a bit about Monica
What do you do and why do you do it?
By day I am a writer for a business to business publication, serving up marketing reports and articles, by night and weekends I run my own haircare business making organic flaxseed gel, leaving cute notes in my orders for customers. I write therefore I am, but its seriously been my passion since I was five y/o. Most everyone in Brooklyn, and New York for the matter has a side hustle, hence MiracleFlax hair gel.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?
My worst job was in PR. I was representing a client who's building development would have cast shadows on Central Park, while I secured some awesome media placements, the set up just didn't sit right. Not working there anymore has been the best thing ever!
Were you born and raised in New York? If not, where did you grow up and what brought you to New York?
I was born and partially raised in Jacksonville, Florida until I moved to the Seattle area as a teen. I came to New York about three years ago for graduate school and to learn how to be a proper journalist. I often joke with people that all I have to do is move to Arizona and I'll have lived in each corner of the country. But I think New York has really charmed me and that I'll stay for a while
What’s your current hood in New York and what’s the best/worst thing about it?
I live in Crown Heights Brooklyn, the best thing about it, cliche as this might sound, is the vibe. The conversations you hear walking down the street, the sense of community, the very different cultures, particularly Jewish and Jamaican living side by side is wonderful to see, not to mention creates some awesome food options in the neighborhood. Crown Heights also seems to be located right in the middle of things, near me I have culture, arts, parks, restaurants, bar, funky hipster culture. You see the most beautiful and interesting people and styles in Brooklyn, here you can take fashion risks.
What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?
I listen to most any and everything save for country music. Sorry to say but the honky tonk just rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it was growing up in Jacksonville that put me off the country music. Kendrick Lamar's Damn is great, I have 'Element' on repeat. I am also obsessed with Childish Gambino's 'Redbone', I also enjoy the autotune crooning of 24HRS. Luckily live music is big here, a friend of mine Devin Tracy has a residency at The Bowery Electric, he's Neo-Soul and amazing, you'll likely catch me there.
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
I'm an old soul so Sade usually soothes me quite nicely. 'No Ordinary Love', 'Is it a Crime', 'Love is Stronger Than Pride' all do it for me. K-Camp 'Cut Her Off', Big Sean 'IDFWU', The XX 'Missing' are also good.
Name the best TV shows of all time, and what makes them so good?
Right now I love Chewing Gum, Insecure, and the old YouTube series 'Awkward Black Girl', mostly because Michaela Coel and Issa Rae are so talented and beautiful, its not usual to see black women in these roles, they're the love interests, and so perfectly human and believable. I love shows that appeal to realism and make subtle comments on society. Plus I really relate to Issa making up weird little rap songs, I may or may not have done this myself.
Name some spots in New York that are good for a Tinder date.
Oh the woes of Tinder haha. If its a day date I would say Matcha Bar because it safely located outside of Brooklyn in case your date is a total weirdo, but perhaps you're into that, since its in Chelsea you can walk to nearby art galleries after. For a night date I'd say Fat Cat, its a cool little bar with old school games of ping pong, foosball, air hokey, and pool, they also have awesome live music.
Which public figure would you want to see “roasted”? (every public figure is fair game).
Donald Trump, because who wouldn't take pleasure in taking jabs at the clown? Plus there is just so much comedic fodder.
Who’s your hero and where in New York would you take them out for a serious hang?
Zadie Smith is a favorite writer of mine, I aspired to write like her when I was younger. I imagine her to be very cultured and classy, so I might take her to BAM to see a performance.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
In Seattle we have a tradition of thrifting, to continue this awesome act of recycling fashion I like Buffalo Exchange in Williamsburg, there's vintage and funky finds.
What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?
I once had to go to East New York and I got a $100 ticket for not having a receipt when I boarded a bus. Yea, not fun.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
I have always wanted to go to Coney Island and ride the rides at Luna Park, in my hometown we have a county fair twice a year, Coney Island in the summer would be the Brooklyn equivalent.
Where do you go in New York for a casual night out?
There is a route of bars that a will take you on a tour of nice areas in Brooklyn that are easy to get to. I start on Franklin Avenue, pad my stomach with some of the awesome restaurants there, Domo Taco is good, then go 2 stops on the train to Soda Bar. If you walk a little further you make it to Hot Bird bar where a lot of European expats hang out. Otherwise Brooklyn Bowl and Bedford Hall are good options.
Where would you go in New York to celebrate some freaking good news?
Mayfield's on Franklin is a good option when I don't want to leave Brooklyn its fancy enough for a special occasion. If you're willing to go Uptown Red Rooster or Sylvia's in Harlem are great restaurants, I take out-of-towners there.
What’s your choice of transportation in New York and why?
I ride MTA's most humble of inventions, the Subway. Its the great equalizer, all sorts of humanity ride the subway. It is by far the cheapest way to get around and with detailed maps, some of them interactive, it is easy too.
What are the New York spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
First-timers should see our parks, In Brooklyn hit the museum circuit, Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Museum are right next to each other. Also check out the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, its beautiful, walk a few feet further and you're in Prospect Park, spread out a blanket and eat from the local vendors who sell there in late spring/Early summer. Better yet peruse Smorgasburg and catch views of the East River. Oh and there's games at Barclays if you're into that.
What are the New York spots tourists should run from screaming?
If you can avoid it, stay out of Times Square. Although you might be temped to catch a play in Theater District, and snap a photo with the Naked Cowboy in Times Square, grab a dirty water dog (or falafel for my fellow vegetarians) and eat it in Bryant Park. That's if you can if you can handle the bustling crowd, they will cut you off in sidewalk traffic.
Tomorrow’s your last day in New York. How do you spend it?
I would start with delicious eggs benedict at Le Barricou, work it off running up those pyramid-like steps in Forte Greene Park, then walk over to MoCADA to see some dope African Art, and maybe pick up a few non-cheesy souvenirs. Clean up and catch a show at Bowery Electric on the cheaper end or listen to the Blues at Milton's. By now you're starving and should eat at Red Rooster, elevated southern fair. Head downstairs to the night club and dance the night away! Not keen on dancing? Head back to Brooklyn and have some tasty vegan food at Itala cafe, which is conveniently located near Butter & Scotch, where you can get booze and dessert.
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
I went to Paraty in Brazil and fell in love. The small town is definitely off the beaten path, the views of the Atlantic are inspiring, cobbled roads and artisanal vendors so charming, there you can press the restart button in the tranquil seclusion of it all.