Part of the Ask A New Yorker series.
Ed. note: In an effort to make our bevy of BANY contributors a bit more familiar to you all, we now present “Ask a New Yorker: Karri”, the first post in Q&A series with those who write for this site. Check it out, enjoy the stories, and share your own ‘Q’s in the comments section below. Without further ado, Williamsburg resident (and creator of this series), Karri Wells:
Favorite Free NYC Activity
Hands down the Staten Island Ferry. On a nice day there is nothing like hopping on the ferry and taking the hour long ride from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island and back. You can see Ellis Island and get a great view of the Statue of Liberty.
Insider Tip: You can purchase $4 beers at the snack bar to enjoy during the voyage.
Best Music Venue
My favorite music venue is the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It’s smaller than a lot of the other venues in town so the shows feel much more intimate.
Biggest Surprise Living In The City
Coming from the Midwest I was accustomed to small towns where everyone knows you. At home, I couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone I recognized, or who recognized me. When I moved to New York, I felt a little lost in the sea of people. It took about a year, but suddenly my neighborhood started to feel like a small town. I noticed that I was riding the subway with the same people each day. The woman at the vegetable stand around the corner became my buddy and started giving me recipe suggestions. The waiter at our regular brunch spot knew our names, and noticed if we didn’t come in one week. I was really surprised by how such a big city could feel so small.
Favorite Brunch Spot
I am in love with Mesa Coyoacan on Graham Avenue in Williamsburg. They have excellent coffee and killer chilaquiles.
Most Overrated Tourist Spot
Times Square, definitely. There is absolutely no reason to go there, other than to take pictures to prove you’ve been to New York. Every time I end up in Times Square I get incredibly claustrophobic and feel like I am going to have a seizure from all the flashing lights.
Venture into Williamsburg and you are bound to stumble upon the work of infamous tagger ‘Dick Chicken’.
Most Unique Drink
Order The Lindsay Lohan at Concrete. It’s a red headed slut with a splash of coke.
Favorite NYC Bridge
Because of my close proximity, I am partial to the Williamsburg Bridge. An eclectic array of people can be seen making their way between the Lower East Side and Williamsburg at any given hour.
Apartment Hunting Tips
The entire apartment hunting process is a little scary and intimidating. (I know that I was totally overwhelmed when I started the process.) One of the most useful tools I found was a site called StreetEasy. It’s great for finding both apartments for sale and for rent. The best part is that is actually gives you the history of the listing, so you can see how much the price or rent has fluctuated. This is really powerful information when you are negotiating with a broker.
Favorite New York Park
I am partial to Prospect Park. In the summer the Celebrate Brooklyn series takes place in the Prospect Park Bandshell, featuring all kinds of different entertainment including dance, theater, film and music. Some of the events are free, and others are ticketed. This past summer I saw a number of different shows at the bandshell, including The National, Tokyo Police Club and Passion Pit. It’s a really laid back venue that is perfect for summer, plus the park is absolutely beautiful.
Best Cup of Coffee In the City
I typically go the frugal route, and stick to office coffee. However, in the summer, I have a hard time resisting Macaron‘s iced coffee. It is THE BEST iced coffee I’ve ever had anywhere. Period. I call it my business fuel – I drink it on the days I need to be extra productive.
Best New York Moment
For one reason or another I always seem to get into conversations with people on the subway. I do not initiate these interactions, they just happen. One night, I was minding my own business when this Italian fellow sat down next to me. He started telling me about this amazing meal he’d just had in Little Italy. We had arrived at my stop, and as I stood to exit the train, he handed me a brick of Parmigiano Reggiano. A STRANGER GAVE ME CHEESE!! Needless to say, I was stunned. It sat in our refrigerator for about a week while we debated whether or not we should eat it. In the end, it was grated and baked into a very tasty pasta dish. To that stranger, whoever you are, thank you for your generosity. One day I hope to pay forward the favor of fromage!
Least Favorite Part of Living In The City
Definitely taking clothes to the laundromat. You would think that having someone wash and fold your clothes would be incredibly appealing. It is, unless you are the one carrying the 60 pound bag there and back yourself. Word to the wise, if you have a really heavy bag of laundry, pay the extra money for pickup and drop off. It’s totally worth it.
Weirdest Things You’ve Seen Written On A Bathroom Wall
The bathrooms of many New York establishments are full of scrawlings. “I Eat Hipsters. I eat hampsters” is one of the more unique phrases I’ve encountered.