Visit 7 Iconic Musical New York Landmarks
Bright lights, big city! As The Recording Academy rolls out the red carpet in New York for the first time since 2003 for the milestone 60th GRAMMY Awards, we can't wait to unpack and take in the sights — and sounds. Whether it's melancholic Strawberry Fields in Central Park, the storied Birdland jazz club or the regal Madison Square Garden, we're excited to experience the most iconic and musically awakened locations in the city that never sleeps.
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden has a legacy as the holy grail of sorts for touring artists. To put it another way: When you've headlined the Garden, you've made it. Interestingly, all four Beatles played the Garden, but never at the same time. MSG hosted the concerts for the Album Of The Year GRAMMY-winning Concert For Bangla Desh in 1971, and artists from AC/DC, Journey and Pearl Jam to Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Kanye West have all played there. MSG also holds a special GRAMMY first. At the 39th GRAMMY Awards in 1996, the Garden became the first major arena to host the GRAMMYs.
Radio City Music Hall
Located in the Rockefeller Center, and home of the famed Rockettes dancers, Radio City Music Hall is nicknamed Showplace of the Nation. And for good reason: It's the largest indoor theater and has the largest (and probably shiniest) gold curtain. While taking in the decadent décor, reminisce about artists the Hall has hosted over the years, including Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Liza Minnelli, Stevie Wonder, and Liberace. The GRAMMY Awards called Radio City Music Hall their home on six occasions too, starting with the 23rd GRAMMYs in 1981.
Electric Lady Studios
With recent projects such as Adele's Album Of The Year-winning 25 to David Bowie's Best Alternative Music Album-winning Blackstar, there's a special mojo working within the walls of Electric Lady Studios. The hallowed studio was born in 1970 when Jimi Hendrix purchased an old nightclub and converted it into a what would become a preferred recording location for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, and Patti Smith, among others. Another interesting tidbit? It's the oldest working recording studio in New York.
With its classic red-brick exterior, the Chelsea Hotel has held a place in New York's heart since it opened in the 1880s. But its famous residents truly give this hotel its character. The Grateful Dead, Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Dee Dee Ramone, Cher, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Janis Joplin, Bette Midler, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Rufus Wainwright, and Leonard Cohen were all guests or residents at one point or another. Former resident Madonna used room 822 to shoot her 1992 coffee table book, Sex. But the Chelsea doesn't kiss and tell.
The Village Vanguard
Tucked away in Greenwich Village, the famed Village Vanguard has been the proving ground for jazz greats as far back as John Coltrane, Eartha Kitt and Harry Belafonte, right up to contemporaries such as Ravi Coltrane and Wynton Marsalis. But in its early days, the club also supported poets, comedians, folk artists such as Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, and Calypso acts, among many other performing artists. Today, the Vanguard is still the place to go to for stellar jazz acts and that unforgettable nightclub atmosphere.
Speaking of legendary jazz venues, the Birdland ranks high on the list of New York's classic nightclub locations. The club was nicknamed after Charlie "Bird" Parker, the saxophonist who was one of the club's first headliners when it opened in 1949. Soon Count Basie and his band became fixtures onstage, along with a host of other jazz luminaries: Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Stan Getz, Lester Young, and Erroll Garner. With recent headliners such as the GRAMMY-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Birdland is still a vibrant jazz destination.
Strawberry Fields in Central Park
We couldn't take a trip to New York and not pay tribute to GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award honoree John Lennon. Settled in Central Park, Strawberry Fields and its famous "Imagine" mosaic — a gift from Italy — serve as a memorial to the late Lennon, who was killed in New York on Dec. 8, 1980. The living memorial was designed by landscape architect Bruce Kelly, and it was dedicated by New York Mayor Ed Koch and Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono, in 1985. This triangular patch of land keeps Lennon's memory and his message of peace alive and well for generations of music lovers. Strawberry fields forever, indeed.
Where's your favorite musical location in New York? Tell us in the comments.