Best of 2013: Best places to go and things to do in New York City

Your essential guide to NYC is here: Time Out’s best of 2013 picks include New York’s best music venues, shops, museums and more.

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Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

New York City’s cultural bigwigs and nightlife denizens are well attuned to the best things to do in the city—which is why Time Out New York asked some of its favorite notable New Yorkers for their best of 2013 picks. Read on for recommendations from choreographer Mark Morris, They Might Be Giants’ John Flansburg, gay nightlife kingpin Josh Wood and more.

  • Photograph: Brantley Gutierrez

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Chris Thile (punchbrothers.com), musician, solo and with Punch Brothers

    "Sasha Petraske’s Milk and Honey (30 E 23rd St between Madison Ave and Park Ave South, mlkhny.com) is a living legend, recently relocated. Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy’s Attaboy (134 Eldridge St between Broome and Delancey Sts, no phone) is its most promising protégé, recently opened in Milk and Honey’s old space. Get Theo Lieberman to make you a McKittrick Old Fashioned at the Honey, and get Sam and Michael to make you a Penicillin and an American Trilogy (respectively) at Attaboy. Tell them all I sent you! Ken Rockwood from Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen St between E Houston and Stanton Sts; 212-477-4155, rockwoodmusichall.com) understands that contented musicians give better performances. All three stages sound great, the crowd comes to listen (hell, it’s usually at least half musicians, ’cause there’s nowhere we’d rather hear each other play!), and the drinks are served quickly and quietly by an uncannily aware staff."

  • Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Claire Chase (clairechase.net), artistic director, CEO and flautist; International Contemporary Ensemble

    Mayfield Restaurant (688 Franklin Ave between Park and Prospect Pls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn; 347-318-3643, mayfieldbk.com) is hands down my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn. I’m on the road constantly, and there’s nothing like coming home to this favorite neighborhood spot—named after the great Curtis Mayfield—with its unparalleled food (chefs Lev Gewirtzman and Jacques Belanger are total badasses), delicious drinks and convivial, down-home atmosphere. Even though I live two blocks away, I often go straight there from the airport—suitcases, gear and flutes in tow—because I just can’t wait another minute to eat the world’s greatest kale salad.”

  • Photograph: LaMott Jackson

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Marina Franklin (marinafranklin.com), comedian

    Levain Bakery (locations throughout the city, levainbakery.com) is a bakery made by the gods, in my opinion. It has found a new home in Harlem, and I’m happy for it. That part of gentrification works out in a great way: chocolate chips! I fight to not eat here weekly; the tempting item for me is the banana-chocolate-chip bread. I have to go to the gym four times a week because of this place. I had to take up boxing; it helps for when I consume the chocolate-chip-walnut cookie…by myself. No shame in my chocolate-chip game.”

  • Photograph: Dennis Manuel

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Eugene Cho (weareescort.com), musician, Escort

    Xi’an Famous Foods (various locations; visit xianfoods.com) represents so many good things about this city: flavor, vision and hustle. They stand out by simply delivering something authentic and meaningful to themselves. Offering flavors that are truly foreign, their excellence is easily recognized by everyone because there’s an uncompromising vision that has been proven for centuries on the other side of the globe. It certainly doesn’t hurt that there’s a young hustler leading the way. The Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St between Bowery and Chrystie St; 212-533-2111, boweryballroom.com) is arguably the best club in the world. It is a chapel for live music, right in the middle of downtown. When the room starts to shake, and people start going crazy, you begin to realize that there’s a cumulative effect. A part of every great show that goes on there somehow gets absorbed into the walls, and then next time the speakers wake up, the room releases all of that energy out again. It feels as good as it sounds in there, and it just always sounds great.” Escort plays the Bell House (149 7th St between Second and Third Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn; thebellhouseny.com) Nov 23 at 9pm; $20–$22.

  • Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Mark Morris (markmorrisdancegroup.org), founder, Mark Morris Dance Group

    “I am a devotee of the great Canadian newsreader Pat Kiernan. I plan my morning around ‘In the Papers’ on NY1 at 40-something after the hour. I arise at 8:22, make coffee, take a shower, and bathe in the glow of Mr. Kiernan’s kind and wry selection of headlines.”

  • Photograph: Patrick Cline

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Erica Domesek (@psimadethis, psimadethis.com), author of P.S. I Made This (Abrams Image, $18.95)

    Economy Candy (108 Rivington St between Ludlow and Essex Sts; 212-254-1531, economycandy.com)—I love buying candy in bulk to keep in my office. They have everything from retro candies to every flavor of gummy. Ess-a-Bagel (831 Third Ave between 50th and 51st Sts; 212-980-1010, ess-a-bagel.com) is hands down the best bagel place in all of New York City. Just don’t ask them to toast your bagel…that’s a big no-no. Jonathan Embroidery Plus (256 W 38th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves; 212-398-3538, jeplus.com) is my secret go-to place that does the best custom embroidery. It’s great for personalized gifts! Greenwich Letterpress (39 Christopher St between Seventh Ave South and Waverly Pl; 212-989-7464, greenwichletterpress.com) houses the cutest and quirkiest cards and novelty gifts. I mean, where else can you find pencils that have the best TV couples from the ’90s? M&J Trimming (1008 Sixth Ave between 37th and 38th Sts, mjtrim.com) is my candy land for crafty bits and bobs. They have everything from pom-pom trim to the perfect peacock feathers, chains, patches and more.”

