Hi. My name is Danny. I’ve been touring with bands for some time and want to tell you about some of the places we’ve been. I know, I’m missing some important things from these cities but this is just what I’ve had time to see. If you have suggestions regarding where to go in your beloved hometown the next time I’m hurtling through in a van filled with drunk people, please let me know.
I lived in New York for a long time and loved everything about it except the freezing winters, stench of hobo urine, and Prius sized rodents (see pizza rat). Although I lived all over the city my stomping grounds were the East Village, Williamsburg (RIP) Greenpoint (RIP), and Park Slope. NYC is like LA on tour, in that, we rarely have any time for anything but the show. Most bands and crew do not like NYC on tour. It’s such a hassle. Douche bags sprout up out of nowhere and dominate your green room and drink all your booze then the band wants more booze and you have to go find more booze! Everyone, I mean everyone, is somehow on the list even though nobody knows who they are. I’ve seen a woman punch a bouncer because she was not being let into the green room. On top of that it is expensive and hard to do anything. Moving a 12-passenger night liner bus or a van and a trailer through the shit show that is Manhattan traffic will shave decades off your life. BUT! NYC is obviously incredible and if we get an actual day off, once all the bullshit is set aside, here is what I like to do. Again. I get it. You have things you like here, this is just what I enjoy. If you want to mail me anthrax because you are so mad about this list… I’d rather you didn’t.
If you are flying, fly into La Guardia and take an Uber to Hotel Le Jolie (fuck NYC cabs). Hotel Le Jolie is the preferred option on tour if we have money but the staff is miserable. I don’t know if the staff is mean because we are a band and they are sick of bands but all the interactions I’ve had with them or their manager suck balls. Clearly they can get away with it because I still book us there… it’s just… they have parking and are in a great location; two things that are nearly impossible to come across in this city. If their lot is full park under the BQE (highway) across the street, it’s safe. This is obviously advice if you are a band. If you are a tourist do not under any circumstances rent a car. It’s a waste. Use the subway. I used to book Air Bnb’s in Williamsburg as an alternative but due to cost I’ve switched over to Fort Greene if a band needs an apartment. If you really wanna spend some dough and hang out with parents who financially support their kids that intern at Vice, book a room at the Wythe hotel. I think an Air Bnb in a quaint area of Park Slope, The East Village, Williamsburg, or Greenpoint are the best choices outside Le Jolie for a visitor that is not in a band. Maybe something in Nolita. Avoid mid town unless you love seeing people marvel at M&M advertisements. (Of course there are exceptions like MOMA, the NHL store, and Carnegie Hall but you get the idea).
Let’s say you choose Hotel Le Jolie and you normally wake up around 9:00 AM. Go to bagel smith and order an everything bagel toasted, a SCRAPE of cream cheese (if you do not order less cream cheese on your bagel it will resemble that pile of mashed potatoes homeboy makes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), fresh lox, capers, sliced tomato, lettuce, make sure they cut it in half and have it with a regular coffee milk / 2 sugars. It’s my 2nd favorite breakfast option in America and I will only order it in NYC. Some h8rs will say that adding lettuce to fresh lox is dumb… well I’m here to tell those haters that I think the lettuce adds an interesting texture, SUE ME. There are better places to get fresh lox but bagel smith is a good option in close proximity to your hotel. Exit. Put $40 on a metro card at the Lorimer station and head to the Met. I prefer the Met for first timers because of its grandeur. Moma is necessary, like you need to go but if you have limited time I think the Met gets priority. If you’ve done both already try the Frick, a museum located in the home of a deceased eccentric billionaire that had exceptional taste in art. In addition to being the city’s flagship museum The Met is free! Well there is a recommended donation but you could give them 5 cents if you want and still get in. Don’t do that because we should support art but if you are running low on cash it’s a great option. Moma is free on I think Friday evenings but it’s too crazy to properly enjoy the collection.
Exit the Met and avoid street dogs, they’re gross. If you want a good hot dog Papaya Dog is a classic option but I much prefer Crif Dog. Crif Dog is the bomb!!!! I particularly enjoy the Chihuahua, which is a hot dog wrapped in bacon smushed between sour cream, avocado (head explodes). If there is time after the Met, walk across the park and into the museum of Natural history. Lie underneath the blue whale and meditate on the meaning of existence. Go down to Udon West on St. Marks btwn 2nd and 3rd. Order Udon with the spicy raw tuna bowl and an Asahi. Walk over to Search and Destroy and marvel at overpriced Japanese punk thrift clothes. Exit. Go to DUMBO in BK and take in views of the city (if you can, might not have time). Subway back up to Williamsburg. Eat dinner at M Shanghai, order greens in smoked tea sauce with soup dumplings. Go home and change. If there’s something on try and catch an early show at UCB East. Prior to heading out for the night check AD Hoc’s event page or Bowery Presents and see if any of their shows or parties interest you. I used to drink at Cameo to pre game but in the ever-evolving landscape of Williamsburg bars the clientele at this point may consist solely of finance bros and oligarchs from Dubai. Ok I just looked it up and that bar is either closed or about to close so pre game somewhere else. Pete’s Candy Store or The Commodore are fine.
If you want to see a concert your options are virtually unlimited but here are some of the big name venues I’ve personally frequented.
For a small show in Manhattan The Mercury Lounge is a nice option. In BK I would say go to Baby’s Alright. If you want something a bit bigger go to Bowery Ballroom or Webster Hall. If you want something around that size in BK, Williamsburg Music Hall, or Knitting Factory, are good options. I used to love BK Bowl, and their sound system is dope and their talent buyers are great, and the food is great, it’s just… I can’t stand the crowd. Our last two shows in NYC have been at Terminal 5. Besides playing like Madison Square Garden it’s one of the larger venues in the city. The sound sucks but it’s well run and the space looks cool.
Obviously there is a lot of other stuff to do in NYC but that’s all we ever have time for.
If you’re poor and in Williamsburg go try Dominican food at La Vega. Their Pernil (pork) with rice and beans is so good and so cheap. Other great options are Xiao’s Famous in the East Village, Ramen Yebisu (I like noodles can you tell?), Vanessa’s Dumplings, Caracas arepa bar, and if you have the time and patience go to Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn. It is one of the better things I’ve ever eaten but a trip. An easier backup is Roberta’s in Bushwick. Pete’s candy store is a fun bar and there is a nice Brazilian cafe called Becco nearby. Desert Island has an awesome comic book collection, look for the sign that says “French and Sicilian Bread.” More more more more more but you won’t be able to see it all. The Hummus Place for hummus, duh, and Israeli wine. MMMMMM.
If you have suggestions on our next brief stop in town please message me on the twitterspace.