With Thanksgiving around the corner, I was feeling rather thankful for all the wonderful people in my life and wanted to share a few of my favorites. I am sure this will be the first in a series as I have some of the best friends a boy could ask for, and quite frankly, it was really fun to put together.
There are still many a New Yorker I’d like to feature as I’ve built quite the family here all of which bring their own sense of humor, quirky behavior, and originality to everything they do.
So take a look, hope you enjoy some of my favorite Gremlin’s as much as I do, and have a really, really wonderful holiday!
Name: Christian DiPietro, 27
Neighborhood you reside in: East Village (Lower East Side Greaser)
Hometown: Boston, MA
Occupation: Associate Designer, Marc Jacobs & Creator, Owner, President, CEO, Staff Writer, and Photographer of The New York Narrative
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Having a walk and talk with a friend, stumbling upon a cute coffee shop or bar (probably bar), and continuing our great conversation in that new little spot. You always make a new friend along the way, and who doesn’t like to meet new people?”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “The Nomad Hotel in Flatiron has a gorgeous back bar that is straight up out of Sherlock Holmes. It has a spiral staircase, lined with bookshelves, and is the perfect escape to cozy up and have an Old Fashion in. The Bowery Hotel’s lobby. is also really gorgeous. I have a thing for cozy hotel bars…”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “Honestly, anytime I catch myself in a cliche New York moment. Dashing through Flatiron with that gorgeous building behind me. Dodging traffic in Time’s Square. Getting lost in the windy streets of Greenwich Village. All of it. It makes you stop, take a moment, and realize how very luck you are to be here.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: You’re going to enjoy the gorgeous and talented New Yorkers you’re about to meet. They are a pretty special bunch. Talk about squad goals.
Name: Albert DeMatteo, 27.
Neighborhood you reside in: Upper East Side
Hometown: Somers, New York
Occupation: Fashion and Grooming Director, Urban Daddy
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Brunch, Gym, or anything outside with booze.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “Just feel in love with the Alta Linea. It is the restaurant at the High Line Hotel that’s only open in the summer because it is outdoors. It’s exactly hidden but I LOVED IT.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “That first day when you feel the city click from Summer to Spring… boots, leather, layers, football… it is a perfect time of year.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: This is Al’s doggie Hank who I am dying to meet. He’s a total meatball. Al and I are Birthday buddies— July 15th in case you’d like to send something— and he too has traits of an Italian overbearing Cancer like me. Which is why we probably get along so well.
Name: Becca, 23
Neighborhood you reside in: Lower East Side
Hometown: Hillsborough, NJ
Occupation: Beauty/Fashion PR
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “EAT! I can walk out my door and in a matter of minutes, have a selection of authentic Italian, Thai, German, Chinese, Mexican etc. cuisine. Literally anything. Current favorites are Black Tree across the street from my apartment and Wild Air which recently opened a few doors down.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: We are Girls and Gays that eat, just an FYI.
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “Orchard Street. It’s closed to traffic on Sundays, creating this unique sense of community in Manhattan. Flocked with peddlers and skateboarders, it’s like Soho… but grittier. And not crowded with tourists. There’s this one homeless man who makes his own clothes, and I swear, has the best sense of style. The people watching is really incredible because it’s a whole mix of everyone. Over the summer, there is a big street festival that draws crowds with live music, bites and drinks from local shops and in October, there’s one dedicated solely to pickles, which unfortunately, I’ve somehow missed every year. There’s always something going on and something new to try. In more ways than one, the street is a real taste of New York City and I continue to fall in love with it every day.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “For me, it’s the feeling I get every time I cross over the Williamsburg Bridge, or any of the bridges for that matter, back into Manhattan at night and look into the New York City skyline. It’s hard to describe, but it’s a sense of belonging and awe all at once. More times than not, I have a pretty solid buzz on, so anything with bright lights will get my attention, but regardless, I think it’s something truly mesmerizing and special. I feel lucky to call this great city my home.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: I met miss Becca a few months ago as she’s the fabulous roommate of the equally fabulous Patrick, who is a great friend of The New York Narrative (see more about him below). She is kind and sweet with a wicked sense of humor and a heart of gold.
