New York, United States
Matt, 31
Freelance Writer and Illustrator
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What do you do and why do you do it?

I'm a freelance writer, illustrator, arts advocate, and marketer. I love telling stories and immersing myself in the culture of a city, and as a lifelong artist I'm a passionate protector of arts institutions, having fundraised and marketed for contemporary art and opera. I believe that we are limited only by our own ambitions, and I constantly strive to pursue diverse work across different fields to broaden my perspective and meet the incredible people that populate this city along the way.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

I've got an ever-evolving "Grey Skies" playlist full of Regina Spektor, Ryan Adams, and Sufjan Stevens ready and waiting whenever I'm in a rut. Sometimes the best solution to feeling down is to go up, though, so I've also got some 80s and 90s jam mixes when I'm more about moving on than feeling down.

Name some spots in New York that are good for a Tinder date.

New York has so many options; I feel like the sky's the limit. There are amazing bars and restaurants galore, but I've found that the best Tinder dates are ones that go a little outside of the norm and create a unique shared experience. Going to a gallery show opening, picking out books at The Strand, or seeing an artsy movie at the Paris The Paris Theater would be my top picks.

Who’s your hero and where in New York would you take them out for a serious hang?

My hero is my mom, and if all goes as planned she'll be visiting soon and I can take her out to get the best lobster roll in town at Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I love great fashion but I'm bound by a practical budget. I like to get a lot of my basics at Uniqlo, Zara, J. Crew, and Scout (an Italian brand), then supplement with some nicer pieces from Burberry, Dior Homme, and Saint Laurent.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Times Square. The crowds, the tourists, the just-dirty-enough-to-be-creepy mascot costumes…no thanks. I avoid that area as much as I can.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

I love to walk around and allow myself to get lost. I find the best way to experience any city often involves going off the beaten path or finding little side streets on the way to your destination. The flipside of New York’s excitement and scale is that it’s always frenetically busy, and it’s rare for me to have an opportunity to really just go at my own pace without worrying about being late. It’s ironic that one of the things I spent the most time doing here as a visitor is something I almost never do as a resident.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in New York?

I think going to the top of the Empire State Building is overrated, but I also believe that an experience is what you make of it. Paying money just to go up really high doesn't do much for me, but I know it's an iconic New York City landmark, and I've heard the view is incredible. I'm not going to knock people that love it; it's just not for me.

Tomorrow’s your last day in New York. How do you spend it?

Ideally, going to an opera and seeing a friend sing, then meeting them for drinks after. I've met some incredible singers that are also wonderful people, and seeing them perform on stage is almost indescribably beautiful.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I feel beautifully alive in Paris. The city, the people, the food, and the art are all amazing, and it's a wonderful thing to feel so welcome whenever I visit. I've yet to properly see all of the Louvre, so I'm always ready to go back, and I even have a soft spot for the gloomy weather. Some people flee to the beaches every chance they get; I'm just as happy spending my vacation in a coffee shop on a rainy afternoon, or walking through the Jardin du Luxembourg on a foggy morning.

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Jiri Duzar