Why take the time to volunteer? It’s good for the world, yes, but it’s also good for you. Volunteers reap many health benefits from their work such as improved mood and decreased stress. Volunteering can also help your professional path: the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that people who volunteer are 27% more likely to be hired by employers. 92% of HR executives agree that helping nonprofits can improve leadership skills.
If you’re inspired to give back, there are many worthy causes here in NYC. These are just a few examples:
The New York Rescue Mission helps to feed and give hope to the hungry, homeless, and hurting men and women in the city. Volunteers help with preparing and serving meals, distributing donated goods, and more. Many hands make light work.
This is just one of many organizations in New York who help the less fortunate.
The ASPCA of New York dedicates itself to the ethical treatment of animals. Aside from rescuing them and placing them into good homes, the ASPCA also provides animals under their care with medical treatment and ensures they stay well taken care of. Since the ASPCA national headquarters is right here in New York City, volunteering at this location connects you directly with the heart of its mission.
Volunteers can help with clerical tasks to support full-time staffers, or helping directly with ensuring the animals on site are healthy and comfortable.
While there are numerous organizations that help children, 826NYC focuses specifically on helping kids with their written communication skills. Their mission is focused on giving kids the ability to “write their own path forward, undefined by circumstance.” Volunteers help create spaces for students to express themselves. Encouraging kids on their literary journeys allow you to act as a role model, making a difference in their lives for years to come.
The International Rescue Committee addresses humanitarian crises across the world, helping people who’ve been uprooted and need assistance with everything from health care, employment, food, shelter, education, and more. In 2017 alone, more than 5,200 volunteers from across the country helped to further the organization’s mission. Providing a safe haven for those who need it is a vital area that is always in need of motivated volunteers.
Want to help the planet? Organizations like Big Reuse help to encourage recycling, prevent unnecessary use of landfills, improve the city’s soil, and more. Volunteers help sort through donations, care for trees, and keep the city clean.
No matter which cause speaks to your heart the most, volunteering is a gift that keeps on giving. Don’t have the time to be there in person? Monetary donations are also a great way to contribute to the causes and help those in need.
Find more organizations that speak to your passions at https://www.volunteermatch.org/.
Museums are known to house sacred pieces that shape history and society as we know it. Silently walking the halls while using your eyes alone to take in the exhibit is becoming a routine of the past. New types of exhibitions are springing to life in cities all over the world. Enter the pop-up museum, created specifically for hands-on interaction and the boosting of everyone’s social media presence. Here are the top pop-up museums in New York City right now.
A bright take on art makes this museum one unlike any other. It is centered around – you guessed it – colors. It features prestigious artists, illustrators, makers and designers, non-profits, and local food vendors. Located in a 20,000-square-foot Hudson Square space in Soho, this pop-up highlights all the happiness and fun that come from vibrant colors. No outfit is too flashy here.
The website describes this pop-up as “A space to bask in multi-sensory, psychedelic pizza joy.“ The $35 ticket will buy you a tour of pizza-themed rooms such as the “cheese cave,” a “pizza beach,” and others. Otherwise, they’re a little cheeky as to what it all actually means. Whether you’re intrigued or creeped out, this experience is guaranteed to be “marvelously-’grammable.” Bring your cameras and all cheesy pizza hashtags. It will likely make you hungry.
Here, everything is made of candy thanks to the talents of Hollywood “candy queen” Jackie Sorkin and fabricator Zac Hartog. The website sums up the museum as “where colossal candyfloss constructions meld with a tantalizing taffy twistedness!” If that doesn’t sum it up, you’ll have to see it for yourself. A tour through Charlie’s Chocolate Factory may not live up to this modern-day pop-up. Bring a sweet tooth and your Instagram game.
If you think you should’ve lived your best years in the 1960s, this museum may be your cup of tea. Connect with Lou Reed in his prime and go into a technicolor world befitting Andy Warhol’s iconic banana album cover. This pop-up features six films, 350+ photos, 1,000+ objects, and special events such as concerts, lectures, installations, exhibitions, screenings, and masterclasses.
