Downloading music. Ordering books from Amazon. Seeing a big Broadway show. They have their appeal, but do they compare to the old-school immediacy of rifling through piles of vinyl at a record store? Or getting a recommendation from a bookstore clerk that isn’t generated by a computer algorithm? Or happening upon an unknown artist at a hole-in-the-wall gallery in Chinatown? Or dropping into a new, vital culture enclave (see “Neighborhood”)? It’s the thrill of discovery, the excitement of being with like-minded people, the anachronistic but still vital pleasures of experience. This is our guide to the very best in indie culture.
Small, Specialized Record Stores Emerging Galleries Where Creativity Thrives Bookstores With Customized Reads Opera Beyond Lincoln Center The Next Alt-Culture Hub Small Theater Companies With Big Ideas