There are few places in the world with a greater concentration of culture than New York City. If you start at 42nd Street and make your way north, you’ll find more theaters, venues, stages, and ballrooms filled with more talented actors, musicians, comedians, and dancers than you could ever hope to see in one lifetime. Yes, it’s a bounty of riches, and on any given night, it’s there for the taking. To help narrow down the selection, we’ve picked a few of our favorite places to score top-notch entertainment. Even better news? They’re just a stones throw (or a subway ride) from SIXTY’s uptown location, 6 Columbus, Central Park.
Opened in 1929, this Upper West Side joint was originally the spot to catch movies and vaudeville. As tastes changed, so did its intended use. Today, the large-but-intimate 2,894-seat theater is one of the best places in the city to catch live music and entertainment. This month, from March 21 through the 23, the Beacon hosts rock wonder Gary Clarke Jr. for a three-night show sure to impress. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld continues his once-a-month residency, where he’ll continue to delight audiences with a set presumably about nothing. Did you ever wonder…
2124 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
A must for patrons of dance, music, film, and the opera, Lincoln Center is the place to get your cultural fix. The multi-building complex is an exquisite example of midcentury architecture, capable of distracting from the stuff on stage—if said stuff weren’t so damn good. This spring, there is much to look forward to, including Mozart’s Requiem, conducted by Manfred Honeck, and an operatic performance of Puccini’s Tosca. For those that love the sound of brass, don’t miss the aptly named program, Jazz at Lincoln Center.
70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
A multi-disciplinary performing arts organization, Symphony Space occupies a spot on the corner of 95th and Broadway with a long and varied history. In 1915, Vincent Astor opened the space as Astor Market, a two-story mini-mall for goods that cost him $750,000 to build. Just two unsuccessful years later, Astor shuttered the venture, selling the property to Thomas J. Healy, who turned the building into two separate venues: The Crystal Palace ice skating rink on top and the Sunken Gardens restaurant below. In 1931, both spaces evolved into theaters. As of 1978, Isaiah Sheffer and Alan Miller took over, creating Symphony Space, which lives on today. Cherished by Upper West Siders, the venue features programming throughout the week, from jazz concerts to book readings.
2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
Smoke Jazz & Supper Club
One of the more intimate venues on our list, Smoke offers world-class jazz in a room that fits just fifty people. Unlike most of the others, you can eat and be entertained. Because everyone knows the best accompaniment to a tenor saxophone is a NY strip steak, medium rare.
2751 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
Sitting in the sumptuous, immaculately kept Carnegie Hall is almost a treat in and of itself. The statuesque structure was built at the turn of the 20th century, and retains the elegance of the time with its red velvet seats and buttercream walls. Thankfully, the venue’s programming is just as remarkable. Though this is certainly the place for those with a classical itch to scratch, Carnegie Hall sates a wide range of interests, with offerings like This Irish American Life, a take on NPR’s podcast of (almost) the same name, and Oh Mama, I’m in Love: A Story of the Yiddish Stage, which explores the Yiddish artists who inspired Broadway.
881 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Carolines on Broadway
Carolines has seen a lot. Its original Chelsea location opened in 1982 as a cabaret and, thirty years in, can brag about being one of the longest-running comedy clubs in the city. In Times Square since the ’90s, Carolines packs the 300-seat house with those eager to listen to some of the best acts in the business. This season, you’ll find familiar faces like 30 Rock‘s Judah Friedlander and famed crank Gilbert Gottfried, all taking time to test out their material on the stage.
1626 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
Photo courtesy of Liam Macleod