NYC Try Outs: Natasha Huang’s West Coast Sensibility

It’s always intriguing to watch a former West Coast denizen make their way in the Big Apple. Their itineraries have a slightly sunnier edge, quite literally. They seek out roof tops and tiki bars, their drinks are sweeter, their style is fashionably laid back – they’ve mastered that whole California-cool thing that’s a stretch for the native New Englander. Natasha Huang is of the West-turned-East school. A native of the Bay Area, she graduated from the University of San Francisco and worked in health care for hospitals before moving to the city as the Director of Marketing for Encore Magazine. Shortly thereafter, she struck out on her own to start a company: NH Media. As an entrepreneur in the PR field, Natasha is often out and about, raising her public profile and collecting business cards with the best of them, while still maintaining her distinctly relaxed, and, let’s face it, friendly West Coast nature. The places she’s deemed her favorites reflect her sunny disposition.

Name: Natasha Huang Professional Resume: I own and run a social media public relations company called NH Media, where I work in the fashion and social media arena in one of the greatest cities in the world. One Word to Describe Nightlife in New York City: Infinite.

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City Loves • Favorite lunch spot: Mamoun’s Falafel or La Esquina. • Favorite dinner spot: DBGB. • Favorite nightlife trend: Rooftops and tiki bars. • Drink of choice: KGB – apparently it’s orange vodka, soda, splash of orange juice, and a slice of orange. • Meal of choice: anything raw – oysters, tuna tartar, sushi, beef carpaccio. • Favorite group of people to bump into: housewives, socialites, fashionistas, diva’s, models.

City Loathes • Nightlife trend: Anything with a line or cover charge. • Drink: Cosmo or Sex on the Beach. • Meal: Baked Mac and Cheese. • Group of people to bump into: Fist Pumpers, girls who can’t walk in high heels, hoochies, club promoters.

Her Hotspots • Monday: Salud. • Tuesday: HighBar. • Wednesday: Le Bain. • Thursday: Ulysses. • Friday: 230 Fifth. • Saturday: Hudson Bar @ Hudson Hotel. • Sunday: Pastis.

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• Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Quo, Marquee, Greenhouse. • For special occasions: Per Se or South Gate. • Brunch is usually: Bagatelle.

Autumn’s Awesome New York Adventures

The weather is starting to scare even the hardiest New Yorkers into hibernation. But before we exchange the booze-heavy fall social calendar for weekends and evenings on the couch, hot cocoa, DVR’d television, and being woefully boyfriended/girlfriended, it’s high time to have an adventurous day in the city — whether it’s solely for the purposes of getting action (in which case, you will undoubtedly succeed) or to throw a curve ball to your “friends who brunch.” With the right attitude (and full pocket flasks for the ride), recruiting an adventure partner/team should be easy. Some of the destinations are ambitious, some easily manageable; all require a bit of a trip from downtown Manhattan, or wherever you happen to wake up after weekend benders. Take your pick, get outside, and Twitter away for your followers who’d rather nurse hangovers from the comfort of their homes.

Parks

image Plenty of dark hiding places in the shadows for…

Ambitious Riverbank State Park (Harlem): Okay, fine: it’s built on top of a residential wastewater treatment facility. But ice skating (from November to January, $5 admission) with views of the Hudson is absolutely date-friendly (for that hottie you’ve been trying to casually bed since Labor Day, or the ‘new friend’ you happened to shack with after your last drink). Riverside’s an outdoor sports complex and park on a 28-acre, multi-level landscaped recreational facility, so before you start fattening up for the Holidays, try out the tennis courts, basketball courts, softball field and hand/paddleball courts all overlooking the river. Not bad for forcing yourself to exercise.

● Head downtown a few blocks to Nectar Wine Bar for an after-exertion libation.

Manageable Fort Tryon Park (Washington Heights): Visit for: The Heather Gardens, trails, hills, trails on hills, greenery, changing foliage, and an intimate secret garden atmosphere. Given to the city by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1935, this was, unlike other “presents” we’ve been given (Rudy Giuliani, the BQE, Atlantic Yards, etc), taken with open arms. Also offers panoramic views of the Hudson in Washington Heights, perfect locale for sipping a to-go Irish coffee.

● Nosh on some Italian trattoria cuisine before or after hitting the park at Bleu Evolution, even considering moving your brunch way uptown. Mimosas necessary.

Pumpkin Picking

image Rotund, orange, hard to lift…’pumpkin’ is not a term of endearment.

Ambitious Historic Richmondtown (Staten Island): Times Square cheesy away from Times Square. It’s authentic! Employees dress in colonial garb. Enough backcountry for most New Yorkers. The trek here’s just that: a trek. Staten Island Ferry to a 30 minute ride on the S74 bus. But: Shaolin’s most revered, plump pumpkins ripe for the pickin’ and making it home with one of these babies will really feel deserved and brag-worthy. If you’re into that sort of thing.

● After stepping off the ferry, stumble into Ulysses for cheep booze and rubbing shoulders with plenty of white guys in finance (who will undoubtedly try to one-up your adventuresome spirit).

Manageable Queens Farm (Queens): Accessible via the E or F Train (to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike Station), and activities galore to accompany pumpkin picking: The Farm Museum, hayrides, farm animals and…a corn maze! If you’re a born leader, you’ll get a group together to bask in the innocence of family-friendly fun. Trivia: It’s the only working historical farm in the city on 47 acres of land owned by the NYC Department of Parks.

