Best indoor venue to see a Shakespeare play: Polonsky Shakespeare Center After a long history as an itinerant Off-Broadway company, Theatre for a New Audience has finally moved into a fancy new space in Brooklyn, which is the first theater built in New York that focuses on classical theater since Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont. 262 Ashland Pl., Fort Greene, 212-229-2819, tfana.orgBest outdoor venue to see a Shakespeare play: Delacorte Theatre While the quality of Shakespeare in the Park will vary from show to show, the Public Theater's free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte remains the most democratic theatergoing tradition in New York, with free tickets available each day by waiting in line. Central Park, 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue entrances, shakespeareinthepark.orgBest place to grab a quick and affordable bite before a Broadway show:
Café Edison This essential theater community hangout is a fine place to grab a cup of matzo ball soup with only 15 minutes left before the curtain goes up and compare notes with other patrons on the latest shows in previews. 228 W. 47th St. at the Edison Hotel, 212-840-5000, edisonhotelnyc.comBest Off-Broadway theater to see a new play: Playwrights Horizons In recent years, Playwrights has shown the best track record in terms of producing substantial new plays from rising playwrights, though it is not immune from the occasional dud or two. 416 W. 42nd St., paywrightshorizons.orgBest musical of the year: Matilda It may have lost the Tony Award, but this innovative and tuneful adaptation of the well-known children's novel is a triumph on every level. Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St., us.matildathemusical.com Best place to see a band on the verge: 285 Kent
If you want a musical experience that will make you stumble, confuse your senses or introduce you to something you've never seen or heard, head to Williamsburg. No, not the Music Hall of said Brooklyn neighborhood, but a little further down to Kent Avenue, which still feels like an adventurous place, especially in the dark of night (though that will likely change once the Domino Sugar Refinery is redeveloped). So get there fast. 285 Kent Ave., Williamsburg, twitter.com/285kentHistoric music venue worthy of a comeback: Forest Hills Tennis StadiumBob Dylan played here. So did the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. And after sitting vacant for 16 years, a promoter brought the jams back and a generation of music lovers celebrated. In August, Mumford & Sons sold out the revamped, nearly 17K seat venue in Forest Hills, Queens. The musical future of the stadium, once home to the U.S. Open before Flushing Meadows, is still up in the air. 1 Tennis Place, Forest Hills, foresthillstennis.comBest place to enjoy both music and wine:
Do you like wine? Do you like music? Need we say more? Yes? OK ? So you can enjoy some of the finest wines in town while listening to artists as diverse as Rick Springfield (tonight!) and Scott Weiland. This is New York at its finest. 155 Varick St., 212-608-0555, citywinery.comBest place to get Thor's backstory:
Midtown ComicsJust saw "Thor: The Dark World" and want to read more about him? Midtown Comics has the best selection of comics and graphic novels in town at any of their three locations (all are good, but the Times Square location is our favorite). Beyond the comics, there are also tons of toys, shirts and other fun nerd-friendly ephemera. Downtown, 64 Fulton St.; Grand Central, 459 Lexington Ave., Times Square, 200 W. 40th St.; 212-302-8192, midtowncomics.com
Best bet for a place
that makes a boring subject fun:
Museum of MathematicsA museum about many people's least favorite school subject on a best of list? Can that really add up? (Sorry for that). This 1-year old museum -- geared for youngsters, but don't let that deter you -- helps make the study of math an infinite times more exciting than learning your times tables. 11 E. 26th St., 212-542-0566, momath.orgBest museum for families: Museum of the
Moving ImageWhether you want to immerse yourself in a film series of the works of Julianne Moore or you want to explore the history of filmmaking and learn about Astoria's place in the entertainment industry, this Queens institution is the perfect place for anyone who enjoys spending an afternoon at the movies. 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria, 718-777-6888, movingimage.usBest children's bookstore: Books of WonderSure, you can get children's books at any old bookstore, but if you're serious about what the youngsters read, then New York institution, opened in 1980, should be your first stop. Whether you're looking for the final book in Veronica's Roth's "Divergent" trilogy or a signed first edition of "Charlotte's Web" (better start saving now), this Chelsea book shop is your destination. 18 W. 18th St., 212-989-3270, booksofwonder.com
Best way to see the movies like they used to be: United Palace TheaterMovies returned to the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights, one of the city's Loew's Wonder Theaters, in a big way this month with a screening of "Casablanca." The next screening is "It's a Wonderful Life" on Dec. 22. The ornate United Palace is most frequently used as a concert venue and a church, but it's precisely the sort of lavish place where the original Hollywood showmen meant to exhibit the fruits of their labor. 4140 Broadway, 212-568-6700, unitedpalace.orgBest theater for date night: Paris TheatreLet's be honest: If you're going to take a date to a movie, you're not going to go to a crowded multiplex in Times Square or a cluttered theater in the Village. You want to think romantic, and few spots in the entire city are more romantic than the Paris Theatre, with its old-school single screen and location adjacent to the Plaza Hotel and Central Park. Plus, the theater usually offers intelligent, top-notch fare. 4 W.58th St., 212-688-3800, theparistheatre.com Best theater
meets restaurant: Nitehawk CinemaThe Nitehawk Cinema helped usher in a renaissance in North Brooklyn moviegoing when it opened in 2011. Offering quality independent and commercial fare, plenty of hip revival screenings and other cool events, it'd be a must-visit even without the extensive food offerings, which include menus tied into the current movies and full-on tableside service during all screenings. 136 Metropolitan Ave., 718-384-3980, nitehawkcinema.comBest cinematic bargain: Discount tickets before noon at AMC Theaters Any movie before noon costs $7.50 at all of AMC's Manhattan theaters (save for $7 in Harlem as well as the outer borough theaters). AMC's discount tops a similar one offered by City Cinemas only because there are more AMCs in New York City. Also, don't miss $8 tickets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Williamsburg Cinemas.
The most buzzworthy art show of the year: 'Mike Kelley'
After conceptual artist Mike Kelley committed suicide last year, the art community grieved and hoped for something grand to mark the three-decade's long career of the highly-influential artist. The answer arrived in the large and thoughtful survey of his work on display now at MOMA PS1. It's a deep look at the artists' three-decade long career. momaps1.orgMost remarkable art event of the year: Banksy
Banksy, a British street artist, alerted the world on his website that he'd be coming to the Big Apple for a month-long residency in October. Excitement ensued, and for the entire month, Banksy was never caught creating any of the more than a dozen pieces found across the city. His art is considered graffiti, or vandalism, by some, but mostly Banksy is revered for irreverent, accessible art. The whole city was captivated.