. You pass through a "Fragrance Garden"… More >>
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Best New Waterfront Park With Echoes of the Past

    Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Many people are raving about the new park that is steadily expanding southward along the old piers below the bridges on the Brooklyn side of the East River—and for good reason. Brooklyn Bridge Park lets you get so close to the river that you end up thinking like Walt Whitman, even if you never read his lines about "the current… More >>
  • Best Place for a Free Hot Meal

    An Angel in Queens

    President Obama recently honored Jorge Munoz with the Presidential Citizens Medal for running what may be the city's best deal on hot street food. Munoz, a school-bus driver, runs An Angel in Queens, which distributes scores of hot meals six nights a week, plus breakfast for 200 on Saturdays (plus sandwiches on Sundays, his "day off"). It's all free, and… More >>
  • Best Trailer Park

    Goethals Community

    Those who say Staten Island is too much like the rest of America to be part of New York have some ammunition for their argument hidden in the city's sole trailer park. The Goethals Community—technically a "manufactured-housing community"—contains 128 single-wides. It's located so close to the exit road to Jersey that, as the Times puts it, the "hum of traffic… More >>
  • Best Place to See Faces from the '70s and '80s

    Brighton Beach

    If you're ever bummed out by the hordes of tourists outside the Stock Exchange or depressed that you can't even light a cigarette in Times Square anymore, try heading out to Brighton Beach. Though Times Square may have become solidly Disneyfied, Brighton still looks like the New York City depicted in Taxi Driver. On the men, you'll find their shirts… More >>
  • Best Free Rooftop Lawn

    The Pod

    Well, it's a "lawn" of prickly Astroturf, but nature is a relative concept south of 59th Street, anyway. The Pod, a Japanese-style efficiency hotel of stacked bunks and condensed rooms, is a fine spendthrift lodging option, but its real boon is the unrestricted roof deck, free for both guests and locals. There, you'll find the wide swath of 'Turf, a… More >>
  • Best Decaying Robert Moses Landmark

    Orchard Beach

    Stepping onto Orchard Beach feels like you're in Havana, except the infrastructure hasn't been maintained nearly as well. Just a small portion of the huge colonnade is still used for vending, and only your imagination can make you think of how beautiful it must have been when it first opened in the 1930s. The open, crumbling esplanade is a testament… More >>
  • Best African Burial Ground Turned Into a Bus Depot

    an MTA bus depot in Harlem

    The African Burial Ground near Foley Square is now a national park, treated with great reverence and respect. But what is not very well known is that there's another burial ground underneath an MTA bus depot in Harlem. Activists became concerned when this first became known, as the MTA was digging to build new ramps for the Willis Avenue Bridge,… More >>
  • Louis Armstrong\'s Corona home

    Best Celebrity Home

    Louis Armstrong's Corona home

    It's doubtful that Louis Armstrong's Corona home would have made Architectural Digest when he bought it, let alone today. The modest house in a thoroughly middle-class Queens neighborhood is the inverse of today's celebrity culture, despite the fact that Armstrong inhabited it when he was one of the most famous musicians on the planet. But it's absolutely charming—a modest, humble… More >>
  • Best Off-Line Personal Ads

    WORD bookstore

    Facebook, no offense, we love you very much—you've done wonders for our social lives—but you're killing us! We're forgetting what it's like to talk face-to-face to someone new. It's so refreshing and exciting to get out of the online comfort zone when we go to WORD bookstore, where there's a nifty meet-up board on which people post slips of paper… More >>
  • Carroll Street Bridge

    Best Small Bridge

    Carroll Street Bridge

    Oh, that Brooklyn Bridge—always stealing the show. There's no arguing that it's indeed magnificent: Walking across it pretty much tops anything you can do in New York City. There are other spans, though, that deserve some of the love the Roeblings' masterwork likes to hog. Pity the littlest of these bridges, quietly conveying their traffic, while every German with a… More >>
  • Best Downtown Mob History Park

    Petrosino Square

    That little wedge of green nestled at the corner of Lafayette and Kenmare streets is called Petrosino Square. It was spiffed up recently and makes a perfect spot for city watching—made even nicer with a little local history. First, the name: Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino lived across the street at 233 Lafayette. A tough-as-nails Italian-American cop, he so spooked the Mafia… More >>
  • Best Garden

    New York Botanical Garden

    You're out walking when you come across a gorgeous garden. To your dismay, it's not only gated but locked up. How do you get inside? Why are some gardens more exclusive than the snootiest nightclubs? This plot, however, has a happy ending. You're at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, a paradise that is open to everyone and—we… More >>
  • Best Local Radio Hosts

    Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad

    Not everyone loves Ira Glass, OK? The Chicago-based This American Life host might be a hero to public-radio fans everywhere, but there is a small but vocal contingent of Web-based complainers who have been known to refer to him as "smug," among other things. (We do take issue with Glass's tongue-clicky thing he does between sentences.) So let Chicago have… More >>
  • Radegast Hall & Biergarten

    Best Place to Have a Shit-Show Birthday

    Radegast Hall & Biergarten

    Sometimes you want to go out with a bang. Like, from year to year, when your "year" changes. That's when just any bar won't do. You need something on a mega-scale, a place that will fit hundreds (or 30) of your friends, with room for many, many more new ones. A place where you drink not out of glasses, but… More >>
  • Best Downtown Place to Pee When You Really Have to Go

    Crate & Barrel Soho

    You're shopping, killing time, or just meandering through the streets of the city below 14th Street, aimless but happy and feeling oh-so-New-Yorky and alive with possibility . . . when suddenly you realize the large bottle of water you've kept yourself healthily hydrated with is making its presence felt. Where do you go? The one or, maybe, two bathrooms at… More >>
  • Best Missed Connection

    Craigslist's Missed Connections

    What better way to capture the zeitgeist of the city (and its denizens) at any particular moment than Craigslist's Missed Connections? And, yes, there is one that we think does that better than all the rest, not least because it goes further than man-saw-woman-across-crowded-subway-platform, and not most because it seems too good to be true. It even incorporates bedbug infestations!… More >>
  • Best Uploader of Geek Culture and Music

    Joly MacFie

    After keeping London awash in badges and pins from punk and post-punk bands, Joly MacFie headed stateside in 1983 to continue the pin trade, later gearing up with a video recorder in 1997 to start the Punkcast site, recording Gotham's burgeoning millennium-era scene, including early Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Moldy Peaches gigs. By its 10th anniversary, Punkcast had served up… More >>
  • Best Training Ground for Kid Writers

    826NYC

    Though literati know Dave Eggers for A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and McSweeney's, the Left Coaster's CV also includes another impressive achievement: founding in 2002 the 826 Valencia writing center, which in 2004 hatched a Gotham branch, 826NYC. The Park Slope nonprofit holds workshops for elementary-school pupils, helping them to learn the craft, and has worked with more than… More >>
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