● After a uncharacteristically wholesome day, roll into Eddie’s Sweet Shop for nostalgia-flavored scoops of old-school, creamy, thick ice cream, and keeping up with that good girl/good guy vibe for just a little longer.

Horseback Riding

image Straddling a large animal was never so fun!

Ambitious Bronx Equestrian Center (Bronx): Trail riding through picturesque Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx runs $35 an hour. The park’s Bridle Path gives urban-weary city slickers decent respite: a micro-rural experience through lush woods just a short train ride away from Yankee Stadium.

● Venture into nearby City Island for kitschy seafood at the Black Whale and a more-than-necessary beer or two (or four) after a day of riding. Cozy setting is crucial for sealing the deal (if you opt for the impressive date option).

Manageable Kensington Stables in Prospect Park (Brooklyn): Located in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, designed by the same architects responsible for Manhattan’s famed Central Park, the open, expansive tract of green space provides a friendly trail-riding background for novices and true equestrians alike. Royal treatment for the Borough of Kings.

● Reward yourself for kickin’ it on a horse all day, and puff a cigar, drink a bourbon, reminisce of the good ol’ days with the old school regulars at Brooklyn Social Club.

Cemeteries

image Beware roaming tweens searching for potential vampire lovers.

Ambitious Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx): Perfect for creepy fall cemetery strolls, scattered with mausoleums and lined over rolling hills for broad, vista views. Rural take on urban burials.

● Pour one out for your lost homies at Rambling House, an Irish pub for Irish-Catholic drinkers. Live music is common and they pour a perfect pint of Guinness.

Manageable Green-Wood Cemetery (Brooklyn): Spanning 478 acres, Green-Wood is one of the largest cemeteries in the city. Resting place for many of the city’s noteables, with tombstones to match prestige. Also, must see: collection of outdoor 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums, one of the greatest in the US of A.

● Continue the creepyness into the evening and visit the Hideout, a fort-like, dark speakeasy vibe joint.

[Main image via Flickr/Creative Commons] [Third image via Flickr/Creative Commons] [Last image via Flickr/Creative Commons]

New York: Top 10 Places Where Dudes Will Buy You Drinks

Last week we commissioned our intern and woman-about-town Sarah to give us her list of the ten places in New York where guys are usually willing to dole out for her drinks. Granted, she’s about 5’10” and blonde — that’s her with a charming young escort above — but still, anything’s possible. Take it away, Sarah.

1.The Box (Lower East Side) – You don’t go here unless you want to get really fucked up. Because of this, there are many patrons surrounding the bar who are ready and willing to include you in their party because they are most likely already fucked up. Just flash a smile (maybe even a boob), and you’ll be getting free drinks in no time. If you find yourself in a stalker situation, you can always run and hide at the upstairs bar.

2. Tenjune (Meatpacking District) – This is one of the only clubs of its kind that doesn’t make me want to puke directly after walking through the red ropes. It’s small inside, so you’ll be able to get close to other drinkers at the bar, and you’ll probably meet someone with a table who will provide all the necessities for the rest of the night. 3. G Spa (Meatpacking District) – The rooftop at the Gansevoort is pretty nice when it’s warm out and the clientele is not as bad as it could be on nights other than Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. However, this is where you could find a hip businessman or an old playboy sipping on cocktails, just waiting for you to come over and say hello. There are always cabs waiting outside, so if you’re in need of a quick getaway, safety is just a hop, skip, and a wave away. 4. Soho House (Meatpacking District) – If you’re so lucky to know someone with their own membership, press “the club” button in the elevator. Here you’ll find plenty of nicely dressed men and women looking to canoodle and schmooze with each other about augmenting their fortunes by combining their efforts. Go into the pool table room where you can actually smoke inside and play a game. I’m sure your partners will ask to buy you a drink, and if not, perhaps you’re good enough to hustle a drink or two (at pool). 5. Pop Burger (Meatpacking District) – Bridge and tunnel aside, this place is great for taking shots and eating burgers. If you know someone who has worked here, tell them to take you out because the Pop Burger Posse never forgets — i.e. they get free drinks all night. The Pop promoter, Doug, will also definitely buy you drinks if you pay attention to him and neglect to mention how dumb he looks in his pink scarf. 6. The Anchor (Soho) – Great for cheap drinks, cute dudes, and a big space to dance like your hair is on fire. Even if you don’t get free drinks, you’ll have a fun time, and you’ll probably make out with someone. 7. Café Noir (Soho) – This place holds so many memories for me, I had to put it on the list. You’ll have people buying you drinks, I guarantee it. 8. Happy Ending (Lower East Side) – This one-time erotic massage spa turned hipster dive bar is a great way to start the night out right. I’m not really guaranteeing someone will buy you a drink, but it is open-bar Tuesdays from 11 to midnight. 9. Angels & Kings (East Village) – This place has an open bar basically every night, and if it doesn’t, it’s selling vodka drinks for $2. 10. Ulysses (Financial District) – For those of you craving some banker attention. Maybe go out after work for happy hour and take some of the stimulus money back by making suits buy bevs for you and your crew.

See also: Top 10 Places to Maintain an Eating Disorder.