Name: Josh Bailey, 28.
Neighborhood you reside in: Upper Eeast Side, “its the new, new place to be.”
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Occupation: Architect, Retail Store Design, Ralph Lauren
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Checking out the galleries in Chelsea then strolling through the West Side.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “Brunch at Jeffrey’s Grocery.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “Screaming ‘Taxi!’ Carrie Bradshaw style and be whisked away to the next adventure.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: This too is one of my favorite things to do, like, all the time when hailing a cab. You’ll remember Joshy from his personal style file on The New York Narrative as he’s a loyal friend and a great guy all around.
Name: Matt Bortz, 26
Neighborhood you reside in: Greenwich Village
Hometown: Ridgefield, CT
Occupation: Art Director, CDMi Connect
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Running along the West Side Highway around sunset. I’m really into gramming clouds & cityscapes (basic)…and that’s the best time to do it.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “Mamouns falafel on MacDougal St.. Cheap & delicious like me.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “Living off red wine and books for a week during Hurricane Sandy when I lost power. It was the ultimate juice cleanse.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: Like Josh, I met Matty through Big Apple Kickball and he couldn’t be a sweeter (or cuter) guy. You’ll rarely catch him without a smile on his face…even when we are talking smack about someone. Or each other.
Name: Julia Gosen, 25
Neighborhood you reside in: TBD. “Currently on a couch surfing rampage.”*
*How very New York.
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Occupation: Corporate Event Planner
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Walking for blocks and blocks with no real plan in mind, stopping for a glass (or 12) of anything cheap and boozy, flea markets in the summer, staying up WAY too late (or early?) and walking the empty streets before the city comes to life.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “10 ft. Single by Stella Davis. It’s a GIGANTIC thrift store on N. 6th Street in Williamsburg— my friends know I love a good pair of clip on earrings, Ruby’s on Mulberry; the best burger and everyone who works there has an Australian accent and the Ontario Bar on Grand Street; all Canadian errrthangg.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “Waking up knowing and appreciating where I live— the place that I told myself I’d move to when I was little and here I am. It’ll kill you if you let it, but NYC is the best city in the world. Hands down.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: I met Julia five years ago through our mutual friend, Danielle, at Professor Thom’s near Union Square. We bonded over my impression of Barbra Streisand, her beehive and french tips, and that was it: Julia and I were forever bonded. We spent our first Winter as friends at The Ritz and now defunct Woody’s (RIP) dancing on tables and falling in love. She’s my rib and I’d be lost without her.
Name: Stephanie, 25
Neighborhood you reside in: Turtle Bay
Hometown: East Setauket, NY
Occupation: Sales Planner, Fox News Channel
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “EAT!!! Exploring all new restaurants that are always popping up with endless types of cuisines.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “Beekman Place. It’s a tiny neighborhood made up of two blocks, aligned with charming Pre-War co-ops. It overlooks the East river. I often go for walks with my dog though the neighborhood and for a second you feel as if you are not in the center of all the New York City madness. The whole neighborhood is very peaceful.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “For me an iconic NYC moment would be walking through the New York City subways and witnessing some of the best talent you’ll ever see. It’s like a free private concert for New Yorkers. It’s pretty cool and inspiring.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: This is Toby, Steph’s incredibly cute pup who I also need to meet. For someone who loves dogs as much as I do, I haven’t met some of my closest friends furry pals. Besides the fact she’s absolutely hysterical/beautiful/compassionate, Steph may be one of the best listeners I know…as long as there isn’t food in front of her. She’s a gem.
