Background: Jackie, who was born and raised in New York is a singer, songwriter and composer and is studying Astrophysics. Beyond this, she also manages to find time to be a Showaround local and introduce visitors to the secret haunts of the concrete jungle. Jackie is ready to tailor tours and share the prime of Brooklyn, as well as her favourite rooftop bars and music venues, eateries that serve exquisite food for a good price, music studios, museums, and the Lowline where she’s volunteering. Read on to find out more about Jackie’s favourite spots and key things that only a real New Yorker would do.
Showaround: Why did you decide to become a Showaround Local?
Jackie: I am a passionate traveller myself. I’ve always received the blessing of natives incorporating me into their lives whenever I’ve travelled to Europe and South America. In that experience, you meet a stethoscope of exciting people. Some of them have become lifelong friends, business affiliates, audiences to my music and have changed my life in just one conversation. I saw Showaround Local as an opportunity to do the same for others and spread the good karma I have received. I think it is delightful that I can use my free time to make some extra money in doing something I love. Showaround is also flexible with my own projects.
Showaround: Name three super local things to do in the city?
Jackie: New Yorkers try to avoid crowds because of the skyrocketing prices that crowds bring (from already existing inflation). The luxury of choosing a Showaround Local to guide you is that a local can give you a personalized experience as s(he) would with his or her own friend, to ensure that you don’t get scammed.
From business founders to techies, New Yorkers pinpoint a local cafe where they can sit for hours and focus on their work. For me, it’s the Civil Service Cafe in BedStuy, Brooklyn. I am friendly with the baristas there; they’re good people. When I sit down, I know they will play a track that might stir something in my own music. In the cold winter, I once saw an Ethiopian musical genius playing the piano smoothly through his Macbook keyboard. I glanced at what he was composing, and it was pretty dope music that I’ve certainly never heard before. The energy and food at the Civil Service Cafe is the perfect combination, and it creates an ideal environment to be productive in. I’ve eaten their Roma Crispy Chicken Cutlet sandwich through many great career milestones. I feel a special chemistry with that cafe. Their food tastes like home, and they’re open until 8:00 pm—which is late in BedStuy time. Finding a good cafe is rare.
New Yorkers are always looking for new startup projects and green movements to support. There is one happening in the Lower East Side. It is a green movement in the Downtown community called the Lowline. The Lowline Lab is an immaculate space. The plants bloom in a structure designed after the Grand Canyon. Natural sunlight is redirected underground to feed the light spectrum, which in turn feeds the plants through pipelines and reflective panels. They will be building a 60,000 sq. ft. public park that has free educational programs in the sciences in an abandoned MTA trolley system.
You can see symbolic structures representing the rich history of the United States all around New York City. As you walk through the skyscrapers, take a look up at the art deco masterpieces or take a break at any point to observe the evolution of New York's skyline over time. I did not originally understand the visual contrast of the buildings, but my clients have made me fall in love with my city just as I did when I was a child. It’s magical.
You can see these contrasting views in New York’s museums. Curators constantly update them with artwork from coveted or enclosed artists. During the Winter, Spring or Fall New York Fashion Week, there is a mass of galleries showcasing newly-famed artists to be found throughout the city. If you stumble upon a crowded entrance of smokers with sweaty hair and plastic cups of wine, you’re in for a surprise. Simply walk through the Bowery, Upper East Side and Williamsburg neighborhoods during fashion week. I can name dozens of galleries, but my ultimate gallery is the Gagosian Gallery.
The Gagosian Gallery always has something mind-blowing when you need to lift your spirit from the exhausting pavement pounding. On my first time, I saw the Francis Bacon Gallery. The warped faces in his work were very disturbing to me; they looked so realistic—except that they are from a point of view that feels like you’ve just been punched in the eye in a nightmare while looking at a subject's face. I had to leave the room. Just as being lured to enter into a room with art would intrigue me, I was intrigued by his work after he gave me the urge to exit his room. I pried into his mind and found out that the world has unanswered questions about Bacon since 1909. I read 'Interviews With Francis Bacon,' and I found him to be the most hysterical misfit. His paintings are an 'artificial reality.' It empowered me to remember that no matter who thinks your vision is crazy, you should always stand by it. The book lead me to discover Degas in an exhibition at the MoMA where The Star is now my favorite painting of all time.
Showaround: Best place for a drink?
Jackie: My friends and I joke that there is really nothing for us to do in New York but to go out drinking. I am grateful that my clients on Showaround have opened my eyes by pointing out new things that I once overlooked. You can find great drinks all over New York. For top-of-the-line cocktails, make a reservation at a former speakeasy by the name of Raines Law Room in Chelsea. You will get an intimate atmosphere where you can really sit down and get to know a person or reflect on life. They have an array of traditional and experimental cocktails to choose from; I would recommend the Amaretto Sour. The walls are red, and the lighting is smokey, it makes you want to do something devious.
Showaround: What about the nightlife?
Jackie: Bring your spare flats because we are about to take a walk into Meatpacking and it’s about to get crazy on a weeknight. It’s ratchet over there! You have the Top of the Standard with a glistening view—if you’re looking for the classic New York night out. You can also walk around Meatpacking to find a local nightclub that will tickle your fancy. Meatpacking was formerly an industrial area that has been converted into a highly developed luxury-living community. There is one other spot to hit: a former ice warehouse in Bushwick called House of Yes, it is by the Jefferson L Train Stop. You will stumble across aerial performances and burlesque shows at the House of Yes and meet new faces. There are so many clubs for different preferences in Bushwick that are up and coming, as well. Just be sure to be cautious anytime that you’re out in New York at night, you don’t want to become the main character in an Orsen Welles mystery film.
Showaround: How would you describe the local people of New York?
Jackie: Looking from an outside lens, the natives of New York reveal a few indistinguishable qualities: we are hard-working, on a mission, curious about other cultures, love to break out of routine when we can; we are loyal and tolerant if you don’t stand in our way. We have a strong defence mechanism and have seen some pretty bizarre things that make us suspicious of others. Even though New York is a liberal state, institutionalized racism and racial divide are rampant. New Yorkers are apathetic unless something has happened to someone that they care about, but you could find solace in the care of a stranger on a lucky day.
This is the place of the Bears and the Bulls. The education standard here is higher than most of the country, and jobs are extremely demanding of what they ask in return of little pay—which leaves New Yorkers tired. When we leave New York, as my momma says, 'You may leave New York but don’t let the New Yorker leave you!' We don’t put our guards down for anything or anyone and are quite clever when it comes to survival.
A lot of 'out of towners' become locals here, but not many survive the Animal Kingdom when they refuse to adapt to the ways of the city. It teaches you how small the world truly is and how linked human beings are. People from the metropolitan most likely have come across someone from nearly every country in the world. If anyone comes to New York with a fantasy idea or facade of who they want to present themselves as, New York will make you learn who you are really fast by bringing you down to reality and slapping you with the truth. Your conscience and growth catch up with you fast. Just come here, to be honest with yourself and others. Locals have their weaknesses laid out before their eyes; this is the city that empowers you by taking all of your power and giving it back as you slowly claim it. Most turn back; few move on.
Showaround: Thank you Jackie for your answers!