I admit that it’s partly cheating that we’re using one of our best friends as one of our cool locals, but like, sorry we’re not sorry she’s perfect for this role! Dominique was one of our first friends we met when coming to college in NYC over four years ago and she continues to be in our Top 8 because she’s a yes woman who is seriously always up for whatever. If she doesn’t respond to our texts, she’s most likely doing one of three things: taking dance classes at Broadway Dance Studio, songwriting, or cooking kale and tofu in her 6th floor walkup apartment. Last week, she even told me she even took a boxing class…by herself. I know, right!
Dom and I met up at a place near Chinatown called 69 Bayard, right down the street from a restaurant she once tried taking me to, just to find out it was closed. Oh Dominique. Get. Your. Life. But we did end up going back and I even wrote about it here in the guide “Where to get your Asian fix in Manhattan.” This time we decided to have dinner at a Chinese restaurant, not because it boasted good reviews, but mainly because we walked by and saw all the cash money on the walls. The health department gave 69 Bayard a “B,” but we’d give it an “A” for effort.
How did you end up in New York City?
College, Carrie Bradshaw, and Lady Gaga. I hated Times Square but there was something about New York that made me want to live here.
What do you say to people who think you have to be rich to live in New York?
It’s 5pm on Friday and you just got out of work, what do you do? How do you spend your evening?
I usually feel obligated to check the nearby retail stores for sales on things I’d never pay full price for. Always check out GAP sale sections on Fridays. They usually have a sale on the sale. You can never have too many basics in ya closet. Then I walk home to Harlem – yes all the way from Times Square to Harlem – where I will probably dance around my apartment with my roommates till about 8pm till I text Damon and we go out to get drinks at M2M (his recommendation), and then end up at Bar None dancing to some Ashanti.
You’re dead broke, and want to have a good time in the city. What can you recommend?
If I’m broke, that usually means $0 is being spent that day AKA packing my lunch. If the weather is nice I’ll do the Roosevelt Island Tram, Staten Island Ferry, or a Brooklyn Bridge Park date with friends since the park has been revamped. Museums like the MET ain’t neva hurt nobody either – and it’s donation-based.
What is your favorite cheap eat and why?
Besides $1 pizza, Wo Hop in Chinatown is amaaaaazing. Just bring a friend (and like $5 each in cash) and split one of their giant plates of food in a basement plastered with strangers’ photos and dollar bills. Yaaas shrimp fried rice. Oh and the East Harlem Café down the street from me has delicious whole wheat pancakes for 99cents on Fridays.
What keeps you living in New York City?
The atmosphere. I know everyone says that, but it’s true. There’s something about the energy, the convenience, the diversity, the way it marries grunge with glamour. There’s a weird sense of gratitude I have being able to live a life here. I really do think if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere. Living in New York forces you to put up with a lot.
What do you consider a general rule of thumb about living in New York?
Where do you go out to get your drank and your two-step on?
Usually bars on the LES or Brooklyn with no cover. BOBs, Home Sweet Home, Bembe, Bedlam, Bossa Nova (I really like the letter B apparently) .These places have the best music and I always have a great/carefree time. Basically anywhere I can shamelessly do the running man or twerk like I’m in a Juvenile video – I’m there!
What has been one of your craziest New York experiences?
The day I moved out of my college dorm and into my friend’s apartment has left a New York mark. Of course I didn’t hire a moving truck or ask a friend to drive me and my eleven bags. Why would I, right? I instead made two trips; one on a crowded 2 train with like five bags (bag lady) and the other in a cab that took 15 minutes to hail, all by my lonesome.
If you’re a cool local of your city, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your Instagram and 140 characters about why you should be featured in our “Locals of” series!
In our “Locals of” series, we will be highlighting locals of each city we travel to. Go figure. These aren’t just randos walking down the street; they’re people we have personally connected with and vouch for in terms of knowing how to do their city right. They’ve got some juicy deets that might just change the way you see their cities and we want to share them with you.
Check out more of Dominique (@__itsdominique__)!