BEST unofficial lesbian restaurant
Cowgirl Hall of Fame 519 Hudson St (corner of 10th St), cowgirlnyc.com. Maybe it’s the unbridled finger licking or the rustic-eclectic Desert Hearts décor, but this West Village barbecue joint is quite popular with the lezzies. The juicy, half-pound Cowgirl Burger is ecstasy on a roll.
BEST late night sushi
Bamboo 52 344 W 52 St (between 8th & 9th Aves), bamboo52nyc.com. It’s after midnight and you’re a little blotto from the free cocktails at your friend’s wrap party. Stumble over to Bamboo 52 for sushi/sashimi and keep partying! If it’s your birthday, you’ll get 5 free drinks.
BEST gourmet latkes
The Noho Star 330 Lafayette St (at Bleecker St), nohostar.com. Topped with succulent tuna sashimi and wasabi crème fraiche, these are not your Bubbe’s potato pancakes. For 25 years, Noho Star has been serving up comfort food on crack. Wash it all down with a cold barley tea or a kickass Bloody Mary.
BEST 24/7 fast food
Gray’s Papaya 2090 Broadway (at W 72nd St), no Web site. The menu may be limited, but nothing says iconic New York quite like this hot dog joint. And just like the city that never sleeps, Gray’s Papaya never closes. Sample the whimsical non-alcoholic coconut champagne and banana daiquiri with your dog.
BEST everything bagels
H&H Bagels 2239 Broadway (corner W 80th St), hhbagels.net. Stuffing your face with an enormous garlicky, onion-laden, salt-encrusted roll is not you at your sexiest. But sometimes you need colossal carbs to feel good, especially after a night of holiday partying.
BEST VEGETARIAN JOINT
Curly’s Vegetarian Lunch 328 E 14th St #B (between 1st & 2nd Aves), curlyslunch.com. This cute storefront hangout does a fabulous brunch, lunch and dinner for the health-concious and meat-averse.
BEST FUSION FARE
Zuzies 40-17 30th Ave (at 41st St), Queens, zuzies.com. Come hungry to this new Astoria bistro inside Mix Cafe and Lounge, where the menu mashups include lasagna salad, chocolate and chorizo paninis and southwestern egg rolls.
BEST SAUSAGE EVEN A LESBIAN Could LOVE
Tia Pol 205 10th Ave (between 22nd & 23rd Sts), tiapol.com. At Tia Pol, you can actually enjoy the sausagefest. Try this Chelsea tapas place’s chorizo with patatas bravas and shrimp with garlic and oil for a spicy night.
BEST RIB-STICKING AMERICAN FARE
Tipsy Parson 156 9th Ave, tipsyparson.com. This newcomer offers gourmet versions of your mom’s cooking. Slurp the glazed pork ribs with a side of mac ‘n’ cheese, and don’t forget the buttermilk chive biscuit.
BEST LATE-NIGHT BREAKFAST
Donut Pub 204 W 14th St (at 7th Ave), no Web site. Dunk on this: Conveniently located near the L train, Donut Pub takes care of your post-bar sugar cravings. It’s open 24/7 with an array of standard and unusual donuts.
Shake Shack Madison Square Park, 23rd St (between 5th & Madison Aves), shakeshack. com. It really is the best beef patty in all of New York. Take your canines to the Madison Square dog park during your wait; there’s always a line!
The Spotted Pig 314 W 11th St (at Greenwich Ave), thespottedpig.com. This place never fails to bring out the celeb clientele. Hang out at the bar and enjoy one of this gastropub’s traditional English cask beers—stargazing is free, but don’t touch the goods.
BEST BRICK OVEN PIZZA
Emporio 231 Mott St, emporiony.com. Pizza is much argued over in New York, but Emporio might put the debate to bed. This pizzeria dishes out brick oven combinations with proven palate-pleasing prowess.
