Best of NY 2011

Remind yourself why this is the greatest city in the world by experiencing the best of it. We've rounded up 50 of our favorite venues and events, ranging from arts and culture to booze and sex. Grab your friends; you'll want to visit---or revisit---everything here.

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  • Best place to dance your heart out: 718 Sessions

    Best place to dance your heart out: 718 Sessions

  • Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

    Best place to find your inner Zen: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    Best place to find your inner Zen: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

  • Best store for upgrading your wardrobe on the cheap: Dalaga

    Best store for upgrading your wardrobe on the cheap: Dalaga

  • Photograph: Lindsay Maclean Taylor

    Best place to hang out with cute lesbians: Cubbyhole

    Best place to hang out with cute lesbians: Cubbyhole

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    Best place to hang out with cute gay boys: Nowhere

    Best place to hang out with cute gay boys: Nowhere

  • Photograph: Francine Daveta

    Naughtiest burlesque show: !BadAss! Burlesque

    Naughtiest burlesque show: !BadAss! Burlesque

  • Best spot to discover the next band of the moment: Glasslands Gallery

    Best spot to discover the next band of the moment: Glasslands Gallery

  • Photograph: Wendy Connett

    Best place to gawk at priceless art: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Best place to gawk at priceless art: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Photograph: Steven Rosen

    Best retro party: Dances of Vice Pictured: performer Medianoche

    Best retro party: Dances of Vice Pictured: performer Medianoche

  • Photograph: Paul Kolnik

    Best ballet company: New York City Ballet

    Best ballet company: New York City Ballet

Best place to dance your heart out: 718 Sessions

Best place to dance your heart out: 718 Sessions

Place to dance your heart out: 718 Sessions
Still packing the dance floor after nine years, this monthly Sunday tea party's roots go deep, with a vibe (and a crowd) that harks back to the scene-starting, dance-all-night '70s club Paradise Garage. That means this isn't the place to shake your inebriated ass, but you can still break out your best moves to Danny Krivit's selection of soulful house and classics. The party gets going as soon as the doors open (encouraged by a serious early-bird discount), and revelers ride a natural high till the last track. Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette St at Walker St (212-714-4646, santospartyhouse.com). 6pm--midnight; $20, with flyer or membership card $12, first 100 people before 7pm $5.

Place to find your inner Zen: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
This Brooklyn oasis boasts relaxed, peaceful grounds ideal for quiet contemplation. Claim a spot near the serene Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, surrounded by Japanese myrtle and cypress trees, and bliss out. Enter on Eastern Pkwy between Underhill and Washington Aves, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-623-7200, bbg.org).Tue--Fri 8am--6pm; Sat, Sun 10am--6pm. Beginning Tue 8: Tue--Fri 8am--4:30pm; Sat, Sun 10am--4:30pm. $10, seniors and students $5, children under 12 free.

Store for upgrading your wardrobe on the cheap: Dalaga
This elegant Greenpoint gem, owned by sisters Michelle and Mary Mangiliman, houses stylish clothing and accessories that will refresh your closet without emptying your bank account. Black suede lace-up boots ($115) offer year-round appeal; we also love the unique outerwear, like a tribal-print wrap coat ($145) and carryalls such as woven leather cross-body bags ($78). The shop's best offerings, however, are ladylike dresses: Wrap yourself in a multicolor splattered sleeveless silk frock ($68) or a rosette-bedecked shift ($80), and bring on the compliments. 150 Franklin St between Greenpoint Ave and Kent St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-389-4049, dalaganyc.com)

Place to hang out with cute lesbians: Cubbyhole
Ladies come from all over town—and the 'burbs—to meet, drink and be merry at this aptly named, cozy lesbian bar (though you'll always find at least a few boys in the mix). There's no attitude here, just lots of paper lanterns and holiday decorations, so strike up a conversation with the sexy lady at the jukebox. You might get lucky—or at least make a new friend. 281 W 12th St at 4th St (212-243-9041, cubbyholebar.com)

...and cute gay boys: Nowhere
This East Village dive is one of the more friendly homo haunts in town; when you feel like chatting up new folks (not standing in a stranger-blocking circle with your pals), it's a reliably good bet. While you're likely to find cuties here most nights, Damian Cote's long-running Buddies party every Tuesday is especially packed with adorable East Village and Brooklyn boys. 322 E 14th St between First and Second Aves (212-477-4744).

Naughtiest burlesque show: !BadAss! Burlesque
The performances at this bimonthly revue aren't the playful, teasing kind; they're perverse and raunchy, catering to a crowd that skews toward dreadlocked rockers. If you've ever wanted to see Audrey Hepburn pulling a long string of pearls from her unmentionables, then this is the show for you. Impresario Velocity Chyaldd's band, Vulgaras, often opens each event, setting the tone with mournful torch songs. Look for familiar faces from other NYC burly-Q stages, like Gal Friday and Jo Boobs, who put provocative twists on their established acts. Theater 80, 80 St. Marks Pl between First and Second Aves (212-388-0388, badassburlesque.com). Dec 17 11pm--3am; $15.

Spot to discover the next band of the moment: Glasslands Gallery
This Williamsburg space has an amazing track record for booking hyped (or soon to be hyped) indie-rock acts. Earlier this year, glam purveyors the Smith Westerns and '90s revivalists Yuck played here before exploding onto the blogosphere and headlining much bigger venues. Glasslands is the ideal place to attain you-saw-them-when cred—and the DIY decor gives every show the air of a stumbled-upon loft party. 289 Kent Ave between South 1st and 2nd Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-1450, glasslands.blogspot.com)

Place to gawk at priceless art: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
You need more than just 24 hours to fully explore the masterworks on display at this venerable institution: The Met's collection is seemingly endless, spanning creepy Egyptian tombs to the shimmering Impressionist paintings to an unparalleled costume collection. During the summer, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden features a contemporary sculpture exhibit—and doubles as one of NYC's best rooftop bars. 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). Tue--Thu, Sun 9:30am--5:30pm; Fri, Sat 9:30am--9pm. Suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free.

Retro party: Dances of Vice
Nightlife queen Shien Lee broke out of DofV's early Prohibition-era mold and now throws the most creatively themed parties in town, mixing the Baroque with futurism, Dadaism, literary references and the occasional nod to Back to the Future. Regulars impress with intricate costumes, but those who show up in sophisticated civvies won't be given a hard time at the door. Regardless of the theme, expect burlesque or circus acts and live music, often in grand spaces like Morningside Castle. After a busy October, the party goes on hiatus until the end of the year, but check out Lee's monthly party, Disko Nouveaux, at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St at Thompson St; 212-505-3474, lepoissonrouge.com; Nov 12 10pm--4am; $5), a less extravagant, more intimate, new-romantic--goth twist on the DofV recipe. Next event: The Moonlight Circus on Dec 30. Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Dr between 120th and 122nd Sts (dancesofvice.com). 7pm--midnight; $25.

Ballet company: New York City Ballet
Choosing between NYCB and American Ballet Theatre, NYC's two major ballet players, is a bit like splitting hairs. But if you were to twist our arm, we'd have to say the company with repertory works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins and ballerinas Wendy Whelan and Sara Mearns takes it by a whisker, despite Alexei Ratmansky's presence at ABT. Your next chance to see the company in action is the sumptuous production of Balanchine's The Nutcracker (Nov 25--Dec 31). 20 Lincoln Center Plaza at 63rd St (nycballet.com)

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Users say

2 comments
maria
maria

I have a Great experience meeting different people!