My New York
Comedian Gastor Almonte is the prince of East New York
It's become something of a Brooklyn comedy cliché to joke about how the neighborhood is changing. But what does it take to be part of the solution and not the problem? At comedy stages all over the city, Gastor Almonte hits crowds with brutally honest stories told in his signature, booming East New York accent. And with the release of his album and special Immigrant Made, Almonte declares himself as a champion of his neighborhood. We asked the pro about his creative process and where he likes to kick back and perform.
Mary Beth Barone's guide to ruling the East Village
As stand-up comedy's dark angel, Mary Beth Barone employs brilliant deadpan observations, cutting jokes about sex and religion, and a spirit of vengeance when it comes to the fuckbois of the world. We asked the East Village empress and host of the monthly comedy show the Exhibition about her favorite places to shop, dine and perform in style.
Young Wavy Fox turns up the DJ game
It's impossible to miss born stunt queen Young Wavy Fox, unless you’re at one of her riotous parties—in which case you'll be dancing too hard to notice much of anything. When the Bronx-based DJ isn’t lighting a fire under revelers with dizzying mixes of Afro-trance, reggaeton and beyond, she's running her eponymous lingerie brand. We asked Fox about where she likes to spin, kick back, and wine and dine herself in NYC.
Ruby McCollister is a downtown legend
Though downtown NYC has been reduced to a pigpen of Duane Reades and Chase Banks, its essence endures in the outsize, cinematic characters that still hold court onstage. Ruby McCollister stomps through the city’s comedy, fashion and indie-film scenes like a diva from an age that feels both bygone and imminent.
Chella Man talks art and activism in NYC
Instragram isn't always kind to the vulnerable. Yet, among its thirst traps and conspicuous consumption, a genuine activist has emerged. Since 2017, 20-year-old Chella Man has used the platform to document his gender confirmation, with poetic musings on the medical treatments, scars and surprises experienced along the way. Candidly embracing the thorny intersections of his Jewish, Asian, trans and deaf identities, Man imbues genuine soul into his selfies. Between snaps, we asked him to share some of his favorite spots in the city. Portrait by Ryan Duffin Queer cut: You & Sundry Barbershop"It's a safe space to get your haircut in Williamsburg, and it's run by queer people of color! They recently invited me there to get my hair cut and were incredibly sweet. I felt respected and taken care of." Portrait by Ryan Duffin Fashion inspo: L Train Vintage"Whenever I would visit New York in high school, I used to stop by and buy a stack of jean jackets. Once I was back in my small town, I would paint them all and sell them for profit! Starting this tiny business as a teenager granted me important knowledge for later navigating the fashion world." Portrait by Ryan Duffin Veggie treat: Sweet Chick"My sister and I will sometimes stop by, on special occasions, to savor its vegetarian chicken-and-waffles. My favorite time to go is during the warmer months when they have outdoor seating; it's heaven to soak up the rays when the sun is shining." Portrait by Ryan Duffin Deaf
Kathleen Turner brings her raw star power to the Metropolitan Opera
After more than 40 years spent dominating film and theater—in movies such as Serial Mom and The War of the Roses as well as the Tony-nominated stage revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?—Kathleen Turner is taking on a new challenge: opera.
DJ William Francis restores joy to NYC's queer nightlife
As NYC's nightlife falls under the spell of self-serious, ostensibly postmodern DJs, it will take a special disco phoenix to bring us back to life. At the queer parties of William Francis, you’ll spin in ecstasy among club kids, drag queens and every manner of nocturnal creature—all at the command of a handsome selector with an elusive yet inexhaustible joie de vivre. We spoke with the chipper discaire—who hosts the free party Viva la Diva every Thursday—about reconciling with an ever-changing scene.
Taylor Trensch takes us through his Dear Evan Hansen recovery routine
As the reigning Evan Hansen on Broadway, Taylor Trensch is expected to undergo a gauntlet of shame, terror and triumph—writ large all over his body—eight shows a week. To keep up with the harrowing demands of the part, the former Hello Dolly! breakout has developed rituals of relaxation near his home in Greenpoint. We asked the indefatigable, endlessly charming star about his self-care routine in the city.
Broadway dame and drag legend Peppermint on living like an NYC supreme
To New Yorkers who know their nightlife, Peppermint has been a presence on the scene for ages —as a drag entertainer, actress, singer and showgirl. But in the past two years, she has made history—and gained global acclaim—as the first out trans woman to compete on RuPaul's Drag Race and as the first trans woman to originate a role on Broadway, as Pythio in Head Over Heels.
