Ever wanted a New Yorker’s opinion on something? Where to go? How to avoid everyone? Where to find hidden spots? This week in the New York on My Mind interview series, My New York, designer and owner of Gift Shop Brooklyn, Annie Bukhman, talks low-key night out in Brooklyn and a secret mansion she likes visiting on Long Island…
Are you a native New Yorker?
I’m originally from Massachusetts. My friend had been living in New York and talked me into visiting her one summer which ended up becoming a permanent vacation of sorts — I found a couple of jobs in New York’s fashion industry over the course of a few years before I ventured out on my own to open up Gift Shop Brooklyn.
What neighbourhood do you live in and why?
I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I love how relaxed and chill it is. It’s family oriented and feels much more like a proper community neighbourhood than when I lived in Manhattan, which as we all know is more fast-paced with small apartments everywhere. You never seem to see the same face twice in Manhattan. Park Slope is cleaner, there are tons of like-minded people, and although my apartment is by no means large, it’s so much bigger than where I was living in Manhattan.
Favourite time of year in the city?
I don’t know if I have a particular favourite or time of year I like or dislike the most. I generally always love the change of the seasons, because it feels like a fresh start and it’s nice to start wearing different clothes in my wardrobe.
Best brunch spot?
I love going to Applewood in Park Slope, because the menu is constantly changing and they’re transparent when it comes to where they source their food. Everything tastes so fresh and delicious.
I think it’s got to be the No. 6 Store. I love all their clogs but I also love their selection of clothes. They’re unique without looking like you are trying to hard.
There are so many! Beacon’s Closet which stocks a mix of vintage and new things (below), and the brilliant No. 6 Store which is one of my all-time favourites because I’m a clog addict. I also love the Flatiron area in Manhattan because it was one of the first places I stumbled upon when I moved here, and I still always like to go to the J. Crew and Sephora around there because it just seems a littler calmer than the other shopping areas. I also love happy hour at Fonda Restaurant when they offer a special small plates menu and serve delicious hibiscus margaritas.
Best meal ever?
I am not usually a risotto fanatic, I never order it as the sole meal but I recently ended up having the most delicious risotto at Applewood which I’d say could be one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I ordered a main dish (I don’t even remember what it was now, maybe steak or fish) and the celery risotto came as the side dish. It completely blew my mind. I never knew how much I loved the taste of the celery until I had it prepared that way. I still dream of that risotto!
Building you’d most love to live in?
It’s got to be Michelle Williams’ new mansion in Ditmas Park. I love that it’s a historic building with a lot of windows and elaborate details.
City’s most overlooked site?
Oh, that’s a good question. For me, I think it’s the quiet side streets of the West Village. They’re so beautiful, steeped in history and a city sight in themselves.
Favourite museum or gallery?
Definitely the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s where my husband and I had our first date. The Puerto Rican Day Parade was taking place and we were stuck on opposite sides of the street. We saw Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez on one of the floats! Then of course we walked around the museum and I was kind of only pretending to be super interested in the art (because you know, first date!).
If you were to be a tourist for a day, what would you do?
I would figure out the best place to eat in each neighbourhood and do a food crawl mixed in with some vintage shopping.
For me, it’s the beautiful Planting Fields Arboretum in Long Island which is really easy to get to from Manhattan or Brooklyn for a day trip. My mother in law told us about it and the different events held there, like the orchid and camellia festival. I am also completely obsessed with the little playhouse and gardens on site (below) and one of the rooms in the main mansion (below, also).
What would you do as Mayor?
Get rid of/find an alternative to alternate side parking.
How would you spend an afternoon off?
I’ll either take a quick trip to a thrift store or I’ll sew something for myself. I’m always sewing orders, I rarely get to sew myself something special.
Best thing a taxi driver has said to you?
I honestly haven’t taken a taxi in years, I’m more of a Subway girl.
What inspires you about New York City?
The energy, there’s a tremendous work ethic here, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without the experience of working in NYC.
Craziest thing about living in the city?
The eclectic group of people. It doesn’t matter what you look like or who you are, everyone is free to be themselves here. Anyone can live here as long as you can keep up with the fast pace and high energy.
Is there anything you’d change about living in the city?
My living space would feel complete if we had an outdoor area.
Visit Gift Shop Brooklyn, here.