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Cat Marnell
Photograph: Chris Shonting

Writer Cat Marnell shares her top 5 NYC spots

Meet Cat Marnell, the no-holds-barred writer who wallows in NYC’s seedy side

Written by
Matthew Love

“I look back at that time and think, I was nuts,” Marnell confides. The 33-year-old could easily be referring to the entirety of her twenties, when her unfettered drug addiction threatened to undo her burgeoning media career—then became the hallmark of it. (She famously told the New York Post she’d rather “be on the rooftop smoking angel dust with [her] friends” than work a steady job.) After a stint as an associate beauty editor at Lucky, Marnell’s unrepentant brand of beauty reporting for xoJane delivered headlines such as “The Secret Shampooing Rituals of Pillheads,” building up a loyal following of lovers and haters. From Dorothy Parker to Jay McInerney, the chemically dependent, self-destructive New York writer could just be a well-worn trope, but Marnell’s riveting prose succeeds on its own terms. Her unapologetic stories about coke-fueled sex in Soho club bathrooms and the bleary-eyed crashes that follow hypnotize, and her forthcoming memoir will contain the sort of messy New York stories we’ve weirdly come to admire.

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Cat's top 5 places in NYC

Consignment stores

1. Consignment stores

There’s really good consignment stores on the second floors of Madison Avenue: upstairs at Michael’s, for instance. Stuff like Comme des Garçons, $80. There are so many fashion people in New York, and they’re all selling their shit. If you’re young and a party girl, you can get designer clothes secondhand, and there’s no reason to spend too much. That’s what I was doing while I was interning with magazines. I needed designer clothes, but all the sizes are so skinny. I like Tokyo 7 in the East Village, and I get so much cool stuff and it’s cheap.

Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/passer-by

2. Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive

I love it underneath the FDR, between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. You can sit there on the river on a bench, and it is the most magical view of New York. There is a whole, wonderful park along the East River.

  • Things to do

I seem like the person who would never ride a Citi Bike, but I love it. I did it impulsively: I was on Vyvanse and just went. I was so into it, did it again, and then I got the whole membership. It’s good when your parents come to town. When my dad was here, I didn’t want to keep talking and talking to him, so we did Citibike, and we didn’t have to talk too much.

Lil' Frankie's

I like Lil’ Frankie’s. I’ve been going there for 15 years. I like anything that Frank makes. The best thing to get there is the salad with gorgonzola and pears and also pasta with baby meatballs—anything with the baby meatballs.

Lucky Strike
  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

My favorite meal in New York is at Lucky Strike: steak au poivre, salad instead of fries and one glass of red wine. It’s just fucking amazing. I love all the McNally restaurants, but I don’t spend a lot of money on food, because I don’t have health insurance. I have prescription drugs to pay for! I’m on Medicaid, but I have to pay for narcotics out of pocket. So I don’t blow $100 on a meal.

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