Local Go-Tos with New York Doll David Johansen, Michele Varian & Others

Grandlife guide

Local Go-Tos with New York Doll David Johansen, Michele Varian & Others

back to list

Our Locals segment is a treasure trove of insider tips, offering insights into New Yorker’s preferred haunts—the places they frequent for a meal, happy hour drink, vintage find, a new record, or whatever it is that keeps them going back time and time again. Here, we revisit interviews with New York Doll David Johansen, designer Michele Varian, actor Natasha Lyonne, musician Matthew Avedon, nightlife curator Linux, and others, and share their responses to the question, “What are some of your under-the-radar must-do recommendations in New York?” Here’s what they told us…

David Johansen, Entertainer, New York Doll 

“If you don’t go to Jacques Marchais Museum on Lighthouse Hill in Staten Island, you’re nuts. La Monte Young and Mariane Zazeela’s Dream House on Church Street.”

Miss Guy, DJ, Musician, Photographer

“I like to just walk around different neighborhoods. Sutton Place is great to see where Marilyn Monroe lived. And if you love Marilyn as much as I do, you absolutely must go to Caffe Reggio. You can sit at her favorite table.”

Michele Varian, Designer, Store-owner, Start-up Co-founder

“When I first moved to NYC, I took the subway every day over the Manhattan Bridge to get to work from Brooklyn. I remember being delighted when an art installation by Bill Brand appeared on the walls of the tunnel just before reaching the bridge on the Brooklyn side. It was like a flipbook of animated images as we passed by on the train. Now that I’ve moved my shop to Brooklyn, I am reverse commuting to Brooklyn from Manhattan and the art installation is still there! It tickles me every time I pass it and think of all of the life I have lived and have now come full circle to the same subway stop I started at! The Big City is really just a Small World.” 

Matthew Avedon, Musician, Model, Dog Walker/Admirer

“What people don’t think to do enough when visiting is just to wander the streets. That’s the best part of NYC, just being able to walk anywhere. You can’t beat it for finding the real personalities of neighborhoods. Wear comfortable shoes, get lost, double back, leave the guide book at home and give yourself an entire day to get nowhere in particular.”

Natasha Lyonne, Actor, Writer, Director

“I always take everyone to the Film Forum because it’s my favorite place. I don’t think it’s particularly under the radar. Film Forum is one of the most important places in New York City. Go there, see a feature and stay and see a quadruple feature. Live your life.”

Sophie Auster, Singer-Songwriter

“​​I recently celebrated my birthday at Dreamland Roller Disco in Brooklyn. The theme of the evening was Justin vs. Britney, so I dressed up à la the “Baby One More Time” video and roller skated around with a bunch of my friends. There’s also a bar, so you can drink and fall down once you get back in the rink.” 

Illyse Singer, Cinema Curator 

The Frick and Morgan Library and Museum. Juvenex for a full-body Korean scrub (they’re also open 24 hours).”

Johan Kugelberg, Archivist

“Go to the Cloisters, go to Arthur Avenue, go to Zum Stammtisch in Glendale Queens. Set aside more time than you think for the Metropolitan Museum, buy a last-minute cheapie ticket for the Metropolitan Opera, take the subway to Jackson Heights in a state of faint-like hunger. Eat anything that seems appealing.”

Linux, Nightlife Curator

“Everyone needs a night out at The Box. Come with me and you’ll be well taken care of!”

Bailey Leiter, DJ and Vintage Shop Owner

“Ride the ferry, go to the roof of the Met Museum (best view in NYC), and go to the opera. I know the opera isn’t exactly “under the radar” but most people don’t consider it when they come here. It’s the epitome of New York style and decadence and if you arrive early, you can sip champagne and do some premium people-watching. The Met Opera House is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even if you don’t care for opera, the whole experience is really something. Also, you get to dress up!”

PHOTOGRAPHY Caffe Reggio by Eric Parker

 

 

 

 

You May Also Like

Book Preview: Shot by Rock!

Book Preview: Shot by Rock!

art & design
stories
A book release and life celebration of one of the most iconic rock ’n’ roll photographers of all time.
Late-Night Bite

Late-Night Bite

bars & nightlife
food & drink
stories
New York’s most beloved diners and after-hour haunts serving food ’til late.
NYC Photo Booths

NYC Photo Booths

art & design
bars & nightlife
stories
A brief history and the best booths in town.
Cool Japanese Spots in NYC

Cool Japanese Spots in NYC

coffee & cafés
fashion
food & drink
music
stories
Your next trip to Tokyo might just be a few subway stops away.
Allan Tannenbaum Studio 54 Halloween New York City Downtown

Scary Good: Halloween Must-Dos in NYC

bars & nightlife
stories
From NYC’s historic brownstones to the haunting grandeur of its most storied apartment buildings, the city lends itself particularly well to the spooky season.
Five to Try: Accessible Tasting Menus

Five to Try: Accessible Tasting Menus

food & drink
stories
From world-class farm-to-table restaurants to intimate dinner party experiences—we’ve rounded up the best downtown spots offering accessible, quality tasting menus.
New York Art Gallery Guide Storm King Dia:Beacon Opus 40 Edward Hopper House

Escape the Everyday with these Fall Art Trips

art & design
stories
Whether you’re after an outdoor sculpture garden or a boutique gallery surrounded by upstate charm, there’s an art escape to suit.
Chinese cuisine - soup, seasonings and calamari

The Spice is Right: Chinese Cuisine's Greatest Hits

food & drink
stories
Our list of iconic dishes and where to find them downtown. Fortune cookie, anyone?
Best Rate Promise
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000
The Roxy Hotel New York

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600