BEST SUGAR RUSH
Billy’s Bakery 184 9th Ave (between 21st & 22nd Sts), billysbakerynyc.com. Billy’s Bakery doesn’t just take the cupcake prize; this adorable confectionary raises your glucose level to dangerous, but delicious, levels. Indulge in the chocolate cake with mocha icing or red velvet variety.
BEST CHOCOLATE-DIPPED CUISINE
Swizz Manhattan 310 W 53rd St (between 8th & 9th Aves), 1291swizz.com. Swizz, the theater district’s premier fondue restaurant, can marry its sinfully gooey chocolate concoction with any variety of dippers, plus wine pairings.
BEST VEGAN ICE CREAM FOR NON-VEGANS
Lula’s Sweet Apothecary 516 E 6th St (between Aves A & B), lulassweetapothecary.com. You don’t have to pretend to like dairy-free desserts at Lula’s. This sweet shop’s vegan ice cream is so good, you’ll be asking for seconds.
BEST BAR SNACKS
Vig 27 119 E 27th St (between Park & Lexington Aves), vig27.com. Don’t come here looking for greasy nachos or fried mozzarella sticks: Vig 27 offers more refined fare, like baked brie poppers, french dip panini and chocolate fondue. Pair a small plate with a blackberry cosmo or the signature Lemonade 27 cocktail.
BEST CAMPY COCKTAILS
Vince and Eddie’s 70 W 68th St, vinceandeddiesnewyork.com. Butch/femme couples wanted at this Upper West Side throwback to the 1930s. Sit
at the holly-laden bar and order a retro cocktail
for Christmas all year ‘round. And though she’s not exactly a thing of the past, you might even run into Lady Gaga here (her parents are part-owners).
Lederhosen 39 Grove St (at Bleecker St), leder
hosennyc.com. Owners Uli and Dirk serve “genuine German goodness” daily. Try a wurst (veggie types, order the spaetzle), then wash it all down with a German brew. Prost!
Balaboosta 214 Mulberry St, balaboostanyc. com. Wow your foodie friends with the classic Middle Eastern small plates at this chic yet unpretentious establishment. Balaboosta satisfies with flavorful ingredients in tapas-sized dishes that are perfect for nibbling or sharing.
Biergarten at the Standard Hotel 848 Washington St, standardhotels.com/new-york-city/bars/biergarten. One of the meatpacking district’s newest additions, the Biergarten offers truly Teutonic tippling. Fashionistas line the entrance way at all hours.
La Esquina, 114 Kenmare St (at Lafayette St), esquinanyc.com. This aluminum-paneled restaurant looks like a diner but serves ultra-contemporary twists on traditional Mexican fare. The tequila menu surprises even jaded drinkers.
BEST JUICE BAR
Liquiteria 170 2nd Avenue (at East 11th St), liqui
teria.com. Cleanse and rejuvenate with fresh-pressed delights, liquid meals, heavenly smoothies and crazy juice combinations.
Locande Verde 377 Greenwich St (at North Moore St), locandaverdenyc.com. Brunch
planning can kill your appatite. Let Locande Verde substitute an affordable yet luxurious breakfast in a rustic taverna reminiscent of the Italian countryside. The lemon ricotta pancakes are a must.
BEST GUILT-FREE BAGELS
Hot & Crusty various locations, hotandcrusty. com Trying to shed a few pounds for you holiday finery? The flat bagels at Hot n’ Crusty are the answer. Add a cream cheese schmear to
a multi-grain flat and you’ll still have room
for egg nog.
Dinosaur BBQ 700 W 125th St, dinosaurbarbque.com. Request extra napkins: the Harlem location of this authentic BBQ chainlet rolls out genuine smoky-grilled meats. Though there’s an extensive to-go menu, the draft beer selection makes a personal visit a must.