Want to see your head on a platter without actually losing it? This is the place to do so. When you’re in this museum, everything is an optical illusion. It will make you question your senses and learn about them at the same time. Nothing is what it seems until you leave the building. Great for kids and adults alike. Perfect for selfies.
The weather is getting chilly, so go inside to warm up and check out these delightful budding forms of pop culture in the greatest city in the world. The caveat to these Millennial-centric pop-up museums is that they are only around temporarily. Get your selfies in before they close!
The summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean New Yorkers will be saying goodbye to fun festivities that celebrate the spirit of the city. As temperatures drop and we pull our autumnal fashions out of the closet, a certain chill falls over the city as Halloween gives the seasonal air a certain sense of fun and fright in equal measure. Here are four activities that can color your Halloween celebration this October.
Merchant’s House Museum
For those historically inclined thrillseekers, this preserved 19th century Greek Revival offers up some East Village history along with it’s spooky present. Built in 1832 by hardware impresario Seabury Tredwell, the house has long been home to some scary experiences and sights by visitors who swear they’ve seen the ghastly spirits of Tredwell and his family wandering its halls. A National Historic Landmark, the museum hosts year-round events and tours, but October brings attractions like a mock funeral of Tredwell where visitors can pose in his coffin!
Boo at the Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is the preeminent showcase of animals in the city, and that wild backdrop makes for an appropriately family-friendly Halloween celebration every October. A haunted hayride, candy trail, pumpkin carving and more seasonal attractions make the zoo a destination for more than just the creatures on display. They’ll still be there, along with an extinct animal graveyard and haunted forest. There’s also a “Bootoberfest” for older guests, with craft beer, food trucks, and live music.
For the most hardened Halloween fanatics, some extra scares are in store at this Williamsburg, Brooklyn attraction. Creepy clowns, cockroaches, and even a haunted laundromat all feature in this modern, social media-friendly revamp of the traditional haunted house. Each room promises screams and frights more chilling than the last. While the Nightmare Machine proclaims somewhat teen-friendly PG-13 thrills, those who are easily scared–or with younger children in tow–ought to beware. Everyone else, prepare yourselves for a bloody good time!
No list of New York City Halloween activities would be complete without this historic Greenwich Village parade. Originally beginning with local artists pulling out all the stops to show off their incredible creativity, the parade has grown to attract artisans and celebrants from all across the city and even the country. With no signing up necessary, anyone in costume is invited to take part, with up to 60,000 entrants in recent years. Whether you’re an onlooker or a participant, this is an iconic NYC Halloween event not to be missed.
Outside of the expected pigeons, bodega cats, and sidewalk pooches, some truly colorful animal characters have captured the attention of New Yorkers over the years. From the city’s multiple zoos to high above Fifth Avenue, these are a few of the most famed feathered and furry residents of the city.
It’s only appropriate that “The World’s Most Famous Hawk” would be a New Yorker. This red-tailed hawk caught the nation’s attention in 2004 when his nest was moved by the building’s co-op board, and famous neighbors like Mary Tyler Moore called for the co-op board to reinstate Pale Male’s home, calling the nest removal “pointless and heartless.”
Returned to his perch, Pale Male’s newfound notoriety made him a national figure, appearing on television shows ranging from PBS’s Nature to Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show. In a city that’s no stranger to pigeons, this wild creature captured imaginations as somewhat out of the ordinary, but not out of place in this unpredictable metropolis.
After his brush with fame, Pale Male continued to quietly watch over the Upper East Side for several years. When he went missing several years later, birdwatchers assumed the inevitable: his time had come and gone. His memory lives on, however, as his progeny survive to this day at his old nest at 927 Fifth Avenue.
The confines of the Bronx Zoo, the city’s biggest and most prominent animal sanctuary, have hosted many remarkable creatures throughout the years. One of its most famous residents, however, got her start in the Central Park Zoo, where she gained fame before moving on to the northern borough’s more spacious confines.
