1.) How long have you been in your city? When did you first visit your city?
I’ve lived in New York City for almost a year and a half now. But I first visited when I was six years old on a day trip to see the Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. I knew even then, stepping off the bus at that young age, that NYC was the only place I wanted to live.
2.) Where should people stay and visit?
I think people should definitely try to stay in areas that aren’t Midtown/Times Square when they visit. Staying more downtown, like in quieter areas of SoHo or in the West Village give visitors a whole new perspective of NYC that many tourists never get to experience, like great bars and restaurants. Especially with the West Village, visitors will find themselves in the middle of lots of LGBTQ history with the Stonewall Inn and many other cultural landmarks (like Carrie Bradshaw’s brownstone from Sex and the City of course) has to offer.
3.) Give us a tour of your gayborhood?
My gayborhood is actually quite up and coming in our community. I live in Hamilton Heights in West Harlem and many gay guys and LGBTQ folks are flocking to this uptown neighborhood if they haven’t already. Just steps from my apartment, I have the go-to neighborhood watering hole that is Harlem Public. They have a tasty Twizzler vodka lemonade and the loaded grilled cheese, which has Doritos and guacamole, is a guilty pleasure that needs to be experienced by your taste buds at least once in your life. If you’re looking for something a little calmer and quieter, the Italian restaurant Bo•No is great for pizza, pasta, and of course wine. The Chipped Cup is my preferred writing spot to grab a cup of coffee and ginger cookie while I get some work done. If I want to go for a run, Riverside Park is ideal and lively with fellow runners.
4.) Where do gentlemen go for brunch?
Gentlemen go lots of places in NYC! However, Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea are definitely the two big ones. Hell’s Kitchen provides some fabulous nightlife, taking in drag shows and revues over a cocktail at Therapy or dancing the night away at The Ritz are both options. Flaming Saddles Saloon is perfect for country music fans who like cute bartenders dancing in cowboy boots… and pouring tequila down your throat. Then Chelsea is an institution. The Eagle is the ultimate place to go for a good cruise while also enjoying Sunday beer blasts on the roof deck when the weather is nice.
5.) What’s a hidden gem?
Backtracking back to my own gayborhood, Riverbank State Park is a hidden gem of a Manhattan park unlike any other. Located right on the Hudson River, Riverbank has amazing views of the river, George Washington Bridge, and the hills over in New Jersey. It can definitely be a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
6.) What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
My favorite restaurant in the city is Joanne Trattoria. If you’re a little monster and the name sounds familiar, it is because this Upper West Side haunt is owned by Lady Gaga’s family. As a big Italian food fan, I love the lasagna. Craft cocktails with names like the Gaga and the Monster will give you a million reasons to return. Plus, the chance of getting to brush shoulders with the “Born This Way” superstar’s family members is pretty thrilling.
7.) What’s your perfect day in NYC?
My perfect day in NYC would be a blend of the cultural and social. I’d definitely start with a bottomnless brunch with friends on Upper West Side or the West Village. An afternoon of walking around and lounging in Central Park would be next, before heading to see a Broadway show in the evening. For a night cap, I’d definitely get all my friends together for some beer blast fun at The Eagle.
Cooper is a cultural writer, social media consultant and manager, and freelance television production assistant living in New York City. Cooper was born in Washington DC and raised in Pittsburgh.
Most recently, Cooper has worked on The Wendy Williams Show as an intern and is currently a production assistant on Skavlan when the Scandinavian talk show films in New York. He is a film critic for his own blog, The Morning After… The Movies, and a cultural writer for The Daily Dot. Cooper also takes pride in his own freelance social media business, helping manage the brands and social channels of artists and organizations in New York.