Best places to see cool lectures



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92nd Street Y

  • Critics choice

The iconic institution, which was founded in 1874, hosts all manner of events, including lectures (with boldface names like Eliot Spitzer and Nora Ephron), live music, dance performances and more. Expect special programming during Jewish holidays like Passover and Hanukkah.

  1. 1395 Lexington Ave, (between 91st and 92nd Sts)
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Pete's Candy Store

It may be pocket-size, but that pocket is full of goodies. Evenings begin with readings, poetry and art. On Bingo Tuesday, blue-haired ladies battle yuppies for 99-cent prizes, and Wednesday’s Quizz-Off draws top-drawer TP mavens; Scrabble is on Saturday. After the games, there’s free music in the Pullman-car-shaped performance space, with acts on the cusp of wider recognition appearing nightly. When the weather warms, the backyard opens to stargazers. Throw in surprisingly good pressed sandwiches and an El Diablo (tequila, cassis and ginger ale) the size of a Big Gulp. What more could you want?

  1. 709 Lorimer St, (between Frost and Richardson Sts)
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  • Critics choice

Observatory is located in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and serves as an arts and events space.

  1. 543 Union St, (between Bond and Nevins Sts), 11215
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  • Critics choice

The downtown wing of the 92nd Street Y, 92YTribeca is ostensibly a cultural center for hip young Jews. Yet the club—which houses a performance space, screening room, art gallery and café—is by no means restricted to Jewish events or artists. In fact, it has quickly become one of the most daring venues in Manhattan. The club’s breadth is impressive, featuring obscure indie-rock, world music, country and mixed media shows.

  1. 200 Hudson St, (at Canal St)
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The Tenement Museum

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This fascinating museum—actually a series of restored tenement apartments at 97 Orchard St—is accessible only by guided tour. Tickets are purchased at the visitors’ center at 108 Orchard St; tours often sell out, so it’s wise to book ahead. Costumed interpreters recount the daily lives of individual immigrant clans that called the building home over the decades. “Getting By” visits the Sicilian Baldizzi family residence in apartment No. 5 in the 1930s, while “Piecing It Together” pays a call on the Russian Rogarshevsky family, mourning the loss of patriarch Abraham, a garment worker who died of tuberculosis in 1918. “The Moores: An Irish Family in America,” revisits a Dublin family who lived in the building in 1869.

  1. 103 Orchard St, (between Broome and Delancey Sts)
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