MECCA for music

New York’s famed Carnegie Hall filled with lots of sounds and lots of history

Tine Thing Helseth, a 30-year-old Norwegian trumpeter, had just made her Carnegie Hall main stage debut with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Now she stood center stage, applause resounding around her, a surprise up her sleeve.


The Smith, 1900 Broadway at 63rd Street; (212) 496-5700, thesmithrestaurant.com.

Brooklyn Diner, 212 W. 57th St.; (212) 977-1957, brooklyndiner.com.

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, 136 W. 55th St.; (212) 315-4356, blacktapnyc.com.


Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave. at 57th Street (main entrance on 57th); (212) 247-7800, carnegiehall.org. Tours $17 per adult (plus $2.50 ticket fee).

nycgo.com, for visitor information


Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room is next door to Carnegie Hall, but that doesn’t mean you must eat there. Because of this restaurant’s long history as a Carnegie Hall-adjacent hangout (Leonard Bernstein wrote music here), I felt obliged to take a seat beneath the old samovars and gold ceiling.

I had been warned that it would be garish, expensive and full of tourists, but there was only one way to be sure. For the record, my beef stroganoff was tender and arrived quickly — but then for $42, it should have. russiantearoomnyc.com

Art Students League of New York

Barely 100 yards from the hall, you can get soup for $4, sketch a model for $7 and see where some of America’s greatest artists have honed their skills. The Art Students League of New York, whose building at 215 W. 57th St. is just a year younger than Carnegie Hall, has counted Thomas Hart Benton, Alexander Calder, Georgia O’Keeffe, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollock, Romare Bearden and Mark Rothko among its students and teachers.

Check out the league’s gallery of student work, then climb the stairs to the plain, cheap, tourist-free cafeteria. Order at the counter and nurse that soup.

Or show up a little before 5 p.m. any weekday, hand over $7 and join a studio sketching session with a live model. theartstudentsleague.org

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