New York: Sounds and the city

Musicals, jazz, classical or opera... you can't escape the rhythm of New York's streets, says Tom Hall


Where do we start?

The history of New York City is writ large in the development of its music. Israel Zangwill first put forward the idea of the US as "the melting pot" in his 1908 Broadway play of the same name, and nearly a century later it applies to music in New York. Rock, jazz, blues, folk, hip-hop, art-rock, US punk... if it wore shades and made a noise, it probably did it here first. And as you'd expect in so wealthy a city, classical music, opera and seriously big gigs are almost as easy to find as a street-corner coffee stand.

A Broadway show as an overture?

For many visitors, a trip to New York is made by seeing a Broadway musical. The Theater District fans out from Times Square and includes Broadway and streets north of 42nd Street. This is the place for mainstream musical entertainment and where you'll find the ghosts of Irving Berlin and George Gershwin, plus Andrew Lloyd Webber and Mel Brooks, still going strong.

Current favourites include Monty Python's Spamalot, which won this year's Tony award for best musical. New openings include The Color Purple, Sweeney Todd, and The Woman In White.

Listings of musicals and other productions are available online at www.livebroadway.com. Details are also published in a number of magazines, including Village Voice ( www.villagevoice.com) and Time Out ( www.timeoutny.com).

Tickets for the most popular productions will need to be bought months in advance, and this can be done online. Weekday matinees are always a good bet if you're shopping ahead; otherwise, join the queue at one of the TKTS booths ( www.tdf.org/tkts), in Times Square at 47th Street and Broadway, or at the corner of Front and John Streets in South Street Seaport. They sell off discounted tickets - anything from 25 to 50 per cent of the normal price - for shows on the day of performance.

Something cool and mellow

The Big Apple has a thriving jazz scene. New York has played host to all the greats - Charlie Mingus, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker - and the legacy of these legends lingers to this day in venues across the city.

The best jazz stops are found in Greenwich Village. Check out Arthur's Tavern at 57 Grove Street at Seventh Avenue and Sheridan Square (00 1 212 675 6879) and Smalls at 183 West 10th Street at Seventh Avenue (00 1 212 929 7565; www.fatcatjazz.com).

To get a glimpse of where jazz may be headed, try the adventurous Knitting Factory venue at 74 Leonard Street, between Broadway and Church Street (00 1 212 219 3006; www.knittingfactory.com).

True legends still lurk behind a saxophone. Most Mondays at 8.30pm you can catch Woody Allen and his jazz band at the Café in the Carlyle Hotel at Madison Avenue and 76th Street (00 1 212 570 7189; www.woodyallenband.com). Reservations are necessary and there is a cover charge of $85 (£47).

The best concert venues?

Madison Square Garden, at Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street (001 212 307 7171; www.thegarden.com) is top of the tree - The Rolling Stones, for example, appear here on 18 and 20 January. Tickets for the big-name events are tough to get unless you book early or take your chances with touts.

For classical performances, Carnegie Hall at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue (00 1 212 247 7800; www.carnegiehall.org) is the leading venue. It's actually three concert venues in one: the main Isaac Stern Auditorium, seating nearly 3,000, and two smaller halls.

The Lincoln Center at Broadway and 65th Street offers plenty of classical music. It is home to two opera companies: the Metropolitan (00 1 212 362 6000; www.metoperafamily.org), which has the grander, more classical repertoire; and the New York City Opera (00 1 212 721 6500; www.nycopera.com), specialising in more innovative, American works.

The Lincoln is also the place to hear the New York Philharmonic ( www.newyorkphilharmonic.org), which performs indoors for most of the year, but stages free picnic concerts in Central Park, and other parks, in summer.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Guru Careers: Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager is req...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future