While its green exterior and wooden booths are reminiscent of an Irish pub, Rockwells American Restauant’s cuisine embodies the “American” found in its title. Burgers topped with gorgonzola cheese, bacon, and other accoutrements share menu space with steaks, chicken sandwiches, and alcoholic drinks such as mudslides, as well as red and white wines. For entertainment, the restaurant broadcasts NFL games every Sunday, hosts comedians on Saturday night, and encourages diners to reenact their favorite Dogs Playing Poker painting under the emerald bar lights.
In 2004?on a mission to bolster its community?s wellspring of creativity and education?the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art-deco-style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1922. Today, in the same antique theater where Frank Capra screened his first car chase, the venue hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks such as HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on the stage, which has seen the likes of Diana Krall, Heart, and ZZ Top.
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe began in 1973 as a literary get-together in the living room of college professor and celebrated scribe Miguel Algarin. By 1975, sick of cleaning up dangling clauses left all over his house, Algarin began renting the Sunshine Café to give local writers and performers a venue to develop their craft. In 1980, the non-profit organization moved to its current home in a century-old tenement on East Third.
Today, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe plays a crucial, street-level role in New York's art scene. Randomly selected audience members judge weekly poetry slams, and the venue plays host to small theatrical productions on many Thursdays through Sundays. Other evenings may feature hip-hop concerts, snappy Latin jazz, and freewheeling open mic nights.
Sending chuckles echoing throughout the surrounding neighborhood for more than 25 years, Standup NY has staged dozens of nationally acclaimed comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Jon Stewart, Caroline Rhea, and Judah Friedlander. The intimate, 100-seat venue hosts as many as three available nightly performances from performers who have appeared on HBO, Comedy Central, and the kiss cam at an NBA playoff game. A full bar unleashes torrents of humor-helping cocktails, wine, and beer, and the kitchen plates piles of pub grub such as buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks chosen from a full menu of eats.
Inspired by acts in Las Vegas and around the country, entertainers and pianists cover rock classics on twin grand pianos at Ha! Comedy Club's weekly Dueling Pianos extravaganza. From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, dueling performers tickle the ivories and—when competition becomes especially fierce—each other, fielding crowd requests for pop favorites from the 1960s through to today. Musicians such as Mark Rivera, saxophonist for Billy Joel, join in the fun on stage as the kitchen and full bar keep the audience nourished with snacks and libations.
Hosting the evening's set, the historic Gramercy Theatre first opened its doors in 1937 and spent some 60 years as a movie palace and art house. Now wedged between two skyscrapers, it still retains some art-deco columns and flourishes striped into its façade. Inside, an intimate main room shares space with the eclectic Samsara Lounge where persian rugs and funky wall art imbue audiences with a rock 'n' roll spirit and inspire the spontaneous formation of nomadic tribes.