Get us in your inbox

Public Records
Photograph: Cody GuilfoylePublic Records

Best of 2019: Our staff on the year's top plays, restaurants and more

Give it up for the first annual Golden Pigeon Awards! Our savvy experts pick the very best of 2019.

Written by
Time Out New York editors

Looking for the best of 2019—that is, the things that really blew away our staffers over the past 12 months? Look no further. Welcome to our first-ever Golden Pigeon Awards. Discover the best new hangout in Bushwick, the Broadway shows you need to see, can’t-miss art exhibits, one of the best New York movies in quite a while and more. Bonus: There’s still time to experience all of these essentials for yourself.

Best of 2019

  • Restaurants
  • Turkish
  • Bushwick

Sure, the food is good, but it’s the quirky digs and festive scene that make this newbie essential. The backstory isn’t bad either: Some midwesterners brought this Wisconsin supper club to Bushwick, relocating almost the entire original restaurant, including the full, tassel-covered bar in all its color-popping glory. If the dining room—decked out in bright-red leather chairs, vintage plates and kitschy knickknacks—is booked up, order a drink on the rooftop (if it’s warm enough) or catch bands in its music venue, the excellently curated Sultan Room.

Time Out Tip: Craving on-the-go eats after your night on the town? Duck into its attached takeout spot, Döner Kebab.—Emma Orlow

Best midtown mind-bender: ZeroSpace

With an immersive pop-up appearing in NYC seemingly every day now, it can be hard for one to stick out from the pack. But this futuristic playground has managed to do just that, thanks to its inventive design. Around the corner from Madison Square Garden, ZeroSpace surrounds visitors with laser beams, projections, videos and other visual delights. Need a place to start? “The Show” is a Sleep No More–like experience in which 15 actors guide you through an alien-tinged narrative, while “The Museum” lets guests explore the art sans the story.

Time Out tip: A party dubbed Club ZeroSpace promises a “5-D nightclub” that’s ideal for tripping out.—Will Gleason

Midtown (

  • Movies
  • Movies

Don’t get us started on the old Pavilion movie house, a pest-ridden dump that had somehow become a Brooklyn institution over the decades. No one missed the theater that much when it shuttered in 2016, but in December 2018, it made a phoenixlike comeback as a second outpost of the Nitehawk brand (still keeping it real in Williamsburg). The fresh digs house seven generously sized screens with a booming sound system. More importantly, you can order from a full menu during screenings—try the signature tater tots and a nice cocktail. The programming includes classic Hitchcock revivals, kid-friendly romps (it is Prospect Park, after all) and cutting-edge indies.

Time Out tip: The series “Spoons, Toons & Booze” offers a potent combo of nostalgic Saturday-morning cartoons, endless cereal and all the alcoholic drinks.—Joshua Rothkopf

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Flushing

A real rice-roll moment is happening in New York right now, but you’ll want to hit up OG Joe’s to truly experience the wonders of these springy noodles. Joe’s Steam Rice Roll began as a stall in a narrow Flushing mini-mall, but it now boasts spots across the city, serving nearly translucent noodles stuffed with meat and a few veggies, then doused in sweet soy sauce.

Time Out tip: Despite costing only six bucks, the served-on-Styrofoam dishes are a full meal.—Bao Ong


Best lesser-known- artist revival: “Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet”

We’re pretty mesmerized by Felix Vallotton’s exhibition at the Met, the first monograph of the Swiss artist at an American museum in 30 years. Though somewhat underappreciated, Vallotton, a Post-Impressionist who worked in late-19th-century Paris, was one of the founders of Les Nabis, a group of Symbolists whose view of painting as “a flat surface covered with colors” influenced later generations of abstract artists. The sense of existential unease that pervades Vallotton’s bourgeois domestic scenes was also ahead of its time.

Time Out tip: Don’t miss the artist’s stark, black-and-white woodcuts. These vignettes of fin de siècle Paris depict political street brawls, pedestrians battling the rain and midafternoon trysts.Howard Halle

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Upper East Side (

  • Bars
  • Music venues
  • Gowanus

This hi-fi watering hole has three rooms: a lively space for mingling in big, comfy booths and listening to vinyl, an airy café with an all-plant-based menu and a back joint for dancing the night away. But the best thing about Public Records might not even be the tunes: The beverage program centers on cocktails concocted from homemade, healthy tonics, and some are nonalcoholic (and amazing tasting). A nightlife option that leaves you feeling fresh the next day? Sign us up.

Time Out tip: Try the sauce-free blood-orange celery soda.—Collier Sutter

  • Things to do
  • Lower East Side

Nothing is half-baked at this aptly named art studio, from the paint to the expert advice. Even if you don’t consider yourself an aspiring Van Gogh, these courses will help you to walk out with a new skill under your belt. All the workshops are led by professional artists, the supplies are top notch, and the space is cool and contemporary. You’ll definitely want
to display the final product in your pad.

Time Out Tip: Opt for the Tape Shit class,
which teaches folks how to create geometric designs using tape and matte gel medium (just like they do in art school) to make perfectly straight lines.—
Collier Sutter

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Talk about a tough sell: a luxury hotel located directly across from the runways at JFK Airport? Please. But since moving into Eero Saarinen’s landmark terminal from the jet-set era, this lodge has become one of NYC’s most unusual places to take a staycation in years. Oh, yeah: Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s food and beverage concepts are also on point. Where else can you hop in a helicopter to brunch or sip cocktails in an infinity pool that overlooks planes taking flight?

Time Out Tip: Visit Connie, an on-site cocktail lounge that’s tucked within a renovated 1950s jet.—Will Gleason

John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica (

  • Movies
  • Drama

Indie filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie are rising princes in NYC, a place they capture on film with unparalleled immediacy. After 2014’s Heaven Knows What and 2017’s Good Time, their electrifying latest—about a Diamond District jeweler and gambling addict, portrayed by Adam Sandler—might finally catapult them into the Oscar race. The movie shows us a side of Sandler that’s never been seen: manic and slightly obnoxious, yes, but also vulnerable and right on the edge of personal catastrophe. (Distributor A24 is putting its weight behind a Best Actor campaign.)

Time Out tip: New Yorkers will dig the many midtown locations featured in this flick, but it’s the sight of Frozen’s Idina Menzel (Strong Island, represent), playing Sandler’s fed-up wife, that will bring down the house.—Joshua Rothkopf

  • Restaurants
  • Food court
  • price 1 of 4

We really like eating around the city, and we're guessing you do, too. So lucky for all of us, we've packed all our favorite restaurants under one roof at the Time Out Market New York. The DUMBO location in Empire Stores has fluffy pancakes from the venerable Clinton Street Baking Co., thin-crust pizza from Patsy Grimaldi’s Juliana’s, Middle Eastern bites from Miss Ada, fried chicken from Jacob’s Pickles, Japanese comfort food from Bessou, cookie dough scoops from DŌ and more amazing eateries—all cherry-picked by us. Chow down over two floors with views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. 

    You may also like
    You may also like