BEST MEATBALL SANDWICH
Frankie 457 Spuntino 457 Court St, Brooklyn, frankiesspuntino.com. You may swear by your Nana’s meatballs, but this Carroll Gardens favorite ranks up there with the best grandma in the world. Served on Grandaisy Bakery Rosemary Bread, this is one hearty hogie you shouldn’t pass up.
BEST New Italian
Aurora 70 Grand St, Brooklyn, auroraristor ante.com. Transcendence is the only word to describe this Williamsburg hot spot’s Italian fare. The garden area feels like a scene out of Under the Tuscan Sun, and the food and wine are so authentic you forget that Industrial Brooklyn sits beyond the walls.
Eton 205 Sackett St (between Clinton & Henry Sts), Brooklyn, no Web site. A thinner, less-doughy dumpling provides a larger palette of flavor. Chef Eton takes Asian street food inside for a new twist on the traditional potsticker. Also on the creative menu: Hawaiian shaved ice, bubble tea and noodle soups.
BEST OUTDOOR EATING IN WINTER
Roberta’s 261 Moore St (between White & Bogart Sts), Brooklyn, robertaspizza.com. Set in a former garage in Bushwick, Roberta’s is probably the most locavore place in NYC. Even in winter, Roberta’s gets its food from nearby gardens and serves it under a tented outdoor patio lined with plants, herbs and all-natural ingredients.
BEST NON-TRADITIONAL SLIDERS
Pegu Club 77 W Houston St, 2nd Fl, pegu club.com. A pescetarian’s dream, Pegu Club’s seared scallop sliders offer the small burger experience without the red meat. Served with a spicy aioli on baked buns, these bites are the bomb.
BEST CHAI LATTE
Caffe Reggio 119 MacDougal St (between W 3rd St & Minetta Ln), caffereggio.com. Move over, Starbucks: Caffe Reggio’s chai lattes—served in huge glasses—blends just the right amount of milk, potent spices, and a hint of sweetness. No wonder these formerly-specialty drinks are as ubiquitous as a cup of coffee.
BEST BANH MI
Paris Sandwich 113 Mott St and 213 Grand St, parissandwich.com. A little bit Asian, and little bit French—Paris Sandwich’s Vietnamese banh mi blend the best of both worlds. A combination of freshly julienned vegetables, meat or veggie fillings, and variable levels of spiciness on a crusty baguette will set you back about four bucks.
BEST BOUTIQUE FOR GLAM GOODS
Meg 312 E 9th St (between 1st & 2nd Aves), megshops.com. Meghan Kinney has been designing timeless clothing in feminine styles for 13 years out of her East Village location. Meg’s fans adore her keen attention to their womanly curves and fashions that are sensual, not fussy.
BEST RETAIL THERAPY
Macy’s 151 W 34th St (at Herald Sq), macys. com. It’s the world’s largest store, and we’ve no qualms about shopping there. It provides retail addicts an all-encompassing dose of mercantile medicine. Surround yourself in high-end goods, inhale the heady scent of the perfume counter, and drift away on a consumer-friendly cloud.
BEST TOY STORE
Babeland various locations, babeland.com. You didn’t think we meant F.A.O. Schwartz, did you? Babeland’s sexy array of battery-operated playthings, naughty novelties and silicone gizmos keeps us coming—back for more.
BEST kids’ toy store
West Side Kids 498 Amsterdam Ave (corner W 84th St), no Web site. Sidestep the commercial crap at the chain stores and visit this charming corner boutique on the Upper West Side, full of creative playthings for urban kids. Whether you’re looking for books, party favors or an impressive arts-and-crafts set, you’ll find some delightful amusements in your price range.
BEST place for lesbian magazine publishers to find cover models
Cafe Angelique 68 Bleecker St, cafeangelique.com. A lesbian magazine publisher walked into this adorable bistro-style coffee shop and ordered a medium cappuccino from the manager. Many moons later, that latte artist is on our cover. We can’t promise a model scout will find you here, but it can’t hurt to try.
