New York City Performing Arts

"Where do you wait tables?" is the not-so-ironic question New York performers get when they say they're in the arts. Even more telling is that most of these struggling artists don't miss a beat when they respond with the restaurant's name. Fact is, if you're an aspiring performer here, you'd better be tough and competitive. There is a constant influx of artists from around the globe, and all these

actors, singers, dancers, and musicians striving for their big break infuse the city with a crackling creative energy.

Just as tough are the audiences. Although costly ticket prices can make attending a Broadway show a less common outing for even the most devout theater-loving New Yorkers, that's not true of many other kinds of more affordable performances. Whether the audiences are primarily local or not, it's their discernment that helps drive the arts scene, whether they are flocking to a concert hall to hear a world-class soprano deliver a flawless performance, or crowding into a cramped café to support fledgling writers reading from their own work.

New York has upwards of 200 "legitimate" theaters (meaning those with theatrical performances, not movies), and many more ad hoc venues—parks, churches, lofts, galleries, rooftops, even parking lots. The city is also a revolving door of special events: summer jazz, one-act-play marathons, film festivals, and music and dance celebrations from the classical to the avant-garde, to name just a few. It's this unrivaled wealth of culture and art that many New Yorkers cite as the reason they're here, and the reason why millions more make the migration.

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New York City Performing Arts

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651 Arts

Given its location, it's easy to assume this venue is part of the BAM compound, but 651 Arts is an independent nonprofit dedicated to...

92nd Street Y

Well-known soloists, jazz musicians, show-tune stylists, and chamber music groups perform in 92Y's 905-seat Kaufmann Concert Hall. But...

Angelika Film Center

Foreign, independent, and specialty films are screened here. Despite its (six) tunnel-like theaters, small screens, and the occasionally...

Anthology Film Archives

Dedicated to preserving and exhibiting independent and avant-garde film, Anthology Film Archives is made up of two screening rooms that...

Apollo Theater

Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, and James Brown are just a few of the world-class performers who have appeared on this equally famed...


Founded in 1977, this classical music series on a barge floating on the East River hosts small audiences of about 130 for intimate chamber-music...

Baryshnikov Arts Center

Famed dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov's longtime vision came to fruition in this modern performing arts venue for contemporary dance,...

Best of Off Broadway


Brooklyn Book Festival

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The Brooklyn Book Festival is a huge, (mostly) free public event with an array of established and emerging authors, readings, panels,...

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts

Part of the Brooklyn College campus, this community-based arts center offers a variety of performances at affordable prices—their roster...


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