Critic, playwright, opera librettist, teacher—David Cote is among the most preeminent and multitalented figures in the theater world today. As the theater editor and lead drama critic for Time Out New York for more than a decade, David reviewed everything on New York’s stages—plays, musicals, and experimental pieces on Broadway, as well as off- and off-off Broadway productions. For years, he’s reviewed both Broadway and off-Broadway shows for hometown local cable news channel NY1. And his newest opera as a librettist, Three Way, recently premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was lauded by Opera News as “effortlessly funny, clever, and deeply resonant.” Oh, and he wrote three behind-the-scenes Broadway books: Wicked: The Grimmerie, Jersey Boys, and Spring Awakening: In the Flesh. He’s also acted and directed, taught art criticism at Brooklyn College, and is a member of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle.
So, yeah, the man knows theater. But the New Hampshire native and Bard graduate is a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, which means he also knows his way around this town’s culture, food, and drink. So what does David love most about New York? The people. “The abundance of art and beauty is obvious, but it’s the collective brain of New York that kind of blows me away,” he says. “Being part of it, without having to do all the fake neighborly stuff.” It doesn’t get much more New York–y than that.
David Cote’s Best of New York City
Bar Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle. Ludwig Bemelmans’s drawings adorn the walls, the waiters are smartly dressed, the lights are low, and the martinis are strong.
Taco I’m sort of addicted to Limon Jungle on Ninth Avenue, especially the tacos and the empanadas that come with the vinegary red sauce and savory green stuff.
Steak joint Big fan of Bistro Chat Noir on East 66th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. Friendly, cozy French bistro with superb steak frites and a beet salad to die for.
Museum Metropolitan Museum of Art. Not exactly obscure, but spend a few hours there and you’re a better human. My blood pressure goes down the minute I breeze through the doors. Be sure to check out the Asian Pacific collection, which is unlike anything else in the building.
Live-music venue Feinstein’s/54 Below is a great cabaret to get dinner and hear Broadway legends or rising stars up close and intimate. I’ve seen Patti LuPone, Nellie McKay, Ben Vereen, and others there. Sipping a cocktail and listening to Vereen croon “Magic to Do”…just bliss.