ask Max about
Food • Outdoor • Shop • Other
a bit about Max
What are you working on?
I recently started as the UX/UI designer at a startup that is focused on providing great group experiences. We deal mainly with live events spaces, but will be shifting to other areas in the future. The team and my colleagues make it by far the best job I have had so far. We push each other, help each other learn and above all, have a great time working towards a shared goal. Outside of that I always have a few different side projects I am working on. Right now the main focus is on a farm in the Berkshires (Western MA) which I purchased with my parents last year. We are currently working to get the buildings renovated and rehab the land. Also, we are still trying to figure out exactly what the long term vision is. The interesting thing about a project like this is that nothing happens overnight and it all takes a bit longer than you'd hope. That has helped me become more patient and allow things unfold as they are meant to. No forced deadlines, just an organic sort of process.
What drives you mad these days?
Over the last year I have really been focusing on wellness, health, fitness and basically everything to do with my body - inside and out. I had never thought of myself as the type of person who would enjoy yoga, but my girlfriend pushed me to try it and I have to say, I am a total convert. Most of my exercise had always been very athletic and high impact. So to incorporate an alternative that took such a high level of mental focus and at the same time helped to improve the connection between mind and body was revelatory for me.
What makes you happy?
I have lived in New York for 10 years now, which definitely qualifies me as a "New Yorker". We are a different breed, and I have to say nothing makes me happier than fast, efficient, personalized and spot on customer service. Whether it’s your barista remembering your order, your bartender making sure he greets you even if he's in the weeds and making a drink or just watching the guy making your sandwich power through his work like a pro. All of these make me smile.
When was the last time you cried?
Living in New York, the things that make it the greatest place in the world are often what makes it the hardest to survive in. After trudging through the crowds commuting to work and then having a tough day at the office, repeating the commute home, then braving the grocery store. It can all feel like you're a bit underwater. Those days is can all be a little more than you can handle. Once in awhile it all just gets the best of you and some emotional instability takes over.
What is playing in your earphones nowadays?
I have listened to Tycho for years, but I keep finding myself going back to it. Like most people now, I listen to music while I work and finding something that allows me to focus, be motivated and also stay upbeat is hard to find. Tycho is exactly that for me.
What was the last movie you went to?
My girlfriend and I had been wanting to see Martian with Matt Damon since seeing the preview this Spring. We finally saw it last week and it totally stood up to our expectations.
When it’s time for a new wardrobe, where do you go?
I always wear a mix of workwear, technical gear and basic menswear. I love quality products and things that are truly made for a purpose and built to last. Some of my go-to brands are Unis, Patagonia, Carhartt, Outdoor Voices, LL Bean, and Saturdays NYC.
What’s your go-to café in New York?
It all depends. If I am staying in the "neighborhood" I love to bring people to Stanley's RX. I am also big on picking locations that are easy for everyone to get to, or to visit a spot I like in particular. Ground Support in SoHo has been a standby over the years. Seems like it is always pretty easy for people to get to and their coffee, food and environment is amazing - whether you're working on your laptop (they have Wifi!) or trying to chill out and catch up with a friend.
Where’s your favourite street or neighbourhood to wander in New York?
I lived in the West Village for many years and I always love taking a stroll there. Even when I lived there I would pop out of the apartment just to do a quick lap around the hood. The streets are small, the shops are mostly all cute and there always seems to be some activity happening.
What do you LOVE to do in the city but never actually do?
I love to get out on the water. Whether it's taking the Circle line or water taxi. I am huge on getting unique and different perspectives on a landscape or cityscape and one in particular that I like in New York is the removed feeling of viewing it all from the water. It seems so small and insignificant but the movement and energy is still visible.
Who’s your hero and where would you take them out to eat or drink in New York?
Steve Prefontaine. Probably soba at Cocoron on Delancey. A nice hearty soup and some noodles, hopefully after a run!
What would make a perfect day in the sun for you?
That's a tough one because it's always so contextual. But recently I have been loving a morning workout and then lots of walking around with my dog Ernest and my girlfriend. Stopping off at some favorite coffee and juice spots for "refueling". I also love walking over the bridges to Brooklyn. It's always nice and quiet and a great way to see the city. Then heading out for a nice dinner either in the neighborhood or one of our favorite spots like Balaboosta in SoHo.
It’s raining for days and you’re sick of staying at home - where would you go?
I moved to New York to go to art school so the museums like MoMa, Natural History, and the Met are part of "my city". They feel almost like professors or old mentors and are a great place to escape the weather and get inspired. I have always thought that you can find some fair at a museum.
What’s a place in New York you feel like only you know about?
Astor Hair. I have been getting my haircut here for the past 10 years. Well, recently not very much as I have been working on growing it out, but normally I go in there for a trim every 6 to 8 weeks. My guys Dominic and Sal always fit me right in, no need for an appointment. When you walk down into this basement space on the corner of Broadway and Astor Place there is a buzz. Forty of fifty barbers are all hard at work, quickly snipping away. Recently all these hipster barber shops having been popping up around the city and really the world have all been giving out the same bad attitudes and overpriced topknots and slick backs. Astor Hair is out of old New York. A cut and a wash is under $15 and the experience is the best.
If tomorrow was your last day in New York before you left for good, how would you spend it?
I would definitely start by going back to my "city roots" and visit Fort Greene and Clinton Hill area where I went to college. After that I would probably just start walking and try to hit as many places I love and have nostalgic feelings for as I can along the way. I'll be trying to create a mental picture for what the city looked like when I left, as its face changes quickly and will never be the same again.
If you were given a choice, mayor of which neighborhood would you be?
Right now, I am really in love with my neighborhood, located between Lower East Side and Chinatown. So many great shops, restaurants and other business have been popping up and I feel like we are friends with all the owners. The same group of people frequent all of them and it makes the city smaller and a bit more my own.
What’s the place in New York you’ll never be caught dead in?
Basically all national chain restaurants and stores. I feel like those corporate brands destroy the heart and soul of towns and cities. Everything that's great about New York has to do with the stuff that is only here and nowhere else.
What's the thing you love doing that isn't work, relationship or family related?
I grew up working in restaurants and cooking so it's really always super enjoyable to come up with a new dish or a new take on a classic thing and create the shopping list. Preparing the meal and sitting down to eat with my girlfriend and obviously Ernest(our dog) vigilantly begging nearby.
When you feel like going on a night out, what's the first place you usually consider going to?
For me a night out always starts with an amazing meal. I love starting out at a place like Fedora, Roberta's or Balaboosta. Recently I have been going out a bit less, but I always enjoy a cool house party. In New York, when someone invites you to a party you often end up in a wild apartment with a new perspective of the city that you otherwise would have missed. If going "OUT OUT" is the prerogative though, I really love Verboten. The music and crowd is always amazing. Not to mention they aren't super exclusive or elitist. Everyone always dances their asses off there.
You've just got the best news ever. Where would you go to celebrate and with whom?
My spot right now is Kiki's. It's a super casual and hip new Greek restaurant. The food is traditional Greek and always super fresh and delicious. Also, the prices are super affordable and the staff and owners are great people.