David Johansen

David Johansen

Occupation Entertainer

Hometown Sutton Place, Staten Island

Current Residence Tribeca, NYC

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David Johansen—you know the name. He’s the man behind New York’s seminal punk rock band the New York Dolls (need we say more?) and a longtime icon of the downtown scene. Ask Johansen to talk about himself and he’ll recite instead the words of Rex Harrison: "I'm an ordinary man, who desires nothing more than just an ordinary chance, to live exactly as he likes and do precisely what he wants. An average man am I, of no eccentric whim, who likes to live his life free of strife, doing whatever he thinks is best for him. Well, just an ordinary man..."

WHAT WOULD THE TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY BE?

“My Life the Shame.”

 WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION?

I like to go to the country so that I want to be in the city again.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON? 

Stay in bed and listen to the Mansion of Fun on the Sirius XM App.

IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE PERSON TO SHOW YOU “THEIR NEW YORK CITY,” WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Danny Fields, because he remembers where everything used to be. He’ll say something like, “Meet me where Trude Heller’s used to be.”

WHO OR WHAT HAS INSPIRED YOU RECENTLY?

The political action group Rise and Resist. It’s a comfort to be among a large group of very intelligent and passionate people, it’s an exorcism of despair.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NYC RESTAURANTS? WHAT DO YOU ORDER? 

Mara (my wife and partner) and I like Eisenberg’s on Fifth Avenue. The beans and rice at West Side Coffee Shop on Church are great. When we’re on 14th Street we stop in at the Donut Pub.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE NYC BRUNCH SPOTS?

Roxy Hotel has a really good brunch; it’s a smorgasbord. Russ & Daughters Cafe on Orchard Street.

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SPOT IN NYC FOR DRINKS?

The Ananas Cooler at Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle is good.

Shopsin’s in Essex Street Market make a good egg cream.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR ART FIX IN NYC? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ARTIST?

We went to Jayne County’s Paranoia Paradise show at Participant Inc last Sunday and it was really wonderful. As far as a favorite, there must be hundreds. Everyone I know is a friggin’ artist. New York’s always been a place to find art that you like. It’s easy.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE LATE-NIGHT HANGOUTS IN NYC? 

Well, Mara is fearless, she will go to any bucket of blood, after-hours, cut-throat, den of iniquity in town and when she finds me we usually go for breakfast. Also, The Django always has good music.

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

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.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE NYC STORES?

I need more on Orchard Street…

McNally Jackson is good, but it’s dangerous. Yonah Schimmel’s knish store on Houston Street.

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO THESE DAYS? WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIANS?

So much music; listening all the time. I like singers who have soul and mean business. Not so much in the English language, unless it’s someone like Nolan Strong.

WHAT ALBUM OR SONG WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL SOUNDTRACK TO NYC?

I like the Midnight Cowboy Theme a lot.

WHEN YOU THINK OF NYC, ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR EMOTIONS OR MEMORIES THAT COME TO MIND?

You name it, because I’ve lived here my whole life. Once you’ve lived in New York, you can’t live anywhere else, including New York.

 

Local Favorites

BEMELMANS BAR

BEMELMANS BAR

Favorite bar
35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

Note The Ananas Cooler at Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle is good.

DREAM HOUSE

DREAM HOUSE

Under-the-radar recommendation
275 Church St, New York, NY 10013

Note La Monte Young and Mariane Zazeela's Dream House on Church Street.

MCNALLY JACKSON BOOKSTORE

MCNALLY JACKSON BOOKSTORE

Favorite store
52 Prince St, New York, NY

Note McNally Jackson is good, but it's dangerous.

Best Rate Promise
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000
The Roxy Hotel Tribeca

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600