The CMJ Music Marathon hits New York City Oct. 19-23, with scheduled performances from Two Door Cinema Club, Surfer Blood, School of Seven Bells and hundreds more. But CMJ festival 2010 aside, NYC is an endless playground of neighborhoods, art, culture, food, drink, kookiness and, best of all, surprises. Here are 10 fun activities and events to do in the Big Apple during CMJ festival week (MetroCard not included).
Rock the Mic
Karaoke in Midtown Manhattan's Koreatown is pretty much a Gotham rite of passage. Give the pros a run for their money at Chorus Music Studio Inc., a favorite of locals for its disco balls and blinged-out chrome decor, multi-lingual songbooks and the option of renting private rooms or belting one out for your fans in the main area. Don't worry, there's a full bar (and a happy hour), so go crazy.
Instead of just listening to bands, how about seeing musicians captured through art? Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk are just a few of the icons photographed by great jazz photographer Herman Leonard, whose black-and-white masterworks are currently on display in a free exhibit at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Titled 'In the Best Possible Light: Herman Leonard's Jazz,' the show is a collaboration with downtown music photography mecca Morrison Hotel Gallery.
New York truly is the city that never sleeps, and you can get pretty much whatever you want whenever you want -- even a blowdry, cut, perm or extensions. Round-the-clock beauty salons abound, but Hair Party 24 Hours is one of the best. Like its sister salon in Seoul, South Korea, the spacious Madison Avenue joint is surprisingly busy in the witching hours. Perfect time for a post-show touch up, right?
Jump on the L Train and get off at the Bedford Ave. stop in Brooklyn, but rather than mingle with the hipsters parading the strip of cool cafés and vintage shops, make like a yogi and head directly to Bikram. Yes, Williamsburg houses an official Bikram yoga studio -- the hot yoga sequence founded by Indian guru Bikram Choudhury. Each 26-posture, 90-minute class goes down in a room heated to 105 degrees. First-timers get a week's worth of yoga for the price of a class ($20). Nothing like a good schvitz to exorcise your demons -- or get rid of last night's hangover.
Most of Manhattan's rooftop pools have shut down for the season, but nestled in the heart of Times Square is Room Mate Grace, a cheap chic hotel whose indoor pool is always a party. Complete with swim-up bar, sauna and two megasize steam rooms, this lobby oasis is all about good times. A poolside DJ spins five nights a week, no jacket required.
If you like your gin with a chaser of good fortune, you're in luck at Employees Only. The crowded little West Village hangout rocks a faux-speakeasy vibe inspired by the 1920s, wherein mustachioed bartenders mix proper cocktails (try the Ginger Smash), oysters are served on the half shell and and a bona fide fortune teller receives curious clients in the bar's entrance window. The neon sign proclaiming "Psychic" might not be subtle, but, hey, this is New York.
In New York, a veritable fleet of restaurants on wheels bring your favorite dishes to you. But this ain't no street meat: Most food trucks specialize in high-quality takes on trendy food items. They tend to drop anchor in a different predetermined location each day, so regulars in each 'hood know when they can get their fix. Some, like Rickshaw Dumpling Bar truck and Belgian dessert truck Wafels and Dinges, have websites where fans can get up-to-the-minute updates on the truck's location.
Every day is a luau at Otto's Shrunken Head, the tiki bar that brings a Polynesian island vibe to Manhattan's East Village. We're talking Mai Tais, bamboo bar, colored lights, fantastic rum selection and a signature drink that you have to try to believe. Festooned tropical libations are served in crazy tiki mugs so coveted they require a $5 refundable deposit to discourage pilfering. Instead of grass skirts, though, you'll find DJs and live bands spanning the spectrum from punk to folk and everything in between. Aloha!
We all know the music business is pretty much a man's world. But what about art? Chances are, when you hear the term Pop Art, Andy Warhol comes to mind. Yet a bevy of female Pop artists also contributed to this movement, often alongside the dudes whose work we're more familiar with. The Brooklyn Museum's new exhibit 'Seductive Subversion' showcases more than 50 works of significant women-created Pop Art from 1958 to 1968 and is the first show of its kind.
Why not take a trapeze class? For real. Circus school The Trapeze Loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is open to novices and veterans alike. Classes range from single and double static trapeze to acrobatics, hula hoop and handstands, contortion and lots more. Overall, it's a great workout that improves body awareness -- and, most of all, it's tons of fun. Come on, swing a little! Check out www.thetrapezeloft.com for class schedule and more information.
Download and listen to free music, Internet radio and MP3s; or watch free music videos, concerts and live performances. Use the music search function and read the blog to find information on new, established and indie rock recording artists. Get free music downloads on the MP3 blog and more on Spinner.
Please enter your information below to receive alerts
Spinner news in your mailbox. Top Articles, reviews, photos & more.