4 Out of 5: Roy Dank on New York

Roy Dank never sits still. The founder and creative director at Wurst spends way too much time on the road DJ’ing, and not enough time in the studio making music, designing, nor spending quality time with his girlfriend. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.


Tsushima – "This unassuming Midtown sushi spot boasts the best fish in the city by a landslide but without any of the hype. If you typically take your fish unrolled and sans soy sauce, you can’t go wrong here."

Hickoree’s Hard Goods – "Like a grown man’s candy store, this second-floor shop in the south side of Williamsburg has everything from great clothes by under-the-radar brands like Manastash and Tender Co and the now ubiquitous in-house brand The Hill-side, alongside wacky items like Rite in the Rain notebooks and doorstops. And actual candy like Big League Chew to boot."

DBGB Kitchen & Bar – "Yes, you’d be forgiven for thinking the DB sands for ‘douche bag,’ but truth be told this spot’s got the best burger in Manhattan right now, with only Peter Luger trumping it for the city crown. I’ll probably get a ton of shit for such a bold proclamation, but I went on a whim recently and couldn’t believe my taste buds. Skip the gimmicky crap and just order ‘The Yankee.’ Damn good selection of brews to wash it down with."

Russian & Turkish Baths – "A little slice of paradise in the East Village, not to mention a nice trip back to the old New York. Spend an hour or so there and you’ll feel like a million bucks. Bonus points for the homemade borscht and blini and the crazy discount offers thrown your way as you pay."


Five Leaves – "Used to love this place when they first opened, but over the past year it’s become both nearly impossible to get in at any reasonable time (including weekday lunch over the summer), and both the food and service have gone steadily downhill. Too many of my friends gush far too much about the always overcooked lumpy burger with the way-too-big bun."

4 Out of 5: Toni Hinterstoisser on New York

Toni Hinterstoisser is general manager of Andaz Wall Street, which opened in February 2010. He has more than 15 years of experience in the international hospitality industry and lives in New York wit his wife and daughter. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.


Hundred Acres – "I was shopping in Soho for my daughter’s birthday and I stumbled up this spot for a rest. There are these beautiful French Doors that open onto MacDougal Street. The cocktails are delicious, the food is wonderful, and their bread pudding dessert is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. The service was friendly but very, very efficient. All in all, it’s become one of my go-to places."

Keens Steakhouse – "I was searching for a great spot to take my executive team to for a celebratory meal. I wanted something that was quintessential New York City. A member of our public relations team mentioned Keen’s as it is one of New York City’s oldest steakhouses, and there is a rich history of New Yorkers and celebrities that have dined there over the years. Learning about the members of the Pipe Club at Keen’s (including Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, and Albert Einstein) was so interesting to me and taught me more about the history of NYC. And the steak is delicious."

Minas Shoe Repair – "The guy that owns it is an icon, and the shoe shine is world class. Best shoe repair in New York City. In fact, the best I’ve experienced in the many countries I’ve lived in. I would travel long distances to have him care for my shoes."

Raines Law Room – "This place feels like you’ve discovered a secret. You walk down the steps of an unmarked building and find a doorbell. You ring it and all of a sudden are lead into a room that can only be described as a piece of history. The cocktails are handcrafted and delicious, and all you need to do is ring one of the bells at your table to summon one of the lovely waitstaff. Service is impeccable, drinks are perfection, and the atmosphere transports you to another time. Great to take out-of-towners to …  it shocks them every time. I love the look of awe on their face. Makes me feel very cool."


Locande Verde – "I loved Locande Verde when it first opened, but I feel as if the service and product have lost a bit of their luster. The cocktails don’t feel or taste the same, and the food has lost much of the ‘wow’ factor I loved it for. I used to frequent quite a bit, but haven’t been back in quite some time."

4 Out of 5: Jake & Amir on New York

Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld are better and more informally known simply as Jake and Amir, and they are two best friends. (You gotta stop saying that.) (No.) They also have a Webby-award winning web series called "Jake and Amir." This is their take on four places they like, and one place they don’t.


The Little Owl
Jake: Really adorable, really delicious, but doesn’t take reservations. The meatball sliders are worth the wait.
Amir: Overrated.
Jake: Have you ever been there?
Amir: I’m quoting a blog, relax.
Jake: Which blog.
Amir: This one.

Jake: Good food and best view of the Manhattan skyline in the entire city.
Jake: Wrong.