BEST rare books
The Strand 828 Broadway (at E 12th St), strandbooks.com. Impress the sexy librarian in your life with ethnographic art books, poetry anthologies and first-edition classics. If she’s really sexy, she’ll appreciate the erotica/curiosa section—a goldmine of vintage banned books and privately printed smut.
BEST travel gear
Flight 001 96 Greenwich Ave (near Jane St), flight001.com. Remember when an airline
ticket was the ultimate escape from the sordid realities of life? Flight 001 does. Airport security may be a pain, but this travel emporium will make your trip more comfortable with everything from noise-cancelling earbuds to jetlag relief kits.
BEST specialty supermarket
Fairway 2127 Broadway (at W 74th St), fairwaymarket.com. With more than 80,000 square feet of space, Fairway boasts mountains of produce, prepared foods and imported yum-yums. If you’re looking for kumquats or chestnut ravioli, you’ll find them here.
BEST gourmet gift baskets
Zabar’s 2245 Broadway (at W 80th St), zabars.com. Scrambling for a last-minute holiday present? At Zabar’s, you’ll come across the perfect wow-factor gift. Try the NY Treasure Chest, which includes Big Apple classics like black-and-white cookies and cinnamon rugelach.
BEST sneaker store
Converse SoHo Store 560 Broadway (near Prince St), converse.com. If you’re a dyke who doesn’t own 5 pairs of vintage all-star slips, you probably haven’t been to the flagship Converse store. And it’s not just about Chuck Taylor. John Varvatos recently launched a full line of premium leather sneaks and uber-sexy tees.
BEST collection of science oddities
Maxilla and Mandible 451 Columbus Ave (at W 82nd St), maxillaandmandible.com. Discover your inner paleontologist with this semi-creepy shop’s ug bracelets, fish fossils, sculptural seashells and strange skeletons.
BEST LUXURY CONSIGNMENT
Cadillac’s Castle 333 E 9th St (near 1st Ave), no Web site. This vintage and consignment shop has more designer threads than Chelsea Clinton’s wedding dress. Women’s shoes, bags and apparel spill from its racks, attracting vintage hounds from all over the city.
BEST MARKET BY A CELEBRITY CHEF
Eataly 200 5th Ave (at 23rd St), mariobatali.com. Everything Mario Batali touches does turn to gold. The celeb chef’s colossal new Italian market features delectable take-home edibles and award-winning in-store restaurants. We’re licking our chops, followed by a scoop of gelato.
BEST TEA SHOP
McNulty’s Tea & Coffee Co. 109 Christopher St, mcnultys.com. Lesbians and tea are like white on rice. McNulty’s olde New York-style shop sells hard-to-find varieties, from Japanese Sencha to chamomile flowers. If your offer of Chinese Dragonwell doesn’t impress her, nothing will.
BEST ACCESSIBLE ACCESSORIES
Random Accessories 77 E 4th St (between Bowery & 2nd Ave), no Web site. Having something for everyone is an understatement. Go ahead, browse the shelves of greeting cards, baby clothes, pictures frames, barware and more.
BEST OLDE THINGS
Obscura Antiques 280 E 10th St (between 1st Ave & Ave A), obscuraantiques.com. You might find an objet d’art worthy of Antiques Roadshow at this emporium of oddities. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure, right?
BEST SMARTY-PANTS BOOKSELLER
St. Mark’s Bookshop 31 3rd Avenue (at E 9th St), stmarksbookshop.com. This East Village institution stocks bohemian bargains, intellectual literature and a smattering of pop culture tomes. Check the bulletin board for info about anarchist rallies and vegan potlucks.
BEST PLACE TO SHOP AROUND THE GLOBE
Soleil 7143 Austin St, Queens, no Web site. Want to impress your ladyfriend with a fabulous silk scarf from India, Italian boots from Milan or a unique necklace from Israel? Shop for everything here, without leaving Forest Hills.
