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Mexico City in the Spotlight

INTERIOR DESIGN If you only have time to visit one interiors store, it should be Artefacto (94 Calle Amatlán, Condesa; 52-55/5286-7729; www.artefacto.com.mx), for its comprehensive collection of sophisticated (and well-priced) Mexican table and bed linens, glassware, silver jewelry, and leather frames in bright colors. • At newcomer 5 LMENTO (79 Calle Cuernavaca, Condesa; 52-55/5553-0394) it's possible to score an Ericsson Ericofone for $50 to $75 (compared with at least $200 in New York). There's one room of vintage barware and cocktail shakers, another with furniture by Bertoia and Eames. • Chic by Accident (180 Calle Colima, Roma; 52-55/5514-5723), an incredibly stylish store filled with antique furniture and home accessories, is a favorite with Mexico City's architects and interior designers. Prices aren't marked, so be prepared to bargain. • Four industrial designers opened Mob (322 Calle Campeche, Condesa; 52-55/5286-7239) to showcase their work and that of students at the Universidad Iberoamericana. Everything here (oversized ottomans stuffed with Styrofoam beads, cylindrical frosted-glass lamps with brushed-aluminum bases) is modern and minimal. • At Ludens (101E Orizaba, Roma; 52-55/5511-8599) it's about simple pieces like "floating" shelves and upholstered footstools, with a selection of vintage-modern pieces from Chic by Accident.

GALLERIES Condesa and Roma are the places to check out the work of contemporary emerging artists (Silvia Gruner, Miguel Calderón, and Fernanda Brunet, to name a few)in a dozen or so exciting galleries. Galería OMR (54 Plaza Rio de Janeiro, Roma; 52-55/5511-1179; www.galeriaomr.com) was established 22 years ago; its current home is a grand residential building with an ornate ironwork door. The gallery displays both Mexican and international artists, and is the exclusive representative of the late Mexican sculptors Adolfo Riestra and Luis Ortiz Monasterio. • Art & Idea (47 Parque España, Condesa; 52-55/5211-7192; www.art-ideamexico.com) was founded in 1995 as a not-for-profit group dedicated to organizing contemporary arts programs worldwide. It has evolved into a modern space (designed by Enrique Norten, who also did Hotel Habita) that showcases the work of highly experimental artists. • Galería Casa Lamm (99 Calle Álvaro Obregón, Roma; 52-55/5525-3938; www.galeriacasalamm.com.mx) is a cultural center with a book- store, a library, a hot restau- rant, a bar,and a formal gallery with rotating exhibits. • Cuban-born curator Nina Menocal is a legend in Mexico City; in the late 1980's,she opened a gallery in an apartment, where she showed the work of Cuban artists. She has now upgraded to a proper gallery space (93 Calle Zacatecas, Roma; 52-55/5564-7443) and expanded the offerings to include works from Argentina and Mexico as well as Cuba. • MUCA-Roma (73 Calle Tabasco, Roma; 52-55/5511-0925), the off-campus outpost of the Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, is one of the few galleries open on Sundays. Emerging artists, often with a political slant, are featured; a recent exhibit encouraged visitors to stick MADE IN CHINA decals on the walls (Mexico has lost many manufacturing jobs to China).

NIGHTLIFE Former MTV Europe VJ Crispin Somerville presides over Prima (17 Plaza Villa de Madrid, Roma; 52-55/5208-2029), a new bar across the Villa de Madrid from Kaiten Sushi. The young and gorgeous hang out on red lounge chairs in the dimly lit loftlike space while sipping drinks (the house cocktail is the Pinindia—a martini with pineapple and cardamom) and nibbling on thin-crust pizzas. • On weekends at the San Luis Club (26 San Luis Potosí, Roma; 52-55/5574-2639) the vinyl banquettes are packed with music fans of all ages who come to hear the 11-piece band play classic salsa/merengue tunes. Want to take a twirl with one of the ficheras, or dancing girls?It'll set you back 10 pesos (about a dollar). • For live jazz, the spot is T Gallery (39 Saltillo, Condesa; 52-55/5211-1211), where Wynton Marsalis and his posse chilled out on a recent trip to Mexico City. • While the glowing red exterior exudes a "too cool for you" vibe, Cinnabar (67 Nuevo León, Condesa; 52-55/5286-8456) bouncers smile and swing the doors wide open into a room that's filled to capacity with scenesters from all over the city.

RIMA SUQI writes for the New York Daily News and New York magazine.

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