Name: John Widmer, 27
Neighborhood you reside in: Midtown East
Hometown: Nesconset, NY
Occupation: Special Education Teacher, New York City Department of Education
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Sunday Brunch with my friends. Its the perfect way to recap on everyone’s weekend (and spill the tea!) and not letting Monday ruin your Sunday!”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “Salinas in Chelsea. With so many big restaurants in this area the smaller ones tend to get lost. But the tapas and signature cocktails are to die. And who doesn’t love a restaurant with fresh flowers delivered daily?”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “A sunset walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Nothing is more iconic New York than having the entire skyline in front of you at sunset in one of the most romantic places in the world.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: If you want to have a good time, anywhere, just sit next to John. He’s the definition of a spitfire and knows as much useless (or incredibly important, depends how you look at it) Pop Culture facts as I do.
Name: Lukus Hasenstab, 31
Neighborhood you reside in: Cobble Hill, Brooklyn
Hometown: Beaver Dam, WI
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Day-drinking and games at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Gowanus, Brooklyn.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “The sliver of a coffee shop I swing into, mid-commute, while transitioning from the F to the 6 on mornings when the platform full and I don’t feel like pushing.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: This is one of our favorite haunts in Soho as well!
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “Being taken on a tour of the not-yet-complete 1 World Trade Center and being allowed to sign one of the support beams on the 90th floor. Taking a moment to reflect on the fact that… I’m just this kid who grew up in a small town in Wisconsin… and now I’m leaving my tiny mark on the WTC. New York City is a city where anything feels possible.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: Here is a picture of Lukus being a hot construction, just, because….he’s also whip smart and a total sweetie. I tacked on a few extra days to my 4th of July trip to P-Town this year staying with Lukus and friends and he couldn’t have been a better host.
Name: Jenny Williams (AKA, our JWoww), 31
Neighborhood you reside in: Upper East Side
Hometown: Vinita, OK
Occupation: Marketing Coordinator, American Century Investments
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Being Gremlins with all my ‘dumpster babies!’ Haha, ok kidding…love exploring and walking around with friends, finding all the hidden gems NYC has to offer.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “East End? I feel like it’s the only appropriate and honest answer I can give.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “There are so many beautiful and iconic things about this city, but something so simple as being able to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and seeing the city from that view is pretty special to me.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: Here’s a (much younger) picture of Jenny and I on a wine tour in The Hamptons, which was one of the most fun things I have done with my group of friends. Jwoww can do one of the highest of high kicks I have ever seen while still being one of the most fun and kindhearted people I know. She’s basically the full package.
Neighborhood you reside in: Astoria, Queens
Hometown: Saratoga, NY
Favorite thing to do in NYC: ” Exploring new neighborhoods, which inevitably leads to seeing what drinks they have to offer. Some of my favorite days in the city have been when I found out about a store or class I wanted to visit in another borough that turned into a full day adventure of food, shopping, and drinks. Most recently in Greenpoint where I took a pole dance work out class and followed it with empanadas and drinks.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “The LIC Flea which is just a few train stops from my neighborhood. They have a beer garden, tons of food vendors, cute clothes, and tons of awesome little booths. It’s right on the water in Long Island City (one stop into Queens) and you can walk (or kayak) along the water front across from mid-town east for great views of the City.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “Because I can’t ever make a decision…I feel like every day has a New York moment, whether its the weirdo on the train you no longer flinch at, bumping in to a friend in a city of millions, seeing a celebrity at brunch next to you, or just the fact that unlimited alcohol meals even exist here.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: You’ll remember Sarah’s feature on all the fantastic products she uses, and above is a photo with Sarah and I and our girlfriend Fox. More on her below. Sarah gave our friendship an expiration date of exactly three months because she claimed, and I quote, “I have too many friends, I don’t need more…” I clearly did not accept this as four years later we are still best friends. She’s a great (and obviously gorgeous) girl with a heart of gold and a love for Queso. Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend like her.
