Are you ready to rock out? With more than 30,000 square feet of terrain to ascend, including a 16-foot bouldering area and a 45-foot cave, this became NYC’s biggest rock-climbing gym when it opened its LIC location on October 5. A $25 day pass grants you access to all of it, even the on-site fitness center. Instruction is available for all skill levels (90-minute beginners’ classes are $49). 11-11 44th Dr between 11th and 21st Sts, Long Island City, Queens (718-719-7625, thecliffsclimbing.com/lic)
It’s never been easier to borrow fabulous designer duds, now that the popular online fashion service Rent the Runway has opened a second showroom location, on the second floor of Henri Bendel’s Fifth Avenue flagship. With help from a personal-styling consultant, peruse a dizzying collection of dresses ($40–$450) and accessories ($15–$225) culled from a rotating selection of 175 designer brands. 712 Fifth Ave between 55th and 56th Sts, second floor (212-315-5917, renttherunway.com/henribendel)
Polonsky Shakespeare Center
Brooklyn might not have the Globe, but the borough is about to get an impressive stage dedicated to works by the Bard and other classic playwrights. On October 22, after 34 years of vagabonding, heavyweight company Theatre for a New Audience cut the ribbon on what will be its first permanent home. And it’s opening with a bang: Legendary director Julie Taymor is mounting a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Homeland’s David Harewood as Oberon (Nov 2–Jan 12, $20 and up). 262 Ashland Pl between Fulton St and Lafayette Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (866-411-8111, tfana.org)
BHS is far from new—this year marks its 150th anniversary, in fact—but an extensive round of renovations has its Brooklyn Heights home looking the spiffiest it has since the Chester A. Arthur administration. The new features (unveiled in mid-October) include the restoration of the building’s original 1881 entrance, as well as a 200-seat auditorium and two brand-new gallery spaces. 128 Pierrepont St at Clinton St, Brooklyn Heights (718-222-4111, brooklynhistory.org)
Yes, local staples including Bleecker Bob’s and Sound Fix recently retired to the great chain of record stores in the sky, but this shop, which arrived in Greenpoint in August, may just have the panache—and deep, multigenre collection of new and used vinyl and cassettes—to buck the trend. To augment the record collection, Captured Tracks label honcho Mike Sniper hopes to start selling art, music, books and vintage audio equipment, as well as mount a series of curated artist shelves, by the end of the year. 195 Calyer St between Leonard St and Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-609-0871, capturedtracks.com)
Situated beneath the Lynn Redgrave Theater, this Greenwich Village bunker is part performance space, part bar. The intimate (but not too intimate), artfully lit environs hold 200 people and are just as suited to mingling as to taking in a gig. Since opening in May, the venue has hosted New York International Fringe Festival plays and CBGB Festival shows, plus events like the Big Quiz Thing, hosted by TONY copy chief Noah Tarnow. 45 Bleecker St between Bowery and Lafayette St (212-533-5470, subculturenewyork.com)
BRIC—the arts, culture and music programmer responsible for Prospect Park’s beloved Celebrate Brooklyn! fest—has set up shop at the former Strand Theatre, once a stop on the vaudeville circuit. The space debuted earlier this month, and includes a 400-person-capacity theater, an art gallery, a TV studio and a public lobby with a café. Keep an eye out for concerts, dance performances, plays, art exhibits and parties from both vets and up-and-comers. See jazz trio the Bad Plus on Saturday 26 (8pm, $18) and lovable theater weirdos the Debate Society’s You’re Welcome: A Cycle of More Bad Plays (Nov 15, 16 at 7:30pm, $10). (And yes, that Commodores song is gonna be stuck in our heads all day too.) 647 Fulton St at Rockwell Pl, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-683-5600, bricartsmedia.org)
Gemini & Scorpio loft
Roving arty-party planner Gemini & Scorpio renovated a nearly 2,000-square-foot Gowanus space over the last year and now hosts outrageous, invite-only themed bashes, lectures, dance classes, live music and theater performances. Visit geminiandscorpio.com for details.
There’s no need to wait to check out these cool haunts. Find out about the most exciting New York attractions that recently made their big debuts, including Brooklynarts center BRIC House, Greenwich Village venue SubCulture and more.
RECOMMENDED: View all the new places to visit and New York attractions opening in 2013 and beyond