What the guidebooks won't tell you

Our editors chose the city's most vital places, people and things-and then tracked down un-Googleable, ultra-valuable tips about each. Plus some quizzes to see what you already know.

Anthology Film Archives

Led by the indefatigable Jonas Mekas, this East Village treasure, which opened in 1970, is a mandatory destination for all lovers of—and newbies looking to explore—avant-garde film and video. Case in point: upcoming works by the Nihon University Cinema Club and Kasper Collin’s radical-jazz doc, My Name Is Albert Ayler.

The secret:
Before it was screening retrospectives of Hollis Frampton and Alexander Kluge, the AFA building was home to the Second Avenue Courthouse. Holding cells occupied the current location of the 72-seat Maya Deren Theater, and the 192-seat Courthouse Theater was the magistrate’s courtroom from 1917 through the early ’60s. In an odd twist of fate, Mekas and his filmmaker brother, Adolfas, were arraigned at the courthouse in 1955 for not paying their printing bill on issue vol. 1, no. 2, of their seminal magazine, Film Culture. They stiffed a group of Franciscan monks who owned a printing press in Brooklyn. 32 Second Ave at 2nd St (212-505-5181, anthologyfilmarchives.org)