We decided to do February right with the ultimate
love crush letter, aka one addressed to New York City. Since the city has been so good to us, not just any letter would do, though; as such, we asked for some help from some of our favorite NYC-lovin’ people:
- These favorite New York-based people included bartenders, comedians, musicians, entrepeneurs and everything in between.
- We asked them to submit a list of 5 things/people/places/food plates/drinks/anything really that they have a CRUSH ON (all caps) in NY right now
- And hey-they kindly obliged!
We already had our first batch run for Valentine’s Day (if you haven’t read it-DO IT NOW), and TODAY, we have our SECOND batch of reasons to close out February courtesy of some very hard working men and women. Read, feel the butterflies in your stomach and don’t forget to comment with YOUR favorite things about this city that never sleeps.
From Reggie Watts, musician, comedian, performer, HERO:
- The abundance of reclaimed wood, edison bulb, dimply lit, great new American cuisine restaurants. Rye is a good example.
- The overall attitude of people: practical, curious, determined and social.
- A very high density of… how do I phrase this? A shitload of things going on. Art and innovations everywhere. Every week, you can experience at least four new things you’ve never experienced.
- I enjoy the sound of my neighbor pumping dubstep and dance music through my walls.
- And, I guess I really like the women of NY. The way they dress strikes a fine urban balance of never overdressed or underdressed. I guess I want to say – they are classy even when they are trashy.
Photo by Mari Juliano
Stick with the Originals. They always deliver.
- Best place to have a business meeting: The Smile, 26 BOND ST.
- Best place to escape NY while staying in NY: The Cloisters, 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY
- Best place to spend all my hard earned money: Opening Ceremony, 35 Howard St
- Best place to support fellow musicians by buying records: Other Music, 15 E 4th St, New York, NY
- Best place to eat amazing Chinese food with my girlfriend: Grand Sichuan, 229 9th Ave, New York
- Tapas & Spanish cider at Donostia– Couldn’t be more excited about this delightful new East Village tapas joint. Very authentic conservas bar with a spectacularly-curated drink selection, open from 8am-midnight, and only a few blocks south of Pouring Ribbons. Dangerous indeed.
- The Library at the NoMad– I can’t think of a more civilized place to have a meeting, meet a couple friends, or simply luxuriate in the inimitable hospitality. Every time I’m there, I wonder why I’m not there more often.
- Adam Yauch Park– Located in a tiny street in Brooklyn Heights, this dog run is a favorite of my dog Stevie Wonder. Considering I have loved the Beastie Boys since the 2nd grade, the fact that I can see my puppy run around in a park named for M.C.A. is beyond amazing.
- Gyoza with wings!– The dumplings at Ganso in Brooklyn Heights are not only perfectly seasoned and expertly fried, but they come with a gorgeous crunchy lattice that makes every order look like a edible butterfly. Almost too pretty to wolf down…
- Caffeination at Box Kite– Coffee pro Cora Lambert opened her long-awaited shop in the East Village recently, and my walk to work has improved immeasurably. Impeccable brewed coffee, knee-buckling espresso, and the sweetest service I’ve encountered at a coffee shop. It just opened and it’s already firing on all cylinders.
From Julia Kwamya-Ring Leader of the band GERMANS
- Prospect Park- One of the most lovely places I’ve ever been. You can spend an afternoon getting lost in all it’s beauty.
- The Thing– Thrift store in Greenpoint. They have a lot of great vinyl that’s worth digging through the sea of black mold to buy. Just kidding but it’s definitely dusty.
- BLK Denim Sample Sale- I like the store of course. But I like the store even better when they slash their prices.
- Franny’s– This Italian restaurant is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in Park Slope. Really great pizza.
- Film Biz Store– Fantastic vintage store where everything was formerly a prop on a movie set. Some real collectors items in there. If you ever need to find a fireman outfit, that’s your store.
Shannon is an actress, comedian and writer who spends most of her time online & watching TV. She’s super relax.
- Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop. <3
- Bodegas. Whenever I’m somewhere bodegas aren’t, I’m like “why?”
- The Cloisters. It feels almost impossible to make it that far uptown and once you do, it feels like you’re no longer in New York.
- Williamsburg Waterfront. So relax.
- Duane Reade. I don’t know why but I have a thing for Duane Reade.
From Jonathan Toubin, one of our favorite DJs EVER, slash the brains behind the best DANCE PARTY EVER, aka New York Night Train
- Wednesday Night at Botanica – Mr Fine Wine – you’d be hard pressed to find a New York DJ residency that’s been going on since 1996. This casual party features soul DJ legend Mr Fine Wine of WFMU’s Downtown Soulville and some of the deepest record collectors on the planet throwing down all original 45rpm soul music in all its varieties every week… forever! A downtown New York institution if there ever was one…
- Late night dinner at Vaselka – when I came to New York in the 1990s all of night life could be found at dawn crowding the East Village’s 24-hour Ukrainian restaurants. With the disappearance of Kiev and most recently Odessa, Veselka, the best of them all, remains the last man standing. And while its not the 6am social scene that it used to be, particularly on weeknights, you still run into an occasional face while ordering consistently solid pirogees, borscht, potato pancakes, etc.
- El Quixote – one of my favorite places in the entire universe! And when it goes, New York will go with it. Even if El Quixote wasn’t a piece of music/art/literaterary history as the Chelsea Hotel’s restaurant/bar, the none-too-subtle Don Quixote/Sancho Panza-themed decor, dim lighting, and interesting mix of longtime patrons make for one of the warmest and most unique vibes in town and a quintessential New York experience. All of the dozens of new restaurants with great food but no mojo need to take a lesson in ambiance from these guys. i’d much rather be here than anywhere…
- The Strand – another constant in my life. Before I even moved to New York I was in awe of this wooly mammoth. Now, more than a couple of decades later, I still can’t go anywhere in the vicinity of Union Square without being pulled in by its magnetism. Each time I consequently lose hours of my life, get nothing I had planned done, and get on the subway with bulging bags to add to the book piles in my crowded apartment. I doubt there’s a bigger, better, or more legendary store. Plus it gets points because every memoir reminds you that nearly every cool downtowner worked here at one point in the 1970s and beyond…
- Monday at Union Pool: Reverend Vince Anderson and Country Night: I first met Reverend Vince Anderson on the street in 1998 through a mutual friend. He invited me to his weekly gig at Avenue B Social Club (now Manitobas) where I first got my taste of his musical brand of sweaty sermon. Over the years I followed the Reverend and his unconventional gospel to Continental Club then to Pete’s Candy Store then to Black Betty then finally, a few years back to its current home at Union Pool. The Reverend’s band features some of my favorite musicians in town – members of TV on the Radio, El P, Melvin Van Peebles Laxative, etc and they turn up faithfully to embark upon an unknown journey that changes every week. Also some of the most unbelievable guest musicians pop in. In the front they have their longstanding country music night. And a lesson to all of the clubs dumbing their already mediocre suburbanized programming down each year, this oddball combo packs ’em in front and back every week and always delivers…
- Endless food options…yes, I know where the real Chinese and Mexican food is Cali snobs…how’s your pizza?
- All music runs through this town so you can literally see any touring act your heart desires.
- 4am has a nice ring to it. It’s no Madrid late night, but I think 4am keeps us classy.
- Used to say 5pointz…RIP Now I have to go look for graf on the East River waterfront on the BK side.
- Coney Island is still great. I stand by and in that south Brooklyn adventure town.
Photo by Hanna Elise Furey
- Even after 8 years of living here, I still don’t know this place and there’s always something new to try. Restaurants open and close in time with an unrivaled pantheon of nightlife options that crushes Las Vegas. NYC is always changing, just like me. One minute I can work in music, be a tv analyst or become a chef or curator or all of them at once.
- It’s so DAMN SMALL. For better or worse, your dating history will come back to haunt you and it’s good for a laugh. But seriously,NYC’s interconnectivity is unlike anywhere else. Beyond the every day hustle to make it, I think NYers are hungrier to collaborate, create and consume everything that is new.
- You can eat food from chefs you see on TV. The city itself is a culinary incubator. Foie gras doughnut? Check. Ramen burger? Uh huh. Kolaches, bo ssam, picklebacks, balut, huaraches, geoduck, brisket, produce grown on a roof, and meat on swords. If you can think of it, you can probably find it in New York City.
- A dance party can erupt anywhere. Summers are the best because you can stumble upon street fairs and free park concerts any day. If you don’t know how to have fun, you should probably leave.
- With circuitous transit and growing bike community you can do what you want– when you want. Breakfast picnic at the beach? Watch the sunset from Dumbo? 3am bacon wrapped hot dog and cheese tots? Yeah. I’m never leaving.
From AVAN LAVA, aka pretty much our favorite musical outfit of all time whose tunes sound like eating a bowl of HOT GLITTER:
- The 24 hour delis make our lifestyle possible.
- The Subway, because you can be off the grid multiple times a day.
- If there’s a band or artist on tour, they will eventually come to NYC. You can see anything and everything.
- Everyone in NY is a hustler, and all the hustlers support each other.
- DIVERSITY. Everyone is here.
WE ❤ NY!!!
- Cake Shop- It’s where I started doing comedy in NYC and before that was my favorite place to go see music. It’s run by two brothers, has excellent cake, two full bars, and records. I got a Dory Previn record there for $5 on the same night I saw Greg Ginn from Black Flag do an incredible hour set.
- The burger at the Commodore- I love this bar. They play great music and they have my favorite burger. It’s far more delicious than any $15 burger in the area, and instead it’s $7. I was there recently on a relatively empty night and they were only playing UGK. I sat in the back, had a dirty martini and a cheeseburger and it was heaven.
- Mr. Fine Wine- He’s the master behind WFMU’S Downtown Soulville and he spins on Wednesday nights at Botanica until super late. The best.
- Abraco- Best coffee you’ll ever consume. Jamie, the owner, knows your name and his wife, Liz, makes the most incredible Brazilian pastries you’ll ever consume. It’s a tiny place– you don’t sit down, just take it and walk.
- The Flower Conservatory at Central Park- Even on the most crowded Summer day, I swear this place is always empty. It’s far enough uptown that few tourists know about it. Feels hidden & mystical.