Photography: Anna Bloda
It’s great that New York is packed with endless shops and hot spots, but if you only have one weekend in the city, the sheer number of options can easily be overwhelming. As a club kid without many resources, I’ve had to weed out the noise in NYC to find ones that cater to young, creative people (because in all seriousness, most people in this city act really bougie toward our kind). So here’s some of my favorite places in the city to indulge your inner club kid, even if only for the weekend.
Best Stores: VFILES & Patricia Field
Starting off your vacation in the city, you’re going to need some cool threads to get past the shady door people at New York clubs. Finding club kid attire in New York is a lot harder than you’d think, but two stores definitely keep the chaotic, colorful style alive. VFILES, 12 Mercer St., has quickly become the “it” store around which all Underground downtown fashion revolves. They carry brands like Moschino, Discount Universe and Roberto Piqueras and never disappoint.
Patricia Field, 306 Bowery, has been open for decades and remains a paradise for eccentric shoppers. Tons of club kids work in the shop and the store’s design is as intriguing and fantastic as the garments they sell. It’s definitely a must-see and if you shop online with them right now you can use “Nicky” as a discount code for 20% off—BOOM.
Best Cheap Makeup: E.L.F
The E.L.F store, 741 Broadway, near St. Mark’s place is my biggest club kid hack. The makeup costs next to nothing—between one and ten dollars for everything—and is relatively good quality. They have a station at the front of the store with mirrors and makeup wipes, so you can buy your shit and use it right there. Otherwise, go downstairs to the luxe bathrooms at the Smith Restaurant on 3rd Avenue. My best friend and I used to do our makeup down there every night the first year we lived in New York.
Best Stores: VFILES & Patricia Field
Now that you have some cool clothes and makeup, you need a cute day picture to post online to make your friends jealous that you’re in New York. On the northwest corner of Houston and Bowery, there is a mural that changes every couple of months. It’s always huge, extremely graphic and definitely a great New York photo op. Right now the mural is a huge picture of a baby dressed as the Incredible Hulk, bulging muscles and all. It’s trippy.
Best Restaurant: Panna II
Most people in New York photosynthesize instead of eating—not me though. One of my favorite places is this little Indian restaurant named Panna II, 93 1st Ave. #2. It’s an absolute mindfuck. For whatever reason, the inside of the restaurant is decked out with thousands of Christmas tree lights, weird chachkies and celebrity photos. It’s cheap and great for Instagram. You might run into me because I’m there a lot—my best friend and I even have a photo on their wall of “celebrities” (LOL). Tell the waiter it’s your birthday and they’ll bring you free dessert.
Best Clubs: Up&Down and The Box
After dinner, rest up because New York nightlife doesn’t really begin until after midnight. In fact, the later you can arrive at a party, the more lively it’s bound to be. For very different reasons, two venues stand out among the sea of clubs. The Up&Down, 244 W. 14th St., is definitely the best place to rage—I have literally swung from the chandeliers like that Sia song and they didn’t even kick me out. The crowd is very see-and-be-seen, so you’ll feel super chic while going ham. You’ll probably even catch a celebrity or two on your first visit. One time I thought I talked to Rihanna, but I wasn’t wearing my glasses and found out later that it was just Rita Ora—oh well.
The Box, 189 Chrystie St., is the opposite of the Up&Down—think less of a club and more of a burlesque show. Three or four times a night, the entire club must be seated and a crazy performance happens while popcorn is handed around. When performances aren’t happening the DJ spins and the party rages. One time Jude Law had the table next to me and was shaking champagne bottles and spraying them all over everyone. There are great bathrooms for making out with people, powdering your noise and all other forms of debauchery. Photography and video are banned at the Box, so don’t go looking for an previews for what’s in store—you’re just going to have to experience it for yourself.
Best Dive Bar: Clockwork
When my makeup has smudged all night long and I’m already wasted from bottle service at the club, I like to move over to a good dive bar so I don’t have to feel bad about looking gross. Clockwork, 21 Essex St, is a dark, graffiti-covered dive bar that makes you feel right at home. Drinks are super cheap and they don’t judge you when you can hardly get your drink order out without slurring words.
Best Hangover Spot: Macondo
Macondo, 157 E Houston St., is easily the best place to kill a hangover. One time I went with my friend Ruth and I swear we may have found the bottom of the bottomless mimosas, but I can’t be sure because I blacked out from drinking too many. The brunch special is $15, and the playlist always has great Reggae-ton and salsa music.