Whether you’re hosting or traveling, there’s always one question that haunts any such visit: what to do when you get there? Arielle Tepper, founder and CEO of the app What Should We Do? (and a former Broadway producer) launched the new concierge service as a way to begin solving this problem. Curated by local city insiders and tastemakers, with so many choices, WSWD? streamlines the process of scouring apps full of biased reviews and unfocused advice based on where you are and what you’re looking for.
Launched in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City with most major cities to follow, that’s, of course, a lot of events to sort through.
Why is this so important right now? With a million self-curated pages, it’s become necessary to have someone to “cut through the noise,” Arielle says. “[There is a] glut of recommendation content online – whether editorial, or unverified, low quality user generated – so it’s more important than ever to provide busy, discerning consumers with credible, highly curated recommendations.”
Even though, in true startup language, WSWD? is being launched as an app, the pluses of expert content are tremendous, especially where “people live so much of their lives on screens.” Arielle loves the idea of “creating real world experiences, especially those that involve live audiences.” That is the point of each experience, to get people off their phones and into a space where they can experience “art in a public, communal setting— whether in a museum, gallery or theater — [which] connects us to both our imaginations as well as to each other.”
These days, no app would be complete without an epicurean focus – and WSWD? has top recommendations from coveted restaurants in conjunction with some of the heavy hitters in the food world. To wit, Michael Anthony, executive chef of Gramercy Tavern; Dana Cowin, host of the podcast Speaking Broadly on Heritage Radio Network, former creative director of Chefs Club, and former Editor in Chief of Food & Wine; Tracy Pollan and family, authors of The Pollan Family Table; Chris Scott, Top Chef finalist and owner of Butterfunk Kitchen; and Hong Thaimee, owner and head chef of Thaimee Table.
We naturally then, asked her to enlighten us as to a few of her current top recommendations in each city.
New York City
The Jungle, a theater production about a refugee camp, that is opening Sunday and runs through the end of January at St. Ann’s in Brooklyn. It’s an import from London that one WSWD? staffer has called “life-changing.”
Form Atelier is a curated vintage shop in Soho that just opened.
Called “Eat Here Right Now,” the 10th and final installment for 2018 features Adda, an Indian restaurant in Long Island City, which rose to the top three new restaurants of the year.
Adda, Long Island City
Everybody Gym – the gym for literally every body, every type, shape, level of fitness – with an emphasis on queer and trans health. Plus outrageous, feel-good classes with unique instructors who have a cult following across the city.
Vinovore, a cheeky, unstuffy wine shop stocking mostly female winemakers from around the world who skew towards natural, low-intervention methods. Navigate the stock via nine Zodiac-style personality types based on your vibe and your palate, or pop by for a roughly once a month event, from tastings to winesplaining by HBIC Coly Den Haan.
Chicago is the star of the show at Little Stones, running from February 15 – March 10 at St. Bonaventures Theater. Written for the Saint Sebastian Players, the group delves into the history of the Windy City through the lens of school rooms, loves and new age sensibilities while the Spanish flu pandemic raged in 1918, all with a twist. Or as one reviewer put it, “Little Stones is a made-in-Chicago fable of karma theatre and influenza.”
Just when you thought rooftop season was over, The Gwen hotel unveils its winter-long Curling Cabin. A seasonal pop-up bar on the hotel’s roof deck, the cozy hideaway features a heated makeshift cottage with ski lodge decor and warm cocktails. Bundle up to enjoy the outdoor curling rink and take in the views of River North. Runs through February.