What neighborhood do you live in and how long have you lived there? I now live in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, and have been here for almost a year. I was born in New York and have lived on the Lower East Side, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Gramercy Park, Tribeca, Chinatown, and Brooklyn Heights. Aside from college, I have been here all my life.
Where do you put up friends visiting town? Our house.
Where is the best place to find your hometown’s signature dish? I grew up in the city so we would always have various dishes. Had many burgers at J.G. Melon's and I still enjoy going there (1291 3rd Ave.; 212-744-0585).
What is your favorite restaurant to take visitors? Kunjip is good with a group (32 W. 32nd St.; 212-216-9487; kunjip.net).
Where can you find the best cocktails? I like most drinks with Shochu in them. EN Japanese Brasserie is a favorite spot (435 Hudson St.; 212-647-9196; enjb.com).
Beer list? Guinness at the Ear Inn. It’s one of the oldest bars in New York and being at a pub, having a burger and a Guinness just seems right. I get the sense they go through hundreds of kegs a day there (326 Spring St.; 212-226-9060; earinn.com).
Wine list? I love going into Chambers Street Wines. I take pics of wines I like and they always have amazing recommendations (148 Chambers St.; 212-227-1434; chambersstreetwines.com). I also love Bacaro in Chinatown for their tapas and great selection of Spanish wines (136 Division St.; 212-941-5060; bacaronyc.com).
Where would you choose to splurge on a night out? Ushiwakamaru is great—super authentic assortment of seasonal fish. I get the omakase and try things like ankimo (monk fish liver pate) (136 W. Houston St.; 212-228-4181; ushiwakamarunyc.com).
What is your go-to after-hours bar? Puffy’s Tavern. It’s across the street from our Steven Alan offices and has a great beer selection. We have a lot of happy hours there, so the staff knows us well (81 Hudson St.; 212-227-3912; puffystavernnyc.com).
What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon in town? A walk around Chelsea galleries and the High Line, followed by a great dinner, say, at Soba-ya in the East Village (229 E. 9th St.; 212-533-6966; sobaya-nyc.com).
What is your Sunday morning routine in your neighborhood? Shop the farmer’s market in Ditmas Park on Cortelyou and the food co-op, also on Cortelyou, and then cook breakfast/brunch at home.
Where is the best brunch? Depending on the week, either Dim Sum Go Go (5 E. Broadway; 212-732-0797; dimsumgogo.com) or my house for a big Russ & Daughters spread (179 E. Houston St.; 212-475-4880; russanddaughters.com).
Where do you go for the perfect cup of coffee? My friend runs La Colombe and he sometimes breaks out some super rare beans. He's also built this awesome machine for brewing (75 Vandam St.; 212-929-9699; lacolombe.com).
What’s your favorite view in town (that tourists might not know about)? Sutton Place. It overlooks the East River and is in the scene in Manhattan where Woody Allen is speaking to Mariel Hemingway. I love the old buildings, row houses, and Neo-Georgian town houses. I spent a lot of time as a kid playing in the park there, which has a statue of Pietro Tacca’s Porcellino. We always called it “pig park” (57th St. and the East River).
What’s your favorite path or trail to follow on a walk? I like the parts of New York that feel removed and are food meccas. Brighton Beach and Jackson Heights are some examples, but I also love going for walks on the Lower East Side. There are so many great galleries that have opened up on Orchard, Ludlow, etcetera—like Lisa Cooley (107 Norfolk St.; 212-690-0564; lisa-cooley.com)—and some excellent restaurants, too, like Dimes (143 Division St.; 212-240-9410; dimesnyc.com). In the summer, the Hester Street Fair is fantastic to check out for an eclectic mix of food vendors.
What are your favorite offbeat cultural attractions? MoMA PS1. They have lots of performances and smaller artist openings. I was at an opening for a VRSE-made Bjork virtual reality film recently, which was fun. A few years ago they even built outdoor saunas as part of an exhibit (22-25 Jackson Ave.; 718-784-2084; momaps1.org).
What’s your favorite shop or boutique? Tent and Trails for camping gear (21 Park Pl.; 212-227-1760; tenttrails.com), Di Palo’s for Italian meats and cheeses (200 Grand St.; 212-226-1033; dipaloselects.com), Murray’s for cheese (245 Bleecker St.; 212-243-3289; murrayscheese.com), and Kiosk Kiosk for an international selection of fun desk and home stuff (540 LaGuardia Pl.; 212-226-8601; kioskkiosk.com).
What’s the best-kept local secret? King Spa. It’s located in Palisades Park, New Jersey, which is only around 30 minutes away from the city, but it feels pretty removed. Inside I think they have over 20 different rooms of various types of heat. They also have a Korean food floor, and nothing is more relaxing then eating barefoot in a robe after sweating for an hour or two (321 Commercial Ave.; 201-947-9955; kingsaunanj.com).
In our Hometown Guides series, we're seeking the best restaurants, bars, vistas, and things to do in a given place from the people who know best—the artists, designers, chefs, and store-owners who live there. See more Hometown Guides »
Image Credits: Courtesy of EN Japanese Brasserie; © Iwan Baan