|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|Dining in New York|
|Sightseeing in the City|
|Nightlife in Manhattan|
|Activities with Kids|
|Bookstores in NYC|
|Galleys to Grab|
|Children's Galleys to Grab|
New York City living illustration of the "work hard, play hard" ethic. After a hard day on the trade show floor, there's nothing better than hitting the streets of New York in search of excitement, relaxation and glamour. Whatever suits your fancy, chances are you'll find someplace to do it in New York. Whether you want to put on your top hat and twirl in an art deco ballroom, hang with club kids, watch a cutting edge performance or sample some serious decadence, there's a place for you—probably more than one. (All area codes are 212 unless noted.)
Living Out Loud: Where to Hear Great Live Music
Mercury Lounge (217 E. Houston St.; 260-4700; subway: F/V to Second Ave.), a hip East Village bar with fantastic acoustics, opens its doors to excellent, eclectic bands to suit every alternative taste. Arlene Grocery (95 Stanton St.; 358-1633; subway: F/V to Second Ave.) offers even hipper, less established acts than Mercury Lounge, in a sparse, converted bodega. Luna Lounge (171 Ludlow St.; 260-2323; subway: F/V to Second Ave.) specializes in bands hoping to attract record labels. Mondays feature "Eating It," one of New York's oddest and most delightful alternative comedy evenings, a wild grab bag that is a defining moment in Manhattan nightlife. The Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St.; 533-2111; subway: F/V to Second Ave. or 6 to Spring St.) is consistently voted one of NYC's best music venues. The sound is fantastic, the selection of alternative rock bands is diverse and the downstairs bar—where you can lounge around even if you don't have tickets to the evening's show—is nicely shadowy and sexy.
No self-respecting survey of the Downtown music scene could fail to mention CBGB/OMFUG (315 Bowery; 982-4052; subway: F/S/V to Broadway-Lafayette or 6 to Bleeker St.), the punk rock birthplace with a sound system known throughout the tri-state area for its epic volume. For a more acoustic, folksy vibe, slip next door to CB's 313 Gallery (313 Bowery; 982-4052; subway: F/S/V to Broadway-Lafayette or 6 to Bleeker St.), which appears clean and well lit in comparison to its older brother. Webster Hall (125 E. 11th St.; 353-1600; subway: Q/W/4/5/6 to 14th St.) boasts five spacious floors, each featuring a different type of music, from salsa to R&B to techno. Thursday is Girls Night Out, with free admission and an open bar (until midnight) for all women.
Top country rockers like the Jayhawks and Wilco round up at the Rodeo Bar (375 Third Ave.; 683-6500; subway: 6 to 28th St.), a classic honky-tonk right down to the peanut shells on the floor and the stuffed buffalo glowering over the bar. Hogs & Heifers has two locations (1843 First Ave.; 722-8635; subway: 6 to 96th St.; 859 Washington St.; 929-0655; subway: A/C/E to 14th St.) and offers live country music to a weird amalgam of bikers and brokers who relate well to the trophy heads and trophy bras that hang on the walls.
SOB's (Sounds of Brazil) (204 Varick St.; 243-4940; subway: 1/2 to Houston St.) is bossa nova and world beat's residence this side of the equator; if Tito Puente is what you crave, this is where you should turn. The smoky souk Fez (380 Lafayette St. at Great Jones St.; 533-7000; subway: 6 to Astor Pl.) hosts eclectic entertainment (wicked satiric comedy, storytelling, and enjoyable folk and acoustic acts) in the adjoining 200-seat theater. The Mingus Big Band (celebrating the swinging, earthy jazz of Charlie Mingus) holds court every Thursday night at 9:30 and 11:30, as it has since 1991. Zinc Bar (90 W. Houston St.; 477-8337; subway: C/E to Spring St. or F/V to Broadway-Lafayette) is a preeminent jazz/Latin/Brazilian spot, quite intimate and dimly lit, where the likes of Max Roach or Astrud Gilberto might drop by. Open all week, Zinc hosts jazz on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Latin on Thursdays, African on Fridays and Brazilian during the weekend. Comedy shows are presented on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and poetry readings are featured on Sunday at 8 p.m. NoMoore (234 W. Broadway; 925-2901; subway: 1/2 to Franklin St.) offers one of the most diverse musical menus in town, with various ethnic sounds, as well as jazz, blues and salsa. Small's (183 W. 10th St.; 929-7565; subway: 1/2 to Christopher St.) is the perfect destination for committed jazzophiles, with cutting-edge musicians playing from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., followed by a nightly jam session that lasts until dawn.
