Introduction

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Yes, we know Brooklyn is the new sweet spot for New Yorkers who consider themselves in touch with the zeitgeist of the city. But the fact remains that Manhattan is the primary reason millions risk life, limb and financial ruin to flock to New York City every day. Quintessential New York writer Jimmy Breslin once said, “People born in Queens, raised to say that each morning they get on the subway and ‘go to the city,’ have a resentment of Manhattan, of the swiftness of its life and success of the people who live there.” Although many remain in borough-envy-denial, the reality of this statement holds true even in the new age of the $2 million Red Hook apartment. 

But there is one common denominator—access. If you’ve got the will, and, in some cases the cash, nothing in this city has to be foreign to you if you choose to engage it. Those who come here putting on airs of classist leanings, a higher developed sense of cultural taste or intellectual superiority are usually brought swiftly down to earth by the sheer crush of humanity filling New York’s streets. Few here can avoid contact with the common man or woman, and that’s what continues to make this city great. You never know exactly who you are going to run into and where that chance meeting will lead. In that spirit of adventure, we present you with a starter kit to finding the hidden gems that this incredible city has to offer. Enjoy! 


BEST OF MANHATTAN CONTRIBUTORS: 

Justin Ravitz, Jesse Serwer, Tray Butler, C.J. Sullivan, Francesca Di Meglio, Joshua M. Bernstein, Kari Milchman, Christine Werthman, Adario Strange, Jerry Portwood, Gerry Visco, Alison Woods, J.R. Taylor, Stephanie Barlow, Lisa LaMotta, Hamilton Nolan, Alison Woods, Patricia Abate, Kristine Ducusin, Noelle Stout, Jamie Sharp, Brooke Morton.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY: PAT LEWIS

Photographs by:

David Matthew Walters

Ismael Medina

Introduction

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WELCOME TO BEST OF MANHATTAN (AND BEYOND) 2005

What do Gustav Mahler, Jimi Hendrix, Jenna Jameson,
Federico Garcia Lorca, Greta Garbo, Hillary Clinton and Mike Meyers have in common? Just one thing:
Somewhere along the line, they all realized that they had to come to New York, that it was the place
to be.

We agree.

So, for all our bitching and moaning, we choose one week each year (this
week, as it happens) to put forward particular recognition of the city in all its strange and special
excellence.

We tell of the best places for food, wine and dating; buying books and
lolling about; avoiding cell phone users and finding vintage heels; public sex and private virtue.

We promote mastication, rumination, masturbation and other indoor
and outdoor sporting events.

In our annual Best of Manhattan Issue we have always chosen to include
our annual Reader’s Poll of what’s best in the city. We thank the many readers who wrote in to voice
their often insane opinions, and we place these views first among our Best Of items (and what does
this say about us?).

We advise you to don the tin foil hat you no doubt keep at the ready.

We’ve broken our lists of the City’s Best into six categories: Media
& Politics, Gotham Living, Services, Entertainment, Sports and Eats & Drinks. Within
these categories, you’ll find everything from the weirdest moment of a FOX5 TV broadcast during
last winter’s blizzard to info on where to make an uptown jazz crawl on the first warm nights of spring;
on to word on how to avoid the city’s most noisome summer odors and spots for fall drinking binges.

And we remind you—importantly—that if you have half as
much fun reading this issue as we had in writing it, then we had twice as much fun as you did.

Still, a special thank you to illustrator Mark Poutenis. (His website,
by the way, is markpoutenis.com) And also to long-suffering Quark goddess Christine Baczewska,
as well as pro assistant Kundan Palma. To editorial assistants Mojo Lorwin and Andrea Cuff, we’ll
never pay you what you’re worth. This notice in print will have to suffice.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t name our contributors, but we can’t do so because
the paper needed to go to the printers about three hours ago. The list will be up at nypress.com by
the time this issue is in the nice green boxes.


Introduction

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BEST OF MANHATTAN 2003




BEST
OF MANHATTAN 2003


The big payback.

