As digital marketing manager for a record store by day and editor for the music/art magazine Left Bank by night, Kristyn Potter is as New York as they come, even if she did grow up in Missouri. Between creating her first fanzine and finishing her first novel, the author of Indie Guides NYC took some time to guide us through the New York that won her over–from Coney Island beach to DIY concerts in Brooklyn, with an obligatory stop in the Bohemian bars of the East Village.
How does New York influence your work?
New York City is the artists’ paradise … maybe more so than any other place I’ve been (except maybe Paris, but that’s my personal bias). I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan, so I kind of have the best of both worlds in a way … I’m always met with different vibes, and inspiration from both places. The art in all of its various forms in this city is to die for, and simply going on a walk or sitting in one of the parks brings about so much creative inspiration. Although, I must say, I get the most inspiration for new creative works on subway rides.
Tell us about one of your guilty pleasures in New York
So this might sound a little strange, being surrounded by such wonderful museums and bars, movie theaters and music venues, but my guilty pleasure in the city is actually on Coney Island. It’s not necessarily the cleanest, and gets kind of rowdy during the summer, but during the fall and winter (especially really cold days) when no one is out on the beach, I love going there in really comfortable clothes, bundling up, and watching the waves. I also really love going to see indie films by myself at Angelika Film Center.
Tell us a funny/unexpected anecdote that’s happened to you in New York
When I first moved here, it was the day after Valentine’s Day and I was staying with a friend that I met in St. Louis a few years back. Within two weeks of moving here, I got a severe toothache and ended up needing a root canal. So, by my third week in the city, I had found a place in Brooklyn, found a dentist, and moved into my apartment the day of my root canal … crying to the IKEA delivery guy to please turn back around and deliver my furniture so I could sleep! I got the call for my first full-time job later that day. That’s what New York is like- highs and lows, sometimes in the same day, so its nice that I got accustomed to it early on.
What do you like the least about New York?
That’s a really hard question. As a non-native New Yorker, I think I didn’t realize how much I valued tranquility until I moved here. But its hard to say that I don’t like how crazy/intense New York is, because that’s also why I’m here. I could complain about traffic, or long lines at Whole Foods, but honestly, there isn’t anything I dislike about New York City. It’s such a beautiful, neurotic, thriving, complex, creative place, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What would you miss most if you had to leave New York?
Washington Square Park, and the little $5 book stands. It’s one of my favorite spots in the city. I would also really miss Pianos (a bar on the Lower East Side). So many good shows and memories there.
What’s your favorite food or drink in New York?
Whoa how is that question allowed?! So many to choose from … favorite food would have to be the fried chicken sandwich at Bua Bar (seriously my friends text me about it often!). And drink, probably Sidewalk Cafe in the East Village. The happy hour is so cheap, and they have live music in the back that touches my soul every time. My favorite guilty pleasure drink spot is the Empire Hotel … I love getting dolled up and actually putting on makeup and ordering expensive cocktails. Plus, I feel like I’m in Gossip Girl, which is always an added bonus.
What’s your favorite place to go to escape the city, even just for an hour?
I love this question! I would say Bear Mountain is great for a day hike. Woodstock is also amazing (but thats more of a weekend trip). And, my apartment is pretty far … so thats also a great place to escape! Another great contender would be The Cloisters. It’s an amazing museum north of Manhattan- the views of the Hudson River and New Jersey are spectacular. Everything is green and floral, and the actual museum collection is breathtaking.
What local artist should everyone know about?
Oh man this is difficult … Can I name multiple? Parrot Dream is a fantastic feel-good dream pop band that I adore; I just saw Ruby Aldridge’s new band Diet Choke at Elvis Guesthouse a few nights ago and they were AMAZING. Shameless plug for my boyfriends band Surf Rock is Dead. And, Porches. Because, PORCHES!!
In your opinion, what song best describes the ambiance of New York?
Santigold – Creator. Hands down.
What city do you dream of visiting?
Discover more alternative and cultural spots in New York City with our city guide Indie Guides NYC.