Lounge Acts: Where to Relax and Sip Your Drink
There are those who claim the lounge trend is passé. Au contraire: what chic Manhattanite doesn't want a plush banquette, kindly dim lighting and an intimate atmosphere? Draw aside the chain-mail curtain and enter time warp Flamingo East (219 Second Ave.; 533-2860; subway: 4/5/6/Q/W to 14th St. or L to Third Ave.), one of the East Village's first—and hardiest—neo-lounges. It's dark, and fashionable, resembling a diner mutated into a nightclub, full of mirrors and boasting a very sleek bar, indeed. On the trashier (and comfier) side is Art Bar (52 Eighth Ave.; 727-0244; subway: A/C/E/1/2/3 to 14th St. or L to Eighth Ave.). The front room resembles an Edward Hopper diner on acid, with half the lights blown out. If you lean more toward trendy elegance, Soho's Grand Bar (310 W. Broadway; 965-3600; subway: A/C/E to Canal St.) will convince you that your every remark is wonderfully witty, in a world-weary way. Bar d'O (29 Bedford St.; 627-1580; subway: 1/2 to Houston St.), in a charming nook of the West Village, has picked up quite a crowd with its version of lounge meets drag. On Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, high-heeled, high-camp divas put on a torchy, intimate show.
Each version of Merchants N.Y. (112 Seventh Ave.; 366-7267; subway: 1/2 to 18th St.; 521 Columbus Ave.; 721-3689; subway: 1/2 to 86th St.; 1125 First Ave.; 832-1551; subway: 4/5/6 to 59th St. or N/R/W to Lexington Ave.) retains the style of a yuppie living room, with cozy Edwardian nooks, overstuffed armchairs and overheated fireplaces, decent wine lists and palate-pleasing plates of baked chicken, sushi rolls and the like. The hip Lansky Lounge (104 Norfolk St.; 677-9489; subway: F to Delancey St.) so named because of its reputed past life as the hangout of '20s gangster Meyer Lansky, brings Ol' Blue Eyes, swanky cocktails and nouveau kosher cuisine served by waiters in suits and spats to a large, open basement space on the Lower East Side. A literary crowd gathers at Marion's (354 Bowery; 475-7621; subway: 6 to Astor Pl. or F/S/V to Broadway-Lafayette), a kitschy hole-in-the-wall bar drenched in 1950s lounge karma. The excellent martini is what everyone eventually orders here, just because the decor seems to demand it. (Reasonably good food, too.) If your waitress looks like David Sedaris's sister, she may be; actress/playwright Amy Sedaris still occasionally works a shift here. The beautifully designed M&R (264 Elizabeth St.; 226-0559; subway: B/D/F/V to Broadway-Lafayette), just off Houston Street, is transporting: its imagined destination is Europe in the 1950s. Hell (59 Gansevoort St.; 727-1666; subway: A/C/E to 14th St.) is red red red (what did you expect?) and offers fun, sexy entertainment most evenings.
Gotta Dance: Where to Tear Up the Dance Floor
If this is your first visit in a while, you'll be amazed at how many of the same clubs are still around and still crowded. The old live-music institution Wetlands is now gone, but many of the management now work at B.B. King Blues Club (237 W. 42nd St.; 997-4144; subway: Q/S/W/1/2/3/7/N/R to Times Square), which is quickly becoming a New York favorite for live music, with acts ranging from Jimmie Vaughan to Todd Rundgren to Millie Jackson. You can rely on Nell's (246 W. 14th St.; 675-1567; subway: A/C/E to 14th St.) for a spirited party scene every night of the week. Sunday's 10-p.m.-to-4-a.m. dance party attracts everybody from visiting rock stars to suburbanites on a fling, and Wednesday's Cubansoul party is a must for salsa-lovers, with live Latin and Cuban bands, a DJ spinning Cuban classics and sizzling salsa dancers. If you're turned away at Nell's, head Uptown to the upscale, relatively urbane Decade (1117 First Ave.; 835-5979; subway: 4/5/6/N/W to Lexington Ave.), which plays good old '60s and '70s rock and roll and disco, and serves decent food to a baby boomer clientele. And forget not The Roxy (515 W. 18th St.; 645-5156; subway: A/C/E to 14th St.), whose venerable dance-hall walls in Chelsea shelter Rollerballs on Wednesday nights, a carnival of classic-disco-meets-roller-skating-and-blading-tricksterism. Saturday night belongs to what the Roxy calls "the only truly gay Saturday night of dancing."