Tinto Fino 85 1st Ave (between E 5th & E 6th Sts), tintofino.com. This shop specializes in a fine selection of Spanish wines at affordable prices. The employees can even match your taste in California cabs or pinots to a sophisticated Iberian counterpart.
Broadway Panhandler 65 E 8th St (between Broadway & University Pl), broadwaypanhandler.com. Newsflash: lesbians like to cook. And not just cook—they like to covet the kitchenware. To make restaurant-grade nosh at home, stock your cabinets with appliances, tools and gadgets from this culinary supply wet dream.
BEST BOY’S CLOTHING FOR GIRLS
Efor 168 8th Ave (between W 18th & W 19th Sts), eformen.com. Don’t let the URL fool you: Efor may specialize in clothes and accessories for your gay boyfriends, but their ultra-modern threads look sharp on boyish girls too.
BEST WAY TO SHOW OFF YOUR DERRIERE
Jean Shop, 424 W Broadway, worldjeanshop. com. Finding the perfect pair of jeans to fit what your mama gave you is never easy—but at the Jean Shop, you’ll find derriere-defining denim that will enhance your assets.
John Derian Company Inc. 6 E 2nd St (between 2nd Ave & Bowery), johnderian.com. No, it’s not a quaint French term for something done in the bedroom—but you may still want to decorate your boudoir with John Derian’s gorgeous paper-based home decor. Paperweights, trays, wall hangings and furniture bear Derian’s signature vintage aesthetic.
BEST GUILT-FREE FASHON
Au H20 84 E 7th St (near 1st Ave), auh2oshop. com. This hip and happening recycled clothing, shoes and accessories boutique is the epitome of green commerce. Be sure to check out the permanent $10-and-under rack that is a fixture in this store full of guilt-free fabrics.
BEST TRENDY TOGS
Pinky Otto 307 E 9th St, pinkyotto.com. Ryo Liu designs with super-girly iconoclasts in mind. Think sophisticated prints, creative swaths of color and ultra-feminine silhouettes just made for femmes and futches.
BEST PLACE FOR A CHOCOHOLIC TO FALL OFF THE WAGON
Jacques Torres 285 Amsterdam Ave (between 73rd & 74th Sts), mrchocolate.com. We love the self-proclaimed Mr. Chocolate’s bean-to-bar sweets, but blame him for our holiday sugar indulgences. Have your fill, then meet us at the next 12-step meeting of Chocoholics’ Anonymous.
BEST REASON TO BRING BACK LETTERs
Greenwich Letterpress 39 Christopher St (between Waverly Pl & 7th Ave), greenwichletterpress.com. Texting just won’t cut it when you’re spilling your heart out. Put pen to paper on handmade, personalized stationery instead.
BEST ACCIDENTALLY LESBIAN JEWELRY
Versani 152 Mercer St, versani.com. Although CEO and designer Ara creates his baubles for rock stars like Lenny Kravitz, perhaps he didn’t realize that his chunky, bold creations would appeal to another demographic—lesbians!
BEST ANTIQUE SHOP
The Upper Rust 445 East 9th Street (btw 1st Avenue & Avenue A), no Web site. The sheer abundance of furnishings, knick-knacks and odds and ends will draw you into this fascinating antique labyrinth. That vintage corner table, Viking Glass ashtray or antique map of New York is here waiting for you.
BEST BAG FOR ANY OCCASSION
High Way, 238 Mott St, highwaybuzz.com. Japanese designer Jem Filippi’s designs are now available at the MoMA boutique, and that’s a distinct clue that her chic, multipocket purses and bags are special. Pick up one of her lightweight, affordable creations at her Nolita shop or online.
BEST AUTHENTIC ITALIAN PASTRY
De Lillo Pastry Shop, 606 East 187th St, Bronx, delillopastryshop.com. Since 1925, the De Lillo family has been serving lip-smacking Italian pastry, direct from Calabria to the Bronx. Ask for a mix of their biscotti and butter cookies.