Momofuku Milk Bar
Jake: Delicious Cookies.
Amir: Thank you.
Jake: Wasn’t complimenting you.
Amir: I appreciate it.
Jake: Cool, you’re not listening to me.
Amir: Absolutely.

Jake: One-stop fedora shop for all you stylish cats and dogs. They have other clothes too but it don’t matter when you’re rockin that doh-doh.
Amir: You’re not stylish.
Amir: Put me down.


Sbarro Times Square
Jake: Overcrowded nightmare, terrible food.
Amir: Plus they won’t let me back in because I tried to steal a garbage bag filled with day-old tomato sauce.
Jake: Why?
Jake: Obviously not.

4 Out of 5: Zack Seckler on New York

Zack Seckler is director of Lux Archive, an online art gallery that sells museum-quality limited-edition prints by fine-art photographers. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.


Taschen – “When I need a little relief from weaving through the Soho crowds, I like to take a breather and hit up this beautiful bookshop. Not only do they have art and photo books about almost any topic you can imagine (including those with a little dirt in their imaginations), they also sell the biggest book made in the 20th century. It’s a mere $15,000 for SUMO, the 78-pound book that comes with its own book holder and is almost guaranteed to cause some nasty paper cuts (Band-Aids not included).”

Lomography Gallery Store – “I’m not a Lomophile, but the photo geek in me gets excited whenever I pass by this spirited spot. If you’re like me, you’ll understand why the simple sight of cameras can be intoxicating. And yes, when I walk into this store, I do start to feel a little tipsy. It’s packed with the gadgets photographers drool over, but it’s also fun for the whole family. They’ve splashed camera designs on all sorts of chotskies; making great little gifts for that friend who spends way too much time on Flickr.”

Printed Matter – “After hitting the Chelsea galleries, I always make time to stop by this little gem for an additional shot of artistic inspiration. They have a fascinating array of rare books, magazines, and art ephemera that keep me entertained during every visit. Keep your eye out for the original 20th-century iMacs in the back!”

Bird – “When I want to splurge on some nice threads, I love hitting up this stylish outpost in Williamsburg. They have a great selection of clothes from top designers, and they regularly showcase work by talented artists. The owners have an excellent eye and definitely know how to curate a good show.”


Marquee – “After a long day at the museums, I definitely want to put a little night in my life — but unlike art, which can gain value with age, this spot’s appraisal has been heading downhill for awhile now. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this place back in 2004. But I think we can all agree it’s time for a little remodeling."

4 Out of 5: Jamie Freed on New York

Jamie Freed is the personal shopping manager for Topshop and TOPMAN. She lives in Williamsburg and works in Soho. This is her take on four places she likes, and one place she doesn’t.


Death & Co – "If I could only go to one bar for the rest of my life, this would be it. They’ve got a cool vibe without being pretentious. The swoon-worthy bartenders are charming and polite in addition to being extremely talented. Take time to read their clever menu (note the Dorothy Parker and Ernest Hemmingway witticisms sprinkled throughout). I usually get the Dick & Jane or any other champagne cocktail. If Thomas is there, ask him for a recommendation. His impeccable taste and discerning palate will steer you in the right direction. The best part about Death & Co is that it’s never too crowded. The windowless façade makes it hard for the masses to find, and the no-standing policy keeps the bros at bay. Oh, and if you only drink vodka + soda with a splash of cran, go elsewhere. They keep one bottle of vodka here and likely use it just to clean the bar."

Tiny’s and The Bar Upstairs – "I don’t know that words can describe how much I love Tiny’s! They’ve nailed all the details here. From the shabby chic interior and pressed tin ceiling to the mismatched plates and the very entertaining Ana, they’ve created a comfortable environment that always makes me feel like I’m at home. It’s a great date spot too, with a few joints around the corner for cocktails after dinner (try Weather Up or Silver Lining if you’re into jazz). Oh yeah, and get the burrata."

John Derian – "Decoupage is not a dirty word. Step inside this cozy little boutique and you’ll see what I mean. I’m obsessed with Derian’s decoupage paperweights and trays. My favorites are the ones covered with old typewritten letters and snarky sayings. This shop is my gifting go-to, especially when you’re buying for that person who has everything. In addition to the decoupage collection, John Derian also stocks 18th-century-inspired French pottery, vintage rugs, and loads of other curiosities from his travels. I feel like I’ve magically left the East Village and have been transported to the Marais whenever I’m here. I might just move in."