Born in 1972, Pattycake was the first gorilla born in New York and wasted no time grabbing headlines. A “domestic dispute” between her parents (in reality, just an accident) broke her arm when she was just a few months old and made the daily newspapers. Treated at the Bronx Zoo for her injuries, she relocated there permanently in 1982 during renovations to the Central Park Zoo.
Activists utilized her fame to establish the Pattycake Fund in 2002, raising money to stop illegal gorilla poaching in Africa. By that time, Pattycake was the matriarch of a thriving family in the Bronx ape exhibit, where she lived until the healthy age of 40.
Jim, Phil, and Harry: Prominent Peacocks
New York’s pet owners are probably aware of St. John the Divine’s annual Blessing of the Animals, but the uninitiated on their first visit may be surprised to meet the Episcopal cathedral’s three feathered full-time residents.
Jim, Phil and Harry have roamed the Morningside Heights grounds of St. John’s since 2002. They even occupy a mini-cathedral of their own, a specially designed hutch whose silhouette could easily be mistaken for one of the Romanesque Revival building’s stained glass windows.
They continue a legacy carried on since the 1980s when the Bronx Zoo first donated peacock chicks to the church as a gift. Subsequent generations of the majestic birds have given St. John the Divine an ornamentation like no other church, and a uniquely New York twist on a 230+-year-old institution.
New York City is known for many things: lively streets, exceptional food, a forward-looking culture, and all things fashion. Throughout the centuries, the combination of elegance, edginess, and creativity has made New York a hotbed for fashion–both on the streets and the runway. No two New Yorkers have quite the same style, and true fashionistas have unique interpretations of what is “in”.
From Sarah Jessica Parker to Audrey Hepburn, it’s undeniable that fashionable women have made a home for themselves in New York. Everyone has his or her favorite, but here are six unforgettable fashion icons who have awed, inspired, and set the runway that is New York ablaze.
In Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn’s character redefined the modern New York woman on the go. Pastry in hand with oversized sunglasses, chunky pearls, and a chic black dress, this fashion moment has no doubt been replayed by stylish women everywhere. Off screen, she was said to reach for the understated, yet classic garments–like ballet flats, cigarette pants, and simple black tops. But regardless of what fashion persona she donned, Hepburn inspired the rise of black as the go-to color for New Yorkers.
Sarah Jessica Parker
For years she played Carrie Bradshaw on Sex In The City. Her character’s look was a swirl of fur coats, tousled hair, silky slips, rock tee-shirts, designer handbags, and Manolo Blahniks. For Carrie, anything could be high-fashion if you styled it the right way. Sarah Jessica Parker, like Bradshaw, spent the majority of her adult life roaming the streets of Manhattan. She is always on-trend and has a similarly adventurous style as her TV character in real life. To showcase her eye for shoes, she launched her own shoe line in 2014, which quickly became a favorite of celebs.
No list could be complete without the powerhouse of style who is Grace Jones. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, she was frequently sighted at Studio 54, Andy Warhol’s Factory, and the hippest nightclubs. Her striking androgynous style was a photographers dream, and left magazine editors clamoring for more. While Grace Jones can pull off just about anything, the boxy blazer and crew cut was definitely her signature look.
Patty Smith burst onto the NYC music scene in 1975 with her album Horses. Her attitude is punk-rock, but her captivating style is casual and effortlessly thrown together. She favors men’s button-down shirts and baggy blazers paired with her signature dark tousled waves and piercing gaze. It’s been more than 40 years since her launch to stardom, but she’s still inspirational to women who aim to be unabashedly themselves.
Edie Sedgwick is easily recognizable by her dramatic eyeliner, dark eyebrows, and bleach blonde pixie cut which still inspires with many YouTube tutorials. She was a major face of New York party scene in the ’60s and rubbed shoulders with stars and musicians from Andy Warhol to Bob Dylan. Her mod, chic look is one that will inspire high fashion for years to come.
