Everyone knows the best thing about heartbreak, loneliness, and unrequited love is the music. Especially the Smiths. This Valentine's Day, February 14, you can celebrate your love, or lack thereof, with The Sons & Heirs, a Smiths and Morrissey cover band at The Bell House in Brooklyn. (Check out their songs here.) Doors open at 8 pm and the show starts at 9 pm with a Smiths-inspired cabaret. You can buy tickets in advance for $12 or $15 at the door. And yes, there will be lots of alcohol and singles there! The Bell House is located on 149 7th Street off the F and G trains.
149 7th St Brooklyn, NY 11215, United States
+1 718 643 6510
Google map: bit.ly/TNui8e
* Amanda is our Been there local for New York. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/new-york-local-amanda-green.jsp and her own NYC blog here: www.noisiestpassenger.com/. She's also on Twitter: @amandagreen
The Afro-Punk Festival on August 27 and 28 is NYC's last free hurrah this summer. For two days, head to Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park to take in some free music and/or skateboarding and BMX competition. Saturday's headliners include Gym Class Heroes and Santigold. I'll be there Sunday for R&B singers Janelle Monae and Cee Lo Green. Make sure you've got bottled water, cash, and comfy shoes. To get to the park, take the B, Q, or R trains to DeKalb Avenue.
Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn
Google map: bit.ly/rrFxUC
* Amanda is our Been there local for New York. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/new-york-local-amanda-green.jsp and her own NYC blog here: www.noisiestpassenger.com/
Last year, NYC's five boroughs were blessed with temporary public pianos as part of the "Play Me, I'm Yours" exhibition. (Yep, I know it started in London. And it was amazing!) Now the non-profit organization Sing For Hope has provided 88 new pianos for the public to play until July 2. The pianos have been decorated by local artists. The artist Olek crocheted the piano in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood. Last year, I recorded my friend Paul Sahner (video link: vimeo.com/13130922) jamming in Central Park. I'm ready for take two!
If you're an early bird, flock to Central Park's Rumsey Playfield Summerstage for Friday morning concerts from 7-9 a.m. The series kicked off on May 27 with Lady Gaga -- ziplining to the stage and looking fabulously weird, of course -- and ends with Mary J. Blige on September 2. I'm dying to see Jennifer Hudson (6/10), Florence + the Machine (6/24), and Beyoncé (7/1). Enter the park at the 72nd Street entrance at 5th Avenue. It opens at 6 a.m., so come early and caffeinated. If you want to be on national TV, bring a handmade sign and get excited. (Hey, it'll help you wake up!)
We walked from the north side of Central Park up Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem to the Lenox Lounge. It's a famous Harlem jazz bar and club where the likes of Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane plied their trade.
Malcolm X worked here before he found religion.
More recently this place has featured in movies such as Malcolm X (obviously) and American Gangster.
288 Malcolm X Boulevard (between 124th and 125th streets)
New York, NY 10027-4921, United States
This trashy rock bar is the home of punk rock karaoke (Mondays, 10pm) and it has gigs in the basement almost every night. It's free to go for a drink upstairs, where the beer is the cheapest in the area - around $3 per pint. Plus, if you're lucky the barman will also throw in a few New York Dolls stories for you.
59 Stanton Street, New York
Unbelievable stock, preposterously cheap prices, gems from every era and amazing selection of jazz vinyl. Knocks all the overpriced stores in Manhattan into a cocked hat.
Easy to get to from New York City (about an hours journey) and a nice day out in leafy Princeton.
In a sea of cheap Indian and Pakistani restaurants and spice shops on the east side of Manhattan is one of New York's really distinctive Irish bars. Rocky Sullivan's was immortalized by the late travel writer Pete McCarthy when he wrote about reading there at one of the bar's weekly reading nights -- McCarthy's account of being accosted by drunken Glasgow Celtic fans is absolutely hilarious.
They have quite a schedule. Tuesday's is an anti-Bush satire night of stand-up comedians; Wednesday is a literary reading night; Thursday is a pub quiz and Friday and Saturday are hip hop nights. Pretty eclectic.
Rocky's is a real no nonsense New York bar with cheap booze and bar tenders with an attitude. It also has the cosy atmosphere Dublin bars used to have before that city's yuppification.
129 Lexington Avenue, between 28th and 29th Streets;
www.rockysullivans.com; tel: 212 725 3871
Take the 6 Train to Park Avenue South and 28th Street.
This clean cut, corporate sponsored jazz club feels like NY's best kept secret. Good food and potent rum cocktails keep the punters refreshed, whilst the jam sessions give NY's legendary clubs a run for their money. Attached to the new Jazz @ Lincoln Center complex, you may just see legends such as Wynton Marsalis turn up and play with local students. Great value. Get their early and get a table near the stage with jaw dropping views across Central Park.
5th Floor, Broadway at 60th. Columbus Circle Subway.
Great venue for interesting, challenging and creative music in the East Village. John Zorn, Jim O'Rourke, Thurstom Moore, Bill Frisell, Will Oldham, Peter Brotzmann, Marilyn Crispell....
107 Norfolk Street;
tel: 212 358 7501;
Really great CD store. From 60s French pop to free jazz to New York indie to hip hop to free folk to electronica to new weird americana in all its wonderful weirdness. The staff have a rep for attitude, but in many years of shopping there, I have yet to experience anything other than pleasant helpfulness. And if it's good enough for Thurston Moore... (Kims on St Marks place is worth a visit for those odd items which might be out of stock at OM (want to complete that Jandeck collection?) - OM was established by breakaway staff from Kims).
15 East 4th Street
If you can get a hire car (or a New York based friend) to drive you north of NYC then you MUST visit this hippy throw-back village. If you talk to locals in the shops they will tell you stories about Dylan, the Band (and their stay at The Big Pink) and THE 1960's festival. A must for all 50-plussers who watched it all on TV in the UK. A major nostaglia trip is guaranteed!
About 50 miles north of NYC
An East Village Bar which does cracking later night music most nights. It gets rammed around 11pm (ah that's why New York rocks so much). Find yourself a seat out the back where you have a great view of the incongrously big garden and then wander in when the music starts.
Ave C between 4th and 5th Streets; Nearest subway: Bleeker and walk East; www.nublu.net
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