Img 0390 400x306 A black and white photo of a women DJing and wearing headphones

Bailey Leiter

Occupation DJ and Vintage Shop Owner

Hometown St Petersburg, Florida

Current Residence Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Bailey Leiter is a collector, community builder, and music lover. She's been collecting vintage clothing since she was a teenager and in 2020, opened a vintage shop of her own in the East Village called Hello Banana Vintage—a highly curated emporium specializing in ’60s and ’70s clothing and accessories. Nothing boring in sight! When she's not curating her colorful collection of clothing she spins exclusively 45s—all rare soul, funk, and R&B. Of course, she also throws a monthly dance party at Soho Grand called Hello Banana the Party! Guests dress up in their craziest vintage or vintage-inspired looks, which, besides the music, is half the fun. The Club Room provides the perfect backdrop. Vintage, vinyl, and dancing!

WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY BE?
Nothing Boring.

WHAT CAN’T YOU TRAVEL WITHOUT AND WHY?
More like a travel tip: I carry my makeup bag in my purse in case they lose my luggage. It’s happened to me before and it never will again.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION AND WHY?
Rome! Walking among ancient ruins, thinking about all the history, the art and beauty of the chapels, the cobblestones, the little bars, the terra-cotta and golden-hued buildings, the romantic swags of ivy in Trastevere, the friendly way Italians show hospitality, the tradition of aperitivo time—and Pasta! (My one true love.)

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN NYC?
I’m usually tired on Sundays from DJing late the night before at the Roxy, so normally I’m taking it easy. I love ordering in breakfast—usually a bagel and iced coffee. Ordering in is one of my favorite things about living in NYC. The variety of things you can order never ceases to amaze me. If I’m not tired (and not at my shop), I like to go record digging, hit up a museum, or meet up with friends at the park, or the beach in the warmer months.

IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE PERSON TO SHOW YOU “THEIR NEW YORK CITY,” WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Can they be dead?  I’m reluctant to say Andy Warhol because I feel like it’s so stereotypically my aesthetic but there’s no getting around the fact that I think it would have to be him.

WHAT OR WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU RECENTLY AND WHY?
My best friend Teddy. The world can be crumbling and she still somehow finds a way to be positive and have fun. It’s practically a phenomenon the way someone can be so delicate, but at the same time, fiercely strong.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NYC RESTAURANTS? WHAT DO YOU ORDER THERE?
Eating is half the reason I live in New York. Pappardelle at Bar Pitti; burger at Cozy Royale; jerk chicken at Miss Lily’s; soup dumplings at Wei’s or Nom Wah; tinga tacos at Cerveceria Havemeyer; risotto at Cafe Select; steak frites at Pardon My French or Lucien; the duck at La Sirène… I recently tried the Occhi at Misi and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SPOT IN NYC FOR DRINKS?
I’m a DJ so that’s usually when I’m out. My favorite spots to visit in my neighborhood are Ore Bar or Nicky’s Unisex. I DJ there sometimes too. My friends recently opened a Persian tapas bar in Williamsburg that I like a lot called Masquerade. I’m a gin and tonic drinker primarily and they have a special house one on their menu that’s super delicious and also somehow makes me feel warm inside. But maybe that’s just the happiness I feel that a lot of my friends and myself have progressed and become entrepreneurs this past year. I digress. I also love Joyface in the East Village and then, of course, the Roxy Hotel on Saturdays because that’s my weekly residency.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE NYC BRUNCH SPOTS; WHAT DO YOU ORDER WHEN YOU GO?
I don’t do brunch often but I love the Moroccan eggs at Cafe Mogador and the rose water waffle with yogurt at Jack’s Wife Frida.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR ART FIX IN NYC? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ARTIST?
Getting lost in the Met is one of my favorite things to do. I went to the Outsider Art Fair recently and discovered King Godwin and Robert Latchman. King’s art and Instagram are full of color, smiling faces and positivity. I also love the classics: Modigliani; Rousseau; Degas; Rothko; Monet etc etc.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE LATE-NIGHT HANGOUTS IN NYC AND WHY?
Joyface on a weekday. I love the ’70s ambiance, and the owners Jen and Brian are friends of mine and truly wonderful people. I used to DJ there weekly before the pandemic, and plan to again once they’ve expanded to the space next door.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNDER-THE-RADAR MUST-DO RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NYC VISITORS?
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!

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE NYC STORES AND WHY?
My store, Hello Banana Vintage! Also Ritual Vintage—they are a very well-curated, authentic vintage shop. Whenever I’m in North Brooklyn, I always stop into Mother of Junk. You can find treasures plus one of the workers is a really helpful and radiantly happy person. His energy and listening to him interact with the customers always brightens my day. I should tell him that.

My boyfriend is one of the founders and curators of Brooklyn Flea/Chelsea Flea so I’d be remiss not to include them even though they aren’t technically a store.

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO THESE DAYS? WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIANS?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Habibi and Afro-funk and jazz. I just bought a Peter King album (afro-funk) and really like it almost to its entirety. I’ve also been going down a Janko Nilovic rabbit hole. He has composed so much music that ranges from funk to jazz to psychedelic pop, and it’s all really interesting.

I usually gravitate to music from the ’60s and ’70s but I’m also really into post-punk and have been getting a little bit into contemporary jazz. I recently purchased an album by Resavoir. (That’s spelled correctly). It’s a lovely record.

Favorite musicians will always be The Rolling Stones, Love, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, July, Lee Hazlewood… And my not-so-guilty-pleasure: Elliott Smith.

WHAT ALBUM OR SONG WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL SOUNDTRACK TO NYC?
Lou Reed’s album Transformer. I listened to it a lot when I first moved here 13 years ago so it always reminds me of that really special time when there seemed to be magic and strangeness everywhere. Also, Lou Reed himself was such a New Yorker.

WHEN YOU THINK OF NYC, ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR EMOTIONS OR MEMORIES THAT IMMEDIATELY COME TO MIND?
For emotions, you could ask me that any day of the week and it would probably be a different answer every day. One thing is constant: I love the way New Yorkers look out for each other. The perfect New York day for me is a day at the Met followed by Negronis at Bemelman’s Bar. Or the first ferry ride to Rockaway Beach with my friends in the summer. Racing to get to pier 11 in time and the rush of almost always nearly missing the boat but never actually missing it, then celebrating with a rosè or a white claw on the upper deck in the sunshine. Also, sitting outside my shop on a nice day with a friend or two listening to music, basking in the warm sunshine, sipping something refreshing. If I ever move away, these would be the things I miss most.

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