She was
standing in front of me at the coffee shop. I fess to being agitated, anxious
to get to where I needed to go. There she was, smiling and serene, breathing
deep from the tins of herbal tea leaves. She was mocking me with her tranquility
and flowing orange-and-red robe and shaved head.

What is
there to be happy about? Had she tried finding a job lately? The country is
still at war and will remain at war for a long time to come. More and more nations
are banging down the door of the once-exclusive nuclear club, threatening to
render my childhood fears of atomic warfare quaint in their two-tribes-go-to-war
simplicity. And if you believe the scientists, we’ll be converting fetal
matter into foodstuff by 2012.

Tune up
your fiddle.

But I’m
not a doomsayer. Recreational cynic perhaps, pessimist no. I accept this world
the way it is. As a high-alert stimulation junkie, I even love most of New York
City in 2003. Between the terror warnings, pre-neo-Tokyo branding of all available
public space, automatic rifles on subway platforms and Dark City geographic
re-imaginings—I’ve got more passing through my brain in one hour than
your average Buddhist gets in a year. It’s the life I’ve chosen, and
I’m proud to slog through with what amounts to a smile.

William
Gibson speculated that the streets of Chiba City, Japan, would resemble a research
experiment forever on fast-forward. The survivors are those who adapt rapidly
and exploit their surroundings efficiently. Like the joke about two hikers who
stumble upon a bear in the woods. Before turning tail, one stops to put on running
shoes. The other notes that even with sneakers, he still can’t outrun a
bear. “I don’t need to outrun the bear,” the companion replies, “I just
need to outrun you.”

In New York
City, where per-diem density of life is higher than anywhere else I’ve
lived, careers and fads and relationships and fashions and heroes and goats
are born, nurtured, exploited and euthanized on a quarterly basis. Blink, as
they say, you’ll miss something.

Which brings
me to Best of Manhattan 2003, our catalog of the present and immediate past.
Here you’ll find the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the deserving
and undeserving alternately celebrated and skewered. We don’t claim comprehensiveness,
just comprehension.

Newspapering
is akin to shoveling coal in the bowels of a mighty warship. It’s noble
and impermanent, destined to end up scattered above the decks and in the ship’s
immediate wake. By offering this volume, we remark upon a certain period, more
snapshot than time capsule. Would that we also become a small part of this period,
that we both observe and contribute, we’ll consider our shoveling done.
At least for this week.

—Jeff
Koyen

The following
writers and artists contributed to this year’s Best of Manhattan: Adrienne
Ammerman, Fred Askew, Andrew Baker, Nick Bilton, Jennifer Blowdryer, CXB, Adam
Bulger, Matt Callan, Max Capshaw, Chicklet, Tim Coleman, Katharine Crane, John
Engstrom, Celia Farber, Dan Forbes, Tanja Geis, Gabriella Gershenson, Ron Grunberg,
Adam Heimlich, Philip Henken, Laura Hibit, David Hirschman, Morgan Intrieri,
Nina Ippolito, Andrei Kallaur and The 62, Mary Karam, Lisa Kearns, Jim Knipfel,
Peter Kohman, Pasquale Leonardo, Lane Lipton, Scott Lizama, Don MacLeod, Mike
Manville, Danielle Marin, Dan Martino, Greg Maxwell, Hubert McCabe, Bob McCollough,
Judy McGuire, Jennifer Merin, Daniel Migdal, Kristopher Murry, Jennifer Needleman,
Miriam Parker, Robert Pauliny, Kristina Ramos, William Repsher, Tanya Richardson,
Bob Riedel, Jill Ruchala, Deborah Schneiderman, Allyson Schrager, Alex Schweitzer,
Sarah Shanok, Spencer Sharp, Stephen Silver, Russ Smith, C.J. Sullivan, George
Tabb, J.R. Taylor, Jay Thornton, Meeghan Truelove, Lucia Udvardyova, Spike Vrusho,
Kate Walter, Andy Wang, Steve Weinstein, Jessica Willis, Ken Wohlrob, Alexander
Zaitchik.

Special
thanks to the research crew: Sophia Chang, Josephine Lee, Sara Lenore, Eileen
Mignoni, Tanya Richardson, Tovah Shanok.



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