Long, dark Mercury Lounge (217 E. Houston, near Essex, 212/260-4700, www.mercuryloungenyc.com), features an antique wooden bar, exposed brick walls, heavy red drapes, and an excellent sound system. Hip rock and jazz acts play here.
Owned by the same people who own Mercury Lounge, The Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St., between the Bowery and Chrystie St., 212/533-2111, www.boweryballroom) is one of New York City’s few midsize venues. Complete with a balcony, it presents a wide variety of music acts.
The three-story Knitting Factory (74 Leonard St., between Church St. and Broadway, 212/219-3055, www.knittingfactory.com) features four snug rooms, all equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems. Once best known for its avant-garde jazz, the club now books everything from alternative rock to pop.
The oldest and arguably best jazz club in the city is the Village Vanguard (178 Seventh Ave. S, at 11th St., 212/255-4037, http://villagevanguard.com), a dark, wedge-shaped basement room filled with rickety tables and fading photographs. Established in 1934, the Vanguard has booked all the greats, from Miles Davis and Dinah Washington to Wynton Marsalis and Terence Blanchard.
The Manhattan School of Music(120 Claremont Ave, 212/749-2802, www.msmnyc.edu), a competitive world-renowned music conservatory offers degrees up to the doctoral levels in the areas of classical and jazz performance and composition. The wealth of talent here is exhibited in free jazz, classical and orchestral concerts and performances throughout the year.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition