ISSUE 61 JAN 2020
0 2 0 VISI N THE ISSUE OF THE YEAR READ NEW YORKERS' STORIES ABOUT THEIR FIRST CRAPPY APARTMENTS FIRST CELEBRITY SIGHTING, FIRST TIME SOBBING ON THE SUBWAY, FIRST PRIDE, first mugging, FIRST time in drag ...
IMAGINATION TAKES FLIGHT AT THE INTREPID MUSEUM
Discover history and science through our exhibits and innovative programs. Visit IntrepidMuseum.org for a full schedule of events.
JANUARY EVENTS JA NUA RY 10
M C HOOL P R OGR A
J A NU
Through the lens of Intrepid ’s pop-up planetarium show and the temporary exhibition Discover Exoplanets, participants will learn all about exoplanets and the methods used to detect them. Register at IntrepidMuseum.org/Homeschool.
A RY 11 & 12
D A D V EN T UR
Children ages 5–12, their siblings and parents/caregivers have fun and learn together through these enrichment programs. Free with Museum admission. Register at IntrepidMuseum.org/Adventures.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! FEBRUARY 15–22
Join us all week long for live animal shows, maker spaces, pop-up planetarium shows, live performances and so much more! Children of all ages and interests will learn more about STEAM through activities and demonstrations designed to educate and inspire. Learn more at IntrepidMuseum.org/KidsWeek.
J A NU
J A NU A R Y 26
A RY 18 & 25
R AT I O N S L U M
Spend a night aboard Intrepid ! Get exclusive access to the ship and Space Shuttle Pavilion, and sleep among the aircraft, just like enlisted sailors once did. To register, call 646-381-5010 or email GroupSales@IntrepidMuseum.org.
FA MILY P R
Learn about Intrepid â€™s connections to space travel and how it helped us to learn more about our solar system and beyond. Open to all U.S. military service members and veterans and their families. Register at IntrepidMuseum.org/Veterans.
PIER 86, WEST 46TH ST & 12TH AVE intrepidmuseum.org 2020 ÂŠ Intrepid Museum Foundation. All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under applicable law, this work may not be copied, published, disseminated, displayed, performed or played without permission of the copyright holder. Photos: Erika Kapin; Karen Obrist; David Batista; Mark Greenberg.
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THE TEAM THAT BROUGHT YOU W42ST
PUBLISHER PHIL O’BRIEN firstname.lastname@example.org (646) 267-9028
EDITOR RUTH WALKER email@example.com (646) 847-9645
CONTENTS January Edition
PARTNERSHIP DIRECTOR DREW DARGIS firstname.lastname@example.org (646) 896-9562
SENIOR ART EDITOR LEE CAPLE
SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR SANDRA MANGAN email@example.com
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FOUNDING EDITOR SIMON KIRRANE AMBASSADOR HERSHEY MILLER CONTRIBUTORS
DANE LACHIUSA KRISTEN JONGEN CLAUDIA CHUNG SOPHIA STRAWSER CID ROBERTS MICHAEL MUÑOZ ELIZABETH DURAND STREISAND CHELSEY HILL CLAYTON HOWE NATE BOZEMAN SAMIA FAKIH All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher ©2020. Please note: Every effort has been made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions in this publication. However, if you spot one please accept our sincere apologies.
28 2020 vision
8 WEST SIDE STORY
A vision for Hell’s Kitchen that includes parks, ferries ... and the occasional date night.
Our pick of the big events you MUST see this January.
13 LETTER FROM THE ED Heading into 2020 like it’s Niagara Falls ... and Ruth Walker is in the barrel.
14 NY FIRSTS
From that first crappy apartment, to a first time in drag, an introduction to mugging, first time sobbing in the subway, first dead neighbor ... and many more stories.
It’s a big year ... personally, professionally, and politically. What does it have in store? And what does “home” really mean to us?
Street photography – wrapped up warm.
It’s the internet – in print!
66 LAST WORD
How’s this for a new year’s thought ... from Judy Garland.
36 BEFORE STARDOM
First jobs, first kiss, first crush, first time on stage ... Broadway performers come clean.
GRATITUDE TO OUR BRILLIANT, VISIONARY PARTNERS
Their commitment keeps W42ST free for everyone else to enjoy. Please support them with your love and your business 34th St Partnership Amas Musical Theatre Baire Hair Removal Barcade Compass
Ensemble Studio Theatre Fine & Dandy Fountain House Gallery Frank M Burke
Fresh From Hell Intrepid Museum MCC Theater Gotham Mini Storage Jadite Picture New Victory Theater Grand Central Framing November 19 Partnership Leanne Schanzer OrganizeNY Hafetz & Associates Promotions Ousia Hell’s Creative Mark Fisher Fitness Perdition
PRINT Scruffy Duffy’s The Ainsworth The Artist Co-op The Dyksterhouse Team
The Pocket Bar The Press Lounge The Marshal Title Boxing Wells Fargo WNET
EAT RIGHT, FEEL GREAT
OR ORDER ON
SPONSORED BY LOGO HERE
39 PIE ODYSSEY
From Canada to California, sampling pie along the way. It’s a tough job, but Clay Howe gets to do it.
A musical tour of Hell’s Kitchen, in the company of a badass actress.
42 THE KITCHEN GAILY
Looking ahead to 2020, with the pressure cooker switched off!
A performer chooses his go-to places to eat, drink, and play (complete with musical soundtrack).
48 STUDIO CONVERSION
The path to turning an alcove studio into a true one-bedroom apartment.
55 HEY NEIGHBOR!
A HK lifer moves just one block to stay in the neighborhood she loves.
56 HOME COMFORTS
Pantone’s color of the year? Find out here.
61 THERE’S A RUMBLE
Where weights meet cardio ... with a DJ thrown in for good measure.
63 SOBER IN THE CITY
Celebrity BFFs? Kristin Jongen has them in spades. (Brooke, why you no call?)
64 WAGGING TALES
Two pages of Hell’s Kitchen’s most handsome pets. Get involved by emailing email@example.com.
WEST SIDE STORIES BIO
Jeffrey LeFrancois’ political career began in the office of Assembly member Dick Gottfried, where he eventually rose among the ranks to become deputy chief of staff. He left to act as Council member Corey Johnson’s first chief of staff. Now executive director of the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, he also sits on multiple boards, including the Housing Conservation Coordinators, Manhattan Committee Board 4, the Waterfront Parks Environment Committee, and the Transportation Committee. JEFFREY’S HK Ardesia, W52nd St 10th/11th Ave La Bergamote, W52nd St 10th/11th Ave The Landmark @ 57 West, W57th St 12th Ave American Retro, 10th Ave - 50th/51st St Nizza, 9th Ave 44th/45th St The Waylon, 10th Ave/50th St Mud Matters, 10th Ave - 46th St Posh, W51st St 9th/10th Ave Flaming Saddles, 10th Ave - 52nd/53rd St Sur La Table, W57th 8th Ave
WEST SIDE STORIES
“HELL’S KITCHEN IS FINALLY
GETTING ITS DUE” A new pier. A redesigned park. And ferries? Jeffrey LeFrancois outlines his vision for the far west side Interview Ruth Walker Photograph Cid Roberts My west side story I moved to Hell’s Kitchen about five years ago, but I’ve been very involved with the neighborhood for a long time. When I had the opportunity to move here, I wasn’t going to hesitate. There’s an authenticity to Hell’s Kitchen A grit to it – even as things have been redeveloped, and a lot of new populations have come. It feels very New York. It feels very far west side. Because I live on 11th Ave, my friends tease me that I live in East New Jersey, which I don’t take well to. I love my building It’s an old brick building, and across the street is De Witt Clinton Park, which is not going anywhere, so I’m always going to have this view of the Hudson. I still pinch myself sometimes when I wake up. Talking of the park … We call De Witt Clinton the green jewel of Hell’s Kitchen, and we’ve long been working on a plan to renovate it, and improve those playgrounds for kids of all ages, the dog run, the whole nine yards. I’m also first vice-chair of Manhattan Committee Board 4, and will be co-chair of the Waterfront Parks Environment Committee, so we’ll definitely have an interest in helping De Witt Clinton Park. I like to keep a busy civic calendar My partner and I joke about it: “What’s on the civic docket tonight? And what’s
on date night tonight? Or is there a date night?” Tuesdays are our pretty common date night. We might put in for a lottery to see a show, or go see a movie up at The Landmark on 57th St - 12th Ave. I’m so happy that theater is here. The problem is, I call it a $20 nap sometimes, because I’ll have a glass of wine, then the next thing you know I put the recliner out … My favorite thing about living in HK You get to think about your mood, and then figure out where you want to go. There’s always a place that’s busy, and there’s always a place that’s not very busy. I really like that. There’s a sports bar down on 11th Ave – American Retro – where, if I get my corner seat, and I’ve got the New Yorker, I’ve got my martini, they leave me alone, it’s great. You can have that, and then you can do some really awesome shoulder-to-shoulder places too. And the worst thing … Trash. Why is New York is so damn dirty? I really think that we have failed at educating adults. Food cartons, dog shit … I don’t understand where the idea comes from, that it’s OK to just leave your dog’s feces on the sidewalk. My go-to places I really enjoy having a drink and a pizza at the bar at Nizza. My partner’s from Texas, so we really enjoy The Waylon country western bar. For the gay bar circuit, when I want to throw it back to
Opposite: Jeffrey’s friends joke that he lives so far west, he’s really East New Jersey.
my youth, I absolutely love Posh because you can dance the night away and forget what time it is. And Flaming Saddles is really fun, but you’ve got to have cash in your pocket, because it’s cash only. I also love cooking and entertaining, and Sur La Table is very dangerous. When I go to Columbus Circle, Carter, my partner, knows: “Oh God, he might come back with something for the kitchen!” MY HK happy place I’ve been doing Monday nights at Mud Matters for years. It’s my therapy. And sitting in Clinton Cove watching the sunset is really fantastic. My 2020 vision We’re working on the designs for Pier 97 right now, and that will be an incredible new park for the neighborhood. It’s only a couple of years away. They have the money, we are actually planning this – it’s not pie in the sky. Hell’s Kitchen is finally getting its due, when it comes to Hudson River Park. I’m also a big advocate for bringing more ferry services to the west side. When the city launched its ferry network, they called it a citywide network, and I guess they left off entirely the west side, even though we have piers already in place. So I’ve been pushing hard to bring a lateral network to the west side. There’s no reason it shouldn’t connect Washington Heights, Harlem, Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Meatpacking, down to the World Trade Center. One day that’ll happen.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! 148 W 24TH ST. and 6 ST. MARKâ€™S PL. BROOKLYN, NY
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NEWS January 2020
West Side Story
January 19 … neither of them will be from 9 to 5. 54below.com
The hotly anticipated revival is now in previews at the Broadway Theatre. It’s being hailed as a radical new interpretation of the iconic Jerome Robbins musical, directed by Ivo van Hove, with choreography by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, starring 23 young performers all making their Broadway debuts. westsidestorybway.com
Remember these guys? The English pop duo were big in the 1980s, and made a ripple on the US club scene with hits including ‘Black Man Ray’ and ‘Wishful Thinking’. Feeling like a nostalgia trip? They’re playing The Iridium on January 23. theiridium.com
A Soldier’s Play
Roundabout Theatre presents the dramatic story of a murder on a Louisiana Army base in 1944. The crime, and its subsequent investigation, triggers a barrage of questions about sacrifice, service, and identity in America. Performances are now at American Airlines Theatre. roundabout.org
Stars from Dear Evan Hansen, Moulin Rouge, Hamilton, and a ton more shows will be on hand at this celebration of all things Broadway. From January 24-26, at the Hilton Midtown, fans can rub shoulders with industry professionals, insiders, and performers at workshops, discussions, and singalongs. Dust down your autograph book! broadwaycon.com
Romeo & Bernadette
Shakespeare’s tale gets a twist, with a 1960 Brooklyn setting, and no delicate, virginal Juliet, but a beautiful but foul-mouthed daughter of a crime family. It runs at A.R.T/NY Theatres until just after Valentine’s Day. amasmusical.org
New York Times Travel Show
ILLUSTRATION: DANE LACHIUSA
Inflatable rafts on the Mediterranean. Dark holds of cargo trucks. Family photos hidden in a backpack. These are the stories of young refugees who set off into the unsure waters of their futures. This multimedia theatrical work, addressing migration as well as the effects of climate change, war, and poverty, comes to New Victory Theater from January 10 through 19, suitable for ages 10 and up. newvictory.org
Brubecks Play Brubeck Darius, Chris, and Dan
My Name Is Lucy Barton
Laura Linney leads the cast in this play about a woman who wakes up from an operation to see her estranged mother at the foot of her bed. Previews begin January 6 at the Samuel J Friedman Theatre. lucybartonplay.com Brubeck celebrate the legacy of their father, Dave Brubeck, in two concerts at Dizzy’s on January 12, performing new material from the Brubeck catalog, original pieces, and much-loved hits. jazz.org
54 Sings Dolly Parton
Marking Dolly’s birthday – and five incredible decades in the music business – Broadway stars come together to sing some of the ninetime Grammy winner’s greatest hits. There will be two shows on
Three days of travel porn, featuring performances, demonstrations, and information about the most exciting destinations on the planet. Your next vacation starts at Javits on January 24. Start packing now. nyttravelshow.com
The “queen of drag cabaret” makes her Green Room 42 debut with her new show, The Bitch Is Back!, featuring songs from great broads including Better Midler, Bernadette Peters, and Kesha … encouraging us all to dig deep … very deep … into our feminine side, with two backto-back shows at The Green Room 42 on January 27. thegreenroom42.poptix.com
Start fresh. Start here. Start the new year off right with innovative Greek cuisine made from premium, market-fresh ingredients.
ILLUSTRATION: CHESLEY HILL
Heading into 2020 like Annie Edson Taylor … someone get Ruth Walker a barrel! First single: Love’s Unkind, Donna Summer. First live show: Duran Duran. First crush: Danny Zuko. First pet: Monty, a white and ginger kitten rescued from drowning. We loved him fiercely until he died of old age and was buried under the peony in the back yard. First boyfriend: A tall, fair, exceedingly handsome landscape gardener whose name now escapes me. He went on to become a devout Jehovah’s Witness, and I never dated blond dudes again. First hangover: Ugh! I’d been drinking vodka and orange at a house party. I’ve never drunk it since. Evil! First apartment: A third floor walk up that I shared with a goth called Kate. Her long, black wig would take up residence in the shower for days at a time, and when she lovingly brushed it, its remains would drop to the floor, to be picked up later in my naked toes. I wonder where she is now … First bridesmaid experience: The dress was aqua. It had a hoop underskirt, many flounces, and sat, fetchingly, off the shoulder. The best man made jokes about tattooing my bum. Firstborn: Caitlin, the most interesting person I know. She has a masters in Viking Studies, reads voraciously, and is very, very funny. First tattoo: The word joy, in my firstborn’s handwriting, on my right wrist.
In 2019, I drove an automatic transmission car for the first time, after a lifetime driving a stick shift (this particular first was also connected to my first near-death experience). I travelled to Saba island in the Caribbean (and saw, slack-jawed, for the first time its resident goats with giant testicles). I saw the NY Phil in Central Park, walked with alpacas, saw New York City through my parents’ eyes, visited Chicago, got spanked in public, skinny-dipped in an icy lake (and was filmed doing it), and popped my Trader Joe’s cherry. Our firsts don’t end as we grow older. And our curiosity for new experiences is not age-dependent. Vera Wang didn’t become a fashion designer until she was 40, and Martha Stewart published her first book at the age of 41. Samuel L Jackson was 45 when he got his first big break (in Pulp Fiction). Charles Darwin was 50 when he published On The Origin of Species. “Colonel” Harland Sanders was 62 when he franchised KFC. Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel. She was 63 years old. And Harry Bernstein was 96 when he wrote his memoir about living with an alcoholic father (he went on to write two more books). Here’s to all the firsts we’ll achieve in 2020. Stay curious, friends. The best is yet to come.
NEW YORK 2020
PUBLIC CRYING DIGITAL EDITION
FIRSTS You’re not a true New Yorker until you’ve sobbed uncontrollably on the subway. Frank Murdocco recalls his first time Photograph Christian Miles
all Street has seen its fair share of upset. The epicenter of financial destruction, the pavement is practically glossed with tears. So, it seems fitting that my first, true New York cry would happen there. I’m not typically a public cryer. I save my sadness for the private confines of my home. This day, though, is different. My beloved grandma, Bernadette Molter, is about to die. As I leave work in a daze, desperate to find the subway that will take me to Penn so I can say a final goodbye, the realization hits. Bernie, after multiple near-death episodes – after psyching everyone out so many times – may actually pass away. When I accept the truth of the situation, the tears hit, and I am inconsolable. My first New York cry has arrived, as I dash to find a subway station, eventually piling down the stairs to the R. My Nanny is human, and tonight may very well be her last. Nanny has been the only name I’ve ever called her. Occasionally, when looking to tease her, I’d call her by her name. “Alright, Bernie,” I’d say. And she’d huff, reminding me through a laugh: “I’m not Bernie, I’m your Nanny.” My parents and I make it to her bedside at 11.45pm. My mother and father – her fierce, reliable caretakers who have ushered her through many crises in the past year – say a few words to her. So do I. And we stand there, in a peaceful silence. At 12.15am, we watch her let out her final breath. I had always imagined death to be a much more dramatic affair. That, when a person does die, it is against their will, and they fight against the inevitable. Tonight, as Bernie ends her time on this Earth, I see none of that. My nanny lived
her life on her own terms, and it seems she’s died on her own terms as well. Bernadette moved to New York City in her early 30s. She was starting anew, leaving behind her roots in New England. Born to French aristocracy in 1920s New Hampshire, her mother was young and unwed. Mortified by the ordeal, her grandmother orchestrated a plot – when Bernie was born, she was quickly shuffled off to a nearby orphanage. She was told her mother had died during childbirth, and her mother was told that Bernie was stillborn. The two lived blocks apart for years, unaware of the other’s existence. In the overcrowded orphanage – or The Home, as Bernie called it – nuns raised the children with a stern, harsh touch. Bernie’s hearing was diminished for life from the number of times they’d hit her. These are cliff notes to what could only be described as an immensely difficult childhood. On occasion, Bernie would talk about her early years. The stories she’d share – always matter of factly – were soul crushing. After she’d spoken, there was always a sort of apologetic embarrassment that crossed her face, as if she felt guilty for revealing her struggle to someone else. When she was 18, she left The Home and moved into a boarding house, finding a job for herself and building a life. Eventually, she tracked down her birth family. Her aunts were shocked to see she was alive, but her mother had died a few years after Bernie’s birth. “From a broken heart,” they said. They offered her money, but she turned them down. “I didn’t want anything they had to give me,” she’d say. For years, she lived on her own. There were dates, there were men, there was an engagement (he cheated on her, she threw the ring at him). Then there was my Poppy, John Molter. My Nanny and
Poppy wed in the latter half of Bernie’s twenties. Then she had my mother, Regina (“it means queen,” she’d tell us) followed by my uncle, John. With no parental figure to guide her, she became a kind, warm, fierce mother. When the move to Brooklyn was made, she took on two jobs to make ends meet. Some mornings were spent serving food at a dinette, others as a cashier at a card store. She cared for Poppy’s ailing uncle, and shared a pullout couch with Poppy so everyone else had a bed. Moving to New York didn’t make life easier, but ease was never her concern. She never wasted time harping on difficulty – she was acutely aware of just how precious life was. It’s hard to put Bernie’s transfixing presence into words. Her sly smile, twinkling eyes, and apple cheeks matched her propensity for wit and the brawny attitude that allowed her to gracefully power through hardship after hardship. When you’d ask her how she was, she’d always give the same response: “I’m holding my own,” Never had a phrase been so apt for someone to say. That’s what Bernie did, held her own. Whether it meant holding those around her close, protecting them from the rough outside world, or standing her ground in the face of indifference and harsh winds. She held her own, every day of her life. And she did it with a smile, never allowing the twinkle in her eye to dissipate. Bernie lived to be 93, which, on paper is a long life, but in reality feels like a wisp of time. It wasn’t until this last year that the cruelty of aging set in. Getting older is a vicious, nasty process – as if
Above: Frank with his beloved Nanny.
the by product of many years on this Earth is a loss of dignity. Yet, even on her worst days, Bernie kept that sense about her; that inexplicable, intangible quality that made Bernie Bernie. Her family, from my devoted parents, to my brothers, my aunts, uncles, cousins, all stayed by her side. If she had entered this world with no one, she certainly wasn’t leaving it alone. Now, with her gone, the world feels different. I see her everywhere. When I walk into The Strand, I try and turn my head away from the mystery section, where I’d get her Mary Higgins Clark novels. In Whole Foods, I speed past bottles of seltzer, so I don’t stir too long on memories of opening the bottle caps her arthritic fingers couldn’t manage. On the street, I place my focus on another store front when I see a Wendy’s, not allowing myself to think of her typical order (two chicken sandwiches, no lettuce, and a baked potato). Slowly, I’ve allowed myself to think of these moments, easing myself into them so the pain is not too acute. I’ve noticed that, as I do, the memories of her last year of life shift to the recesses of my mind. What moves to the forefront are the years of joy. Her life hasn’t been defined by her final moments. What I move to remember first is the woman Bernie always was. The woman who stood over a pot of boiling water, cooking Brussels sprouts while I watched Jeopardy! in the kitchen chair next to her. The word find puzzles she would storm through every morning. How she would sit and watch people’s conversations, taking in their every word for her own, personal reflection. The woman walking through a crowded Brooklyn, with a child on each hand. The woman whose voice, with that commanding New Hampshire accent, made it seem like she could stop the world with the flick of a finger. The woman who held her own, day in and day out.
Frank Murdocco is a New York-based performer and writer. His work has appeared across the New York stage. More information and upcoming projects can be found at frankmurdocco.com @frankmurdocco
THE DAY I SMELLED
DEAD GUY! First apartment. First mugging. First time in drag. First celebrity sighting ... this is the New York experience in all its wild glory!
ur first apartment in New York was not chosen hastily. My husband and I moved here from San Francisco and, being the prudent adults we claim to be, took our time finding a place. To get a real sense of the city, we Airbnb-hopped for three months, living out of duffel bags. Neighborhoods included Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Harlem, the Upper West Side, and Lower East Side – all while co-working in SoHo. So when we finally signed a
lease, we felt really good about it. “A few months in – just as we were putting art on the walls – a foul odor had us turning our apartment upside down. First, we tossed the flowers that had sat in water too long, flushed the kitchen drain, and then swept the premises for a dead rat, even though that would NEVER happen in OUR apartment. We thought: ‘Hey, it’s New York, home of Pizza Rat!’ Finally, we convinced ourselves it was a broken sewage pipe somewhere doomed to fall from the ceiling at any moment.
Above: Rae Lambert had a grim welcome to Hell’s Kitchen.
“The super came to investigate. My husband opened the door. The super took one bracing look at him and then left. Didn’t say a single word. The husband was eager to explain all the things the smell wasn’t but he never got the chance. “It turns out our very elderly neighbor just below us had passed away unnoticed until we reported the smell, which was stronger when the heat came on. The police removed the body and said he’d been there for weeks. OK, we thought, it’s horribly
IMAGE: MICHAEL GOLDBERG
SEXY BINGO AND CELINE DION sad, but at least now the smell would be gone. “Nope. They slapped a crime scene sticker on the door without cleaning or opening a window. Autopsies and death certificates take a while, we discovered. So the smell would come and go, along with our sanity, for several more weeks. We could open the windows, but in February the choice was between freezing our tits off or inhaling dead guy. I lost my appetite, along with 10 pounds. “I didn’t know him well, aside from our interactions in the lobby where he’d bark at me for holding the door open (“no help! I don’t want help!”) but I can assure you, he was ready to go. And so were we.” RAE LAMBERT
“The first time I felt truly at home was the day I moved to Hell’s Kitchen, almost two years ago. It was a day that felt like a movie. I didn’t know a single person who lived in Manhattan and it was written all over my face. My new roommates and neighbors went out of their way to welcome me to the building by having a BBQ on our rooftop (which I didn’t even know we had) followed by my very first night at Pocket Bar. A night at Pocket is magical enough, but this specific night happened
to fall on a Monday, with a few rounds of sexy bingo. Once everyone around me was screaming (not singing, screaming) ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,’ I knew I was home. The rest is history, and I could never imagine a world without my people, sharknado sangria, and Hell’s Kitchen. “The first time I saw a cockroach (or two) in my apartment was last month, and I’m still recovering. I guess I’m officially a New Yorker now.” CHRISTY SANTORO
THE DAY I MET MY HUSBAND “I had taken the LSAT that day – mainly to get my parents off my back about not having a ‘plan’ for at least a few more months. I thought the test hadn’t gone well and really didn’t feel like attending my friend’s birthday, but I was meeting a date and thought it was rude to cancel
last minute. One hour into the party, my date got called into work. (He was a lawyer.) “Another man slid into my date’s empty seat and said that was reason 985 not to be a lawyer. We’ve been married for eight years.” ELIZABETH DURAND STREISAND
â€œDYNAMIC, CHARMING, AND SWIFT! - T HE NE W YORK TIME S
CENTER NOW THROUGH FEB 2 ONLY!
B I GA PPL EC I R C U S .CO M
# B I GA PPL EC I R C U S
FIRSTS KEITH HARING CHECKED ME OUT “My first NY celebrity sighting was Keith Haring. Or, rather, he saw me. I was sitting alone in the SVA cafeteria at the tender age of 18 when I saw Keith Haring pretending to use the payphone while he checked me out. I remember this moment because a) He had already achieved notoriety for his subway chalk series, and b) That phone did not work, so his pretending to talk to someone wasn’t fooling anybody. “One thing led to another, he took
me home, and painted my body … No. The truth is, I was way too far in the closet to admit to him or anyone else I was gay, so I just glanced at him and enjoyed being looked at. “Keith wrote about me*, the cafeteria, and the phone, which is pretty cool to be remembered by someone everyone remembers.” *Keith Haring Journals, p70. March 18, 1980 DANE LACHIUSA
“I remember my first birthday in the city. Living on a $5 daily food budget, in an 8x10 room with no kitchen, fridge, TV, or fan, the most extravagant thing I could think of to do was spend money on entertainment and unnecessary food. “The result: a quart of skim milk, a box of Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies and The Princess Bride at the Ziegfeld on W54th St. I was so happy, I practically floated the whole way home. The memory still makes me smile.” VIVIAN HOFFMAN
BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY “I will NEVER forget the view of the Manhattan skyline crossing over the Queenboro Bridge the night I moved into Manhattan. All of the twinkly lights and buildings looking down at me made my heart race with fear and excitement. I had tears in my eyes thinking: ‘I’m finally doing this – I hope I can make it.’ I was in my mid-20s and freshly divorced. I’d sold my little silver Saturn car and packed all my worldly possessions up, including my cat Diva, who sat on my knee in the passenger seat of the moving truck. Diva must have been just as excited as I was to move into the city because she peed on my lap!” MARY GENEVA
ENTENMANN’S AND THE PRICESS BRIDE
“When I think about it now, all I can do is laugh. How cliché that moment was – straight out of a New York sitcom; the first time someone flashed me. What started out as a personal morning coffee date in Hell’s Kitchen, ended with me staring at more sausage than was on my breakfast sandwich..” KEVIN RENN
I MET MY IDOL “Two weeks after I had moved into Hell’s Kitchen, I was walking to my apartment when I noticed that a tall, rocker-looking guy a bit down the block was staring at me, sporting a big smile. “As we reached each other, I realized it was Constantine Maroulis! He was pointing to my T-shirt saying: ‘Wow! That’s one of our first ones.’ I looked down to realize I was wearing my Rock Of Ages Broadway T-shirt. “He pulled me over to talk to me, and we chatted for about five minutes. I was over the moon, as I saw Rock of Ages about ten times and loved Constantine on American Idol. Funny the day I dig my old T-shirt out of the closet is the day I run into the star of that show.” LEANNE BUCKLEY
FIRSTS MY FIRST PRIDE “It was June 2000 when I attended my very first Pride March in New York City. The weather was gorgeous – I’m talking perfection: warm, a light breeze, low humidity, and not a cloud in sight. I had my best friend Karina with me, all the way in from California, along with my dear friends Mark and Damien. To say I was excited would be an understatement. As soon as we stepped out the door that morning, I knew I was about to experience something truly special and unlike anything I’d witnessed before. There was an energy outside that was palpable. It was buzzing and whirling all around you. Everywhere you went you could feel it. It was joy. On the faces of everyone you encountered and in the voice of every “Happy Pride” that was bestowed on you from friends and strangers. “We made our way to the parade route and I remember feeling overcome by the sheer number of people that lined the route and that congregated at bars, restaurants, rooftops, parks, stoops, and storefronts. All of these beautiful, happy, and proud people who were just like me! It’s hard to adequately describe the feeling to someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves. But suffice it to say, it felt like coming home. For the first time in my life I knew exactly who I was, where I was meant to be, and that if not everyone, there were all of these people, thousands and thousands of them, who knew as well. The city came alive to me that day, it became my home. And it has remained so ever since.” CID ROBERTS
MY FIRST APARTMENT My first apartment in New York was a two-room affair with a stoop and a flight of creaking, groaning stairs above W71st St, a few doors east of West End Avenue. The building was a gorgeous old brownstone, a grande dame whose luster had grown thinner than an eyelash. I’d spent about a decade in a rather palatial apartment across from Ocean Beach in San Francisco where, in 2000, my girlfriend of six weeks, Antigone, moved in with me. Reader, I married her: in 2005 Antigone was accepted at Pratt, and that July we were eastward ho. A friend’s wife found the W71st St apartment in The New York Times classifieds. It was two small rooms – a living room and a bedroom, a lone window in each – and a bathroom at the back of the bedroom. There wasn’t a kitchen, just a sink and stove smack up against each other like two lovelorn seniors at prom. The bed took up almost all of the bedroom, with just enough space for a dresser against the foot of the bed, and a combination desk-bookshelf contraption Antigone found for me; it leaned against the wall, two narrow shelves and a desk just big enough for my laptop. We positioned it between the dresser and the bedroom door, and if I needed my dictionary open while I worked, I opened my underwear drawer and splayed it across my boxers. I left the window open, even in winter, and we’d fall asleep to the sweet sound of tires rolling down W71st St in the rain. Antigone started Pratt that August, leaving home early in the morning and returning after midnight. Most evenings after work I’d hit the Crunch at W38th St - Broadway, then head home. I was writing a comic strip at the time, and music articles and poems, so I was on deadline every month: I’d bolt down my pizza, open my underwear drawer, and get to work. The nights I didn’t write, I’d watch a movie. Our couch was right next to the refrigerator, so I could reach into the fridge for chocolate chip cookies
and a carton of Lactaid without having to pause the DVD or get up from the couch. We didn’t have a landline or wifi. It was Frontier living. We’d asked for a two-year lease when we first moved in, but Frankie, our landlord, told us: “You don’t want to do that, it’s going to cost you more money.” Once we finished the first year’s lease, Frankie raised our rent. The second winter, our toilet stopped flushing. Frankie finally ordered us a new toilet, and I’m not certain how long it took him to install it, but I remember a weekend when the nearest commode was at the Starbucks on Amsterdam, which was fine, except whenever we used it we ended up purchasing some sort of hot beverage, the proverbial vicious cycle. Once the new toilet had been installed, the old one found purchase on our front stoop, where it ended up covered with snow. It spent a month or so out there. In 2007 our second lease was up, and Frankie told us he was raising our rent to about $1,950 per month. We asked him to reconsider. “If you don’t like it, you can leave,” he said. Frontier living, lawless and savage. We stayed, figuring the dent the increase would put in our finances was still less torturous then what it would cost, fiscally and psychically, to move. Within six months, we’d decided to move to the Republic of Cyprus, where Antigone is from, and on July 4, 2008 we continued our journey east. Our son, Leo, was born there almost exactly two years later. We returned in 2016, and we’re here to stay. I don’t have any moves left in me, nor does Antigone. We’re living on W71st St again, a block west this time, and I walk past our old place a few times a day. It was the last place I lived without Leo, and it reminds me of the time I had before fatherhood, before middle age took me for its own. I’m happy to have had that time, those few secret rooms. I wish them for you, too. DAVID PORTER
FIRSTS FIVE POINTZ PILGRIMAGE “To me, as a kid growing up in England in the 1970s, New York was Kojak and McCloud, later The Kids from Fame. Then along came hip hop – and the graffiti artwork that went with it really caught my eye. “By chance, I was working in a small east coast seaside resort in the UK when they decided to launch a graffiti festival in a bid to attract younger visitors. I became director, and research pointed me in the direction of NYC legend Henry Chalfant, who was a great help and encouraged some of the artform’s big names to come along and compete. “Fast forward 30 years and, at last, I’m in the Big Apple! Brash, exciting, full of light and never-ending noise – every day there was a ‘first’ for me. But the one that sticks in my mind and will be with me forever? Getting to go to Five Pointz just weeks before the place was tragically demolished. The myriad colors, the variety of styles, the sheer unfettered talent on show there just blew me away. I took reams of photos and as I look back upon them now I smile, and reflect upon just how lucky I was to see it before its demise.” SANDRA MANGAN
I WAS MUGGED ... AND FOUGHT BACK “My first (and thankfully only) mugging happened in a flash. As I was entering the vestibule of my Hell’s Kitchen apartment building, my bag was slashed off my body. “Oh, hell no!” I thought and immediately turned and chased the mugger down the street. I was screaming like a banshee and in no time at all the neighborhood kids started tag-teaming to help me chase after the man who thought he had the right to the $5 in my purse. “When I reached the corner, the mugger had quite a distance on me and a van had its doors flung open. The neighborhood kids encouraged me to get in. The van was filled with a family and, without thinking, I jumped inside. It was a lack of judgment, I know, but I was determined to get my wallet back. “We caught up to the mugger and I leapt out of the van. I must have been making quite a scene because the mugger told me to calm down and
pointed to my wallet which he had thrown in the gutter. I snatched it and immediately reprimanded him. ‘What would your mother think of you?’ At the time, this was the worst insult I could muster. “He pulled his knife on me, which incensed me even more. Clearly, I was still not using good judgment because I exploded with: ‘What are you gonna do, cut me?!” “The mugger was stunned and just stared at me, this 5’2”, 105lb girl, with disbelief. The neighborhood kids quickly pulled me back and we parted ways, me with my wallet and him with his failed robbery. “I have no idea if I’d act that way again but I did learn that perhaps I was a defender in another life. And more importantly, it gave me such pride in my neighborhood. Nobody had to help me but they did. That’s the Hell’s Kitchen I know and love.” CRISTINA DOIKOS
FIRSTS ONION RINGS AS BIG AS MY HEAD “On my first trip to NY, we were there for New Year’s Eve after the shocking events of 9/11. When walking around, you would stumble across vehicles still covered in ash or fire stations with large piles of flowers and thank you cards. But what was really humbling was to be in Times Square on New Year’s Eve and to see crowds of people as far as the eye could see and everyone coming together,
in high spirits, with a genuine sense of community. “On my second trip with Jo, my wife, it was the first time I’d ever experienced the need to sleep off a meal. We had grand plans for the evening but, once back in the hotel and horizontal, that was how we stayed until the next morning. I’d never seen a stack of onion rings so big!” LEE CAPLE
LIVING THE ‘KIDS FROM FAME’ DREAM “My first New York experience was the dream of living here. At the age of 12, I knew this was home. The first glimpse of this magical city was from watching re-runs of the 1980s show The Kids from Fame – it was gritty, enchanting, dangerous, and creative. “Lydia Grant (aka Debbie Allen) was the dance teacher I needed to turn my chubby body into a slim, dancing one. Leroy was my melodramatic friend who would show me how to be my authentic self through mental breakdowns and soul searching. And I would be Nicole Chapman, the beautiful singer, dancer, and fatal victim of a drunk driver. This was the dream.
CELEB SPOTTING IN MAC “It was the mid 1990s, and I had two visiting British friends in tow – a very masculine Jack, and a lively Denise – strolling through SoHo. We decided to peruse the new Mac make-up store. As we clattered in, on the left I spied Gwyneth Paltrow at the register settling her bill. “‘9 o’clock!’ I hissed. My friends clocked her, eyes widening. “I swiveled right, a powerful magnetic pull occurring, and there, resplendent and man-spreading on the couch, was Brad Pitt in all his testosterone-hot, Hollywood glory. “‘3 o’clock!’ I squeaked. “Awestruck, mouths slightly agape and linking arms for support, we marched to the lipstick counter at the very back of the store where my overwhelmed male friend proceeded to mutely apply the tester lipstick to his lips.” BRENDA HUTCHINGS
“It didn’t happen like this. First, I don’t have any performance-based talents. Second, I am a nerdy writer who loves to eat cake. Thus, I came to New York by studying my little tushy off. And it’s been a joyous, scary, elating ride ever since. Did my dream come true? I think so. “Here’s the thing about New York City: it’s a place where all the complexities of human life can peacefully coexist. Where everyone’s story can break your heart and make you laugh until you pee in your pants. It’s a wondrous place where you have the freedom to make choices, good or bad, and it’s fair game. “It’s utopia.” CLAUDIA CHUNG
FIRSTS SWEET SMELL OF NYC
MY FIRST TIME IN DRAG “I moved to New York from the Midwest at the end of August, 1992, and crashed with a friend in the East Village while I took stock of my new life. That Labor Day weekend, as I was wandering around my new neighborhood trying to get my bearings, I ended up in Tompkins Square Park, in the midst of performing drag queens and other musicians. Was this what New York was like every weekend? I had joyfully stumbled across Wigstock, an annual drag tradition, watching Lady Bunny introducing RuPaul, Debbie Harry, and many others, and having the time of my life (while feeling woefully underdressed). Next year, I promised, I would dress the part. “The following summer leading up to Wigstock, my friends and I were getting so excited. We went to a used clothing store where I found a great red velvet dress and gloves, and the rest of the accessories soon fell into place: earrings, sunglasses, heels and a perfect wig which a friend styled
to the hilt using two full cans of Aqua Net. I was getting increasingly giddy as I approached the park with so many other queens streaming in. “I held my head up high as I strutted in my heels and crossed Avenue A in my cherry red dress, a little nervous but so happy to be a part of this festival after a year of being a real New Yorker. “As I stepped through the gates, a taller queen walked past, looked me up and down, and in a low, guttural voice, said: ‘Velvet? In summer? How tacky.’ And just continued past. “I was deflated for a brief moment as I looked around at the other queens in more breathable fabrics, and then continued confidently toward the stage. I didn’t trip once in my heels. “I paused for a moment and gave my best pose as crowds with cameras shouted: ‘Work, gurl!’ and took my picture, velvet dress and all.” BEN SCHNEIDER
“New York City represents a lot of firsts for me. It is a city that captured my heart many years ago, and the destination for my first overseas trip in 1998. Having grown up in Sydney, Australia, I was itching to see the rest of the world, waiting to see what opportunities I could make my own. “The idea of New York – from the movies and TV shows – was one of glamor and excitement, hustle, bustle, and an incredible amount of art and culture all in one place. I couldn’t wait. “Arriving at JFK after almost 24 hours of travel – another first – I had no idea what time or day it was but, sharing a ride into the city, my first of the place I’d call home came crossing the Queensboro bridge, with the outline of the Empire State and the sparkling Chrysler Building. “I was staying with my cousin on W48th St 8th Ave, on the top floor. He told me on multiple occasions prior to arriving that he lived in a walk up. I thought that meant he had a stoop you had to walk up. So, dragging my suitcase up eight flights of stairs was another first. “On that first two-week vacation, I had my first bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel with coffee; my first subway ride; my first walk in Central Park. The first time I woke up to horns blaring on the street below, my cousin and I grabbed a couple of eggs and hurled them at the yellow cab to shut up. The first time I walked down 8th Ave, I saw steam bellowing out from the man hole covers, just like in the movies. “But one first that I can never forget is the smell of a New York City drain. I remember walking down the street, stopping at the lights and getting a waft of that notorious odor, like a slap in the face. I thought it was garbage, or maybe something bad coming from the bodega. Crossing the street and walking another block, I stopped again – the smell seemed to be following me. I checked my shoes. Finally I saw the grate on the drain and realized where the pungent aroma was coming from. “Those memories still stick with me today. Even the smell of the drain makes me smile … until I gag a little.” MATT D’SILVA
GO STRAIGHT TO HELL Reach the hottest New Yorkers at home in Hellâ€™s Kitchen
ISSUE 49 JANUARY 2019 FREE
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LOOKING FORWARD WITH
George Hahn left New York in 2016, but the city never left him
IMAGE: ROB MANDOLENE
“I got out of the subway in Columbus Circle, escalated up to the street, looked around, took a breath, and started to cry.”
f you live in New York City, if you love New York City and are considering leaving, stop. As I look forward to 2020 in the context of New York, I can’t help but glance back with a little 20/20 hindsight. In the summer of 2016, I was at a tricky crossroads. Living in the city, the place I’d wanted to live since I was a boy, I was thinking about leaving. I’d hit a few walls – the biggest wall being money, or lack thereof. I was also bitching and moaning like a lot of old New Yorkers about how the city had changed so much from the city they moved to so many years ago. I wrote all about it in a post on my blog titled “Is It Time To Leave New York?” It struck a chord with a lot of people and went somewhat viral after RuPaul tweeted it. By September of that year, I’d made the decision to go, and on November 17, 2016, I spent my last night in my Hell’s Kitchen apartment. The next morning, I packed my clothes and my dogs into my brother’s Honda Element and drove off to my home town of Cleveland, shutting the door on 22 years in Manhattan. Three years later, I’m going to say something I’ve never publicly acknowledged: I regret leaving. This is not to say I haven’t had some amazing experiences over the last three years in Cleveland, because I most certainly have. During my first year, I lived with my 80-year-old mother while she convalesced from a three-month stay in hospital. To show up for my mother like that was a privilege that cannot be quantified and an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. She’s doing alright now, living within a few short miles of three of my siblings. At the start of year two, I moved from the suburbs into a fantastic apartment in the heart of downtown
LI V E, LOV E, ...
JAN 15THOHST GUEST SINGO PHIL Oâ€™BRIEN
Cleveland. To replicate the NYC experience would be impossible, but I was hoping for some version of a workable, walkable, sustainable city lifestyle without needing a car. Unfortunately, the design for living I sought doesn’t really seem feasible in Cleveland. As wonderful as it is, its wonders occur in very disconnected pockets that are only reachable by car. That doesn’t work for me. Again – Cleveland is a fantastic town with a lot going for it. It’s shifting from second to third gear in a slow but real renaissance in the wake of many challenges. But it is a place best enjoyed by heterosexual sports fanatics who eat meat, love drinking, live in athletic casuals, drive a car (the bigger, the better), and work in banking, commercial real estate, healthcare, insurance, law, or some form of sales. Unfortunately, I tick none of those boxes, and I’ve had, to be honest, a hard time fitting in and finding a groove here. I’ve met some truly amazing people. But in terms of a best friend, a buddy, or a connection to a tribe I’d call “my crowd,” it’s been a lonely haul. I miss New York. Terribly. I’ve certainly had my issues with the city, but I never felt really alone or lonely when I lived there. I had a best buddy, and I had a tribe. And even if I were feeling that special shade of lonely that could only be fixed by an “intimate” touch, possibilities were never far, even if they were within a few blocks on Grindr. (In Cleveland, it seems everyone is at least five miles apart from each other, which can be a real boner killer.) There is an undeniable vibrancy in the Naked City that just doesn’t happen anywhere else. The sheer density, fueled by people from every culture and background, is thrilling to me. You can walk a city block and hear five different languages. New York is ridiculous with opportunities and possibilities. You can bump into a friend on a corner, have a chat, get invited to something or introduced to someone, and your life can change. It’s happened to me before.
Previous page: George Hahn has his eyes on a return to the city he calls home.
As Cindy Adams always ended her column, only in New York, kids. When I visited last summer, I took NJ Transit from Newark into Penn Station, then transferred to the A train to my hotel on W58th Street. I got out of the subway in Columbus Circle, escalated up to the street, looked around, took a breath, and started to cry. I cried because I felt a sense of home I hadn’t felt in almost three years. Whenever I travel, I’m always eager to get back home after a couple of days. In this case, I didn’t want to leave. I felt like I was already home and wanted someone to pack up my stuff and bring my dogs. So, what am I looking forward to in 2020? I’m looking forward to getting back to New York. Because I’m a New Yorker. It’s the city where I became an adult, built a life, honed survival skills, learned resourcefulness, met some of the most unforgettable people I’ve ever met, fell in love, had my heart broken, succeeded, failed, picked myself back up … all of it, with the scars to prove it. In my 2016 essay about leaving New York, I characterized the city as “an indifferent lover who doesn’t care if you spend the night or go home.” That sentiment presumes that New York owes me something. It doesn’t. It’s a city unlike any other city, and it can be whatever you want it to be, allowing you to be whoever you want to be. It’s a stage for reinvention and rebirth. The only constant in New York is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. One either accepts that and works with it or not. Three years ago, I lost sight of that. Today, I see it through more experienced lenses, accepting that one of the many things that makes the city great is its perpetual progress. In New York, your favorite diner on the corner will close. Barneys will go out of business. A building you like will be torn down to make way for a building you don’t like. Friends will move, or pass away. That’s life. That’s change. That’s New York. And as I start a new year in a new decade, I can’t wait to get back to it.
BACK WITH MY BABY 2020 is the year where I will once again spend most of my time in NYC. After several very heavy years of travel for speaking gigs, I’m committed to spending more weekends in town: hanging out in my favorite city, sleeping in my own bed, and spending lots of quality time with my wife, dog, and friends. I love travel and I’m so grateful to get to do it, but I’ve overcommitted myself the past few years. I will also be spending more time at the other great love of my life, Mark Fisher Fitness. I’m very proud of our team. And, like a college-age child, I know MFF may no longer need me the same way, but I sure have missed it while being on the road so much. Mark Fisher is the co-founder of Business for Unicorns, a company that offers coaching and courses to help great humans become awesome leaders. He’s also the co-founder of Mark Fisher Fitness, and is excellent at playing with puppies, though to date, he has not been paid for this skillset.
IMAGE: CID ROBERTS
Is it where you’re from or where you belong? Mia Crivello is ready to commit
’ll turn 35 next month, and I’ve lived in NYC for over a decade. Everything that makes a “home” – all my worldly belongings, my dearest friends, a career, a neighborhood coffee shop at which I am officially a regular, innumerable memories (including the NYC-specific treasures that we can never unsee), ex-boyfriends I can’t avoid running into, and a lease that won’t let me forget my name is on it – all reside here. But until a couple months ago, I’ve always referred to my birthplace, Montana, as “home.” “Oh, I’m going back home for the holidays.” “Oh shoot, I can’t make it – I’ll be back home in Montana floating the river that week.” “Yes, I’ll be home for a few weeks in July. Let’s def plan on the rodeo.” In the ways in which many NYC transplants can probably relate, my hometown also holds much of what “home” has historically meant. Memories from childhood and adulthood, friends of over three decades who have moved back to raise families, the comfort and familiarity of a small town, a community theater that raised me, my favorite breakfast cafe in the world,
the unparalleled quietude of nature and adventure of the Rocky Mountains, both my parents, my sister, my brother-inlaw, and two of the greatest nephews of all time (I’m not even biased, they’re actually the best. Of all time). So I was confused when, while texting a friend this past December that, yes, I would be returning home for Christmas, alarm bells started ringing in my head, a numbing feeling slowly rolled over my body, and I disappeared into a cloud of very thick fog, rendering me immobile in the middle of the sidewalk* on W35th St. *When I say “the middle of the sidewalk,” I’m obviously exaggerating because, as a responsible New Yorker who knows the texting-while-walkingbut-wait-this-needs-more-thoughtI’d-better-pull-over dance, the muscle memory in my legs knew to carry me over to the side of the walkway. In fact, if there is no other takeaway from this story, let it be said that no meltdown is ever cause enough to STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF A NEW YORK CITY SIDEWALK. Ever. I looked back at the text I had written. “Yes! I’m coming home for Christmas – you around?” Seeing the words on the screen felt
wrong on a seriously visceral level; as if by typing that sentence, or even thinking it, I was betraying a deep and significant truth. I glanced around to see if my inner turmoil was totally obvious to everyone around me. In the way that New York is the absolute best at providing some perspective when you need it most, I quickly realized that no one saw me standing there assessing my entire existence. And if they did see me – a random girl texting on the sidewalk like every other girl texting on the sidewalk – they did not care. I deleted it and re-typed: “Yes! Will be back in Montana for Christmas – you around?” My body was still buzzing with confusion but I felt immediate relief. And ... what was this other feeling? Did I feel … proud? What was happening? Why did it suddenly feel very wrong to call Montana “home”? I hadn’t lived there in nearly 17 years. I obviously knew it wasn’t my actual home. But the simple phraseology of what was or wasn’t “home” had never crossed my mind. I asked myself in that moment what New York had been all this time if Montana was “home.” NYC had been “home” too, I told myself, frantic with desperation, needing it to be true. And then, in this pinnacle moment of self-reflection, and after experiencing all seven stages of grief in approximately 1.8 seconds, it was as if only absolute truths could exist. And so I realized … maybe NYC hadn’t ever really been home. I’d always “lived” in New York City. I’d always “been in the city for [insert number] years.” I’d kept one foot out the door all this time without even realizing it. And now, here was the city coming to reckon with me, demanding to be acknowledged for what it was. So what had changed?
Well, that was obviously too big a question for me to figure out right there in the middle of the street. I had places to be, people! But I’ve been sitting with it. I sat with it while I was back in Montana over the holidays. Maybe there’s been a shift because I’m finally at a place in my career where I have the freedom to work from anywhere and so, for the first time, I’m choosing to live in NYC instead of having to. I sat with it on the couch while my nephew listed his Pokémon cards in descending weight order for the 27th time. I sat with it while lying in bed with my mom, who is battling dementia. Maybe it’s because, as my mom’s health declines, I’ve slowly been able to separate myself emotionally in a way I haven’t been able to or wanted to before. I sat with it while ringing in the new year at 10pm Mountain Standard Time and calling it good – because it was midnight on the East Coast, so it definitely counted. I sat with it while making dinner with my sister in the kitchen, laughing in a way that only a sister can inspire. Maybe it’s because I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by a community of soulful and loving chosen family in New York City. I sat with it while trudging through the powdery snow glistening in the winter sunlight, my fingers numb in the minus 10 degree weather. While it was wonderful to enjoy Montana in many of the ways I always had, I have to admit that it was also bittersweet. I realized I’d been torn between the two places for longer than I knew, and in fully recognizing my life in the city, it meant letting Montana go in a small but significant way. I flew back home to NYC with 2020 in my thoughts.
Mia Crivello is a former actor turned writer and creative consultant who works one-on-one with artists, authors, producers, public speakers, business executives, thought leaders, CEOs, and entrepreneurs, helping them find their clearest, most impactful voice.
Previous page: Mia at home in NYC, and back in Montana. Opposite: Emily’s taking stock and finding space.
BUSY DOING NO-THING There’s this thing that can happen when you have spent enough time in New York to consider yourself a New Yorker. The constant energy becomes exhausting and so you numb out a little bit to help you manage it (think any vice in excess: booze, drugs, sex, food, bingeing the latest show, games on your phone – the options are endless). But that numbing sensation can begin to make you forget why you’re here in the first place. It can become a go-to response to the “too much-ness” and the endless movement this city thrives upon. My 2020 vision is to replace my numbness with no-thingness. The idea that in the space where no-thing exists, there is endless capacity for what can be created. No-thingness offers endless opportunity, it allows freedom for creativity, feelings, pure potential. There’s a phrase that I love from the astrology app Co-Star that says: “There is a space between action and reaction. In that expanse lies your power to choose a response.” I am continually striving to better myself (thank you therapy!), and in 2020 the vision is to continue that practice through new methods (I’m taking suggestions. What works for you?). For now, one moment at a time, I will practice feeling into the no-thingness, allowing myself to stand in my power, and releasing the numbness. Here’s to 2020! Emily McGill is an entertainment PR who has represented Tony Award-winning productions, music, film and television, and worked with companies from Disney to non-profits and male strippers.
IN THE BEGINNING... First job, first kiss, first crush … even Broadway stars have to start somewhere, right?
Words Elizabeth Durand Streisand Illustration Samia Fakih
anuary is a time for firsts: first workout, first detox, first breaking of your resolutions. To kick off the new decade right, we caught up with six of Broadway’s brightest to hear about some of their most memorable firsts. From starring roles to survival jobs to crushes, these triple-threats will inspire you to hit the ground running in 2020 and beyond.
Beetlejuice The Obie Award-winner who plays Charles in Beetlejuice got his first role at an early age – with a part invented just for him. “When I was five years old, I was given the (made up) role of the Bagel Man in a camp production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” he recalls. “I got my line out with force and gusto. “Bagels!
Bagels! Hot, delicious bagels!” I was hooked for life. On theater and bagels.” Later in life, Adam moved on from bagels to drinks when he got his first survival job as a bartender at Hell’s Kitchen bar Arriba! Arriba! “I had no idea how to bartend,” he admits, noting that he left the gig when he took out a “huge student loan” so he could focus on acting exclusively. “But I can make a mean margarita to this day,” he adds.
OUT Jessie Mueller
The Minutes Tony winner Jessie Mueller, who stars in Tracy Letts’ new play The Minutes, remembers her first on-stage kiss well. “I think it was in high school. We did a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Age-appropriate, no?” she jokes. “I was Stella and I had to kiss my Stanley. I think the lights started to dim pretty much right as it happened.” But that moment paled in comparison with her first crush, which was none other than Bono. “I used to sit in my room and sing ‘With or Without You’ along with him and think: ‘I know, Bono, I know your pain. I know you’re singing about me. Don’t worry, I’m thinking about you too.’”
He also retired from acting that day to continue to pursue being a medical doctor.”
Come From Away Before your first Broadway role comes your first Broadway survival job – just ask Becky. “I waited tables at Sam’s Restaurant on W45th St (now gone) and JR’s on W46th St (also gone) for just under a year,” she recalls. “I remember waiting on Matthew Broderick and I got super excited (‘Oh, it’s YOU!’ just burst out of my mouth!) and then I was super embarrassed and turned bright red. So lame!” When she did land her first Broadway role, it wasn’t exactly the way she’d imagined. “I was surprised that people could be ‘over’ being on Broadway. I was so excited to get there and it was a shock to hear people complain about their jobs.” Becky took that experience to heart. “The biggest lesson I learned for next time: I learned it’s important to find the sunshine and joy in your own way and not to rain on anybody else’s parade.”
Opposite: From Bagel Man to a crush on Bono, this is how these Broadway performers got started.
“I got to make out with a super-handsome upperclassmen. He’s still has no idea it was my first onstage kiss. I was sweating profusely”
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Nadia Brown, whose first Broadway role is the one she currently plays – Rose Granger-Weasley in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – made her theatrical debut with a family member by her side. “In kindergarten we devised a piece about deforestation and how that affects animals. I played a bumble bee,” she reveals. “Fun fact: I nominated my father to play the part of the lumberjack who was cutting down all of the trees in our forest, so my dad and I made our acting debuts together.
something … “I was a swing in my college’s production of Titanic. I was thrown on during a rehearsal and got to make out with a super-handsome upperclassmen. He’s still has no idea it was my first on-stage kiss,” she explains. “I was sweating profusely and I was most definitely horrible.”
Freestyle Love Supreme A graduate of the Freestyle Love Supreme Academy (which runs all year), Aneesa performs with the show on Broadway (until it shutters on January 12), but almost didn’t get on stage for the first time at all. “My first ever role was Bloody Mary in South Pacific,” she shares. “I was in the sixth grade and a super shy kid at the time, with crippling social anxiety. I found out that another girl in my class wanted to play the part of Bloody Mary so I told my music teacher to give the role to her instead. My music teacher realized what was happening and that I was scared out of my mind. She proceeded to tell me to shut up and suck it up. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.” So just in case you needed a reminder that teachers are the bomb, you got one. You know who else is the bomb? Folds’ first crush. “This is embarrassing, but … Lil’ Bow Wow,” she laughs, before adding: “My taste has evolved.”
Girl From the North Country Caitlin’s first on-stage kiss was
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COAST to CRUST
Clayton Howe’s pie odyssey takes him from frozen Canada to the balmy valleys of California
t has been a COLD journey as Waitress has passed through Calgary, Edmonton, and Saskatoon on its US tour. But Calgary takes the cake when it comes to pie. Pie Junkie, near the downtown area, was empty when I visited with my friend and cast member Jake Mills (who plays Cal), so we got to dig into four different pies. Pie #1: Chocolate hazelnut, which was fudge in a small pie crust. It was incredible! I could only eat about half before the sweetness got to me. Pie #2: Banana toffee, which made me seriously homesick for Levain Bakery’s banana bread pudding. The taste was almost identical and irresistible. Then we tried something different – savory pies. I’m not a fan. I’ve probably just divided some of the readers but hear me out! When I set out to eat pie, I expect sweet. If it’s not sweet, then it could be considered a quiche or a flat bread or panini of some sort, but that’s just my point of view. The word pie with meat just doesn’t do it for me. My memory of Sweeney Todd and their meat pies may have skewed my view. In Edmonton, I sampled pie at the Upper Crust Café, which had an excellent lemon meringue, and an apple pie. The lemon was tart but sweet, with a perfect meringue. I feel it’s pretty difficult to mess up an apple pie and they didn’t – the perfect mix of cinnamon sugar and apple made it the perfect treat. Saskatoon was such a short stay I barely got to try pie other than the one served to
me on stage, which was made with marionberries. Similar in flavor to a blackberry, the marionberry is slightly tart and sweet; certainly one of my favorites in the show. Then to Palm Desert – and finally some warm weather. I couldn’t find a local pie shop and, being short on time, I decided to stop by an old American chestnut: Walmart. I have to be honest, that pecan pie didn’t disappoint: sweet, chewy, and one of the least expensive 12-inch pies ever. Well done Walmart, well done. Learning and experiencing other cultures, even if they are pretty darn close to your own, can still open your eyes to so much in the world: ways of being, crossing the street when the light is red, holding doors – all of that is different. Humans are generally kinder and more trusting in the smaller cities. People actually wait for the “walk” sign to cross the street (which added five minutes to my commute to the theatre). Side note, Canada has done a pretty great job with public WiFi. In every city, there was a public network to connect to and IT WORKED! While getting to visit these other cities, I find myself growing with each move. In my life, I’ve connected growth and security to staying in one place, which is now changing with each city on this tour.
Above: Our resident pie junkie on tour. Below: Chocolate hazelnut and banana toffee pies go in for the Clay test.
Constant moving is teaching me that security, comfort, and happiness come from within. If nothing else, my mind is truly opened to how many people actually inhabit this earth. I’m looking at 2020 as a year of perfect vision for what my true life is and will be. I know some of us love to make resolutions, and I’ve found these thoughts help me follow through on them.
Keep it simple. If you want to start working out, plan to go to the gym three or four days a week, not six; especially if you’ve never regularly worked out before. Ease into the new activity, keep it realistic, then raise the expectation in February.
Clayton Howe is the creator and host of the Entertainment(x) podcast and is currently on tour through the US and Canada as Earl in Waitress.
Change the words “I should” to “I must.” Make it definite. In order to be someone you’ve never been before, you have to do things you’ve never done before and take actions in a way you’ve never taken before.
Be kind to yourself. Any resolution, be it ending a bad habit, starting a good habit, or just changing your thoughts for the better can be difficult, so be kind. Realize it’s not easy and it will take more than a month (of consistent work) for a new habit to become a constant habit. As Oprah says: “Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right.” I hope you have a very happy new year full of kindness, love, and light. Happy New Year’s, Hell’s Kitchen.
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Broadway Dance Center, W45th St - 8th/9th Ave This place will always be in my heart. It feels like a mini home to me, where I grew in so many ways. I love taking class when I can. Especially Heels!
Schmackary’s, W45th St 8th/9th Ave After a dance class, a visit to Schmackary’s always feels counterintuitive, but I never regret it.
Juice Generation, 9th Ave 45th/46th St After the guilt of the cookies sets in, I really do enjoy getting acai bowls here. It’s my go-to for lunch. As you can see, most of my life revolves around food!
Break Bar NYC, 9th Ave 35th/36th St As crazy as it seems, this idea is amazing! It’s a bar where you have a drink and smash your glass and other things. I guess it brings out my small town rambunctious side, and my Greek breaking-plates-atweddings side.
IMAGE: RUSS ROWLAND
Birdland Jazz Club, W 44th St - 8th/9th Ave I love this venue, its history, and the artistry that has come out of this place. I have always drawn inspiration in my singing from some of my favorite jazz heroines. I don’t think female jazz artists get enough credit in the music industry, past and present. Anna Kostakis is making her NY debut playing Bernadette in Romeo & Bernadette at A.R.T./NY Theatres, which runs through February 16 (amasmusical.org).
SO BASIC N
The Dwayne Johnson bod can wait, says Michael Muñoz. This New Year he’s getting back to basics
ew Year always brings added burden of trying to fix everything on a slew of feelings. we feel isn’t right. Why is that? Why Between the holiday is there so much pressure to kick start come-down, immediately everything in January? Why must we try turning a year older, the to lose 800lb by February? WHY?! urge to finally get that Dwayne Johnson What if I were to challenge you to do body I’ve always wanted, and the eversomething different this year? Instead of looming feeling of “what am I doing with resolutions and racing to fix everything, my life?” – January 1 really messes with what if we just left the unwanted behind? my head. Instead of complaining that there’s no I know I’m not alone in this. January is time to go to the gym, for instance, or the month that gyms are inundated with dropping the new regime after about a hopeful new members, fad diets are all month, I can leave the negative thoughts the rage, and people collectively behind me and, instead, use that seem to be in a space of standing desk someone gave reclaiming their bodies, me, start taking the stairs their lives, themselves, more, and ease myself “Why is there so and then some. It’s into achievable change. much pressure to funny the way life It’s about altering kick start everything in works. If someone had your perception of the January? Why must we told me I’d be a queer vision as opposed to try to lose 800lb by Latin voice in the food racing to the finish line; February? WHY?!” world I’d have laughed working out what it is and asked: “ What does you want to make happen, that even mean?” But here then building the blocks to I am: blog, podcast, television get you there. appearances – and it feels like only “But how does this all apply in your yesterday I was writing my first article foodie advice world, Lady Muñoz?” you for W42ST about getting out of my ask. Well, food is at the basis of most comfort zone. everything we do, how we relate, and There was a point in my childhood how we feel. It is our fuel as we run when I vividly remember thinking I’d through our busy lives. It feeds our never see adulthood. In my wonderment emotions, our brains, and our bodies. of all things adult, I just never thought I’d So, as you run head first into your ever be “old enough.” Now that I’m almost New Year’s resolutions, from new gym 40 (eek!) I always seem to be racing membership, to quitting your job, to against the clock; there isn’t enough time finding true love – whatever it may be in the day. Then comes New Year and – I want to challenge you to leave the I, along with everyone else, lay on the bad eating habits behind and get back
Opposite: Here’s to the new year ... and not crumbling under the pressure.
A home-trained cook and university trained performer, Michael makes food fun and accessible through his blog,
The Kitchen Gaily. And things get downright saucy in his podcast In Yo
to basics. There’s always a new and exciting food trend, but fresh, good food will never be out of style. I’d love to see 2020 be the year of the home cook. Even if you claim not to be able to boil an egg, there are so many services, television and YouTube tutorials, and Sur La Table classes to get you there. There is joy and peace to be found in cooking; and a real sense of satisfaction in knowing what goes into the food you eat. But what if you have no desire to cook, and a takeout budget that could pay my rent? Well, there’s no shortage of places in our little slice of Manhattan that are producing great home-style cooking. Westville (9th Ave - 54th/55th St) is definitely one of my faves, with its market menu items and amazing salads. Indian Project (W38th St - 7th/8th Ave) has some of the best Indian food in the neighborhood, to give you all the warm and fuzzies on a chilly evening. Tasty Hand Pulled II (9th Ave - 45th/46th St) is unassuming but definitely a go-to when I want some awesome soup, and even The Meatball Shop (9th Ave - 53rd St) has amazing fresh items on the menu. No matter what your vision is for the new decade, the way you nourish yourself will play a huge part in getting there. From what you eat, to who you’re eating it with, even where you’re eating, can and will affect the outcome and the memories. As for me? I’m going to take my own advice, step back, and create space to not only cook more, but to be in the moment and get back to basics.
“Comedy packed with jokes offering nuggets of wisdom.
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Kahve 10th Ave - 46th/47th St
I love the feel of an old school, sit-and-work-but-still-see-everyoneyou’ve-ever-met-while-having-a-really-good-latte kind of coffee house. They showcase local artists and have lots of comfortable seating. The owner, Erol, is often there making sure everything runs smoothly and he’s just the coolest. Kahve has a rad menu that’s always changing and I love supporting a local business.
The Green Room 42 Yotel, 10th Ave - 41st/42nd St
I LOVE this venue. They feature everything from themed brunches to international recording artists and Broadway stars in an intimate and hip cabaret environment. It’s an affordable evening that always promises an awesome show and boasts no food/drink minimum. They have a great menu with creative cocktails and a killer sound system. I appear here on January 5 for my album release concert.
Rise Bar 9th Ave, 55th/56th St59 9t
Everybody has a good, fun-energy neighborhood bar where they see all their friends and meet new ones. Rise Bar is my local hang. I host a piano bar open mic night every Sunday with DJ TK and Yasuhiko Fukuoka, and we have the best time. It’s not a competition or a pro night, just a good, old-fashioned sing-along. There’s no cover, y’all should swing by!
Don Giovanni W44th St - 8th/9th Ave
This place has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I mean, PIZZA. Also, it has quite a history. The place definitely feels like a classic gem of a spot and it’s legit. It used to be a comedy club and a lot of legends started their careers there. They also serve the very best cappuccino I’ve ever had.
Mark Fisher Fitness W39th St - 9th/10th Ave
I don’t think I’ve ever walked into MFF clubhouse without someone hugging me. It’s hip, it’s funny, it’s naughty! The hottest trainers and the biggest personalities in NYC all gather to sweat to banging music. They also send personal cards to celebrate life events, and get-well cards. Show me another gym in NYC that you can say that about. I’m a proud MFF unicorn.
Katie Thompson - Heaven Is A Place On Earth Michael Longoria - Kiss Me (Like They Do In The Movies) Billy Porter - Hell or High Water Mykal Kilgore - Let Me Let Go Rachel Potter - Jesus and Jezebel Marty Thomas is a Grammy-nominated recording artist and actor who made his Broadway debut at age 11. He was named Mr Broadway 2008 and was a 1992 Ed McMahons Junior Vocalist Star Search champion (beating a then unknown Britney Spears). He plays Damon on Two Broke Girls and Charlie on Grace & Frankie, and has sung with Billy Porter, Grace Jones, Patti Labelle, Jennifer Holliday, Barry Manilow, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash and more. His album, Slow Dancing With A Boy, is available on BroadwayRecords. com and Amazon (@martythomaslovesyou).
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WINDS OF CHANGE
Fur, hoods, and a broken umbrella are armor against the weather, as the city braces itself for another wild winter. Photography by Nate Bozeman
CONVERSION THERAPY How to turn a studio apartment into a true one-bedroom without compromise
e get it. You’re totally over the roommate situation. You want a place of your own. But here’s the other thing: you’d also like an apartment that can accommodate more than a queen bed and a mini fridge. Even a large studio apartment feels less like home when your visitors have a clear view of your unmade bed and that pile of ironing you keep meaning to do. Paul had lived in Hell’s Kitchen since 2007, after graduating college and, for the first nine years, “lived in a large, cookie-cutter rental building with two roommates.”
“My goal was to have a real wall creating two separate rooms and not look like a temporary or flex wall.” Three years ago, he started looking into buying a place to call home. “There were two motivating factors behind my search,” he says. “The first was that I felt it was time to have my own place. I had lived with roommates since I was 18, and it was a great way to save money on the margin, but I was ready for a change. I had always thought that owning my own place in New York would be a proud moment and an important milestone in my life. “The second reason was financial, as I had seen our rent increase over $1,500 in my time there. That was a tough pill to swallow, but at least manageable when splitting it with a roommate. I didn’t want to put myself in that position if I lived alone. I’d saved enough money over time to cover a down payment and soon
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LIVING – two large ones facing north, with trees offering privacy into the interior space; and three large windows facing east toward my neighbor’s apartment. This was the exact studio layout I needed for my conversion into a true one-bedroom.” He set about planning the new layout. It was important he maximized the apartment’s natural light. It also needed to be big enough to fit a queen-size bed comfortably, and allow him to walk around without any issues. “My goal was to have a real wall creating two separate rooms and not look like a temporary or flex wall.”
found myself checking the real estate websites on a daily basis to find the ‘perfect’ apartment.” His search criteria were for a onebedroom with good light, staying in Hell’s Kitchen, so he could still walk to his job in the finance sector. “But I quickly realized that there was no such thing as a ‘perfect’ one-bedroom apartment in my price range, and anything that was close to what I wanted would go into contract within days of the initial listing. Competition was stiff.” A compromise had to be made. So, after a year or more of searching, he turned his attention to alcove studios, figuring he could put up a wall and create a true one-bedroom. “I ended up finding a studio that was listed as a ‘junior one-bedroom’ on the top floor of a 1930s co-op. The kitchen and bathroom were a bit dated, but that was less of a priority for me. “More importantly, the previous owner had already set up a large built-in bookcase to separate the bed area from the general living space, so you couldn’t even see the bed. And there were windows on both sides
“We maximized the layout so that it flowed better and felt less cramped.” Enter his contractor, who he says helped in two ways – strategic and tactical. “First,” he explains, “it’s important to have the support of the co-op or building super for a renovation, and my contractor ensured that all of the co-op building work rules were met. Second, I would leave ‘to-do’ lists each night toward the end of the renovation outlining items that I wanted to be addressed. I’d then return the following day with each having been taken care of.” Top: The living room before and after. Right: The sleeping area had been separated from the living room with a bookcase, but the new wall makes this a true one-bedroom.
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LIVING Since the kitchen is still small – about 60 square feet – he kept the colors light: white shaker cabinets with brushed nickel pulls, stainless steel appliances, and a low-maintenance Caeserstone-type quartz (which won’t be fazed by spilled red wine or coffee). The new wall separating the bedroom, meanwhile, looks as if it was always there. But Paul warns anyone considering embarking on a building project to be prepared for delays. “The original timeline was four to five weeks, but it ended up taking eight weeks to complete.” Other tips? “Let your designbuild team know upfront what your priority is. For example, I was less focused on the timeline as long as the work was done correctly.
A large part of the budget was allotted to updating the 1980s kitchen, which had little usable counter space (he had to remove his hoped-for bathroom reno from the plan to keep the costs down). “We maximized the layout so that it flowed better and felt less cramped,” he says. “The location of the stove and refrigerator were swapped, which not only provided more functional surfaces, but we added an additional 14-inch ledge of counter space by the window. It had the effect of creating a wraparound spot where I could fit a stool and use it as a small breakfast bar.”
“The timeline was four to five weeks ... it ended up taking eight weeks.”
Above: The kitchen before and after. Below: The living space has not been compromised by the new wall separating it from the bedroom.
And ask questions. Communication is critical and you don’t want to assume anything. “Also, I chose to live in my apartment throughout the renovation process. The only night I did not stay was the first day of demolition. I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone though. “I wasn’t able to find the perfect one-bedroom at first,” he adds, “and I learned that nothing will be perfect, but I am extremely satisfied with the end result. Now, I’m proud to call the apartment my home and, even though I set out to live alone, my next plan is to adopt a dog or cat.”
Paul worked with Sweeten, a renovation platform that connects homeowners to vetted general contractors (sweeten.com)
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LIVING without having to revert to math formulas about the exact angles of our furniture. Why we stayed in Hell’s Kitchen: We love that, despite the tourist crowds, this has such a neighborhood feel. There are so many wonderful restaurants from around the world, and the subway access cannot be beat. It is amazing to be in the middle of pop culture history, to be on the same blocks as The Actors Studio and where the show Seinfeld was incepted. Our budget: Under 3k. Our current onebedroom clocks in at $2,500. What we learned: We widened our search, going to the Upper East Side, Jackson Heights, and Astoria to check out openings. However, our hearts didn’t want to leave Hell’s Kitchen, and we kept holding out hope that we’d find something here.
You know you’re a Hell’s Kitchen lifer when you move just one block from your old apartment
IMAGE: PHIL O’BRIEN
Profession: I work in brand research for Cisco – running studies that help us figure out the tech competitive landscape. Prior to that, I was at CNN for about five years, working on analytics and qualitative research around politics and media usage. Moving from: I moved from my apartment of seven years at W44th St 9th Ave to 9th Ave - 43rd St (a difference of a block!). I was a military brat when I was younger, so while traveling and
Above: JoAnn was looking for more space to entertain friends without having to rearrange all the furniture.
moving are in my veins, it was always important to me to settle somewhere in a big city. Maybe it was watching the shows Felicity and Seinfeld growing up, but NYC always felt like coming home. Moving to: A prewar building, where each apartment takes up the entire floor, so our apartment gets both west and east lighting, which is wonderful. Why: We loved our W44th St block and building – it was my husband and my first home in New York. However, we were ready for more space. We wanted to entertain more than two people at a time,
On the check list: We like that it’s a smaller building – we moved from a building that had 36 units to one that has just three, so the room flow feels spacious. The view of 9th Ave from our living room means that people-watching is always entertaining. Also, we wanted a bathroom that was bigger – our old one was so small, your knees would always bump into the side of the tub or the wall. Our favorite thing about living in Hell’s Kitchen: I love the neighborhood vibe – how you can become friends with your local dry cleaner or bakery. People watch out for each other.
VITAL STATS 9th Ave/43rd St # stories: 5 # units: Three (the first floor is for mail, two through four for units, and the fifth for storage). Built: 1920s Amenities: Dishwasher, open flow apartment, fireplace (non-working), kitchen bar, true one bedroom. Pet-friendly? No
Flight of fancy
It’s a foot rest. It’s a coffee table. It’s an extra seat for when friends come round. This color wheel ottoman began its life in airport lounges – but can now be anything you want it to be in your own high-flying apartment. $2,273, store.moma.org
THE SKY “That sweater is not just blue,” Miranda Priestly so memorably preached in The Devil Wears Prada. “It’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean.” And 18 years after she recalls Oscar de la Renta sending that particular shade of blue down the runway, Pantone has declared cerulean the color of 2020 Cooking up a storm
This yummy, rustic casserole is hand-thrown in the Brooklyn studio of Workaday Handmade, and hand-glazed with a matte blue glaze and glossy clear interior. Suddenly meal prep doesn’t seem so daunting. $90, theprimaryessentials.com
We all know someone we’d like to give this pillow to – amiright? $17.95, fishseddy.com
Riddle me this
A puzzle to send even the most dedicated puzzler to the edge of sanity! Is it blue to green … or green to blue? Will you ever leave the apartment again? $25, hawkinsnewyork.com
LIVING Curl up
If you’re taking the opportunity to dial it down in January, and spend more time at home reading and finding your center, you’ll be needing a beautiful chair in which to do it. This generously proportioned 1980s club chair with brushed chrome arm details fits the bill beautifully. $1,200, comingsoonnewyork.com
Fill it with chips, fruit, or candy. Or use it as a catch all for your loose change, keys, and random trinkets. The Shark Attack bowl is a comedy accessory with bite. $328, burkelman.com
We’ve never met a cheese we didn’t like. And now they can all hang out together on this agate cheese board in glorious shades of blue, with glistening brass trim. $54.60, anthropologie.com
When your parties take a rock n roll turn, dish up dinner on these deep blue skull plates made from fine bone china with 22kt gold trim. $78, wolfandbadger.com
I sea you
We’re in love with Toiletpaper magazine’s collaboration with Italian design company Seletti, which mixes everyday items with kitschy pop iconography, candy-colored pastels, and black humor. The Sea Girl mirror works as a piece of art as well as a practical object. $370, beambk.com
The gift that keeps on giving
Living with original art has been proven to boost your health and happiness. So make this the year you invest in your walls and your wellbeing. On our wish list: this phenomenal, largescale piece from Kristen Jongen, titled The Edge of Everywhere. (Yes, she’s also a W42ST columnist - aren’t we lucky!) $3,400, mysoulsoup.com
#W42ST Hashtag your Instagram pics and they could star in the mag!
Winter finally crept in and gave us some snow (plus spectacular sunsets). We layered on the clothing, kept our umbrellas close, and enjoyed the lights. Stay warm, this month, friends. And did you know that anyone can be featured on these pages? Just tag your images #W42ST and you could be the one whose photograph ends up in the next issue.
Thanks to all our customers for 2019 - and Happy New Year for 2020. Come join us for drinks on New Years Eve ... we are open every day this holiday season! No tickets required, please make reservations!
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RUMBLE IN THE
JUNGLE Lifting meets cardio – with the help of a DJ. Sophia Strawser joins the club
icture your favorite hip spin studio but with a lot more punching. Now you have Rumble Boxing. I’ve done it once and it was exactly what I needed. “My rent is going up by how much?” Punch. “My subway isn’t running on nights and weekends?” Punch. “You’re moving to Jersey” Double punch. You also get one heck of a work out – I left feeling a whole jean size smaller. Now in Union Square, a block away from the boxing studio, is Rumble Training – a departure from the straight boxing workout. The class is split in two: one with treadmills and one with benches. Half the class starts doing a variation of runs, sprints, and jogs on the treadmills while the other half does weight circuits. The treadmill kicked my butt. You know when you take the steps up from the subway but find out it’s not one of those subway stops with one flight of stairs, nor two flights; it’s the kind where clearly an escalator should have been taken? That’s the level of out of breath this portion of the class got me. We switched back and forth between the two sides of the room multiple times, which meant I could push myself a little harder knowing a break from running was coming soon. Now, I’m not a fan of running normally; I’m more likely to be found on a spin bike, But because of the level of instruction given, I actually found myself really enjoying it. And knowing it was only a few minutes of pushing before I got to take a recovery break helped me get more out of it. (Me on the treadmill at the gym: “Well, I walked the whole way from the locker room to the treadmill; that deserves a little active recovery. How about protein bar-to-face?”) However, the lifting portion wasn’t my favorite. I like to lift as a part of my regular workout routine but, because of the timed aspect of the class, the lifting became rushed, and sacrificed form. The exercises varied through jump squats, bicep curls, weighted lunges, and push ups, etc, all focusing on getting through the reps as many times as possible before the buzzer went off. I’m all about a good push, but I’m the queen of sacrificing form in order to achieve that. So the DJ, who stands at the front of the room would have been better walking around and correcting anyone on the lifting side as opposed to simply overseeing the stopwatch and music. That being said, it was a great workout for someone who wants a balance of lifting and cardio. I left with that I-worked-out-so-hardI-actually-think-my-lungs-are-bigger kind of breathing. Well, catch me on Insta until next time @SophieStrawser
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SOBER IN THE CITY
Me and my
Star spotting is basically an average Tuesday in NYC. Kristen Jongen recalls some of her favorites
f you have ever conversed with me, you’ll know that I am a midwestern girl. Raised in northern Michigan, my accent sounds a lot like the movie Fargo. Between the snow, the dunes, and the water, if you’re from “up north” you know about outdoorsy stuff. When “lumbersexual” became a fashion trend in NYC, I was amused. The shiny, unscuffed Timberland boots and manicured beards of the city made me chuckle. “Outdoorsy” is not a trend where I am from; it’s an institution. Contrary to east coast assumptions, midwestern states have most of the same accoutrements that the coasts offer. What we do not have, however, is a stable full of celebrities. In my mind’s eye, movie stars had a certain glow. They possibly levitated. My first New York City celebrity encounter was during a visit. My friend had bumped into a group of his pals on the street. A dude in the group resembled James Franco but was shorter and less jazzy. I was eventually
so agitated by his familiarity that I asked my friend under my breath if it was him. He muttered: “Yes.” Like, duh. Although polite, James didn’t hover the ground or sprinkle me with greatness juice. He looked disappointingly human. My first celebrity conversation happened within a week of moving to NYC; I chatted up a gal at a 12-step meeting whose haircut I admired. When I asked if she wanted to grab a coffee, she was skittish. I assumed she was new to recovery and insecure. I figured I could show her the ropes. When I asked for her phone number, she gave me her email address instead. After leaving, I saw her face on a billboard in Times Square. I was so stunned; I did the unthinkable. I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to gawk. My first Manhattan shove and “Move over!’ shouting match followed. The first time I drove a car in the city, a biker rolled up to my window and screamed: “You could have fucking killed me!” I had run a
IMAGE: JULIO NUNYO
“I had run a red light and was rattled not only by the interaction, but the fact that the rider I had almost killed was Anthony Bourdain.”
An internationally recognized author, artist, and motivational speaker, Kristen has written and published two books. She is the voice behind Soul Soup Inc, inspirational books, prints, and greeting cards. Follow Kristen on Instagram @KristenJongen, If you’re having difficulty with drugs and alcohol, find support meetings at nyintergroup.org
red light and was rattled not only by the interaction, but the fact that the rider I had almost killed was Anthony Bourdain. Finally, my first celebrity bonding moment happened while I was chatting with a woman about motherhood at Walgreens. We were in line joking about our bad hair and ungrateful kids. The cash register girls giggled and asked for her autograph. At that point, two years had passed and I had adjusted to NYC and its sea of random actors. I don’t have a TV, so I wasn’t particularly impressed. We walked out together and continued to talk. It wasn’t until she said: “It’s strange when kids recognize me. I can never tell if it’s from SVU or Blue Lagoon.” My brain froze. Had she invoked BLUE LAGOON? I looked slowly out the side of my face. Was my new best friend Brooke Fucking Shields? Yes, yes, she was. Hi Brooke, Call me. While I have had many New York City celebrity firsts, these stick out among my favorites. Sometimes, I even catch people staring at me on the subway. Maybe it’s my height? Perhaps it’s my hair? I love wearing dark glasses and a hat. It keeps people guessing. All of this is to say, Brad Pitt, if you are reading this. I think we have a lot in common. Please do not be alarmed if we meet in person. There is a high likelihood that I will not recognize you. However, rest assured, I am always available to show you the ropes.
Humans’ names: Sabrina and Adam. Age: Five years young. Breed: Chihuahua mix. What makes me bark: Skateboards. Three words that describe me best: Sweet but feisty. Confession: I’m vegan but still try to eat chicken bones off the street.
Tassie Human’s name: Nissa. Age: Three. Breed: Chonzer (Bichon/Schnauzer). What makes me bark: Fetch! Three words that describe me best: I love breakfast! Confession: I am 100% certain that everyone outside Schmackary’s is lined up just waiting to snuggle me.
Berkley Human’s name: Jeffrey. Age: 13. Breed: Jack Russell Terrier. What makes me bark: Skateboards. Three words that describe me best: Sly, manipulative, affectionate – but only when I want to be! Confession: I “self pleasure” twice a day!
tales Persephone Human’s name: Ozzie. Age: One year old. Breed: Siberian. What makes me meow: Crinkle toys, freeze-dried shrimp, and lasers. Three words that describe me best: Sassy, sweet, and fluffy. Confession: I can quietly open the kitchen cabinet where my kitty treats are. I also love hiding my daddy’s receipts in my litter box.
PETS These camera-happy cuties took a time out for a quick Q&A with W42ST
So many of you have contacted us, asking how your own happy hound or cute kitty can be included in Wagging Tales. Well, we’ve heard your pleas, duly considered them, and thought, hey, what the heck, why not? (We must have been barking mad not to have thought of it sooner!) This all means, of course, that you can now send us the finest photograph you can find of your furry best friend, answer the questions below, then cross your paws you’ll be included in our monthly column of local canine (and kitty) celebrities.
Phoebe Human’s name: Hayley. Age: Six months. Breed: Sheepadoodle. What make me bark: Dogs who don’t want to play. Three words that describe me best: Playful, energetic, hard-headed. Confession: I’ve never met a pup I didn’t want to play with.
Your name: Pet’s name: Breed: How old? What makes your pet bark or purr? Three words that describe them best: Naughty confessions (dish the dirt – not literally, of course!): And are you an Insta-animal? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do the rest.
“Well, we have a whole new year ahead of us. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be a little more gentle with each other, a little more loving, and have a little more empathy, and maybe, next year at this time, we’d like each other a little more.”
n spring 1965, Andy Warhol’s Factory hosted what was billed as the “Fifty Most Beautiful People” party. On the guest list was Judy Garland who, at the age of 43, was largely ignored by Warhol’s generation. “I watched as five boys carried her in off the elevator on their shoulders,” he recalled. “It was odd because that night, for some reason, nobody seemed to notice her. I noticed her, though. I always noticed Judy Garland.” Born Frances Ethel Gumm, the actress was singing and dancing on stage by the time she was two, performing alongside her older
sisters in a Christmas show in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She signed to MGM at the age of 13 and, over the course of her career, she won a Juvenile Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Special Tony Award. In 1962, she was awarded the Grammy for her live recording Judy at Carnegie Hall, the first woman to win in this category. However, when she appeared at Warhol’s party in 1965, fame was no longer the sole prerogative of Hollywood stars. “There were more people staring at Edie [Sedgwick] than at Judy,” the artist said, though
he argued that the elfin model and the actress were more alike than people realized. “Edie and Judy had something in common – a way of getting everyone totally involved in their problems. They had dramas going right around the clock, and everybody loved to help them through it all. The problems made them more attractive.” Judy Garland died four years later. A biopic of her later life was released last year, starring Renee Zellweger, who is tipped for an Oscar nominations (announced this month). Closer to home, Peter Mac is playing Judy Garland at The Producers Club through January 4.
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The Dyksterhouse Team is a team of real estate agents afďŹ liated with Compass. Compass is a licensed real estate broker and abides by equal housing opportunity laws.
The issue of the year - read about our first crappy apartments, first loves, first time sobbing on the subway, first time in drag ... this i...
Published on Dec 25, 2019
The issue of the year - read about our first crappy apartments, first loves, first time sobbing on the subway, first time in drag ... this i...