New York's best things to do and places to go 2012

Our critics and readers have chosen the best things to do in NYC, including parties, shops, parks, live-music venues, shows and more. What are you waiting for?

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  • Photograph: Matthew Williams

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best new boutique hotel: Wythe Hotel

  • Photograph: Jessica Lin

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best anti-bridezilla bridal boutique: Stone Fox Bride

    Pictured: Anna Sheffield Sheaves band, $795; Mildred Alswang diamond band, $1,200; and Anna Sheffield "Not to be fucked with" band, $1,100; all at Stone Fox Bride

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Best music-venue renaissance: Radio City Music Hall

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best party for the anticlubber: Soul Clap & Dance-Off

  • Photograph: Grace Chu

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best mixed LGBT party: Scissor Sundays

  • Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best New York pizza: Pie with basil at Lucali

  • New York's best things to do 2012

    Best new comedy venue for seeing surprise A-list shows: The Creek and the Cave

     

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best spot for dinner at the movies: Nitehawk Cinema

  • New York's best things to do 2012

    Best new store from a designer: Christian Siriano

  • New York's best things to do 2012

    Best night for an unrepeatable comedic experience: The Talent Show

Photograph: Matthew Williams

New York's best things to do 2012

Best new boutique hotel: Wythe Hotel


Competition for superlatives in this city is stiff, and everyone seems to have an opinion. We’re cutting through all that chatter to bring you the crème de la crème of NYC as assessed by our editors and critics. Read on for their picks of New York's best things to do, see, wear, taste and otherwise experience throughout the five boroughs. And, for the first time, you had the chance to vote for winners in ten readers' choice categories.—Edited by Jonathan Shannon

RECOMMENDED: All New York's best

New York's best things to do 2012

Best new boutique hotel: Wythe Hotel

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

While there are many boutique hotels we wouldn’t mind moving into, few become bona fide neighborhood hangouts. Housed in a converted 1901 cooperage near the Williamsburg waterfront, the Wythe is the Ace Hotel’s counterpart across the river. It’s an effortlessly hip hub with a lived-in vibe and a standout restaurant, Reynards, helmed by local culinary pioneer Andrew Tarlow. If your budget doesn’t stretch far enough to spring for one of the loftlike rooms, savor the views of Manhattan from the Ides, the sixth-floor bar.—Lisa Ritchie

  1. 80 Wythe Ave, (at North 11th St)
Book online

Best anti-bridezilla bridal boutique: Stone Fox Bride

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Bohemian brides who want no part of the fairy-tale-princess trope can find chic, atypical gowns at this newcomer, then try them on in the bedouin-tent dressing room. The frocks include a lacy, below-the-knee Luisa dress and a flowy, ankle-length silk-tulle Savannah gown (each $2,500). Style them with kick-ass accessories such as Lars Andersson custom-made knit shawls ($1,000) and Anna Sheffield pink-gold wedding bands ($1,100), engraved with the choice phrase not to be fucked with. In addition, Stone Fox offers consultations (prices vary) with wedding and relationship advisers including florists, sex therapists and even shamans.—Sarah Theeboom

  1. 611 Broadway, suite 613B, (at W Houston St)
More info

Best music-venue renaissance: Radio City Music Hall

  • Price band: 3/4

In the past year, the esteemed institution began to offer a greater draw than its Art Deco architecture and plush Ladies Lounge: The marquee lit up with the names of cool, of-the-moment acts. Though we don’t have anything against the classic big names who play the old-world theater (Barry Manilow, Willie Nelson), it was thrilling to catch upstarts (Gotye) and indie-rock faves (Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear) in the gilded auditorium. Plus, the cavernous venue’s crisp acoustics guarantee that there’s hardly a bad seat in the 6,000-person house.—Marley Lynch

  1. 1260 Sixth Ave, (at 50th St)
More info
New York's best things to do 2012: Best party for the anticlubber: Soul Clap & Dance-Off

Best party for the anticlubber: Soul Clap & Dance-Off

  • Critics choice

If all-night house, techno or bass music sessions aren’t your thing, try DJ and nightlife impresario Jonathan Toubin’s monthly affair for a decidedly nonelectronic mix of rare 45s that range from rip-roaring rock to soul movers and groovers. The shindig also includes a late-night dance contest—as good a reason as any to join the drunken shimmy-shake antics. • newyorknighttrain.com/soulclap. Sat midnight–4am; $6. Next event Nov 17.—Bruce Tantum

