ask Camille about
architecture • parks • italian food • cocktail bars • museums
What do you do and why do you do it?
I do marketing/business development and press/graphics for Steven Holl Architects (Hunters Point Library, Storefront for Architecture, etc). I grew up in a family of designers and business people, so this falls right in the middle! That said, I actually lean more towards design, and will eventually go to school for a master's in architecture. Before working for architects (there have been a couple of firms), I studies cities in college (just as vague as it sounds). My conclusion was that design and architecture matter not only for the aesthetics of a place, but for a community's wellbeing, safety, economic growth and stability, and pride.
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
St. Vincent - New York, James Blake - Retrograde / Limit to Your Love, Delta Spirit -Bushwick Blues / California, LCD Soundsystem - New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down, the Strokes - really anything, Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps, the Walkmen - In the New Year, Vampire Weekend - Hannah Hunt, Cat Power - Manhattan, Solange - Lovers in the Parking Lot / Losing You, TLC - Scrubs, Dua Lipa -New Rules
What are the best TV shows of all time?
Mad Men, the West Wing, Narcos, the Crown, Downton Abbey, Gossip Girl (haha but not for the acting or plot. It just captured a rare moment so well.)
Name some spots in New York that are good for a Tinder date.
Night: Mayahuel (until it closes!), the Barge Bar, Night of Joy (weekdays only), the Wallflower, Upholstery Shop, the Rusty Knot, Bar Sardine, Ghost Donkey, Nightcap, Lover's of Today, Fig 19, Flower Shop, Mr. Fong's, Jajaja, Dimes, Angel's Share, Pouring Ribbons, Rintintin bar, Cafe Select, Mimi, Day: Elizabeth Street Garden, Rubin Museum, the International Center for Photography, Cafe Integral, Lalito, Gilligan's (summers only), walking around Fort Greene/Cobble Hill/Carrol Gardens, and Magic Jewelry for aura readings!
Who’s your hero and where in New York would you take them out for a serious hang?
Iris Aperfel is my ultimate hero, but she's probably too much of a snob in real life to go to any of the places I like to go downtown. I'd take her to the Carlye Hotel, Bergdorf's, of Fred's at Barney's.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
Everywhere! But a big majority from New York's best sample sales. My favorite stores (sample sale or not) are Opening Ceremony, Five Story, the Line, the Frankie Store, Assembly, Personnel, Zara (can't help it), Oak + Fort, Anthom, Bird, and Concrete + Water
What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?
The beach. All of my friends go, but I can never convince myself it's the right move. I'm always worried about getting 'stuck'. I'd much rather layout in a park or by a pool all day, just knowing I have the freedom to leave. All other areas are game. Even the grossest parts of town (i.e. the Theater District, Staten Island, East New York) hold so many secrets to discover.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
Eat out! But really I'd say go to museums and forgotten landmarks. There are always so many shows to see and so many things to discover (that isn't the same sculpture on the high line everyone's already photographed). For example, by the time I have an afternoon to explore Governor's Island, it's closed for the season!
What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in New York and where did you get it?
Haha is it bad to say that I can't remember? I've eaten way too much food in New York to keep track of it all. Especially since I'm the type of person who will try anything once, as long as it's free of cilantro.
Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in New York that you particularly like?
Beverly's on the Lower East Side is definitely known to the artsy kids who still come into Manhattan, but it's completely off the radar from the typical night crowd just a few blocks up. Great vibe, good selection (including mezcal), amazing people watching. Other's include Lovers of Today, Tom and Jerry's, Fig 19, and RPM Bar.
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?
I went to Bouley (closed this July) with family friends. It was a 3-4 hour pre-fix brunch with too many courses to count. They continuously offered fresh bread—there were 7 types to choose from—and two desserts each. The meal was probably around $200 to $300 a chair (I thankfully didn't pay!,) but you got to walk out with a loaf of breakfast bread that could serve you for the whole week. It makes sense that David Bouley closed it when he began believing in healthy eating.