Diana Vreeland was one of the most influential figures the fashion industry has ever seen. She was an editor for Harper’s Bazaar followed by Vogue, and is credited with discovering Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall and ‘It” girl Edie Sedgwick.
She provided style advice to the New York fashion elite, and is credited for making the Met Gala into the star-studded event it is today. Through Vogue and Harper’s magazines, her avant-garde approach captivated women all over the country.
These are just a few New York City fashion icons from a very long list, all with one thing in common: fearlessness. As long as women get dressed in the morning, the New York look will continue to innovate our closets, and inspire us to look a little bit cooler, and be a little bit bolder.
Much has been written over the past several years about the extinction of what was once a city staple: the greasy-spoon diners and unassuming luncheonettes of yore. It’s true. So many of the idiosyncratic places that used to form the fabric of New York City have been replaced with more stylish, homogeneous versions of themselves. The NYC diner isn’t completely dead, but its heyday has seemingly come and gone.
Recent closures include Chinatown’s nearly 70-year-old The Cup and Saucer, the Lyric Diner in Gramercy, the 40-year-old Del Rio in Brooklyn, the Village’s Joe Jr., the 53-year-old Market Diner in Hell’s Kitchen and, of course, the much maligned closure of Broadway’s 34-year-old Cafe Edison, an absolute institution in the heart of the Theater District.
Diners have been upended for a variety of reasons, usually some combination of lower receipts, higher rent, and competition from ubiquitous chain eateries. Those factors, plus the reality that a new generation of college-educated professionals is proving reluctant to run family businesses that involve long, hard hours and slim margins, are converging in what has felt like a massive diner die-off.
It’s no wonder that city staples have been replaced by glossy alternatives like Pret a Manger and Le Pain Quotidien. In fact, a recent Crain’s article said that while the city had over 1,000 diners and coffee shops 20 years ago, today that number has been whittled down to fewer than 400.
And, while many New Yorkers are lamenting the loss of their favorite spots for affordable comfort food, overall, the population’s tastes have changed. Some diners have struggled to keep pace by switching to upscale ingredients or replacing meat-heavy dishes with vegan and vegetarian options. Champ’s Diner in Brooklyn specializes in vegan fare. The Empire Diner in Chelsea offers upmarket menu items like tuna “poke” bowls, beef carpaccio and antibiotic-free chicken. Some might argue that menu items in the $30-range go against the spirit of the diner, while others are thankful for the cozy, retro atmosphere and the ingenuity.
Thankfully, there are still some old-time diners that grace our great city. More of them tend to be located in the outer boroughs rather than Manhattan, but there are diners to be found in either case. Favorites include the appropriately named Manhattan Diner, Broadway Restaurant, Comfort Diner, Bel Aire Diner, and the Neptune Diner.
For most of us, the days of walking a few blocks to get to our neighborhood diner, a place chock-full of friendly and familiar faces, may be over. But that doesn’t mean that the experience is lost entirely. If we’re willing to travel a little farther and perhaps endure a little anonymity, we can still bask in the warmth and comfort of eating scrambled eggs on a vinyl seat, surrounded by chrome and Formica.
Hopefully, the high-profile closures have generated enough interest to convince a large customer base to patronize our remaining local treasures. Perhaps NYC’s remaining diners can survive against the odds, pouring coffee and grilling burgers in perpetuity.
If there’s one thing about New Yorkers, we love to stay connected, whether that’s by subway or through the internet. Plenty of dessert spots have taken notice of this, and offer up some incredible fare that seems custom made to be shared online with friends, family, and followers. These are a few NYC locales where you’ll find some of the most picturesque sweet treats anywhere.