  1. Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave at North 11th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Best mixed LGBT party: Scissor Sundays

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Le Tigre member and MEN leader JD Samson’s weekly tea dance—launched in the heat of this past Pride Month—has been drawing people from all parts of the gender and sexuality spectra ever since. Thrillingly, pan-queer parties are plentiful these days—other great choices include Hot Rabbit, Hey Queen! and Rebel Cupcake—but the mostly mellow atmosphere, great guest DJs, delicious tiki drinks and gorgeous sunset views keep us commuting to the way West Side.—Ethan LaCroix

  1. Rusty Knot 425 West St, at 11th St
  2. Sun 4–10pm
More info

Best New York pizza: Pie with basil at Lucali

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Pizzaiolo Mark Iacono’s flawless classic boasts a thin and crispy crust with a char-speckled bottom and a pleasant chewiness. He blankets it with two types of mozzarella (buffalo and low-moisture), plus long gratings of Parmigiano-Reggiano, all boosted by a bright, long-simmered sauce. Then he showers the round with a bouquet of basil rosettes, giving each transcendent bite an anisey perfume.—Mari Uyehara

  1. 575 Henry St, (between Carroll St and 1st Pl)
More info

Best new comedy venue for seeing surprise A-list shows: The Creek and the Cave

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

For years, the Comedy Cellar has been the go-to spot for catching huge draws (Dave Chappelle, Aziz Ansari, Chris Rock and Louis C.K., to name a few) making unannounced guest appearances in an intimate environment. But multilevel LIC comedy hub the Creek and the Cave is gaining steam, hosting impromptu sets by Community’s Donald Glover—who considers the Creek one of his comedic homes in NYC—and even a visit this summer from Jerry Seinfeld, who dropped by to introduce his pal Colin Quinn. For his part, Quinn seems to have taken up residence in the space, frequented by a relaxed outer-borough crowd of regulars who are happy to see comics work through new material.—Tim Lowery

  1. 10-93 Jackson Ave, (at 49th Ave)
More info

Best spot for dinner at the movies: Nitehawk Cinema

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Why it took so long for NYC to adopt the boozing-and-feasting-during-a-flick model of Austin’s famed Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, we’ll never know; but we’re glad Gotham finally got on board. Celebrate with a cocktail ($10–$12) at Nitehawk, followed by snacks ($6–$8) and entrées ($11–$18), or specials inspired by that week’s first-run movies. Nitehawk also presents retrospectives catering to both brunch and midnight crowds, screenings with live musical accompaniment and for big spenders, classic films that include a three-course beer-pairing dinner ($60).—Tim Lowery

  1. 136 Metropolitan Ave, (between Berry St and Wythe Ave), 11249
More info

Best new store from a designer: Christian Siriano

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This 1,000-square-foot flagship boutique was personally designed by the hotshot Project Runway season-four winner, with the glam evening wear that propelled him to success—such as sheer feathered dresses ($1,500)—displayed on mannequins throughout the shop. If you don’t have a red-carpet event on your calendar, there are plenty of reasonably priced separates ($98–$400) and accessories ($50–$300) to paw through, along with his current Payless footwear collection (starting at $50).—Sarah Theeboom

  1. 252 Elizabeth St, (between E Houston and Prince Sts)
More info
New York's best things to do 2012: Best night for an unrepeatable comedic experience: The Talent Show

Best night for an unrepeatable comedic experience: The Talent Show

  • Critics choice

You miss some shows, and you know you can see the same or similar sets again—not so at comedians Kevin Townley and Elna Baker’s inspired variety show. Guests—who have included Mike Birbiglia, Todd Barry, Eugene Mirman, H. Jon Benjamin and Ira Glass—are kept delightfully off-balance as they grapple with the edition’s themed challenge, like protesting, rocking out, giving a TED talk or, er, pretending to attend a summer camp. The event is on hiatus until 2013, when it returns with a curtailed schedule, meaning you’ll need to buy tickets early. • thetalentshowbrandvarietyshow.com—Tim Lowery



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bart boudrez
bart boudrez

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