Newish club Centro-Fly (45 W. 21st St.; 627-7770; subway: N/R/F/V to 23rd St.) pulsates with a young crowd willing to drop big bucks for some hardcore dancing to house music. The club is big, with a good dance-floor-to-lounge-space ratio, a friendly vibe and reliable DJs. The waterfall walls and beautiful dancers are as mesmerizing as the music at Spa (76 E. 13th St.; 388-1060; subway: Q/W/4/5/6 to 14th St.). The smallish dance rooms sometimes force the doorman to be more exclusive than you'd like him to be. Serious house dancers go to Vinyl (6 Hubert St.; 343-1379; subway: A/C/E to Canal St. or 1/2 to Franklin St.) for DJ Danny Tenaglia's inspired Friday night dance sets, DJ Timmy's pumping Saturday nights and Sunday's popular Body & Soul dance party (starts at 4 p.m.). No alcohol is served. Float (240 W. 52nd St.; 581-0055; subway: B/D/E to Seventh Ave.) in the Times Square area, looks like a Hollywood set designer's concept of a New York club, right down to the lit-from-below translucent dancing platform. If you want to breeze past the rope, it helps to arrive with Leo or Jennifer.
Beer Here: Where to Find Manhattan's Best Brews
There are several microbreweries in Manhattan, but Heartland Brewery (35 Union Sq. West; 645-3400; subway: 4/5/6/Q/W to 14th St. or L to Union Sq.; 1285 Sixth Ave.; 582-8244; subway: B/D/F/V to Rockefeller Center/47th— 50th Sts.) has proved to be the most enduring and endearing, with a fun after-work crowd. The decor is nostalgic Americana; you'll feel like saluting the numerous flags. McSorley's (7 E. 15th St.; 473-9148; subway: 6 to Astor Pl.) is a tiny, venerable East Village alehouse that has retained its frat party air for decades. The traditional side with your brewskis is a plate of Liederkranz cheese, crackers and slices of raw onion. Your breath will stop a Humvee at 50 yards. For a low-key, authentic West Village neighborhood feel, try the Barrow Street Ale House (15 Barrow St.; 691-6127; subway: 1/2 to Christopher St. or A/C/E/F/V to W. Fourth St.). Great beer specials, passable pub grub (wings, burgers, fries), pool tables and darts in the basement, and friendly barkeeps make this the perfect spot to draw a deep breath and settle in at the bar for a few hours. Say hi to the resident cat, Ozzie, who can usually be found sitting on the end of the bar.
Painting the Town Pink: Where to Go for Fabulous Gay and Lesbian Nightlife
A great neighborhood for men to get started in is Chelsea. Lesbians will have better luck heading south to the West Village. SBNY (Splash Bar New York) (50 W. 17th St.; 691-0073; subway: B/D/F/V to 14th St. or L to Sixth Ave.)—the name suggests a pool party and water metaphors abound— is an incredibly friendly bar and dance club. The atmosphere is both splendid and silly at Wonder Bar (505 E. Sixth St.; 777-9105; subway: 6 to Astor Pl. or F/V to Second Ave.), a very friendly East Villager crammed with goofy erotica and colorful fixtures. Be prepared for a lot of smoke; ventilation is nonexistent. The Monster (80 Grove St.; 924-3558; subway: 1/2 to Christopher St.) screams West Village—shimmery, slightly garish and full of attractive multigenerational men—fulfilling every cruiser's dream while remaining devoted to cabaret and dancing. Voted the audience's favorite gay club on citysearch.com, Hannah's Lava Lounge (923 Eighth Ave.; 974-9087; subway: A/B/C/D to 59th St.) is laid-back and friendly, with a quirky, comfy living room decor. It offers kitschy $10 tarot readings Wednesday through Saturday, bingo on Sundays and performances by the Lounge-O-Leers (who expertly play everything from Top 40 to TV theme songs) on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Among the alphabet soup of bar names, g (225 W. 19th St.; 929-1085; subway: 1/9 to 18th St.) is a classy, upscale lounge and the new and glitzy xl (357 W. 16th St.; 995-1400; subway: A/C/E to 14th St.) was recently visited by the women of Sex in the City. Looking for King bar? It's changed its name to Heaven (579 Sixth Ave.; 243-6100; subway: F/V to 14th St.) and is no longer a leather bar but a three-floor dance club. The Cock (188 Avenue A; 777-6254; subway: L to First Ave.) is grungy and kinda raunchy, and it pulls out all the stops on Saturday night for the "foxy deeds" contest. You'll just have to see for yourself… And it all started at the legendary Stonewall (53 Christopher St.; 463-0950; subway: 1/9 to Christopher St.), which now has upstairs dancing.
