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6 NYC Spots For A Quick Injection Of Culture

New York City, baby. Home of world culture, as long as you’re able to navigate successfully through Times Square and avoid all the Famous Ray’s pizzerias. As a tourist, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the sights worth seeing, and as a native, it’s easy to forget to get out there and experience all the new, cool ART happening week in week out in this giant city. Here are some things to check out, for people who aren’t into walking around a dang museum for three hours.

By / November 2, 2016

Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park has been home to THIRTY THREE different art exhibitions at this point, allowing experimental artists to work with the space and the foot traffic in cool, unique ways. At the moment, you can enjoy BIG BLING, an installation from sculptor Martin Puryear. The sculpture itself is imposing but, in a way, fun, evoking both a kind of NYC-style contemporary skyscraper, and some giant, ancient beast at the same time. The website for the installation says “BIG BLING elicits a range of readings, stimulating diverse and profound interpretations of its meaning.” Meaning you can really say whatever the hell you want about it, and impress your date regardless.


Chris Gethard: Career Suicide
East Village

Off-broadway shows are more and more becoming out-and-out rivals for Broadway shows themselves, pulling in bigger, more diverse crowds, as well as some serious talent. Chris Gethard’s one-man, show, Career Suicide, is a hilarious, heartbreaking, and seriously thoughtful performance. It’s a logical sequel/extension to his autobiography, A Bad Idea I’m About To Do, as well as his late-night show on Fusion, The Chris Gethard Show, both of which showcase his love of spontaneous, ridiculous comedy, and his utter fearlessness in the face of deeper, painful subjects. We’ve come a long way since the idea that a one-man show was a punchline for self-indulgent, inaccessible art. Career Suicide is a group experience that couldn’t be further from either.


A Chelsea Gallery Crawl

Why go to one gallery when you can go to DOZENS? On Thursday evenings, Chelsea becomes an open-door free-for-all of small gallery openings. Free booze, schmoozing, and plenty of art to wander around and check out and try to figure out whether you’re properly understanding it or not. Throwing yourself into the “Chelsea art scene” might feel a little intimidating, but truthfully it’s a casual few hours of walking around aimlessly at your leisure with friends, enjoying bad white wine and arguing about where to go and eat after. You can find an extensive listing, and even a map (!) of all the new openings and current exhibits here.


New Museum
Lower Manhattan

The New Museum is smaller and quieter than the other hip museums of choice (though you should absolutely check out The Whitney whenever you’re feeling up to it, obviously). A quick injection of the culture at the New Museum can take as little as an hour, and no one’s going to judge or yell at you for sneaking out quickly/snapping a pic of a piece you don’t like so you can give it a funny, mean caption on Instagram.


Alamo Drafthouse
Brooklyn Heights

The Alamo Drafthouse, in the space of a few years, has gone from “niche movie theater in Austin” to “big, fun national chain,” but its increase in scale hasn’t changed its dedication to film one bit. Experiencing the Drafthouse is different than any other moviegoing experience, and you can feel the utter love the company has for the *movies* the moment you step through the doors. The film selection changes daily, for the most part, offering both new releases and classic, cult films, meaning there’s literally something for everyone every day of the week. On top of that, food and drink are served right to your seat (if that sounds like it might be distracting, the staff are like trained ninjas, dropping off your refreshments and taking new orders in a silent, rapid way that feels like dark magic). On top of all that, the Drafthouse shows EVERYTHING on film. No 3D, no digital, just good old-fashioned, perfect cinema. Go watch “Moonlight” there immediately.


The Balloon Flower by Jeff Koons
World Trade Center

I don’t know what this is but maybe you’ll be into it.

Iconic artist Jeff Koons' stunning balloon sculpture in #TriBeCa. 📷 @amywillmott1

A photo posted by ONE HUNDRED BARCLAY TRIBECA (@100barclay) on


Tom Philip is a Scottish writer based in Brooklyn, New York. He's lived all over the city, and secretly hopes to one day live in one of those giant fancy condos he rails against every time he sees one. Tom's written for publications like GQ, The New Yorker, and contributes frequently to ClickHole. He's also written a couple of funny texts already today.

More articles by Tom Philip



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