There might be cities in the US that have more spacious-sounding halls than Carnegie or Avery Fisher, and in some places there might be even more intimate spots than Joe’s Pub, The Stone or Le Poisson Rouge. Despite these possibilities, for someone like me that can’t travel to LA or other faraway cities, I would say that New York automatically wins for having all of those in one place.
But even more than just classical and new music venues, as you walk along the streets, you are surrounded by culture. You are forever reminded on Times Square about Broadway musicals (By the way, the Tonys are always held in New York). You always see artists selling their work. You always see people busking in the subway (I have seen quite a few inspiring ones, either violin or guitar, and have also seen an a cappella singing group). There’s always people trying to sell passes for stand-up comedy. There’s MTV Studios, and the crowds that come over for Broadway half-priced tickets. Almost every musician I know lives in New York, yet they’re almost always from out of town. You’ll see indie folk in small intimate places like The Bitter End, The Living Room and Cornelia Street Cafe. You’ll see slightly louder bands in places like Terminal 5, Webster Hall, and Music Hall of Williamsburg. Madison Square Garden, of course, for the biggest draws, has been a fixture of the city for 44 years.
Add to this museums (and especially that great design of the Guggenheim) and it appears that New York itself is saturated in the arts. New York’s skyline is even part of the fabric of the city’s cultural profile, possibly even the biggest part of it with those classic skyscrapers.
It gets lots more points for this, too: New York is quite a powerful city. When something as huge as New York was targeted on 9/11, it was obviously big enough for terrorists to mess with in the first place, but to see it thrive so well in the aftermath…that means so much more.
And where else will you see The Naked Cowboy?