Not only is Julie's (204 E. 58th St.; 688-1294; subway: 4/5/6/Q/W to Lexington Avenue) the mellowest and most sophisticated lesbian hangout in Midtown, but it's also a jewel in the crown of the city's whole queer piano-bar scene. The lounge is geared to professionals. Crazy Nanny's (21 Seventh Ave S.; 366-6312; subway: 1/2 to Houston St.) and Henrietta Hudson (438 Hudson St.; 924-3347; subway: A/C/D/E/F/V to W. Fourth St. or 1/2 to Christopher St.) are two of the most popular lesbian bars in town, providing all the basics (pool table, jukebox, cheap drinks) plus dancing and (occasionally) comedy. The legendary Meow Mix (269 E. Houston St.; 924-3347; subway: 1/2 to Houston St.) is a funky, divey bar with a young, artsy crowd and groovy DJs and live bands.
The Funny Thing About New York Is: New York Comedy Clubs
If comedy is your bag, check out Caroline's on Broadway (1626 Broadway; 757-4100; subway: N/R to 49th St.), where hot headliners have crowds roaring with laughter late into the night. Gotham Comedy Club (34 W. 22nd St.; 367-9000; subway: F/N/R/V to 23rd St.) is the city's trendiest, most comfortable and most sophisticated comedy club. The young talent is white hot and Jerry Seinfeld has recently been spotted exercising his chops here. The Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal St.; 254-3480; subway: A/C/D/E/F/V to W. Fourth St.) is an intimate, subterranean club with a consistently impressive lineup. Ray Romano was a frequent performer in his more anonymous days.
Curtain Up: New York Theater
New York's theater scene is an absolute embarrassment of riches, from grand Broadway musicals to tiny avant-garde productions. Since it's impossible to predict what will be on stage when you're in town, consult Broadway Line (888-BROADWAY or www.broadway.org) for up-to-date details and descriptions of every Broadway production. Then book it over to the TKTS booth in Times Square at 47th Street, for same-day half-price tickets to a host of Broadway shows. You can also call the theater directly and ask for reduced-price tickets. In addition to Broadway, there are many smaller Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theaters that are worth seeking out. The Public Theater (425 Lafayette St.; 260-2400; subway: 6 to Astor Pl.) offers stunning productions, including groundbreaking stagings of Shakespeare's plays (Othello is up this season). You can't go wrong with a visit to the Astor Theater (434 Lafayette St.; 254-4370; 6 to Astor Pl.) to see Blue Man Group: Tubes, a goofy performance art event that has been pulling audiences in since 1991. Along the same lines, De La Guarda at Daryl Roth Theater (20 Union Sq. E.; 239-6200; 4/5/6/N/R/W to 14th St.) is a performance art spectacle/ event/party involving water, smoke and flying acrobats. Downtown, LaMama (74A E. Fourth St.; 475-7710; subway: N/R to Eighth St. or 6 to Astor Pl.) and HERE (145 Sixth Ave.; 647-0202; subway: C/E/6 to Spring St. or N/R to Prince St.) are both reliable sources for cutting edge and experimental theater. It's possible to strike out at both of these, but it's also likely that you'll find a real gem of a production, and it's usually worth the risk.
Light the Lights: Dance, Opera and Classical Music
If you are a fan of dance, opera and classical music, you just may want to set up camp in Lincoln Center (Broadway and 64th St.; 870-5630; 1/2 to 66th St.). You may have to take out a mortgage to buy your ticket, but the lavishly staged productions at the Metropolitan Opera are worth every penny. Rigoletto, Tosca, Sly, Midsummer Night's Dream and The Great Gatsby are on the slate for May. Another New York treasure, the New York Philharmonic, is found at Lincoln Center. Mozart and intimate chamber music will be presented in May. Another star of Lincoln Center is the New York City Ballet, which renders the works of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins with awe-inspiring technique. On the modern dance front, Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave.; 242-0800; C/E to 23rd St.) has become one of the world's foremost modern dance institutions. The stunning resident company, Ballet Tech is on the docket for the beginning of May.
The Big Apple at Night: Quintessentially New York Experiences
The view from the Empire State Building (350 Fifth Ave.; 736-3100; subway: A/C/E/ 1/2/3/B/D/F/Q/N/R/V to 34th St.) observatory on a clear night is pure magic. The observatory (on the 86th floor) is open until midnight (the last elevator goes up at 11:15 p.m.), and you can purchase advance tickets on www.esbnyc.com. You can't get much classier than sipping a drink in the Great Hall Balcony Bar of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.; 535-7710; 4/5/6 to 86th St.), as a string quintet plays. You can browse the museum and relax in the bar until 9 p.m on Fridays and Saturdays. You can also have the Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Ave.; 423-2500; subway: 4/5/6 to 86th St.) all to yourself on Fridays and Saturdays until 8 p.m.
So, go out and enjoy, and remember what actress Myrna Loy said (perhaps a bit harshly): "If you're bored in New York, it's your own fault."