Chelsea certainly puts the art in the heart of New York. The neighborhood is home to dozens of galleries with the best free art in NYC on view—from Gagosian to David Zwirner galleries—and the newly minted Whitney Museum of American Art, one of the best museums in the city. Once you've had your fill, head to the High Line to lounge on tree-lined paths with views of the river, then head to one of the best Chelsea restaurants or bars, like Del Posto and the NoMad. The sky's the limit in this neighborhood!
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The best things to do in Chelsea
Theater review by Helen ShawThere are two different pieces inside Okwui Okpokwasili's Poor People's TV Room—one that is deeply informed by Nigerian political history, and one that washes over you as a mysterious chaos. I experienced them in syncopated time, because I read about the former after experiencing the latter. So, will you recognize the oblique references to Nigerian market bombings? Will you recognize the Igbo women's anti-imperialist protest actions? You can enter into Okpokwasili's dance-theater work either knowing or not. Knowledge is power, but ignorance is a drug: one that lets you surrender swiftly to her dream world of fury, loss and tremendous unseen energies.The preshow movement sequence is as beautiful as a stand-alone installation: It plays with silhouettes and doubling by using the set's main feature, a long wall made of stretched plastic. Designer Peter Born has set this sheeting at a diagonal across the New York Live Arts stage. And as we enter, Katrina Reid stands in front of it—frozen, backlit, back swayed, the heel of her hand to her forehead—while Okpokwasili shimmers like her brighter shadow, undulating in red light behind the blurring plastic. This is before the show begins. It's beside the point to talk about sequence in something that bleeds between dance-with-text and play-with-movement, but “scenes” in Poor People's TV Room include: a room tipped on its side that is righted by being seen in a video projection; a kind of ceremony for a woman w
Bears, wolves, and otters, oh my! This multi-room bar and club has every caniform you can cruise your way into. You’re guaranteed to find a furry partner at this bondage party, where your wildest fantasies and fetishes come to life. A strict dress code of leather, rubber, belts, and jocks is enforced on the second floor, but the rest of the club is open to any piece of clothing (or lack there of).
Wind your way through 50 tables hosted by neighborhood eateries at this 17th annual downtown food festival, hosted by the Grand St. Settlement. Pile up a plate with unlimited bites, past plates have included honey-tabasco–drizzled chicken ’n’ waffles from Clinton St. Baking Company and vegetarian curry with puff pastries by Fung Tu, and sip on the Wren’s specialty habanero-tequila cocktail (grenadine, pink peppercorn). Once you've had your fill, test your luck in the “wheel of good fortune” silent auction and raffles.
The wry Austrian artist’s latest show includes the newest versions of his audience-activated “One Minute Sculptures” that first appeared 20 years ago. Here viewers are invited to interact with midcentury modern furniture.
During the 1980s, the veteran sculptor switched dramatically from hanging abstract sculptures to the pre-Columbian–inspired wall reliefs presented here.
Hosts Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney have recruited some of the city’s most mediocre dance crews to face off for eternal glory (and retribution for being picked on at middle school dances). Big-name guest judges preside over the Cabbage Patches, Whips, Nae Naes and Stanky Legs. Beware of sprains.
In addition to her skills as a chameleonic singer and actor, Amber Martin is a consummate host who has spent years at the hub of the downtown alt-performance world. Every Monday at Sid Gold’s, Chelsea’s swank retro piano bar, she invites a different pal to perform an hour-long set of music and/or stories. The chummy party vibe continues afterward, when people are encouraged to stick around to mingle or even sing a song or two themselves.