Saturdays Surf – "It’s a shop. It’s a café. Cute surfer dudes hang and work here. It’s also right behind Topshop. What’s not to love? Saturdays isn’t just for my AM caffeine fix, and it’s not just for surfers. They’ve got beachy prints and books as well as grooming products, candles, and a cool clothing line. Most of the stuff sold here is meant for guys, but it’s the kind of guy stuff girls want to borrow. They stock these amazing fish hook bracelets from Miansai, and I’m addicted to their Baxter candles."


Sephora – "I think Sephora is great for times when you know exactly what you want and are able to just grab it and go. But when I need a new product, having too many choices isn’t a good thing. Unless someone whom I know and trust (which is never the case at Sephora) is helping me, I’m not able to figure out what I need. I just get frustrated and leave empty-handed. Shopping for beauty products should also make you feel beautiful. That’s just impossible in a chaotic, super-saturated environment like Sephora. Go to Space NK Apothecary instead. They have an expertly curated collection of the best of the best in beauty housed in a posh, minimalist boutique."

4 Out of 5: Christine Kim on New York

Christine Kim is a talent manager in New York. This is her take on four places she likes, and one place she doesn’t.


Café Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie – "Enjoy an afternoon kaiser mélange (fresh ground coffee w/ whipped cream) served on a silver platter! Splurge a little by ordering the schertorte (dark chocolate cake with apricot). It’s a little piece of heaven."

Jing Fong Restaurant – "The ultimate Sunday morning dim sum experience. The restaurant looks like a grand Chinese palace, with ladies pushing carts filled with delicious small plates of food. Highly suggest the BBQ pork buns."

Caffe Falai – "My favorite neighborhood spot (in Soho). Not only is the food amazing, the staff and service are impeccable! Highly recommend the spaghetti al pomodoro, ANY of the baked egg dishes, and don’t forget the crêpe cake!"

Whole Foods Salad Bar (upstairs at Bowery location) – "I am always on the go, so I am constantly looking for something quick that doesn’t come in a bun. Perfect way to build your own salad, stay healthy, all under $10! Perfect lunch date spot with your best friend."


Sauce – "The worst customer service."

4 Out of 5: Rina Raphael on New York

Rina Raphael is a features & fashion editor at TODAY. This is her take on four places she likes, and one place she doesn’t.


Culturefix – "This bar/art gallery/performance space is my favorite hangout in NYC. Besides boasting great grilled cheese sandwiches, Culturefix hosts an array of interesting, unique events, including classical music concerts on Sunday evenings. It’s not pretentiously annoying, I swear. (Really.)"

Beecher’s Cheese – "I’d like to think of myself as a budding mac ‘n cheese critic and this cheese factory/restaurant serves the most effortlessly gooey, tasty dish (appropriately) called ‘the world’s best mac ‘n cheese.’ Not an exaggeration."

Daha Vintage – "Roughly half of my clothing purchases in the last year come from this awesomely affordable vintage shop, which consistently stocks a wide array of unique clothing in the most brilliant of fabrics. You can score an amazing dress for under $80."

Despaña – "This authentic little Spanish shop sells small bites like croquetas, sardine toasts, and little sandwiches that you can just grab and go. (Also, free cheese samples!) Highly recommended if you need a snack break during Soho shopping excursions. It’s the best ‘fast’ food in the area."


Clinton Street Baking Company – "Don’t do the cliché NYC ritual of Clinton Street Baking Co. for weekend brunch. (Unless you enjoy waiting an hour in line, you’re better off ordering their famous pancakes during the evening, when there’s no line.) If you do get tired of waiting, head across the street to Pause, a teensy café that might not look like anything special but sells the best egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches in the LES. (Their secret? They use Fontina cheese and ciabatta rolls)."

4 Out of 5: Connie Wang on New York

Connie Wang is the global editor of Refinery29. She lives in the East Village. This is her take on four places she likes, and one place she doesn’t.


YO-C Salon – "I used to go here out of convenience (it was 10 feet from my apartment), but I’ve gotten consistently awesome haircuts courtesy of my stylist Reiko, even when I manage to royally eff it up from the random hair stories I research. Only a wizard would be able to turn a half-grown-out perm puffball into something actually attractive."

Quickly – "I usually hate hot pot meals, but I’m really into how clean and simple the shabu shabu is at the Chinatown location. I get a double lamb meat platter with an extra helping of enoki and tofu skin, but it’s a pretty mix-and-match affair for those who are picky about what they want in their dashi."