Sahadi’s, 187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, sahadis.com. While Sahadi’s has every Middle Eastern nibble known to man, it’s the plain old traditional hummus that will blow your mind. For dessert, try the cinnamon covered almonds and other nut varieties.
BEST SHOES FOR REAL PEOPLE
Soula 185 Smith St (at Warren St), Brooklyn, soulashoes.com. In a city of four-inch stilettos, where can a practical lesbian find her sole mate? Soula Shoes to the rescue. This Boerum Hill shop’s selection blends comfort with high fashion, making it possible for a utilitarian dyke to walk on cobblestones without twisting her ankle.
BEST PLACE TO BUY A SKATEBOARD AND A FLORAL ARRANGEMENT
Park Delicatessen 533 Park Pl (at Classon Ave), Brooklyn, parkdelibk.com. More like a dry goods general store than a deli, this little-bit-of-everything shop peddles hipster baby clothes, fresh flowers, stationery, avant-garde housewares and, yes, skateboards.
BEST PLACE TO TRADE IN CLOTHING
Beacon’s Closet, various locations, Brooklyn, beaconscloset.com. You don’t need to get married to trade something old for something new (or borrowed or blue). Inside this cavernous Williamsburg thrift joint (or tinier Park Slope outpost), vintage pieces mingle on color-coded racks with designer samples from next year’s lines. Sell your clothes for extra cash or store credit.
BEST CANDY SHOP
Dewey’s Candy 141 Front St, Brooklyn, deweyscandy.com. The days of penny candy might be gone, but candy stores live on. Dewey’s in DUMBO features your favorites from yesteryear as well as today’s snackalicious sweets. The oversized lollipops will make anyone feel like a kid.
BEST PLACE TO SUPPLY YOUR NINE CATS
PS9 169 N 9th St (between Bedford & Driggs Aves), Brooklyn, ps9pets.com. For organic kibble, all-natural toys and the hottest feline fashions, Williamsburg’s PS 9 goes above and beyond. Go ahead, torture your pet with YouTube-ready costumes!
BEST 24-hour delivery
Big Nick’s Pizza Joint 70 W 71st St, bignickspizzeria.com. From foot long hot dogs to shrimp scampi to warm pecan pie, Big Nick’s 1200-page menu offers it all. They deliver smokes and beer with your grub—and that’s 24/7 delivery, folks. The pizza ain’t bad either.
BEST CURLY CUT
Jessie James at Marie Robinson Salon 155 5th Ave (between 21st and 22nd Aves), marierobinsonsalon.com. Winter weather is murder on frizz-prone curls, so if you need to get a hold on your Medusa-like locks, see Jessie James. She’s the stylist at this chic Flatiron District salon (not Sandra Bullock’s ex). Jessie can help tame even the most convoluted corkscrews.
BEST legal mouthpiece
Yetta Kurland of Kurland, Bonica & Associates, P.C. 304 Park Ave South, Suite 206, kurlandassociates.com. Whether taking on LGBT legal issues as an attorney, or lobbying for a new hospital in the West Village to replace the shuttered St. Vincent’s, Yetta’s out on the front lines for our rights.
BEST bike repair
Recycle-A-Bicycle 75 Ave C (between E 5th & E 6th Sts) and 35 Pearl St (at Plymouth St), Brooklyn, recycleabicycle.org. If you don’t have a grease-monkey girlfriend to adjust brakes, diagnose noises or fix flats, wheel your wrecked ride over to Recycle-A-Bicycle. You’ll be supporting a community-minded, eco-friendly organization.
BEST HOME FINDER
Meredith Schlosser Prime Real Estate, 95 University Pl, primenyc.com. Schlosser is an expert at matching people with places, believing that it’s important to work with a real estate agent you can trust. Hint: Schlosser is just that person.
