Natasha lyonne local 400x400 Natasha Lyonne Russian Doll Interview New York Actress Director

Natasha Lyonne

Occupation Actress, Writer, Director

Hometown New York

Current Residence East Village

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Actress, writer, director—Natasha Lyonne can be ascribed many labels, native New Yorker being one of them. The East Village has long been her stomping ground (“I like that you can walk around in your pajamas with dirty hair and somehow here it’s a look”) as well as a place for her to get inspired and create. Below, Lyonne shares with GrandLife her list of local favorites alongside a few New York anecdotes.

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

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NYC RESTAURANTS? WHAT DO YOU ORDER THERE? 
Chloë once took me to that Oyster Bar in Grand Central. I don’t know that I would ever put in the effort myself of going there but I’m glad that she took me. I’m big on sushi. In the ’90s, I used to really love going to Angel’s Share in Saint Marks because they had the little bar and you’d go up the stairs. The older I get the more I’m like, well this isn’t sushi this is just fried Japanese food, so now I’ve yet to find a place that has that vibe that I’m after. I can only find it at places that are kind of douchey so I won’t name them—I eat at them, but I’m ashamed. I know a lot of lame sushi places with good sushi and I know a lot of cool Japanese restaurants with bad sushi. As a New Yorker, send help.

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

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO THESE DAYS? 
Shannon Funchess and Light Asylum I really like; I like Solange, I love Gang Gang Dance, I love John Maus, I like Old Dirty Bastard, and The Wu-Tang Clan.

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL SOUNDTRACK TO NYC?
Biggie Smalls.

WHO OR WHAT HAS INSPIRED YOU RECENTLY?
The Lower Eastside Girls Club. I recently hosted an event for them. They’re an incredible foundation and they also have this amazing Planetarium that I like to sit in and look at. I find what’s happening over there very inspiring. Jenny Dembrow who runs it is a very inspiring figure to me who is really doing something meaningful with her life.

WHEN YOU THINK OF NYC, ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR MEMORIES OR EMOTIONS THAT COME TO MIND?
Reading Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby at his memorial on a rainy day at Lincoln Center was a very heavy New York moment for me.

PHOTOGRAPHY Annabel Mehran

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