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McKenna Kemp

Mover & Maker

New York City Guide

Coffee & Tea

  • House of Small Wonder

    House of Small Wonder is a cafe mixing European and Japanese influences. Tucked away in Williamsburg, when you enter the almost-hidden door you find a world that's more treehouse than cafe. Literally - there's a tree growing through the middle of it! Great for a rainy day, you feel protected under the tree and skylight. Pro tip: If you're big on Sashimi, try the Sashimi Zuke Don, one of my favorite meals in NY. Fresh Sashimi, egg, avocado, roe, and mushrooms over sushi rice.

  • Five Leaves

    For a more outdoor cafe, I love grabbing a coffee at Five Leaves. Either from its efficient to-go counter to take to McCarren Park, or to sit down (when it's not so crowded) to read the paper and people-watch. Lots of good people-watching, as it's at the point where Williamsburg meets Greenpoint, and there are lots of comings and goings and pups and babies to fawn over.

Shopping

  • French Garment Cleaners Co.

    FGC Co. has an amazing selection of designer clothes and goods - I drool over it's window selections daily since I live nearby (think Rachel Comey, Isabel Marant, A.P.C.) It's also in the middle of Fort Greene, and close to the park, so it's perfect for a weekend visit. Go peruse and follow it up with some tacos at nearby Habana Outpost.

  • McNally Jackson Store: Goods For The Study

    I have a thing for nick-nacks and office supplies, and this tiny store in Nolita hits the spot for both. Also has a great selection of art prints in the back. Keep an eye out for Blackwing Pencils and Craft Design Technology products.

Food

  • Do or Dine

    One day I got locked out of my house, went to a nearby restaurant to drink, and fell in love with Do or Dine. The food is described best by the makers themselves: "The menu, a bit of circus cuisine, is inspired by everything from sushi to Hip Hop, from pb&j’s to Per Se." If you like remixing flavors and a chill place to grab a drink, you can find both of those here (especially in their backyard in summertime). Also, run by the nicest dudes around. Recommended Dishes: E666s (deep-fried deviled eggs with culantro and bacon), Nippon Nachos (gouda, cheddar, masago in fried dumplings with sour cream), A Chicken and Woffals (jerk chicken with maple syrup, pineapple, chicken liver, waffle)

  • Xi'an Famous Foods 西安名吃

    When I first had XFF, my friend (who's from Xi'an, the Chinese city) brought it to us at work, waxing poetic about how good and true it was to the original cuisine. Unlike anything you've tasted before, XFF manages to take your flavor sensors in a million directions. Xi'an is located along the silk road, so it's a place where Middle Eastern and Chinese culture merged, and you can see this in the food. Cumin and cilantro are main players in many of the dishes. Plates of the Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles are both spicy hot and cold at the same time, resulting in tingly, delicious goodness. Make sure you have water on hand because most of these dishes are crazy spicy. Also - SuUuUuPer cheap! Their lamb burger goes for $3.50 and most everything is under $10. Recommended Dishes: Spicy Cumin Lamb Burger, Liang Pi Cold Skin Noodles

Bars

  • Tørst

    One of the rare US locations you can get a huge selection of Evil Twin, and your pick of other great cult beers. Great for an after-dinner drink.

  • Doris

    Great spot in Bed Stuy that transports you from Brooklyn to New Mexico. Good music, good vibes, plus a magical backyard in the summer.

Adventures

  • Bike Ride to Coney Island

    Ocean Parkway has one of the first bike paths in Brooklyn, and you can take it straight from Carroll Gardens to Coney Island in a few hours. Once you get there, you have an excuse to order all the fried food and beer you want, and a train to whisk you back if you want to take the easy way home.

  • James Turrell's 'Meeting'

    One of the most calming places in the city is James Turell's 'Meeting' installation. Often called the 'Sky room', this installation is on the top floor of MoMA PS1 in Queens. "Meeting is composed of a square room with a rectangular opening cut directly into the ceiling. Carefully calculated artificial lights produce an orange glow on the white walls of the room, permitting the viewer to appreciate the intensity of the sky’s color." It's moving to see a re-framing of something we see everyday and sometimes forget to appreciate. Lay on the floor and wait for an airplane to strip across the 'canvas'.

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