A Primer on Gentlemen’s Grooming from Steven Rojas

Steven Rojas is usually so put together, people assume he’s gay. He explained his appeal when he was named one of New York’s Mr. Rights “Some girls see guys dressed in Thom Browne or some sort of amazing suit, and they’re like, ‘Wow, what’s that dude’s deal? Is he gay?'” Often described as a ‘Man About Town,” Rojas balances the late nights of a full social calendar with a demanding career as a fashion director at Archetype Showroom, always appearing dapper, fresh and awake. Here is how he does it (it’s a surprisingly simple routine).

When you wake up in the morning after a long night out, what do you usually do to save face? I always have a nice shave to make me feel a lot better and put on a nice outfit! Do you get ready differently for a night out, versus a day of work? Day outfit would consist of a combination of blazers, ties, bow ties, khakis and a button down shirt. I just got the ACL x Steven Alan white button down and I love it. I have a sick obsession with white button down shirts and white sneakers. I also wear a lot of denim (obsessed with my Surface to Air jeans) with a new pair of Converse or penny loafers, V-neck sweaters (I love my Oak deep-V sweaters and my J. Crew cashmere blend sweaters). For night I usually pick a LnA V-neck T-shirt in white or black, with a leather jacket (in love with my Surface to Air x Kings of Leon jacket) and jeans with a skinny fit. My sneakers are usually Converse x Comme.

Skin-care essential: Soap and water. I should probably take better care of my skin … I’m a total guy with this and bed stuff.

Exercise routine: Does walking to and from my office every day count?

Anti-aging tip: NO SMOKING.

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Must-have hair product: A tiny bit of Murrays! Biggest indulgence: Huh?

Hair Salon: Never been to one. I’ve cut my own hair since I was 16. Product line you’re obsessed with: I’m straight, so none.

Shower essentials: Water of course.

Your Scent: Burberry Brit. LOVE LOVE LOVE

Biggest Splurge: Myself.

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Favorite breakfast spot: Balthazar — it’s right by my office and always a good scene. That and Yuca Bar on Avenue A. Great steak and eggs there.

Great lunch spots: The Smile, Gemma, Kelley & Ping, Bite, Dean and Deluca.I also like takeout from Lovely Day, and Corner Shop Cafe.

Dinner spot: Frank’s in the East Village, Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Bouley Upstairs, Nobu, Tribeca Grand.

Woodson & Ford: Death of a Speakeasy

So what happened to the much-whispered-about speakeasy at 643 Broadway at Bleecker? The basement space, known as Woodson & Ford, has a long and legendary history. Walt Whitman and Mark Twain supposedly drank here, and that’s even before my time. More recently it was the ill-conceived, ill-received, and ill-attended Table 50. Q-tip made it happen for a minute, and Stretch Armstrong almost extended its run, but it eventually was flipped into Mr. Black, which in turn eventually moved along and to great success over at Rebel. Recently, Mr. Black’s move to the Room Service space seems to have hit a snag, as some of the displaced Pink Elephant team seem to have wrested away control of the joint. Mr. Black will be gold wherever it ends up, but that’s a story-horse of a different color. From a dear friend, here’s the deal about what happened over at the super hush-hush top-secret Woodson & Ford, a speakeasy that nobody was supposed to speak about at all.

An outstanding operator by the name of Gabriella Mlynarczyk renovated the space with permission of the owners, and in November 2008 opened up what she charmingly called Woodson & Ford — not that she ever allowed the media to know the name. She was not allowed to speak to the press, as the owners wished to keep it all a secret. I must say, she accidentally created one of the most intimate and exclusive event spaces the city had seen over the past year, due to her great taste in vintage design coupled with her outstanding ability to offer fine foods from the upstairs cafe and of course curating a wonderful cocktail menu. Without her knowing it, Woodson & Ford became a silent but huge success story. It was pulling in REAL events by people with REAL money … everyone clamored to know when it would be opened to the general public, but it was not to be. In the past few months the owners could smell success, and in their own desire to one day live a glorious life in the spotlight of nightlife decided that they would take control of the space themselves. They have shuttered Woodson & Ford and plan to open a new speakeasy to the general public in the spring, no doubt robbing what they learnt from Gabby and trying to take a stab at it themselves.

