a bit about Aviva
What do you do and why do you do it?
I'm a comedian! I do stand-up, improv and host trivia at Buddha Beer Bar (Tuesday nights at 830pm!). I got into comedy a few years ago, after realizing my editing job at Fox News was definitely not what I wanted to be doing with my life. So I quit and have had the chance to perform at Gotham, UCB, Broadway Comedy Club and for Lifetime TV. I love providing people with funny and great entertainment - especially visitors. I always want to put on a good show!
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
Listening Joshua Radin's slow and mellow songs always make me feel like I'm leaning my head against a rainy bus window - they're good for letting me know it's OK to be sad right now.
What are the best TV shows of all time?
Law and Order SVU. Hands down. Olivia Benson is a NYC icon.
Name some spots in New York that are good for a Tinder date.
I love any place that has things you can point to when conversation is running low: The NYC Highline, The Trailer Park Lounge, Central Park Zoo. For a more daring move, The Museum of Sex's first floor is quite interesting - it's all fascinating mating facts about animals. For something more interesting than Starbucks but tamer than the Museum of Sex, Max and Mina's ice cream parlor in Queens has all sorts of wacky flavors like beer, pizza and horseradish.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
Shh....there's a chain of stores called De Janeiro that has brand names for like crazy cheap. There's three locations in the city. I've gotten a Guess winter jacket for $25. It's my favorite place to go to when I'm downtown. The thrift shops in The Village are also quite exciting. Even if you don't find anything to wear - you'll always see something weird. Last week I found a shirt just covered in head shots of Ryder Strong from Boy Meets World. If you're more into traditional mall stores, the Forever 21 in Times Square is open until 2am! Perfect for when you need a neon cutout dress STAT and everywhere else is closed.
What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?
I cannot justify any trip to M&M World in Times Square. It has literally no appeal for me.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
Le Bingo, hosted by the amazing Bingo Queen Linda Simpson, used to be my Monday night STAPLE. Then it got super popular, moved to Saturdays, and now there's a line out the door for it! Bittersweet.
Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in New York that you particularly like?
There's a really fun bar called Wicked Willy's in the Lower East Side that's pirate themed. it's cheesy but super fun, they have free karaoke almost every night of the week. There's a lot of college students because it's right next to NYU so it's a very high energy place! And margaritas for five bucks!
What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in New York? How much did it cost and what did you get there?
The fanciest restaurant I ever went to was Prime Grill. My very sweet and very successful cousin Ruby took me there and insisted we get multiple appetizers and drinks. They have a chicken and waffle nugget thing (I know! Who could imagine you could class that up?) that will make you question everything you've ever eaten up to that point, that's how good it is.
Where can you get the best cocktail in New York? Which one do you like?
I'm so bad at picking drinks, I always forget which ones I like. But you can't go wrong with frozen drinks like margaritas. My favorite place to go is Refried Beans in Washington Heights.
Where would you take your partner in New York if you wanted to really pamper them?
I found this downtown little gem on Groupon - there's a spa called the Red and White Spa. They have such nice deals, it's very clean and relaxing and it'll make you feel like you were on a 90 min vacation.
Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?
Not a snack but bagels in NYC are better than bagels anywhere else in the world.
What’s the one place you think is overrated in New York?
Times Square. There are so many weird costumed people. There isn't even that much to see except a ton and ton of lights.
What’s the one place you think is underrated in New York?
People visiting rarely venture past 125th street which is a mistake! I'm biased because I live in Washington Heights and it's beautiful up here! Fort Tryon is just as nice as Central Park but much less crowded on a sunny day. We have a Golden Girls' themed cafe and sometimes Lin Manuel Miranda speaks at the United Palace Art Center. You can also walk across the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey (and then turn right back around, because...it's New Jersey.)
What are the New York spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
For me, Broadway will always be an experience that's worth the price. Times Square is good for one Instagram photo opp and then get outta there before your forced to take a picture between Cookie Monster and the Hulk. Skip the bus tour and take a boat tour instead - it's much more comfortable, there's no traffic or exhaust, and you learn a lot!
Tomorrow’s your last day in New York. How do you spend it?
Crying. JK. I would probably get brunch at one of my favorite vegan restaurants like Blossom, Wild Ginger or Cinnamon Snail. Head straight to the lower Manhattan and peruse the thousands of books at The Strand, stopping for coffee at any of the tiny boutique cafes. Catch a $7 show at the Upright Citizen's Brigade (Improv Nerds on Monday nights or What I Did for Love on Saturday nights are my favorite) or try to get a rush ticket for a Broadway show (or off-Broadway which is sometimes an even better show). Catch a drink at Faces and Names, a dark bar with cozy roaring fires. Heaven.
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
My parent's live in Netanya, Israel and I love visiting them. They're right off the most beautiful beach, the main town square always has interesting events going on like line dancing movie night and every store sells this sweet, icy, frozen coffee drink for a little over a dollar. Yum!