Christie's Auctioneer Alan Wintermute tells us where to catch the best art in NYC
When it comes to good taste, you better believe the word of Alan Wintermute. As a senior specialist at Christie's, he has handled the discoveries, sales and auctions of countless crucial finds over his two-decade term, including Leonardo da Vinci’s long-lost painting Salvator Mundi, which sold for a record–breaking $450 million in 2017. Wintermute is also one of the rare breed of New Yorkers who lives and works within the same few blocks, allowing him to explore the best dining, theater and opera in midtown. We asked Wintermute about his NYC routine.
Comedian and dogwalker Lena Einbinder talks the walk
In the daylight, Lena Einbinder watches over the many mutts of Crown Heights as a full-time dog walker—you can often spot them gliding across Franklin Avenue, like an ancient and beneficent wolf spirit with their pack. But at night, Einbinder comes alive as a fearless and revered alt-comedy star. We joined the nonbinary performer on a walk with a 17-year-old shepherd mix to learn about their favorite places to eat, perform and stroll in Brooklyn.
Fashion designer Vasilis Loizides on where to shop, stunt and party in NYC
Where does someone with such eclectic tastes get inspired in NYC? And, when the fashion show is over, where does he unwind? We asked the rising innovator about his favorite spots on his home turf of Bushwick and elsewhere.
Susanne Bartsch sounds off on the best NYC nightlife
Since the ’80s, Susanne Bartsch has worked all night as a mother lion to the most spectacular creatures of the city—fashion designers, club kids, models, performers, drag queens, DJs and late-night icons. We asked the immortal scenester about her favorite places to dance, drink and unwind in NYC.
First Lady Chirlane McCray tells us about her favorite spots in NYC
Chirlane McCray doesn’t have time to waste. As NYC’s first lady, she’s responsible for several vital initiatives, including the progressive mental-health plan Thrive NYC, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC and the Commission on Gender Equity, among many others. So when it comes to relaxing and kicking back, she hits up her trusty favorite spots, whether in her longtime nabe of Brooklyn or near the first family’s current residence at Gracie Mansion in Yorkville. We asked McCray about her most treasured places in the city.
Stand-up and single mom Aminah Imani gives us her NYC hacks
When she’s not hitting stages all over town with her merciless, self-deprecating stand-up, the very funny single mother is running her hair-braiding business in Harlem. In order to keep her schedule tight and her career banging, the host of the Wine Before Nine podcast has developed quite an extensive map of the best deals around town for her and her son. We asked the proudly frugal pro about her favorite spots for stand-up sets, eats and partying hard in NYC.
Meet Brooklyn distiller and biker Marie Estrada
Craft distilleries in Brooklyn evoke an image of hypermasculine guys with beards. The same could be said of motorcycles. Yet at the helm of one of the borough’s most innovative alcohol start-ups is biker Marie Estrada. Leaving behind a career in book publishing, Estrada opened MÔTÔ Spirits in 2017 with her business partner, Hagai Yardeny. Inspired by their travels, they specialize in Vietnamese rice whiskey and Croatian Jabuka (apple juice and whiskey). We asked Estrada about her favorite bars in NYC, the clients she loves and where she golfs around town.
Model Samirah Raheem talks about her viral Slut Walk video
"We are all sluts. You're a slut, all these dudes behind you are sluts." And so begins one of history’s greatest clapbacks, when model Samirah Raheem took on conservative reverend Jesse Peterson at Amber Rose’s SlutWalk 2017. As Peterson attempts to shame Raheem and her fellow protesters—for their choices, their appearance, their expression—Raheem seems to grow stronger—even more joyful—with each confident comeback. When the video surfaced this summer, Raheem became an instant sensation, gaining hundreds of thousands of followers in a matter of days. We spoke to the Brooklyn-based model about the reaction to the video, reconciling her voice with her career, and where she kicks it in NYC.
My New York: Reverend Billy Talen
In 1998, Rudy Giuliani’s New York met its match in Reverend Billy Talen, a gonzo musical preacher that sang and demonstrated against consumerism—in front of the Disney Store and banks across town. Since then, the Reverend and the Stop Shopping Choir have performed and protested at Zuccotti Park and beyond, bringing their cheeky hymnals to clubs and venues like Joe’s Pub. And in recent months, Talen and his community have arranged local direct actions against harsh NYC immigration tactics.
