Acquainted: An Interview with Cereal Editor Rosa Park
Acquainted is a three-part series featuring conversations with downtown entrepreneurs based out of Spring Place, Tribeca.
As the editor and co-founder of Cereal—an independent biannual magazine celebrated for its distinct take on travel and style—Rosa Park has an eye for good design and quality craftsmanship, a well-tuned ear for strong cultural narratives, and a palate for fresh, deceptively simple food.
Park has lived a peripatetic existence, zigzagging her way across the globe from Seoul to Vancouver to Boston followed by a stint in New York where she cut her teeth working in fashion and beauty marketing for five years, before moving to Bristol to start fresh on a new career path that eventually led her to Bath where she launched Cereal alongside partner Rich Stapleton.
When work brings her to New York, Park bases herself downtown. Here, she shares her favorite spots—from the crispy rice at Bessou to the sculptures at the Noguchi Museum.
Where’s home for you?
Rosa Park: The short answer is my current home, Bath. It feels more like home to me than anywhere else I have ever lived, even though I only moved here in my late twenties. I think that’s because Bath is the place where I became an adult, and where I have built the life I have today.
Why do you choose to make downtown your work base when visiting New York, and, more specifically, Spring Place?
RP: Downtown New York is where many of my favorite restaurants and shops are located, and where many of my close friends are based. If I were to move back to New York, this is where I would choose to live—probably in Tribeca. The first time I visited Spring Place in 2017, I loved how light, airy and spacious the building was. I think it does a great job of cultivating a sociable workplace; there is an ideal balance between the amount of peace and quiet I need in order to work and enough energy and action for it to be an enjoyable place to take meetings and spend the whole day.
Can you tell us about the most interesting or inspiring interview you’ve conducted in New York? Who was it with? Where did you meet? What did you speak about?
RP: It would be challenging to pick just one inspiring or interesting interview, so I will pick the most recent—which I loved—with artist Stanley Whitney; some of the Cereal editorial team and I had the pleasure of meeting him at his studio in Queens last November. Everything he said was a quotable, bite-sized piece of wisdom. Although I was not conducting the interview myself, I found myself taking notes. My favorite thing that he said (other than explaining to us how to practice dancing with a door!) was that he feels as though he is always skating on thin ice. I took this to mean that he never rests on his laurels, which is a humbling and inspiring thing to hear from someone so accomplished.
In what ways does New York filter into and inform the creative direction of Cereal, if at all?
RP: I would not say that New York has a direct influence on Cereal; Bath is still the city that has the greatest impact on the magazine. However, I cut my teeth in New York, moving there for my first job immediately after I graduated. The discipline and intensity of a New York work ethic have never left me, and my approach to work is still very much grounded in my New York training. So indirectly, the city continues to have an effect on Cereal.
Is there anything you’ve recently experienced in NY that really blew your mind?
RP: I find that being truly impressed is an increasingly rare experience the more I travel and the older I get. It is often the smaller encounters that I become truly smitten with these days, and they are what I tell friends about when I return home. On my last trip to New York, I had dinner at a tiny Japanese restaurant, Bessou, and I was talking about their crispy rice for weeks afterward.
Can you give us a few recommendations for downtown Manhattan?
Best place to ignite the senses?
RP: I love to visit the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City. Even crossing the river is part of the full sensory experience, preparing me for the quieter, more contemplative atmosphere of the museum and the profound presence of Noguchi’s sculptures. I feel that my senses are awakened and clarified whenever I visit.
Best store to find an unusual piece for the home?
RP: I think that Tyler Hays of BDDW has one of the most interesting eyes for interiors in New York. His space is full of original, well-designed and unexpected pieces.
Greatest architectural moment?
RP: The two buildings I love the most are: 101 Spring Street by Donald Judd, and the Seagram building by Mies van der Rohe.
Most under-the-radar dinner spot?
RP: EN Japanese Brasserie is always reliable for fresh Japanese food in an elegant surrounding.
Most unexpected spot to spark inspiration?
RP: The places I feel most inspired by when traveling are usually book shops, and some of my favorites in the city are McNally Jackson, Dashwood Books, Three Lives, and, as I have already mentioned, 192 Books.
Answer to a full English Breakfast?
RP: I am not actually a great fan of the full English Breakfast! But when I am in New York, I love to start the day with a generous portion of lox and bagel at Russ and Daughters Café.
WORDS Edwina Hagon