Perhaps the granddaddy of all instagrammable desserts, the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at this Upper East Side cafe is a New York icon. A favorite haunt of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and a pre-fame Andy Warhol, this spot is a classic eatery with timeless treats to satisfy even the pickiest social butterfly. While Serendipity is also known for their headline-grabbing offerings like the $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae, the classic “Frrrozen” delight is how they’ve made their name. Get yourself a reservation and prepare to wait, because a treat this good is always worth it.
The treats aren’t the only thing that’s Insta-worthy at this refurbished apothecary in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood. The building carries tons of old-fashioned charm with a delicious blend of classic treats and a retro aesthetic. Try a classic Brooklyn chocolate egg cream or the pineapple upside-down cake, which comes served on a bed of ice cream and fresh pineapples! But take your pic quickly, you’ll want to dig in ASAP.
Never again will New Yorkers have to choose between fancy cocktails and flashy desserts. At this trailblazing SoHo sweets spot–creators of the Cronut–their latest cutting-edge confection combines the best of both worlds with their Milk and Cookie Shot. No need for dunking with this one: drink your milk right out of a shot glass made from a chocolate cookie! Break off a chunk and dip, or take a bite right out of the side, it’s completely up to you. Just make sure to share those social media pics first!
Combining two favorites is a winner when is comes to dessert treats, but the Ice Cream Donut Sandwich from this Midtown ice cream shop may well be the peak of the form. Pick from a seemingly endless variety of the circular baked treat to serve as your bread, with two scoops of ice cream sandwiched between them. Throw in some toppings and you’ve got a treat that looks just as good as it tastes. Bring your appetite along with your sweet tooth here, as this unique treat is more than a mouthful.
Acclaimed chef Jean-Georges has built a worldwide network of fine dining establishments from Tokyo to Sao Paulo, but New York is home to what may well be his finest creation. This Gramercy restaurant’s ever-changing menu contains lots of seasonal organic favorites, but dessert is where they truly shine: namely, their kettle corn sundae, with caramel-drenched popcorn and peanuts sprinkled all over a delectable ice cream sundae with whipped cream and hot fudge. The toppings put a photo-worthy sheen on this after-dinner classic, since no good dessert should ever be forgotten!
As the summer heats up, many New York City residents head for the hills (or the Jersey Shore) for a weekend getaway and fun in the sun. But for those of us staying in the city, there are still plenty of summertime vibes to be found. Strolling the boardwalk at Coney Island, sipping frosé at a sidewalk cafe, rowboats on central park lake and our favorite past-time: Grilling meats in the open air!
An outdoor bbq with friends and family is the quintessential American summer activity. Luckily for New Yorkers, there are 1,700 parks stretched across the five boroughs! Large, small, wooded, or oceanfront, here are just a few of the parks that allow public grilling:
Inwood Hill Park (enter at Dyckman Street & Hudson River)
Inwood Hill Park is a 196.4-acre slice of New York History with sweeping vistas, dramatic caves, valleys, and ridges. The park offers athletic fields, playgrounds, dog runs, and a barbecue area, in harmony with its natural assets and striking views of the Hudson.
Morningside Park (enter at Morningside Avenue & West 121st Street)
Close to Columbia University, the Apollo Theater and the northern tip of Central Park, Morningside Park stretches thirteen blocks through the neighborhoods of Harlem and Morningside Heights. This nicely landscaped community park has playgrounds, jogging and bike paths, ballfields, picnicking, cliff-like hillsides with unique views, and even a waterfall. And the bonus feature: there’s a farmers market on Saturdays.
Randall’s Island Park (enter at the waterfront near the south end of the park).
Randall’s Island Park is a recreation hub in the middle of the East River that has all things that make summertime a beloved New York season! With incredible flora, athletics, urban farming, and fantastic waterfronts, this is a great place to plan a large all-day get-together.
Queensbridge Park (enter at Vernon Blvd and 41st Avenue)
Conveniently located on the East River waterfront, Queensbridge Park is a community park with great views from the Queens side of life, and a couple of great spots to grill! This park has a seawall, playgrounds, handball courts, dog-friendly areas, and convenient bathrooms making it easier for the older and younger members of the family.