Name: Patrick O’Brien, 28
Neighborhood you reside in: Lower East Side
Hometown: Boston, MA
Occupation: Producer, Ray Brown Productions
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Biking, I know every single one of my friends will make fun of me for saying this. I’m anticipating it, but it’s the best and fastest way to commute around the city. If I am ever running late or need to get somewhere fast, swerving through the city streets on two wheels seems to get me there on time. It’s also a great weekend activity during the warmer months. A leisurely trip through some of areas a car or train can’t access is a great way to see certain parts of the city that go unnoticed and relatively untouched.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “Dudley’s restaurant, it’s the perfect place for a brunch or dinner. They have a very quaint corner space in my neighborhood that lends to a cozy atmosphere in the winter months and airy outdoor seating in the summertime. The food is an Australian blend with hearty/healthy plates and dangerously yummy cocktails.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “This is a hard question to answer as New Yorkers are notorious for not being phased by much. It takes quite a bit to get our attention. As much as we complain about the city, once you put us 20 miles outside we begin to desperately want back. Not like complaining is unusual for our breed. We find anything and everything to complain about; crowded streets, loud honks, our tiny apartments. It takes some serious endurance to make it in this city, a city most times we take for granted. That said I had a serious ‘ah ha’ moment a few months back. I found myself walking home a bit tipsy from a dinner in Hell’s Kitchen and it happened to be the most perfect temperature. I live downtown which is a hefty walk, but the weather inspired me to hoof it. It wasn’t long that I found myself smack in the middle of the armpit of the city, Times Square. A place no experienced New Yorker goes. Once inside the mass of tourists I began to notice their excitement, naivety, and awe. Watching their reaction to the tall buildings, big lights and loud hustle we’ve all become numb to, made me rediscover my love for the city I call home. I hit a longer stride that night, turned up my music over the bellowing sirens and headed downtown through the crowded streets to cozy up in my little NYC apartment and to bed with a smile. ”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: A fellow Boston Boy, Patrick is a genuine guy with a great sense of humor and the kind of friend who’s always up for an adventure. His laugh is infectious and he’s always there when you need him.
Name: Eric Perman
Neighborhood you reside in: Hell’s Kitchen
Hometown: Morganville, NJ
Occupation: Real Estate Agent
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “I’d qualify this as seasonal. Winter: Drinks at Rolf’s. Spring: Run in Central Park. Summer: Rooftop parties. Fall: Everything.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “Then it wouldn’t remain a hidden gem. Case in point: Levain Bakery circa 2009.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “Walking home to my apartment and passing by a deserted Lincoln Center all lit up. It’s a feeling that you can’t describe or recreate.”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: Another Big Apple Rec addition, I met Eric—who I affectionately call Great Aunt Eric for reasons I do not need to explain— through Kickball and we became fast friends. We go toe to toe in the sarcasm department which always ends with a hug and cheers.
Name: Kayleigh Fox, 27
Neighborhood you reside in: Upper East Side, “East side is the best side.”
Hometown: Miller Place, NY
Occupation: Surgical Coordinator
Favorite thing to do in NYC: “Sunday Funday is something my week looks forward to and has become one of my favorite things to do in NYC. I love trying new brunch spots out, and venturing out to watch ‘sports.’ This usually translates into eating great appetizers, having drinks and laughs with friends, and wearing some kind of jersey that I know nothing about.”
Your favorite hidden NYC gem: “My favorite hidden restaurant has to be Pil Pil, it’s a Spanish tapas and wine bar. The adorable spot is located on the Upper East Side the food is to die for and if you like sangria they have a reasonable and killer happy hour.”
What to you is an iconic NYC moment: “For my iconic NYC moment I have to take a page from Blair Waldorf by strolling up and down Madison ave., Stopping at Ladurée for macaroons and enjoying all the amazing window fronts, especially during the holidays. ”
*The New York Narrative fun fact: Here’s a picture of Fox and I pretending to be Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux. We fooled everyone. Little Foxy comes to us by way of Sarah; the two were college roommates and I assume just skipped class and ate cheese. She’s one of the biggest personalities in the smallest packages I have ever met and with the drop of a hat (and the perfect facial expression) will make you stop whatever you’re doing and laugh uncontrollably.
All images courtesy of the gorgeous New Yorkers features.
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