BEST ORGANIZATION FOR LESBIAN SENIORS
SAGE 305 7th Ave 6th Fl, sageusa.org. Offering a broad range of services and assistance to LGBT seniors, this national org also throws rockin’ dances for the mature misses.
Hope Veterinary Clinic 390 Atlantic Ave (between Hoyt & Bond Sts), Brooklyn, hopevet.com. Precious pooches and pussies love the holistic massage, acupuncture, physical therapy and wellness care at this lesbian-owned Boerum Hill clinic.
BEST CHEAP MANICURE
Sun Tan Nail 209 1st Ave (between E 12th & E 13th Sts), no Web site. Sun Tan may not be glamorous, but you can’t beat a $6 manicure that stays chip-free for at least 10 days. Mani-pedis are a steal at just $13.
BEST GROUP FITNESS
Fast n’ Fabulous fastnfab.org. Don’t be intimidated by the name: this gregarious LGBT cycling club welcomes new members at all levels of experience for regularly scheduled group rides.
Natural Balance Massage 3013 Quentin Rd, Brooklyn, naturalbalancemassage.com. Natural Balance’s therapists aren’t just adept at all forms of massage—they’ll actually listen when you say "that’s too hard!" The hot towel treatment is a welcome surprise at the end—and a G-rated version of a happy ending.
Fort Place Bed & Breakfast 22 Fort Pl, Staten Island, fortplace.com. The ideal getaway that isn’t too far away, this Victorian B&B overlooks St. George and the Verrazano Bridge with fantastic views of Manhattan across the harbor. Bonus: the reasonable rates fit anyone’s budget.
BEST YOGA DEAL
Bikram Yoga Harlem 518 W 145th St (between Broadway & Amsterdam Ave), bikramyogahar lem.com. Yogis in these 90-minute classes go through 26 poses in a room where the temp is more than 100 degrees. The studio offers new members 30 days of classes for just $30.
ARTS & CULTURE
BEST TIME CAPSULE OF VIENNA CIRCA 1900 Café Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie 1048 5th Ave (at E 86th St), neuegalerie.org. Wondering where to sip Viennese hot chocolate and show off your faux fur coat? Sit at one of the upholstered banquettes and be transported to the world of Gustav Klimt. Then whip out your vintage specs to read the menu.
BEST Rendezvous For BOHEMIAN BUDDHIST BABES
Rudin Museum of Art 150 W 17th St (between 6th & 7th Aves), rmanyc.org. If the luminous glow of a Tibetan shrine makes you hot, then this Himalayan art museum will light your fire. Don’t forget to see a film or take in a lecture; you might meet a lovely lesbo lotus flower. (And, yes, that was kd lang buying Nepalese singing bowls in the gift shop.)
BEST LOCAVORE MUSEUM CAFÉ
Birdbath at the New Museum 235 Bowery (near Stanton St), newmuseum.org. Birdbath serves locally harvested, seasonal, organic cuisine. Savor a non-alcoholic Sangria with a smoked chicken panini—or better yet, turn up on a skateboard or bike: you’ll get 25 percent off your meal.
BEST place to appreciate early PHOTOS
The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 5th Ave (at E 82nd St), metmuseum.org. Feast your eyes on two astonishing exhibitions at the Met, both featuring early 20th-century photography: “Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand” and “Our Future Is in the Air.” Afterwards, you’ll want to lunch with Georgia O’Keeffe—or put on some bloomers and fight for women’s suffrage.
BEST SUSTAINable, ECO-FRIENDLY VENUE
Galapagos Art Space 16 Main St (corner Water St), Brooklyn, galapagosartspace.com. This celebrated DUMBO complex is a certified green cultural institution and the only New York City building that houses a 1,600-square-foot lake with island seating. Order mojitos and soak up this lean, green, spectacular scene.
BEST PLACE TO GET YER YA-YAS OUT
Wednesday Sings at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture 515 Malcolm X Blvd (near W 136th St), nypl.org. Unleash your inner Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald or Alicia Keys. Step out of the shower, take the train to Harlem and set your voice free. Sing proud, sister!
