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Hidden Gems In New York City’s Music Scene

November 2, 2018 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Music in New York City is many things. It is sold-out concerts in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, tour stops by global superstars at Barclays Center, awe-inspiring subway performances and world-class theatrical productions both on and Off-Broadway. 

Lesser known are the hidden-gem venues whose history and prowess make them integral to New York City’s musical identity and ideal for visitors seeking a more intimate concert-going experience this winter. 

Examples include: 

·       Apollo Theater (Harlem, Manhattan) – Celebrating its 85th anniversary next year, the historic Apollo Theater plays a key role in developing emerging African American and culturally diverse artists and launching the careers of icons like Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and Jimi Hendrixthrough its Amateur Night series. A pillar of the Harlem community, the Apollo presents additional programming throughout the year, including dance, theater, spoken word and more. 

Upcoming performances include the Amateur Night Holiday Special (12/15/18), Wow Festival 2019 (3/15/19), and Jose Gonzalez and The String Theory (3/21/19) (apollotheater.org). 

·       Brooklyn Steel (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) – Since bursting on New York City’s music scene last year with five nights of sold-out concerts by the rock band LCD Soundsystem, Brooklyn Steel has grown into one of the most popular music halls on the East Coast, with one-night-only performances and mini weekend residencies spanning various genres and styles. 

Upcoming concerts include The Front Bottoms (12/14/18), rapper Noname (1/5–6, 2019), Beirut (2/10–11, 2019) and Nils Frahm (3/29–30, 2019) (bowerypresents.com). 

·       Flushing Town Hall (Flushing, Queens) – Built in 1862, the landmarked Flushing Town Hall has a rich history serving the Queens community as a courthouse, bank, jail, assembly hall and venue for light opera and traveling theatrical productions. For its latest act, Flushing Town Hall has evolved into a dynamic multidisciplinary venue with music, dance and cultural events perfect for the whole family. 

Performances like those from Lauren Sevian (12/16/18), Talavya (1/25/19) and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks (2/1/19) make up a diverse schedule of events ranging from jazz and classical to Latin American and Asian music in coming months (flushingtownhall.org). 

·       Kings Theatre (Flatbush, Brooklyn)  The Kings Theatre has been a Brooklyn staple for nearly 90 years, originally serving as one of five original “Loew’s Wonder Theatres.” The 20th-century movie palace underwent a $95 million restoration of its 1929 design and reopened in 2015 as a state-of-the-art live performance venue with 3,000 seats. 

Notable upcoming performances include Toni Braxton (2/10/19), Metric and Zoé (2/18/19) and Snoop Dog (3/3/19) (kingstheatre.com). 

·       Lehman Center for the Performing Arts (Jerome Park, the Bronx) – The 2,300-seat Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, now in its 38th season, acts as a canvas for artists from a wide array of cultures and disciplines. The Bronx’s premier concert hall is currently undergoing an expansion and renovation, expected to debut late next year. 

Upcoming highlights from the 2018–19 season include Domingo Quiñones (12/15/18), Roberto Roena (1/26/19), Hector Acosta (2/16/19) and American Idol winner Ruben Studdard (3/30/19) (lehmancenter.org). 

·       Music Hall of Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)  The Music Hall of Williamsburg has earned recognition as one of the best rock clubs in the United States since opening in 2007. The Music Hall holds 550 people and was built with acoustical design in mind, allowing for the best concert-going experience possible.

 Upcoming shows include Roosevelt (12/3–4, 2018), Thursday (12/27–28, 2018), Margo Price (12/31/18), The Lemon Twigs (1/18–19, 2019), Mandolin Orange (2/8/18) and Teenage Fanclub (3/14/18) (musichallofwilliamsburg.com). 

·       Rough Trade NYC (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)  First opened in 1976 in West London, Rough Trade is a record shop that doubles as a music venue and has grown into a staple of the independent music community since opening in Williamsburg in 2013. 

Upcoming performances include Haerts (12/4/18), Chelsea Jade (12/12/18), Lankum (1/5/19), Feeder (2/8/19) and Mike Krol (3/5/19) (roughtradenyc.com). 

·       St. George Theatre (St. George, Staten Island)  Originally unveiled in 1929, Staten Island’s St. George Theatre has been one of New York City’s most beloved cultural spots for nearly a century. Following a recent multimillion-dollar renovation, the historic 1,900-seat theater now offers all the luxuries of a modern state-of-the-art performance venue. 

Upcoming concerts include Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes with the David Johansen Band (12/21/18), Little Anthony and the Imperials (1/19/19), Kool and the Gang (2/15/19), Matthew and Gunnar Nelson (3/3/19) and Celtic Woman (3/21/19) (stgeorgetheatre.com). 

·       Terminal 5 (Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan)  Located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, Terminal 5 flaunts a multilevel space holding 3,000 people in five distinct room environments. The venue regularly presents concerts by hip-hop stars and some of the most famous electronic DJs in the world. 

Acts coming to the Terminal 5 stage this winter include Bomba Estero (12/12/18), Illenium (12/13–15, 2018), Nghtmre (12/22/18), Nao (2/2/19) and Enrique Bunbury (3/23/19) (terminal5nyc.com).

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