Manhattan Beach Park (enter northeast of the promenade, median adjacent to the parking lot)
This is a popular stretch of beach great for picnicking, swimming (yes, people do actually swim in the water. It’s warm!) and volleyball. Manhattan Beach is a good alternative spot for grilling because it isn’t allowed on the beach at Coney Island. And as a reminder, for better or worse, there is no amplified sound permitted.
Now for the bad news, here is a short list of the parks that do not allow outdoor grilling:
Central Park (with the exception of Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day)
Coney Island (but between the surf, the rides, and the iconic boardwalk, you’ll have plenty else to do)
Washington Square Park
East River Park also disallows grilling without a permit, so be sure to grab one if you’re looking to cook out in the shadow of the stunning Manhattan Bridge!
Everyone loves a secret, especially New Yorkers, and speakeasies have been a not-so-secret tradition here since Prohibition. Back then, speakeasies were a necessity for anyone seeking libations in a dry town. Now, they are havens for those searching for an off-the-beaten-path cocktail experience. If you’re a New York local or visitor, here are just five of the many New York speakeasies that will ‘wet’ your whistle.
135 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
Inspired by Marie Antoinette’s private chambers, this spot is a must-see! Guests enter via a secret bookcase and passageway beneath the restaurant Chez Moi. Le Boudoir offers seasonal craft cocktails in a rich Rococo setting. Each cocktail is a unique piece of art and the attentive service makes patrons feel like royalty.
48 West 17th Street, Manhattan
Located in the Chelsea neighborhood, this venue is named after an 1896 law meant to curb New Yorkers’ liquor consumption. But in 2018, patrons are encouraged to consume away!
Venture past the discrete door buzzer and discerning host, and you will find a windowless space filled with a slightly garish flare–which pretty much nails the flamboyant twenties cocktail vibe. And speaking of cocktails! The Garden Paloma, made with tequila, jalapeño agave, Perrier, grapefruit, and a pinch of salt, will take you back in time.
Be sure to arrive early to secure one of the private tables with buzzer service that are surrounded by black gauze curtains for privacy.
8 Stuyvesant Street, Manhattan
Remarkably, Angel’s Share remains completely unknown to some of its neighbors, and that is part of its charm. Loitering and large groups are discouraged which makes Angel’s Share the perfect date spot.
Walk through the side door at the front of the Japanese restaurant Village Yokocho, and you’ll find yourself in the middle of a quintessentially East Village experience. Enjoy a view of Stuyvesant Square while sipping one of the city’s best Grasshoppers–served by a tuxedoed barman. Expert bartenders mix up classic cocktails but are also willing to surprise you with a custom-tailored creation.
226 W 79th Street, Manhattan
Enter through a green tufted leather door inside the restaurant Burke & Wills on the Upper West Side to find an atmosphere conducive to the oh-so-civilized conversation.
Keeping with the inspiration of Burke and Wills, the Manhattan Cricket Club is reminiscent of a colonial gentlemen’s clubs of the Old Empire, though ladies are allowed too. Replete with Persian carpets, bookshelves, rich leather chairs, dark wood and gilded sconces, you will find yourself transported to another time and place.
The bar offers a large variety of creative cocktails including a menu section called The Prime Ministers Selection. And if you’re in the James Bond mood, try the Martini service.
Note on etiquette: Guests are requested to dress in a manner that suits the atmosphere and rowdy bar behavior is very looked down upon.
49 W 27th Street, Manhattan
A neon sign reading Patent Pending will lead you toward an intriguing speakeasy behind an unassuming coffee shop in NoMad. It’s all housed in the Radio Wave building which used to be home to the famous inventor Nikola Tesla.
Through a heavy set of after-hours doors, you will come out into a dark, sultry, cave-like space. After making your way through an alcove full of low-hanging lanterns, you’ll find yourself in a dimly lit yet very comfortable bar.
