Every fall hundreds of singers descend on New York City to audition for the upcoming season. Sometimes your auditions are scheduled far apart, or you have to kill time between a preliminary audition and a callback. Luckily, New York offers a lot of interesting things to fill your time.
Places to sing:
Opera Night at Mexican Festival - Mexican Festival is a great restaurant and bar on Broadway that hosts an opera open mic on Friday nights at 11:00pm. A pianist is provided and all singers get a drink and food item for free. It's a great opportunity to make new friends and sing new arias. It's a very laid back atmosphere with a casual dress code. Take the 1 train to 103rd street. Walk towards downtown and look for the Mexican Festival Restaurant.
Cafe Taci - This is also an opera open mic, but it's on Saturday nights at a restaurant called Papillon on the East Side. There is a group of paid singers who start around 9:00pm. Once the paid singers are done, the stage is open to anyone who would like to sing. Dress code is cocktail wear and it is located at 22 East 54th St.
Free things to do:
Staten Island Ferry: The Staten Island Ferry is free and offers great views of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan. Take the 1 train to South Ferry Station.
Parks: Everyone loves Central Park, but there are also other great parks in Manhattan to visit. Fort Tryon Park and Inwood Hill Park in uptown are my personal favorites. For Fort Tryon and Inwood Hill Park, take the A train to Dyckman Street or 207th street.
The New York Public Library: The New York Public Library is totally free to enter. There is a short video about the history of the building the art inside is really spectacular. The New York Public Library is located in Bryant Park.
Places to shop:
The Strand: The Strand is a huge used bookstore in lower Manhattan. It's a great store, but it's also great for used opera scores. The Strand is located at 828 Broadway, at the corner of East 12th Street in the East Village.
Out of the Closet: A thrift store supporting AIDS and HIV research. Out of the Closet is located at 475 Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn.
Things to eat:
Bagels: Absolute Bagels is a hometown favorite in NYC. It is a cash only joint, so make sure you come prepared! Absolute Bagels is located at 2788 Broadway. Take the 1 train to 110th street.
Pizza: It's off the beaten path, but I love Pizza Palace in Inwood. Again, it's a local institution. Cash only. Pizza Palace is located on Dyckman Street in uptown. Take the 1 or A train to Dyckman street.
Townie Food: Take a ride on the 2 into the Bronx, stop at any Bodega and ask for a "Chopped Cheese". It's a cultural staple of the Bronx!
Fun things to do off the beaten path:
The Cooper-Hewitt Museum: The Cooper-Hewitt is the Smithsonian's Architecture Museum. It's full of really interesting interactive exhibits. The Cooper Hewitt Museum is located at 2 East 91st St.
Meow Parlor: Meow Parlour is a cat cafe south of Chinatown. It has great coffee, and adorable felines. Meow Parlour is located at 46 Hester St.
Brooklyn Brewery: This is definitely a spot to visit in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The tour is free, but you do have to pay for your pints! Brooklyn Brewery is located at 79 North 11th St in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
The Transit Museum: The transit museum is an inexpensive, fascinating museum in tribute to mass transit system in New York City. The Transit Museum is located in a decommissioned subway station at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
The Tenement Museum: This museum is an actual preserved tenement from the early 1900's. This museum only functions as a tour, but it is well worth it. There are many different tours to choose from, and a really interesting gift shop to visit. The Tenement Museum is located at 103 Orchard St in the East Village.
If none of these interest you, I suggest just getting lost in New York. There is something new around every corner. Hopefully this sparks a few ideas for your audition season!