When you tell your friends and family you are coming to New York, they will inevitably exclaim "You have to see a show on Broadway!" Broadway shows have the biggest stars, the best production values, and highest budgets of any theaters in America. But what if that style of high-gloss theater isn't your taste? What if the idea of hearing showtunes all night makes you want to pull off your ears? Will spending hundreds of dollars on theater tickets ruin your travel budget? Should you go anyways just because it's so iconic? Heck, no! There is entertainment in NYC to suit every taste and it is all world class, or at least a lot of fun. So what else can you do?
Brooklyn Night Bazaar
Corner of Banker Street and Norman Ave. Greenpoint, Brooklyn
G train to Nassau Ave.
Local markets have really taken off in popularity in the past few years. It started with the Brooklyn Flea, that brought in vendors that went beyond typical flea market junk vendors. They started giving local food vendors a place to start up and sell and vendors became more smartly curated. They expanded a few years ago to include a food only market, and now small markets where local food vendors get together with DIY, vintage, and boutique vendors to sell in parks, parking lots, and abandoned buildings. But the best for an evening out is the Brooklyn Night Bazaar.
The bazaar is open every Friday and Saturday nights from 7 PM to 1 AM, although slightly earlier in winter. It is located in a former industrial bakery and is a cavernous indoor entertainment space. Probably the best thing about it is that there is no cover charge. You are free to come in, walk around, check out the music, and explore the vendors for no fee. Once inside, there are excellent food vendors selling everything from oysters to Bolivian sandwiches. The front of the space is filled with vintage arcade games, air hockey, table tennis, and even mini-golf in a side room. The vendors are, not surprisingly, high quality. Lots are independent designers selling their own wares. Others are using the space as a start-up boutique. All the goods are unique and hand curated so it makes for excellent souvenir shopping. Perhaps best of all, the music performances are excellent. The bands range in style from electronic to pop, rock and punk. Bands like Rubblebucket that have performed at Bowery Ballroom and around the country have headlined gigs at the bazaar.
But the best part is just observing the crowd. The diverse entertainment means the crowd veers from fashionable trendsetters, punk rockers, artists in secondhand clothes, high school teens, tourists, and all kinds of people. Just sitting and watching the people is half the entertainment. So head out to Brooklyn one evening for a night of music, fun, and good food.