Arts & entertainment

Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza
Nobody actually calls the club Fillmore New York, and the renovations that came with the name change are largely cosmetic, but this is still a great place to see big stars keeping a low profile (the White Stripes playing a late-night gig) and medium heavies like Lily Allen, on their way up to larger spaces. And from the parlor-lit lounge downstairs to the shadowy corners of the balconies, this pleasantly worn old ballroom whispers of New York’s rock past. 17 Irving Pl at 15th St (212-777-6800,

Jazz Standard
The airy, multitiered floor plan of Jazz Standard’s performance room makes for splendid sight lines to match the sterling sound quality, and in keeping with the rib-sticking chow offered upstairs (at restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke barbecue joint), the jazz is often of the groovy, hard-swinging variety, featuring musicians such as pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and trumpeter Dave Douglas. Pianist Fred Hersch’s annual series of duets is a delight. 116 E 27th St between Park Ave South and Lexington Ave (212-576-2232,

Metropolitan Room

Metropolitan Room
The Met Room has quickly established itself as the must-go-to venue for high-caliber nightclub singing that won’t bust your wallet. Regular performers range from rising musical-theater stars to established cabaret aces (including the leonine Baby Jane Dexter and the lacerating English songstress Barb Jungr), plus bona fide legends such as Tammy Grimes, Julie Wilson and Annie Ross. 34 W 22nd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-206-0440,

Morgan Library & Museum
After undergoing a dramatic expansion in which Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano fused the Morgan’s three landmark buildings and built yet more galleries underground, the library reopened its doors in spring 2006. Serving as both museum and research library, the impressive, light-filled space (glass walls in the main pavilion allow visitors to see more of the 1906 Charles McKim building and a naturally lit reading room tops the Madison Avenue structure) is home to an awe-inspiring collection of rare books, illuminated manuscripts, drawings and prints. Among the prized possessions are etchings and drawings by Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, Mary Shelley’s own copy of Frankenstein marked with notes and revisions, and one of the first printed copies of the Declaration of Independence.From May 20 until September 28, all three of the library’s Gutenberg Bibles will be displayed together. On more modern turf, the Morgan hosts a major exhibition of Philip Guston drawings from May 2 to August 31. 225 Madison Ave at 36th St (212-685-0008, Tue–Thu 10:30am–5pm; Fri 10:30am–9pm; Sat 10am–6pm; Sun 11am–6pm. Admission $12; seniors, students and children 12–16 $8; children under 12 free.

Morgan Library & Museum

Museum at FIT
The Fashion Institute of Technology houses one of the world’s most important collections of clothing and textiles (including around 50,000 garments and accessories), curated by the influential fashion historian Valerie Steele. As well as a selection from the permanent collection, temporary exhibitions focus on individual designers or the role fashion plays in society. The next show, Arbiters of Style: Women at the Forefront of Fashion (May 21–Nov 8) focuses on influential women in the fashion world (muses, editors, clients and models, as well as designers such as Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli) from the 18th century onward. Seventh Ave at 27th St (212-217-4558, Tue–Fri noon–8pm; Sat 10am–5pm. Admission free.

Museum of Sex
Don’t expect too much titillation here; displays are devoted to historical documents and items—many of which were too risqué to be made public in their own time—that explore prostitution, burlesque, birth control, obscenity and fetishism. The museum also acquired an extensive collection of pornography from a retired Library of Congress curator, featuring thousands of items, including 8mm films, videos, blow-up dolls and other erotic paraphernalia. Two ongoing exhibitions, Sex in Design/Design in Sex and Action! Sex & the Moving Image, highlight erotic commercial design and the impact of sex on film, TV and the Internet, respectively. 233 Fifth Ave at 27th St (212-689-6337, Mon–Fri, Sun 11am–6:30pm; Sat 11am–8pm. Admission $14.50; students $13.50. Children under 18 not admitted.

Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America
You’ll find all things Nordic here, from the latest Finnish films to modern design by Marimekko and Iitala in the gift shop. From May 2 until August 15, the gallery focuses on contemporary Icelandic art, with works by 20 internationally known artists, and the lively cultural program includes concerts, lectures, readings and child-oriented events. Sample Scandi specialties from a menu designed by Aquavit’s Marcus Samuelsson at theAQ Café. 58 Park Ave between 37th and 38th Sts (212-879-9779, Tue–Sat noon–6pm. Suggested donation $3; seniors, students $2.