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, Karin Bereson, the stylist and creative behind SoHo-based brand, No.6 Store, renowned for its cult clogs and sandals with a celebrity following, says wandering around New York City and getting lost in the streets is the best way to discover it.
Are you a native New Yorker?
Nope, native Baltimorean. I decided at the last minute not to go to law school and give it a go in fashion. It was my other passion and where else does one go but to New York?
The West Village.
What do you love most about your neighbourhood?
Everything – I love that it’s quiet, the cobblestone streets, low buildings… the only noise I hear when my windows are open are birds, or the sounds of a little league game in the park next door.
Favourite time of year in the city?
It’s so hard to pick a favorite because the city is so beautiful throughout the year. I love empty, slow, hot weekend mornings in August, walking home in the snow when your footsteps are muffled and you make fresh tracks, a weirdly warm day in April when you can put sandals on with a big sweater. The weather really makes for some pretty special – and almost cinematic – moments.
Best brunch spot?
My bed. Sunday Times and a bagel if I am feeling carb-y.
I wish I cooked because I once discovered an amazing old book shop on Greenwich Street that only sells cookbooks. It’s called Bonnie Slotnicks but I recently found out it lost its lease and moved to the East Village. I also love walking around and buying weird pajamas sets and underwear in booths in lower Chinatown.
Best meal ever?
Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse, a million years ago, with my Dad. Everything about it was great. From the minute you walked down the steps of the run down building on Christie Street, to the thousands of business cards pinned all over the walls to the fantastic steaks, the vodka frozen in ice, table-side chopped liver and the Jewish keyboard player providing the musical backdrop to all the craziness that goes on there. We went quite a bit and every time was an adventure – between the food, the music and the very mysterious way the prices on the check seemed to be determined by the whim of the waiter that night.
No.6 Store of course!
Building you’d most love to live in?
I would love to live in one of the old brownstones on St. Lukes Place. Those buildings are so old and incredibly beautiful. Living in the five-story private home right next to No.6, wouldn’t be so bad either. It was redone and redesigned by husband-and-wife property developers and designer, Robert and Courtney Novogratz, and it’s pretty unbelievable. Plus, what a great commute!
City’s most overlooked site?
The Flower District, which occupies little more than a block of West 28th Street, between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue. You’ll find the sidewalks lined with all kinds of flowers and plants. They have the craziest hours and it’s amazing for both anything normal or off the charts. Need to build a desert in a Brooklyn warehouse? Done.
If you could choose only one museum or gallery to go to, which one would it be?
Definitely the Neue Galerie up on East 86th. I love that it’s not one of the major or large museums. It’s an old Upper East Side mansion and houses some of the best art from the Weiner Werkstätte (a community of visual artists based in Vienna and founded in 1903) and Bauhaus artists (from the German art school), as well as many other early Modernist movements.
If you were to be a tourist for a day, what would you do?
The music room at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is constantly overlooked. I would also go see every independent or repertory film I could not see in my hometown. Film Forum is the best for stuff like that.
I feel like all the secrets are out at this point! Maybe the Paris Theatre on 58th Street, thrifting on the Upper East Side, the headband section at the three-floor drugstore apothecary Zitomer is also pretty amazing. I could spend ages in there.
What would you do as Mayor?
I would offer free public transportation when the subways or buses are being worked on, and I have dogs to be allowed everywhere and anywhere!
Best thing a taxi driver has said to you?
“Good night, young Jane Fonda!”
What inspires you about New York City?
The energy. The fact that everyone comes here to be even better than what they were in the hometown is pretty incredible. It’s a city full of alpha men and women.
Craziest thing about living in the City?
Also the energy. All those alpha males are competing to be the best. We also think it’s normal to live in tiny apartments for a fortune. Space is so limited, but we all accept that it is what it is. We’ve all had a moment where we’re ironing our clothes on a towel on the floor because there’s no room for a real ironing board!
Is there anything you’d change about living in the city?
I wish we all had terraces, patios and backyards. Just that little bit of haven would be enough to keep most of us sane.
A word of advice for tourists…
Explore any area other than tourist areas! Get lost, walk around the West Village, explore Brooklyn, go to Harlem. Don’t be afraid to go anywhere in New York! It’s not always like the movies (thank you Rudy Giuliani).
Visit the No.6 Store, here.