Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beaunz at large : Andrew does NYC

Today I'm introducing a new and (I think) super-cool series of posts called Beaunz-at-large. It really excites me when I hear about New Zealanders living overseas doing amazing things, especially when they're somewhere like Paris, or London, or - in the case of today's BAL; New York...sigh.

I've known Andrew since school, and he's always had the x factor - you just knew he would lead an exciting and creatively inspired life. Once upon a time he fronted The Larry Wednesdays (Ramone, anyone?) but these days he's stirring ad creatives at Y&R in The Big Apple.

Over to you, Andrew...

I’m living in… 
Nolita (North of Little Italy), New York.

I’ve been here…..
Almost two years now. Prior to that I spent 18 months in Boston and seven years in Singapore.

I’m here because… 
The city and I have a mutual understanding. It’s a summation of all my experiences and countries that I have lived in. I’m also here to be inspired. My job is to then inspire others.

The first thing I bought when I arrived was…?
Thermal underwear and snow boots. I thought New Zealand can get cold but New York is brutal. Some days it can drop to negative 20. 

My favourite thing about where I live is…? 
I have access to some of the best restaurants in the world. A few blocks south is Chinatown, to the east is Lower East Side, to the west is Soho and West Village, and north is Greenwich. There’s no excuse to eat bad food.

The thing I miss about NZ is…? 
Family is always top of mind. It’s hard when you’re not around to see your nieces and nephews grow or to be with your parents during their active golden years. Like anyone, I also miss the small things such as NZ summers, steak and cheese pies, Burger Rings, and Pineapple Lumps. Anything that reminds me of my teenage years always seems to rise to the top. 

The thing I don’t miss about NZ is…?
Driving in the traffic. Overtly aggressive male culture.

I wish I could…?
Open my own contemporary art museum in the future. In the meantime, I’ll continue to collect the pieces that will hang on its walls.

Since leaving NZ I…? 
Have been on a constant road trip and I’m not sure how to get back.

The best place for coffee in New York is…?
Bowery coffee is consistently good. It also serves pastries from Donut Plant. They’re as gourmet as a donut can get.

The best place to eat in New York is? 
This is impossible to answer unless I break it down into food groups. And even then I’d be leaving out a ton of places. Some top picks would be Pies & Thighs for fried chicken, Café Havana for Cuban, Xi’an for hand pulled noodles, Supper for American cuisine, Bozu for Japanese, and Kat’s Deli for sandwiches.

The best kept secret about New York is?
Madame Geneva. It’s a small Gin bar that serves incredible (and strong) concoctions. It’s probably only a small secret though.

I stay in touch with what’s going on in NZ by…?
I talk to family regularly and am always updated by friends (whether I like it or not) through their social media activity. I also read the NZ Herald online as much as possible.

Before I came here I thought New York was…?
Addictive. It still is.

The biggest change in me since I moved here is…? 
The city has definitely made me more resilient. It changes constantly so you need to adapt with it. The city also demands confidence and maturity or it will spit you out pretty quickly.

When people visit I always take them to…?
The High Line. It’s a 1-mile park that’s built on a former elevated railway line. It was redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway. It feels like you’re walking along an old rail track in the middle of the countryside.

For me, home is…? 
The present. I find it hard to settle if I’m constantly thinking about going back to somewhere else. I also have many “homes”. I obviously have strong bonds to New Zealand but I also spent many years in Singapore and my childhood years were spent in different parts of Asia.

When friends are visiting NZ I tell them to…?
Drive. I tell them to hire a car and just explore. You can’t really get lost and it’s the best way to discover the beautiful landscape. I usually tell them to make a beeline for the South Island though. The West Coast and Wanaka region are some of the most inspiring places to visit.

If I could describe my life here in three words it would be…?
Polarizing. Intense. Perfect.