Introducing STAFF PICKS, a new series celebrating our neighborhood.  

Hi, I’m Rick. I’ve worked at the Museum since it moved to the Bowery in 2007. As your guide, I’ve collected my favorite photographs I’ve taken around the Bowery to share my perfect day on the Lower East Side with you. On my perfect day, I would eat six times and see twelve shows. It might take you a year to visit all of these places, but that could make for a perfect year.

First thing is first—when I came to New York during my 2002 spring break, teaNY on Rivington Street was one of the first places I visited on the Lower East Side. Order the vegan turkey club, the three-lentil chili with vegan sour cream, the peanut butter bomb cake and a pot of one of the hundred teas teaNY carries. 

Across the street from teaNY and below Envoy Enterprises Gallery is Macie Gransion, a brand-new private arts club. Members of the club organize a wide range of public programs and the space hosts both short and long-term artist residencies.

A little further down on Rivington Street is ABC No Rio, a collectively-run art and activism center founded in 1980. In addition to being a gallery space and a performance venue, the center acts as a hub for community organizations. Programming includes poetry readings, film screenings, artist workshops, and punk matinées. ABC No Rio also has available facilities like a zine library, a print shop, and a computer center.

From here, head up to Houston Street and check out PARTICIPANT INC, a not-for-profit alternative space run by curator Lia Gangitano. In addition to object-based exhibitions, PARTICIPANT INC presents a lot of live performances and film screenings in the space as well.

Time to eat again! This time at Tien Garden, a vegan Chinese restaurant that’s been around since 1995. The restaurant just completed a renovation and a redesign of their menu. You must order the burdock root dumplings and five elements soup. It’s right by the radical bookstore, Bluestockings.

Nearby on 4th Street is the venerable La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. Founded in 1961, performing at La MaMa has been a rite of passage for downtown artists for decades. 

Now go to Dixon Place, the longtime home of experimental and works-in-progress performances. There is a bar upstairs and the profits go straight to support live performances, so drink up! 

Okay, it’s been a long day. It’s time for a tender moment. Head to Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater for a late show. The food and drinks are expensive but they taste really good by this point in the evening. If Molly Pope, Erin Markey, or Cole Escola is onstage, you’re in good hands. 

Photos, from top left: Me and DIS Magazine media companions at the New Museum’s Triennial Awareness party for the upcoming 2015 Generational exhibition, curated by Lauren Cornell and Ryan Trecartin; The New Museum festooned with Chris Burden’s Ghost Ship (2005) and Twin Quasi Legal Skyscrapers (2013); teaNY at 90 Rivington Street; In November 2013, artist Colin Self organized the Next Time Symposium at Macie Gransion; Michael Alan’s The Living Installation at ABC No Rio; During a three week long festival in November 2013, artist Conrad Ventur paid tribute to experimental film superstar Mario Montez at PARTICIPANT INC; Five elements soup at Tien Garden; Choreographer Pavel Zuštiak performs his trilogy cycle, The Painted Bird, at La MaMa; Artist and witch Max Steele sings a PJ Harvey song about the moon at Dixon Place; With the force of a cabaret hurricane, Bridget Everett steals a nice man’s tie in a tender moment at Joe’s Pub.