The Future Perfect Manhattan – "This is a heaven for interiors nerds. I come here to ogle the too-expensive furniture that looks like it was built by elves on acid, and to indulge in cheap thrills like animal butt magnets and gold Buckyballs."

The Wooly – "This space is the home of many Refinery29 parties (and only partially because we’re a team of people who gets off on getting wasted around floral wallpaper and pink couches). The only hassle is actually convincing yourself to make the trek down to the Financial District, but it’s definitely worth the haul."


Café Mogador – "I don’t get it. Is there something I’m missing? Cafe Orlin down the street has basically the same menu without the wait time, and my eggs never get overcooked."

4 Out of 5: Castina Jewel on Washington DC

Castina Jewel is a native Washingtonian who served as longtime head editor of Pop Crunch and has written for AOL’s City’s Best column, She Knows, and College Candy. This is her take on four places she likes, and one place she doesn’t.


Bar 7 – "Home of the best orgasm on this side of the Potomac — the Orgasm cocktail, that is. This narrow, two-level odyssey in the heart of Washington’s Mt. Vernon Square community is a ‘Lounge’s Lounge’ — right down to the plush sofas, exposed brick wall, and surprisingly comfy barstools. The music is reflective of the hip-hop/R&B/reggae that dominated the airwaves throughout the 90s; a little a period I like to call the ‘Biggie/Tupac Era.’ Sorry, House/Top 40 fans. Mad Cobra’s old school jam ‘Flex’ and the rare Jay-Z/Rell tune ‘Love for Free’ are some of the crowd pleasers that regularly make the cut. ’80s babies will either love or loathe the Reagan Era R&B set, which features 60 minutes of tracks from popular acts of the era … think Keith Sweat, Christopher Williams, and Guy."

Cafe Citron – "Strong salsa kings and even stronger strawberry mojitos? Yes, puhleeze! I don’t know Tex-Mex from Captain Kangaroo — but when it comes to hip-swirling salsa and mojitos by the pitcher, Cafe Citron wrote the book. Wedged between two storefronts in Washington’s vibrant and historic DuPont Circle, it’s a local authority on Latin cuisine, tropical drinks, and one of the liveliest dance floors in town. It’s also one of the few places outside Cancun where you can boogie atop a table without being mistaken for a ‘working girl.’ Don’t forget to swing by for free salsa lessons every Wednesday!"

Beacon Sky Bar – "And the trophy for ‘Best Place to Spend a Lazy Summer Afternoon in Washington’ goes to … Move over, Donovan House, The Beacon Sky Bar is the newest answer to the rooftop lounge phenomenon that’s taken the District by storm. More importantly, it’s officially become one of my ‘Most ‘Favoritest’ Places’ in the DMV. Bear in mind that I don’t get out much … Just so you know, rooftop day parties are the new Black. So I was feeling really ‘in season’ when one of myhttp://Meetup.com groups selected Beacon Sky Bar as a meeting spot for our ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ Happy Hour event. Perched atop the Beacon Hotel’s Beacon Bar & Grill, just a stone’s throw from DuPont Circle. The Sky Bar boasts captivating views of the neighborhood and about as much swank as an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. Complete with a DJ booth, an expansive bar, outdoor tables and chairs, plush sofas, and even a cabana, all that’s missing is a voiceover from Robin Leach. It’s the ideal place to sip on a well-mixed strawberry margarita while tapping into your inner TV reality star — sans the bickering and fist-fighting, of course."

Crumbs – "Sorry Georgetown Cupcake, there’s only room in my heart for one confectionary boutique! Crumbs is kinda like that ex that you just can’t seem to kick to the curb. He’s plump. He’s pricey. And he isn’t especially good for you. Nonetheless, he makes you feel so good, you often find yourselves sneaking away for clandestine rendezvous in the middle of the afternoon."


The Muse – "A four-story rowhouse renovated into a dark, three-tier Washington ‘hotspot’ filled with exposed ceiling pipes and absolutely nothing else to distinguish it from every other pretentious nightclub in the city. At least five years after Diddy coined the phrase, I’m still trying to figure out what in the hell ‘swag’ is. But one thing’s for certain: However you define ‘It,’ this place ain’t got it! What it does have is virtually all the same things you can find anywhere along DuPont Circle or the K Street Corridor on a balmy evening: Cocktail dresses and Jersey Shore wannabes fist-pumping to obnoxious techno music. Muse is missing the one essential element that make The Park, Current, Josephine, and Eden tolerable in spite of the onslaught of Freakum Dresses and Pauly D lookalikes: It’s called a clientele.