Entertainment Places NYC
Al Hirschfeld Theatre
Originally the Martin Beck Theatre, this spectacular building was renamed in 2003 when it was purchased from the Beck family. When it opened in 1924 to great acclaim, it proceeded to be the venue for some of Broadway’s best-loved shows for decades, including Pirates of Penzance, Romeo and Juliet, The Crucible, Guys and Dolls, Hair and many more. Vast and opulent, it has seating over 1400 for performances, with as many as 200 dressing rooms for actors backstage.
If booking last minute, consider attending a weekday or matinee for cheaper tickets. If you’re feeling particularly lucky, the show’s website runs a daily ticket lottery, which offers $40 tickets for that day’s performance. Winners are notified via email three hours before showtime. A limited number of standing-room tickets ($30) may also be offered at the box office (subject to availability, usually only for sold-out shows).
The current production, Kinky Boots, was adapted from a 2005 British indie film, and is Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s smash hit. It tells the story of a doomed English shoe factory unexpectedly saved by Lola, a business-savvy drag queen. Its solid characters and electrifying energy have not been lost on critics: the musical won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2013.
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Founded in 1861, BAM is the country’s oldest performing-arts center. With several neighboring venues located in the Fort Greene area, the complex offers innovative and edgier works of opera, modern dance, music, cinema and theater – everything from Merce Cunningham retrospectives and multimedia shows by Laurie Anderson to avant-garde interpretations of Shakespeare and other classics.
The Italian Renaissance–style Peter J Sharp Building houses the Howard Gilman Opera House (showing opera, dance, music and more) and the four-screen Rose Cinemas, showing first-run, indie and foreign films; the on-site bar and restaurant, BAMcafe, stages free jazz, R&B and pop performances on weekends. A block away on Fulton St is the Harvey Lichtenstein Theater, aka ‘the Harvey’, which stages cutting-edge, contemporary plays and sometimes radical interpretations of classics. Around the corner from the Sharp building is the Fisher Building, with its more intimate 250-seat theater.
From September through December, BAM hosts its acclaimed Next Wave Festival, which presents an array of international avant-garde theater and dance and artist talks. Buy tickets early.
Eugene O’Neill Theatre
The Eugene O’Neill Theatre’s shows have ranged from family-friendly Annie all the way to uproarious The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, with nearly as wild an ownership ride as well – bought and sold numerous times over its nearly a century lifetime. It was originally the Forrest Theatre, then the Coronet Theatre, and was finally christened the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in 1959. Among the factoids, playwright Neil Simon owned it before selling in 1982 to its current owners.
Museum of Modern Art
One of the city’s most popular museums, the MoMA gets you up close and personal with Warhol, Rothko, Kandinsky, Braque, Picasso, de Kooning, and other greats as well as lesser-known artists. Not only a palace of visual art, MoMA hosts an incredibly well-rounded selection of celluloid gems, from documentary shorts and Hollywood classics to experimental works and international retrospectives.
Though free, the 4 to 9pm Friday slot draws massive crowds, so be prepared. MoMA gallery tickets are valid for film screenings. The dining options here are superlative as well.