  • Photograph: Shervin Lainez

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    John Flansburgh (@tmbg, theymightbegiants.com), musician, They Might Be Giants (at left)

    Angel’s Share (8 Stuyvesant St between Third Ave and E 9th St, 212-777-5415) is just a great name for a bar: In the Middle Ages, when monks were in charge of the booze-making, they would nail up their fermenting barrels and leave ’em for a while to get going. When they opened them up again, to their surprise, a portion of the liquor had evaporated. With no easy explanation available, the monks determined the angels must have taken their share. When I was first taken to this quiet East Village institution (you can see Joey Ramone’s apartment from the window), I was told it was a secret. Considering its size (relatively tiny) and location (a second-floor walk-up through an unmarked door in the back of a Japanese restaurant), it seems like a secret. It’s not. It’s open to the public. That said—it is a bar with a simple rule: only groups of two to four. What is great about this? Everything. No lurkers, no sad drunks and no groups of advanced-beginner drinkers. This is the perfect civilized bar for thoughtful adults to enjoy each other’s company and a fine cocktail. And the cocktails are superior—a very wide selection of booze, and the drinks are all prepared with care and craft. I recommend the lychee martini. And they have good food, too. It’s not super expensive, and considering all of Angel’s Share’s built-in awesomeness, that might be the biggest surprise.” They Might Be Giants plays Terminal 5 (610 W 56th St at Eleventh Ave; terminal5nyc.com) Sat 2 at 8pm; $29.50–$33.

  • Photograph:

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Larisa Fuchs (@gemini_scorpio, geminiandscorpio.com), party producer, Gemini & Scorpio

    “One of my favorite events in New York is the annual boom-box caroling procession, Unsilent Night (unsilentnight.com) by composer Phil Kline. Now going for more than 20 years, it’s an intimate participatory parade in the depths of December where each participant plays one of the previously downloaded four tracks of the full 45-minute composition. The result is a glorious cacophony of echoing bells, with all of us in the parade becoming one block-long sound system, and the music reverberating off buildings and enveloping us and the passersby in a diaphanous, ever-morphing mobile sound sculpture. It’s one of those magical New York moments.”

  • Photograph: Jimmy Katz

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Vijay Iyer (@vijayiyer, vijay-iyer.com), composer and pianist

    “The guys at Downtown Music Gallery (13 Monroe St between Catherine and Market Sts; 212-473-0043, downtownmusicgallery.com) have been at it for decades. They deal in underground music from all corners, including a lot of creative, improvised and experimental music, and they genuinely love it. This place is a no-nonsense American treasure.”

  • Photograph: Elizabeth Raab

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Katie Longmyer (@GoodPeoples, good-peoples.com), brand architect, Good Peoples

    "The best part of New York for me is the discovery. There are hidden gems all over the city. New York encourages you to walk down the street you never walk down, or go into that bar you've never been to and talk to a stranger. On the other side is always a unique experience that gives a good story. One fun new gem is Maison O (98 Kenmare St between Centre and Mulberry Sts; 212-274-9898, maisononyc.com). Upstairs is a sushi and yakitori bar, and downstairs is a sexy and playful Japanese karaoke bar filled with some of the most interesting people you'll ever find in New York. Catch them at 2am and they might be singing Nirvana. Only in New York."

  • Photograph: Arthur Elgort

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Sara Mearns (@nycbstar2b, nycballet.com), principal dancer, New York City Ballet

    “My best of New York would be seeing a New York Philharmonic concert (Avery Fisher Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza between 62nd and 65th Sts; 212-875-5708, nyphil.org), followed by wine and cheese at Casellula (401 W 52nd St between Ninth and Tenth Aves; 212-247-8137, casellula.com) in Hell’s Kitchen. Live classical music fills my heart and soul with joy. The fresh cheeses are picked daily and served to you by the fromager with some of the best red wine you will ever taste.”

  • Photograph: TK

    Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

    Josh Wood (joshwoodproductions.com); event planner and promoter; co-owner, Atlas Social Club

    "The best, best, best iced coffee in New York City is at Abraço Espresso (86 E 7th St between First and Second Aves, abraconyc.com). Get it sweetened. Delicious. Strong. You’ll be rocking all day long. While on East 7th, I usually get my hair cut by Regina at Redge Salon (75 E 7th St between First and Second Aves; 212-777-3343, redgesalon.com). She’s the best. No one else touches my Jewish curls.”

Photograph: Brantley Gutierrez

Best of 2013: Notable New Yorkers’ favorite things to do in NYC

Chris Thile (punchbrothers.com), musician, solo and with Punch Brothers

"Sasha Petraske’s Milk and Honey (30 E 23rd St between Madison Ave and Park Ave South, mlkhny.com) is a living legend, recently relocated. Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy’s Attaboy (134 Eldridge St between Broome and Delancey Sts, no phone) is its most promising protégé, recently opened in Milk and Honey’s old space. Get Theo Lieberman to make you a McKittrick Old Fashioned at the Honey, and get Sam and Michael to make you a Penicillin and an American Trilogy (respectively) at Attaboy. Tell them all I sent you! Ken Rockwood from Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen St between E Houston and Stanton Sts; 212-477-4155, rockwoodmusichall.com) understands that contented musicians give better performances. All three stages sound great, the crowd comes to listen (hell, it’s usually at least half musicians, ’cause there’s nowhere we’d rather hear each other play!), and the drinks are served quickly and quietly by an uncannily aware staff."


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