The menu is divided into four Tesla-inspired categories: Energy, Frequency, Vibration and Descent. Drinks are equally compelling with names like the Hit By a Taxi (Japanese whiskey, Armagnac, sweet vermouth, Pu’erh tea, Curacao, star anise) and Radio Waves (tequila, mezcal, Agricole rum, basil, Thai chile, lime, and cucumber).
So, if you’re looking for the most unique and coolest speakeasies, rest easy—New York’s got you covered. For more ideas to enjoy NYC, check out some can’t-miss summer events or the city’s most enticing food halls.
While the movie industry calls Los Angeles home, there’s no city that’s been better showcased and paid tribute through the big screen than New York. From Times Square to the furthest reaches of the five boroughs, there’s no shortage of fascinating stories to be told about NYC, and filmmakers for over a century have taken advantage of this one-of-a-kind city as the ultimate backdrop. Here are just 5 outstanding examples of great films that helped to define New York City for audiences around the world.
The Naked City (1948)
Every great NYC film captures something about the city that words can’t describe, and the cinematography on display in The Naked City more than any other film does justice to the unique scenery of the Big Apple. This Academy Award-winning film turned 1940s New York into a film noir dreamscape, featuring real people and places shot with a documentarian’s eye. The story of a hard-boiled NYPD detective and a winding story of murder and deception, the film is most memorable for the on-location filming that captured a side of the city few Americans had previously observed.
All About Eve (1950)
The allure of Broadway is something that’s drawn hearts and minds to New York for decades, and no film inhabits that world quite like this story of Bette Davis as a star of the stage fighting to stay on top. As Margo Channing, she’s the toast of the city, but her place in the world is thrown into disarray when an ambitious young fan inserts herself into her life, ultimately attempting to snatch away her crown. Outside of the interpersonal drama, this movie uses the setting of the Theater District to full effect, showing that the bright lights don’t always illuminate the whole story. A tale of intrigue, yearning and competition, it couldn’t have happened anywhere but New York City.
The Warriors (1979)
This gangland exploitation flick contains equal parts grit and kitsch, capturing a long-gone New York City that many old-time residents were glad to see gone. The Warriors takes viewers on a treacherous subway ride from the Bronx to Coney Island, through the eyes of a tough but overmatched street gang eager to reclaim their home turf and clear their names after being wrongfully accused of a murder. They encounter an array of colorful but dangerous characters along the way, and the late-70s NYC locations mean much of the grime onscreen is the real thing. While most of us may not find ourselves caught up in the world of street violence, any New Yorker who’s taken a way-too-long subway ride can at least partially identify with the travails of the Warriors.
Even the toughest New Yorker needs a laugh sometimes. While many movies showcasing the city choose to focus on dramatic realism, sometimes NYC can be the perfect backdrop for a battle between a few average joes and the forces of galactic evil. In this laugh-a-minute ghost story from the mid-80s, there are only four men protecting the citizens of New York from a full-on paranormal invasion: the self-appointed Ghostbusters. From real locations like the Columbia University campus and the New York Public Library, to a confrontation with an interdimensional supervillain on the roof of 55 Central Park West, the Ghostbusters could have only come from one place. In a city where you never know what’s around the corner, we can all be thankful that these four are keeping us safe from paranormal dangers.
Paris is Burning (1991)
New York is a city of many subcultures: small movements bubbling beneath the surface that eventually grow to something no American can ignore. Back when this documentary was filmed in concert halls around Times Square and Harlem, LGBT rights weren’t on even most progressive citizens’ radar, and the ballroom culture featured in Paris Is Burning, a lifeline for many, was an obscurity to most. The film reveals a stunningly colorful world, where drag balls populated by mostly nonwhite gay performers and audiences were an underground phenomenon that would soon reach mainstream America. With Madonna copying their dance moves within a few years, and RuPaul’s Drag Race now in living rooms nationwide, this film captivatingly showcases the nascent stages of one of the most fascinating cultural movements that couldn’t have started anywhere but New York City.