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: Loren Wohl

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best music venue for a secret show: Brooklyn Bowl

    Pictured: Kanye West’s surprise performance at a Pitchfork party in 2010

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best new store: Piperlime

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best reason to never leave Brooklyn: The Bell House

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best not-quite-gay-but-almost-gay bar: Branded Saloon

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best place to dance: Mister Sunday

  • Photograph: Sean Ellingson

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best bar for a quiet conversation: Burp Castle

  • New York's best things to do 2012

    Best new third space: Claire Tow Theater

     

  • Rendering: Platt Byard Dovell White Architects

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best NYC-focused museum: The New-York Historical Society

  • New York's best things to do 2012

    Best camp screening event: Chelsea Classics with Hedda Lettuce at Clearview Chelsea

  • Photograph: Jennifer Loeber

    New York's best things to do 2012

    Best video store: Video Free Brooklyn

Photograph: Loren Wohl

New York's best things to do 2012

Best music venue for a secret show: Brooklyn Bowl

Pictured: Kanye West’s surprise performance at a Pitchfork party in 2010

New York's best things to do 2012

Best music venue for a secret show: Brooklyn Bowl

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Saucing up this Williamsburg alley’s solid bookings of up-and-coming bands are those oh-so-secret shows you don’t hear about until the morning after (curses!). Our top pick this year was comic Maya Rudolph performing Prince songs backed by the Roots, and our all-time fave was Kanye West’s surprise performance at a Pitchfork party in 2010. Questlove’s weekly DJ residency, Bowl Train (Thu 10:30pm; $8, advance $5), has featured surprise guests such as John Legend. Follow @brooklynbowl to keep on top of announcements. • 718-963-3369, brooklynbowl.com—Sophie Harris

  1. 61 Wythe Ave, (at North 11th St)
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Best new store: Piperlime

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The online-shopping favorite’s first brick-and-mortar location manages to translate the eclectic yet browsable feel of the website into a welcoming, lime-green-accented space. Begin by visiting the wall of shoes that curves through the center of the store, currently stocked with seasonal staples like DV by Dolce Vita ankle-wrap booties ($129) and Sam Edelman sequined flats ($130). To help you navigate the large selection, racks are organized by trend (“Cozy fall layers”), price (“Girl on a budget”) and celeb-curated selections (“Rachel Zoe’s picks”). Affordable finds include Minkpink cropped ribbon-yarn sweaters ($79) and Blank NYC skinny cords ($88), alongside pricier items like Capulet faux-leather blazers ($199) and Parker tribal-bead-and-silk combination minidresses ($352).—Carolyn Stanley

  1. 121 Wooster St, (between Prince and Spring Sts)
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Best reason to never leave Brooklyn: The Bell House

  • Critics choice

One of Kings County’s most exciting spots is on a barren industrial block in Gowanus. Since this bar and performance space opened in 2008, it has established itself as the go-to venue for comedy, music and dance parties. It was a bellwether for the transformation of the ’hood, and it continues to act as a community booster; check out an upcoming benefit for the nearby Film Biz Prop Shop (Nov 9 at 7pm; $40).—Amy Plitt

  1. 149 7th St, (between Second and Third Aves)
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Best not-quite-gay-but-almost-gay bar: Branded Saloon

  • Price band: 2/4

Yes, we can all just get along. It’s not unusual for gays to patronize straight bars and vice versa, but few places cater to both demos as successfully as this drinkery, which nicely fills a void in central Brooklyn’s queer nightlife. Virtually every evening here is a unique scene: You’ll find drag-queen trivia, rowdy football fans, karaoke, burlesque shows, and live music by both gay and straight artists. What never changes is the friendly and attentive staff, and the welcoming, cheerful vibe.—Ethan LaCroix

  1. 603 Vanderbilt Ave, (at Bergen St)
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New York's best things to do 2012: Best place to dance: Mister Sunday

Best place to dance: Mister Sunday

  • Critics choice

There’s no better spot for boogying in the sun—beer in hand and surrounded by beautiful revelers—than promoters and resident DJs Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin’s seasonal shindig. The party has boasted an astounding, wide-ranging guest list—Detroit electronic-house honcho Omar-S, the Horse Meat Disco stallions and electronic-music maverick Four Tet have all graced the decks. But it’s the residents themselves, and the throwdown’s supremely chilled, loosey-goosey vibe, that seal the deal. While this year’s series has ended, Carter and Harkin have confirmed that the party will return next summer. Roll on, Memorial Day. • Visit mistersaturdaynight.com for more information.—Bruce Tantum

Best bar for a quiet conversation: Burp Castle

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Even the indoor voice your kindergarten teacher insisted on is too loud at this East Village beer sanctuary. Anyone who speaks above a hushed whisper will be shushed by the vigilant barkeeps, but that works in your favor if you’re trying to get to know a date or catch up with a friend. There’s no blaring music either (soothing monastic chanting plays during happy hour), so not only can you hear yourself think, you can actually understand the person sitting less than a foot away without either of you having to shout.—Sarah Bruning

  1. 41 E 7th St, (between Second and Third Aves), 10003
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Best new third space: Claire Tow Theater

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

In recent years, the city’s big theater institutions have come to a paradoxical realization: To grow, they must go small. That is, to cultivate the next generation of risk-taking artists and audiences, they need to offer diminutive spaces and affordable tickets. In June, Lincoln Center Theater cut the ribbon on this neat black box that includes an inviting bar and terrace with lovely views of the Lincoln Center campus. Along with Roundabout Underground and BAM’s new Fishman Space, the Tow proves that size does matter.—David Cote

  1. 150 W 65th St, (at Broadway)
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Best NYC-focused museum: The New-York Historical Society

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

While there are many citycentric institutions that we love—the New York Transit Museum, the City Reliquary and the Museum of the City of New York, to name just a few—this Upper West Side museum wins out due to the sheer breadth of its collection. Many of its holdings—from vintage toys to Tiffany lamps—are on view in the open-storage galleries on its fourth floor. A years-long renovation, completed in 2011, made exhibits more compelling and interactive, helping visitors gain a clearer, deeper understanding of the city’s past.—Amy Plitt

  1. 170 Central Park West, (between 76th and 77th Sts)
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Best camp screening event: Chelsea Classics with Hedda Lettuce at Clearview Chelsea

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Once a week, the ever-bubbly green-topped drag queen takes over this movie theater on the West Side to provide a comedic fluffing before a (typically) campy flick. Past screenings have included Zsa Zsa Gabor vehicle Queen of Outer Space, horror classic Carrie and goofy ’80s comedy Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. After the show, head to XES Lounge and present your ticket for a free drink. Next event: Gigi; Thu 1 7, 9:30pm.—Tim Lowery

  1. Clearview Chelsea 260 W 23rd St , between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 10011
  2. Until Thu Mar 27
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New York's best things to do 2012: Best video store: Video Free Brooklyn

Best video store: Video Free Brooklyn

  • Critics choice

Rediscover the thrill of scouring shelves at this ten-year-old Carroll Gardens shop, revamped by film critic (and former TONY contributor) Aaron Hillis this past summer. The storefront, though tiny, boasts a solid selection of new indies, cult TV shows, Criterion discs and animated features to rent, harkening back to the cool, long-shuttered video stores of the ’90s and early aughts. • 718-855-6130, twitter.com/vfbrooklyn. DVDs $3.50; Blu-rays $4; $1 off all rentals on Wednesday.—Tim Lowery

  1. 244 Smith St between DeGraw and Douglass Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn


Users say

1 comments
bart boudrez
bart boudrez

Very well done,goos information about NY,like it