Cool as shhh

The truly "hip" stuff is unpretentious and off the radar-until TONY reports it and ruins everything. So we thought we'd make amends with these blind-item tips.



Add +

Photo: Max Farago


Some say New Yorkers have big heads, but that's not a problem at this out-of-the-way bar, where the kitsch factor is so high it becomes cool again. This goes double once a month, when you'll find the surf music rising on the fringes of the concrete jungle. These cats mix reverence and irreverence into a potent cocktail—what else would you expect from a host who's memorized the production credits from old Challengers' B-sides?


The members of this smart-yet-unheralded theater troupe have a penchant for musicalizing the unlikeliest of subjects—ancient Greek tragedy, obscure Eugene O'Neill plays, 17th-century Spanish classics or (this month) the life of MLK—and its ensemble includes a sexy comedian from Mad TV. Beats the Public any day.


On Saturday 2, take a"slow walk" with some of downtown dance's most enticing figures on an abandoned train track that cuts through the desolate wilds of Bushwick. And here's a freebie: Page 97 will tell you who the troupe is. (As for where the track is, that photo hard.)


If you end up at this Ninth Avenue dive, your first thought will be, Here? There are some ratty booths, a jukebox, a pool table, some darts, and—more likely than not—a miraculous mix of fashionistas, civil servants and old dudes. But a few cheap beers (and gratis shots) later, and you realize that's all you need. Thank the two owners—the bar's named after them.


Humor is often relegated to dank basements where stand-ups perform for a bunch of social miscreants. Not at this showcase, which manages to treat comedy like an art form, keep drink prices super low and pay performers like professionals. Laugh, then learn about the Children's Aid Society on your way out.


At this Afro-Cuban night, held Wednesdays on the second floor of a Manhattan restaurant, no one comes to rubberneck or pose. They come to dance. Named after the largest city in the Caribbean and the second-slowest Latin dance—hey, no Wikipedia allowed!—the party is all about the bands and the people (Latino and otherwise) who find their groove here.


This cross-dressing glam-punk political cabaret star is due for his very own musical at one of the city's bigger houses, like the Public Theater or New York Theatre Workshop, if they can figure out how to package his ukulele-strumming, taboo-tweaking, stream-of-consciousness fabulosity. We half wish they wouldn't, so we could keep him to ourselves.


You could do karaoke at a hyperkinetic Chinese place, slinging off an ironic version of "Like a Virgin." Or you could do it at a quaint Queens bar, where there's more Frank Sinatra than air quotes. If you prefer the former, head to this under-an-elevated-track joint, which is named after a stop on the N train.


Library. Cool. Those words haven't gone together since Bunnicula. But this new branch—housed in a renovated candy factory—is worth a visit. Oh, the things you'll see...


A little-known department in one of the most prestigious cultural cathedrals in the city (if not the world) houses a tremendous archive of film. You can see flicks there if you want to—in a cramped little corner with your own projector. You just have to make an appointment and have a scholarly or educational purpose behind your request.


With a New Orleans theme, hundreds of hot sauces and specialty sandwiches such as the Muffulatta (ham, Genoa, provolone and mortadella), this restaurant-bar walks the line between T.G.I. Friday's and genuine fun. Fortunately, the unpretentious locale (in Spidey's neighborhood) and beer selection lend this a rare, suburban coolness. Go Thursdays for live jazz.

More in the Hipster Issue:

  • Why the hipster must die: A modest proposal to save New York cool
  • Why the hipster must die: The hipsterati talks back: We asked hipster-leaning bloggers to defend their constituency. See what they said.
  • Why the hipster must die: Your responses: We've declared war on the hipster. Now it's time for you to pick a side.
  • A hipstory: View a timeline on how this monster was created.
  • Hipster quiz: The first sign of hipsterdom is self-denial. Take our quiz and get your hipster rating.
  • Cool or played out?: We name 20 recent hipster markers; you vote on whether they have any cool value left.
  • Name that hipster: The train that cuts across the greatest swath of hipsterdom is not the L—God, that's so two years ago—it's the G. See if you can match these swingin' youth to the stop where we caught them.
  • Hipster detox: Quick impressions: See how three New York hipsters coped with two weeks of mainstream living.
  • Hipster detox: Full assessment: After two weeks of ditching his Union Pool-and-Proust lifestyle, our resident cool guy breaks down his new life as a "reg."
  • True originals: To look at them, you wouldn't think these New Yorkers are hip. But then you find out what they did last night. We asked an octogenarian jazz maven, an avant-garde dance critic and Russell Simmons's artist brother about NYC cool.
  • Cool as shhh: The truly "hip" stuff is unpretentious and off the radar—until TONY reports it and ruins everything. So we thought we'd make amends with these blind-item tips.
  • Cool as shhh: Guess the answers: Do you know what's cool in this city? Then prove it.
  • Special Hipster-Issue Seek: Guest editor edition

Users say