BEST COCKTAIL PARTIES FOR HIGHBROWS
Leo Bar at the Asia Society 725 Park Ave (at E 70th St), asiasociety.org. Sip a lychee martini with the smart set in a chic, cultured atmosphere of all things Asian. Don’t forget to tour the Asia Society’s famed exhibitions while you’re there.
BEST WAY TO GET THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
The Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History 200 Central Park West (at W 79th St), amnh.org. Now in its 12th flamboyant season, this festival of 500 tropical butterflies will chase away your winter blues. If you’re stuck at work and need a nature fix, check out the museum’s live butterfly webcam.
BEST GIFT SHOP FOR DESIGN freaks
The Shop at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum 2 E 91st St (corner 5th Ave), cooperhe
witt.org. If you agree that no kitchen is complete without a Frank Gehry water kettle, then you’ve probably shopped at Cooper-Hewitt. There’s something to impress even the most discerning design dykes.
BEST COMMUNITY-FOCUSED ART GALLERY
De Castellane Gallery 525 Atlantic Ave, decastellanegallery.com. This Boerum Hill art gallery features local artists in all disciplines, and its curatorial bent inspires many an intellectual conversation. One recent show: “Non-Native New York.”
Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, brooklynbowl.com. Modern design, top live acts and food by Blue Ribbon replace the ugly carpeting and microwaved nachos of the typical bowling alley. Finally, your excuse to invest in bowling shoes!
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
BEST CHRISTMAS TREE IN ALL OF NYC
Rockefeller Christmas Tree Rockefeller Plaza (5th Ave between 48th and 51st Sts), rockefellercenter.com. This year’s tree—a 74-foot Norway Spruce that weighs 12 tons and measures 40 feet in diameter—will be topped by a Swarovski crystal star sporting 12 rays outfitted with 720 LED bulbs. Grab your cocoa and don’t miss it.
BEST WINDOW SHOPPING
Department store windows 5th Avenue. Battle the crowds for a peek at the holiday windows at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel and other chi-chi emporia. Animated figures, mechanical movements and wild creativity make these seasonal dioramas unmissable.
BEST repurposed park
The High Line, Gansevoort St to W 20th St, thehighline.org. It’s not just a public park: call it landscape art. The elevated rail trestle, transformed from eyesore to green open space, is a hit among natives and tourists. For the best views of Manhattan at night, wander the High Line after dinner while the city lights start to shine.
BEST DOG PARK
Canine Court at Van Cortlandt Park W 252nd St & Broadway, Bronx, vcpark.org Give your pups a workout with this agility playground. Challenges include a teeter-totter, hurdles, a ladder and a hanging tire to jump through.
BEST OUTER-BOROUGH SECRET
Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1000 Richmond Ter, Staten Island, snug-harbor.org. Just a short drive from the ferry, Snug Harbor encompasses the SI Botanical Garden, 19th century Greek Revival architecture, and theater, dance and visual art exhibits. Take that, other boroughs!
BEST ONLY-IN-NEW-YORK NABE
Jackson Heights’ "Little India" 73rd and 74th Sts (between Roosevelt Ave & 37th Ave), Queens. The epicenter of South Asian culture in New York, "Little India" contains eye-popping supermarkets, restaurants and shops selling saris, spices and giant boxes of Nag Champa incense.
Empire State Building’s 86th Floor Observation Deck 5th Ave (between W 34th & W 35th St), esbnyc.com. Where else can you gaze down on Manhattan and see all five boroughs simultaneously? Every New Yorker should splurge on the King Kong/Fay Wray experience at least once.
Citi Pond Bryant Park, thepondtbryantpark.com. The city’s only free skating rink (if you don’t count the frozen Hudson), Citi Pond is famed for celeb sightings and its smooth-as-glass oval. Expect to pony up for skate rental, but it’s totally worth it.