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Taylor Mac
Photograph: Ves Pitts

Performance artist Taylor Mac shares his top 5 NYC spots

Get to know one-of-a-kind performance artist, actor, playwright and director Taylor Mac

By Matthew Love
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“When I’m making my work, I tend to think, How is this going to make our city a better city to live in?” says this theater, cabaret and performance-art star. Taking a cue from the likes of lovingly transgressive acts like Ethyl Eichelberger, the 42-year-old sidesteps standard drag to become a glittering, otherworldly creature that oozes sexuality while playfully rejecting gender norms. (Even Mac’s preferred pronoun, judy, is a puckish wink at those who resist changes to the grammatical status quo.) After Hir, Mac plans to perform an experimental 24-hour show—yes, as in 24 straight hours—based on the history of American song, doing judy's part to make sure everyone knows that NYC is still the place for wildly ambitious performance art.

RECOMMENDED: Meet the talents who will be shaping our city

Taylor's top 5 places in NYC

Stuyvesant Square Park
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Dan DeLuca

1. Stuyvesant Square Park

Things to do

Stuyvesant Park is so nice and so lovely, and it used to be where all the gays would cruise in the ’70s. It’s very straight-laced now, but it’s my hope that the queers will somehow take it back, like they have taken Julius’s back and made it more fun. How do we encourage that? I think we should just tell people, in print, “Stuyvesant Park: There are these great orgies happening there.”

2. The Lounge at Dixon Place

Bars Lounges Lower East Side

I don’t go to the bar at Dixon Place enough, but I have this idea that I’ll go there, make a commitment to going there every night for a month to see whatever’s in the space and just hang out with the people that come. There’s always somebody that’s fun to talk to, and they’re game to talk. Usually there’s a performance, but it allows for conversation to happen. It’s a nice environment. It makes me feel like bohemia may be a little bit alive in New York.

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East River Park
Photograph: Anna Simonak

3. East River Park

Attractions Kips Bay

I like to ride my bike along the East River Park and the walkway along the East River, because it doesn’t feel so popular. It feels a little forgotten about, a little less wooshy. It’s just so nice, even in the winter.

4. Café Loup

Restaurants French West Village

Café Loup is old-school New York, French-American. There’s always some intellectual in there having some deep conversation over wine. The waiters have been there forever, and there are all these screaming queens. The joy is to go there regularly: It’s consistent in a city full of change.

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5. Pangea

Restaurants Italian East Village

Most people I think wouldn’t really enjoy Pangea. You walk past all the restaurants on First Avenue, and then you get to Pangea, and there’s like, five people in it. It’s quiet, and there’s some kind of art show in the back, and then there’s a group that has come every Friday night for the last 10 years to hang out with each other. It’s not very hip: It’s not so polished and it’s kinda dirty, but I like it there.

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