Gabriella has had to cancel countless events that were booked way into December … the space was about to explode, and with it the accolades that she deserved. She has been asked many times by the media for interviews, but she was not allowed to speak to the media. I firmly believe the owners, now knowing how well it was going to do, were afraid of letting Woodson & Ford run through till the winter. Had it been too successful and they decided to change the space in the spring, they no doubt knew the public would be very critical of their own newfound baby if it did not live up to the standards that Gabriella had created.

I have urged Gabriella to find a space for Woodson & Ford … she has all the contacts of all the clients she successfully served, she brought in REAL money, and surely their must be a space downtown that would love to have their space transformed into a classy cocktail/event space. So, that is the story of Gabriella … she deserves some recognition — even more, she deserves a space.

I guess this is a shout-out or job application, but surely there must be such a space. I know a few, but they’re very top secret, and I’m sworn to secrecy. It’s one of those dilemmas wrapped in an enigma things. I guess it will be all good if I just text message around town.

The mysterious and very hush-hush Kelley & Peng space at the corner of 2nd Street and the Bowery is preparing to open. The three- which could be four-story joint will be a restaurant, as a 1am liquor license allows little more. I don’t remember why it was Peng instead of Ping, as in the Kelley & Ping on Greene Street. Something to do with feuding partners I assumed, or was it simply an awning typo, but anyway the place was awful with inedible food and confused staff. Location, location, location for sure, but you have to be at least mediocre. Kelley and Ping/Peng was a pig pen with bad food. The space was coveted by many operators, as the Bowery keeps getting hotter. I know what’s up and who’s there, but it’s all very hush-hush and I’ll have to tell you later.

This world is so yin/yang or ping/peng as there are so many people screaming at you to tell their story and so many others begging you to keep it quiet. What’s a poor blogger to do? I guess it’s like movies — if they suck, you can open them in 2,000 theaters and take out full-page ads, rent billboards and TV time, and shout it out with the stars telling silly stories on Letterman, but it won’t get you past the first week or two. Word of mouth is powerful. If something is swell, you can whisper it and the coolest hear it first and the masses later, and that works best. OMG! I know so many great secrets right now, but I cant write about them right now, or nobody will tell me more secrets to write again.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Favorite NYC Spots, Done Right

As if winning an Oscar and having an Apple wasn’t enough, Gwyneth Paltrow is trying to steal our thunder by listing her favorite New York restaurants in her latest GOOP newsletter. That’s what we do, Gwyneth! How would you like it if we started doing yoga? When she did it for L.A., we let it slide as a mid-life crisis/nervous breakdown, but now she strikes again. Problem is, she’s not very good at it. After the jump, a list of Gwyneth’s favorite NYC restaurants, followed by her vague reasons why. Luckily, you can click on each restaurant to find out what it’s really about.

Babbo – “One of the city’s best.” ● Cookshop – “It is abuzz with foodies who come to taste the ever-changing menu.” ● Balthazar – “I love this place.” ● Gramercy Tavern – “One of New York’s most popular restaurants for a reason.” ● HanGawi – “HanGawi is a vegetarian Korean place that I have been going to for years.” ● Kelley and Ping SoHo – “Another SoHo spot that has been there for ages.” ● Lupa – “I love to go for spaghetti aglio e olio.” ● Omen – “Omen has been there since long before SoHo was trendy.” ● Sushi Yasuda – “Best sushi in NYC, hands down.” ● Tartine – “A very quaint, tiny French café on a perfect West Village corner.” ● Market Table – “I just recently discovered Market Table and I adore it.” ● BLT Fish Shack – “This is one of my most frequented spots.” ● 15 East – “One of my faves.” ● Pearl Oyster Bar – “Oh, how I love Pearl Oyster Bar.” ● Angelica Kitchen – “East Village granola heaven.” ● Momofuku Ssam and Noodle Bar – “These places became two of NYC’s hottest spots in a very short time. ” ● Aquagrill – “One of my regular spots.” ● Otto – ” A great place to bring kids.”