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Village Voice: Best of NY 2005

October 12-18, 2005


Best Halloween Doggie Costume Contest - GREAT PUPKIN
Big Bird. Yoda. Spider-Dog? You'll see these costumes and more at the annual GREAT PUPKIN in Fort Greene Park, where hip dog-owners clothe their canines in witty costumes and vie for prizes. Last year, a little pug dressed as Neo was a crowd pleaser as he gobbled gruel from a dish. Warning: There is a high potential for cuteness overload at this event, so bring your camera.

Best Place to Sit on Library Books - BRYANT PARK
Next time you lounge on BRYANT PARK's grass, consider that 1.5 million books are less than six feet below your butt. Thirty-seven miles of the New York Public Library stacks run beneath the esplanade, in a storage facility added in the '80s. With books below, trees can't put down sufficient roots on the lawn, which is one reason for the open space. And you thought it was so you could see the big screen.
42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, Manhattan

Best Place to Do Tobacco-Related Research - GEORGE ARENTS COLLECTION
George Arents would have been pissed about the smoking ban. He bought his first book about tobacco at 17, and 60 years later, he owned almost every important tobacco-related work, plus many literary works that refer to tobacco only incidentally (Jack Kerouac is in good standing here). The New York Public Library now houses the GEORGE ARENTS COLLECTION, where researchers browse while being watched by two cigar-store wooden Indians. No smoking in the room, please.
Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, Manhattan 212-642-0110

Best Place for a Morbid Yet Scenic Picnic - PRISON SHIP MARTYR'S MONUMENT
Taking your gloomy girlfriend on a date? Settle into the grass beside the 143-foot-tall PRISON SHIP MARTYR'S MONUMENT. The nearby crypt holds the bones of 11,500 people dumped off British prison ships during the Revolutionary War. Thoughtful (and weird) Brooklynites saved the bones that washed up on the shore and eventually housed them here. Cast your eyes over a lovely view of downtown Manhattan while you enjoy the creep-out factor.
85 South Portland Avenue, Brooklyn


Best Place to Avoid Farting - QUIET PARTY
The QUIET PARTY's creators bill their Silent Dating as a unique scene and cultural phenomenon. Guests use paper and pens to scribble notes to each other in absolute silence. This quirky way of meeting people is a great way to break the ice, but what happens if you need to, uh, break wind? Best to skip that heavy meal at Mama Mexico before socializing silently.

Best Place to Get Aroused by Writing Instruments - FOUNTAIN PEN HOSPITAL
Pen perverts have been hitting the FOUNTAIN PEN HOSPITAL for a quick fix since 1946. Their shiny glass cases house hundreds of sexy fountain pens from Aurora to Waterman, and they don't mind (too much) if you salivate over the curvy bodies and rich lacquers. For a strangely sensual experience, check out the Namiki-Pilot Vanishing Point Collection, which features fountain pens with delicate nibs that retract into the hard metal body. Oh, ecstasy!
10 Warren Street, Manhattan 212-964-0580

They're naive, nubile, and approaching a quarter-life crisis. Recent graduates are perfect for a sexy summer fling! Disregard the Barney-purple robes carpeting WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK ON NYU GRADUATION DAY; underneath, the youngsters hunger for life experience. One drawback: You can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone deep in debt, but face it--you're not looking for a sugar daddy. You want a sweet-faced baby boy who'll be good to his new hot mama.


Best Anarchist Political Folk-Punk Singer - MISCHIEF BREW
Erik Petersen, a/k/a MISCHIEF BREW, has the face of a sweet teenage boy about to get into some serious trouble. His music is a gypsy mix of folk, punk, and swing. The androgynous characters in his foot-tapping tunes lament the current condition of these United States and blaze alternative paths. And did I mention he's also a cutie?

Best Open-Air Opera Singer - SCOTT REIBURN
On warm summer nights, you might hear SCOTT REIBURN's rich baritone voice floating through Fort Greene Park. The jolly Juilliard grad says it's the best practice space in the city, so when he wants to let loose those golden pipes, he serenades the neighborhood with everything from Mozart to Donizetti, making Cumberland Street feel like Piazza della Signoria. His arias have another benefit: When they hear opera, creeps scurry away.
Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn


Best Scent Indulgence for Your Inner Goth - BLACK PHOENIX ALCHEMY LAB
The liquor may be illegal, but you can buy a vial of Absinthe fragrance from the BLACK PHOENIX ALCHEMY LAB website for 20 bucks. The brainchild of Coney Island native Elizabeth Moriarty, this online perfumery specializes in wicked scents like Embalming Fluid, Kali, Dragon's Blood, and Danse Macabre. BPAL (its name among friends) has a diehard following that waits upwards of 30 days to receive these olfactory delights.

Best Clothing-Style Names - JILL ANDERSON
Where else can you buy a slinky gown called the "Get Lucky Dress"? (Devotees swear that it really works.) What about an "Italian Widow's Dress," "Sunday Cinema Pants"? Word nerds and clothes-horses alike are extended family at JILL ANDERSON's boutique. She offers well-cut wear and timeless designs, and her rea-woman sizes make everyone happy. Check out the discounted Green Garb – gently used pieces that have been "recycled" by previous owners. 331 East 9th Street, 212-253-1747


Best Automated Voice - U-SCAN LADY
The U-SCAN LADY guides you step-by-step through the oh-so-difficult process of scanning your own groceries in the express lanes at large supermarkets. She seems nice enough, but it's hard to engage her in conversation, perhaps because she's so damn insistent that you "please place the item in the bag." She sounds tipsy when she asks, "Do you have any coooopons?" but cut her some slack--she has to entertain herself somehow.


Best NYC Contributor to Bush's "Healthy Forest Initiative" - ASIAN LONG-HORNED BEETLE
This creepy crawly isn't on the Bush Administration payroll, but it should be. Introduced into the area in 1996, the ASIAN LONG-HORNED BEETLE is a lean, mean, tree-killing machine. Its one-inch-long body packs a punch: Once it tunnels into the trunk, the tree is dead. If the parasite spreads, it could devastate our national forests. Luckily, the infestation is still limited, so it's possible to eradicate the critter before it teams up with the Bushies.

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