What restaurant in New York looks crap, but the food’s amazing?
Pig Heaven on the Upper East Side. They have wooden cutouts of smiling pigs and bad decor, but it's some of the best Chinese food in the city. The successful art crowd of the 1980/90s used to go there, but now it's just me and my mom. Also the Dollar Slice (pizzeria) on Stanton between Ludlow and Essex is shockingly good. It might even be edible during the day.
Where can you get the best cocktail in New York? Which one do you like?
Barrio Chino still has the one of the best margaritas in town. Go for the Grapefruit margarita or the grapefruit habanero margarita if you're courageous. Until they officially close, Mayahuel will have the best selection of mezcal cocktails (10 pages worth), I go for the Paloma (catch a theme) or the michelada negra. If you're looking for the unusual, go to Ghost Donkey. My friends and I are all fans of the Stone Wall, but the Mushroom margarita is surprisingly good too! For martinis I go to the Flower Shop.
Where would you take your partner in New York if you wanted to really pamper them?
I would probably send my non-exsistant boyfriend to Nickel, Hey Man Spa, Soho House, Higher Dose, or Jones Street Spa. If I really wanted to splurge on material gifts, I would take him to Shinola, Odin, Best Made, Opening Ceremony, Kith, Kitsune, Bape, Miansai, or DSMNY depending on his style (especially because I'd love to steal it back!)
Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?
I'm pretty sure you can get black and white cookies outside of the US, but they're my favorite "New York snack". I used to make my parents bring one back for me every time they went to New York (about once a month). My favorites are from William Greenberg on the UES and Nussbaum's on the UWS.
What’s the one place you think is overrated in New York?
Haha, there are a few, but the two most overrated places in New York are a tie but very similar: Mr. Purple and Public Hotels. Both are popular hotel/clubs with horrible service and bad overpriced drinks. You see the worst of humanity waiting in 'line' for Mr. Purple. The line is actually a giant mob that'll you'll stand in for over 45 minutes. The last time I went to Public, it was during the day. One of their bars didn't have ice, so we headed to the roof. Only a month old and everything was sticky, including the crowd that looked like it came from a bad reality TV show. Neither is worth the view. I'd rather go to le Bain at the Standard.
What’s the one place you think is underrated in New York?
There are a lot of great restaurants/shops/attractions that don't get enough attention in New York! People are always too focused to go to the ONE cool place in a neighborhood filled of cool places. I can't name just one!
What are the New York spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
First-time visitors definitely should go to the great museums: MoMA, the Met, and the Guggenheim, for starters, not only because their famous, but also because there are a huge aspect of New York life: all of the museums work closely with the city's schools and colleges. I'd also say go to the High Line. The crowds suck, but the park has spurred the most exciting (and unattainable) architecture in the city. It's a great place to see architecture spanning from the 1830s to present day and an extreme example of New York gentrification, which is rapidly changing the city.
Tomorrow’s your last day in New York. How do you spend it?
Haha, freaking out. I'd probably make a list of all my favorite things to do, crop it up, drop it in a bowl, and blindly pick. The list would include: walking the Manhattan Bridge, wandering through the West Village; getting lost in the Met; eating and drinking my way through Nolita and the Lower East Side; running through Central Park; walking along the Manhattan waterfront downtown; doing another Tip to Tip (walking from the top of Manhattan to the bottom); hanging out in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Dumbo, or Brooklyn Heights; shopping; and taking in the classical architecture of Riverside Drive and West End on the UWS / Park Ave on the UES.
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
Mexico City. There is so much to do, eat, and explore. You could have a totally different experience every time you visit. I've compared notes with friends and family who've been, and each of us have done extremely different things depending on what part of the city we've stayed in. The only common thread in our trips has been the awesome people we've met in CDMX. Last time I was there, a friend and I stayed in an Airbnb in Roma Norte with an incredible woman who had started a local bakery chain. We got free breakfast from one of the bakeries (score), but the real treat was getting her advice on where to go eat, shop, and explore.