My New York: Barbara Maier Gustern, voice coach
“My students are not just my students,” says the beloved vocal coach Barbara Maier Gustern, “they are my loves. We have quite a community.” Indeed, the 83-year-old teacher has built quite a tribe of talent, with alumni like Justin Vivian Bond and Taylor Mac keeping the downtown cabaret and performance-art scenes vibrant.
Ludnie Faustin, bodybuilder and trainer
“I’m never going to blend in,” says former Miss Belgium and World Beauty Fitness & Fashion competitor Ludnie Faustin, and we couldn’t be happier. We asked the bodybuilder, fitness model and personal trainer where she works out, shops and lets loose for her sacred weekly cheat meal. Workout spot: Complete Body, Chelsea“I work out at this gritty, old-school, grungy bodybuilders’ gym. But it’s so good: Everybody there is a powerlifter or a bodybuilder or just hardcore. It’s a no-frills gym—it’s no Equinox, it’s just rough. I was a little hesitant to bring my clients there because I assumed that they wanted something more glitzy or something with eucalyptus towels, right? But they love it.” Cheat-day indulgence: Gemma“I work out every day, so when I eat a cheat meal, I’m not going to deprive myself. I’m a brunch person, and Gemma has amazing brunch—anything that caters to my obsession with French toast, I’m there. I try to save my cheat day for Saturday or Sunday brunch.” Shopping fix: Crossroads Trading Co.“I’m getting over being self-conscious. I didn’t used to show my body a lot, believe it or not. I like to show my body onstage, but that’s it. This past year, I realized that I’m never going to blend in. But I’ve found that I love thrifting. I go to Beacon’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange, but I really love shopping at Crossroads: It’s hit or miss, but you have to go. If you go one day and you go the next day or even that afternoon, you’ll find something completely different
Adam Eli, queer activist
In 2016, When state-sanctioned violence broke out against LGBTQ Chechens, Adam Eli founded the queer action and protest organization Voices 4 to defend oppressed queer citizens around the globe. They’ve marched and rallied outside of landmarks and embassies all over the city, with Eli’s apartment and the LGBT Center serving as headquarters. Between holding activist meetings, Eli works as a social-media consultant and writer. Just in time for Pride in NYC, we spoke with him about where he writes, organizes and relaxes in the West Village. Meeting Hub: The LGBT Center“Voices 4 meets there every single Wednesday, without fail, from 8 to 10pm. It’s the most extraordinary and special space in the city. It is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and they also have an incredible art collection, including a bathroom that Keith Haring graffitied all over. The two groups that we’ve modeled ourselves after are ACT UP and Gays Against Guns, and both groups started there and still meet there, so it’s truly an honor and a pleasure. I feel like anyone can walk in there and be accepted for who they are. The people are so accommodating. I just love it.” Blowing off Steam: The Rosemont“After meetings, a bunch of kids that are over 21 go to OOPS! at the Rosemont. It is a very popular drag night. There’s a sort of drag renaissance taking place in Brooklyn, and I know the Rosemont has played a big part in that. It feels more like a community center than a bar. It’s welcoming, warm and kind.” Rendezv
Alice Gao, DJ and Artist
Late Nights. Parties. Creative binges. Alice Gao may be living the NYC artist’s dream, but there’s nary a moment when she’s not working. We asked the conceptual installation artist and DJ—who hits runway shows, underground nightclubs and museums all over town—how she relaxes and gets inspired. New indulgence: While We Were Young Kitchen & Cocktails“I’ve seen this restaurant all over Instagram and was like, ‘Ugh, it’s one of those.’ And then this morning I was there, and it was amazing. I had chicken and waffles but with kale waffles. It was very good. It came with homemade hot sauce and maple syrup. I’m obsessed with healthy restaurants, and I’ve never had fried chicken with waffles before, so eating it with kale made me feel better.” Before a DJ gig: Lucien“I really love it there. It’s a French restaurant, and they have amazing black-pepper sauce. Usually, they use that sauce for steak, but I just dip a baguette into it. It’s the best thing in the world. I go there before a show for a drink with my friends.” After the Show: The Bowery Hotel“Their service attitude isn’t always good, but I love going because it has big couches. They stay open pretty late, and they have great people. Fashion people love it there. I’m not in the fashion industry, so to speak, but I have a lot of friends in that world, and that place is their favorite on the planet. It’s pretty sceney—you always see celebrities.” Unlikely DJ spot: Soho House“I love DJing at Soho House. When I’m usually spinni