As the ethereal vocalist for the Cardigans, Nina Persson made a generation swoon. Now the lovely Swede calls Harlem, New York, her adopted home, following her marriage to American composer Nathan Larson (once of Shudder to Think). Nina and Nathan are also wed creatively, as singer and co-producer of A Camp; their new record, Colonia, is an enthralling amalgam of wistful, dreamy and gorgeously plaintive pop with lyrics that float between the stingingly sardonic (“Let’s raise our glasses to murderous asses”) and the heartbreakingly world-weary (“It’s not easy to be human anymore”). Here, Persson gives BlackBook a tour of her favorite hotspots and hardware stores.
Mobay Uptown – There are lots of Jamaican-inspired places in this area, but this is the classiest and the most welcoming. This Swedish girl loves their jerk chicken!
Vercesi Hardware – I love hardware stores! Especially ones like this, with screws and bolts floor-to-ceiling, and knowledgeable staff who have worked here forever and are here to help, no matter how weird the request.
Obscura Antiques & Oddities – This is a small antique/curiosity shop in the East Village that I found while passing by. They’ve got old stuffed and mounted animals, feathers from closed-down hatmakers and old medicine bottles. It’s cozy, intimate and inspiring.
Demolition Depot – A treasure chest with four floors full of salvaged stuff like fireplace mantels, wrought-iron gates, soap dishes, bathtubs and windows. It’s not cheap, but if you need a half-ton copper door from a turn-of-the-century bank, this is your place.
Tokio7 – I mostly come here to sell, not to buy. It’s a consignment shop that’s great for dealing with shopper’s guilt. Lately, they have been turning me down — I guess I’ve run out of designer stuff to load off on them. It’s a great place to come if you absolutely need Chanel, but want to pay Daffy’s prices.
Decibel – I’ve been coming to Decibel a lot. For a while, it was standard to go there before Black & White on Sunday nights. It’s in a basement, so look carefully for the stairs leading down to it. I love how it’s unusually dark and sexy. People have scribbled on the walls over the years (I think I have, too). In addition to the great sake, they also serve a very tasty lychee fruit on ice.
Supper – Supper has become our unofficial headquarters, even though we live far away from it. We like to have long dinners with the neighborhood, and pretend that we’re family.
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