Douglas Friedman

Fashion Photographer

| Hell's Kitchen

Whether it’s his inspiring passion for his craft or his disarming good looks, Douglas Friedman has a flair for making you feel completely at ease. Perhaps that’s why his photographs feel so inimitably personal. A native New Yorker, Friedman fostered a love for the camera while vacationing in Indonesia (he was working in Hollywood assisting acclaimed director David Fincher (famously of Fight Club and Se7en) prior to the trip) and since, he’s shot for top fashion glossies like Harper’s Bazaar, Wallpaper, Tattler, GQ and Vogue. On the flip side, we’d be remiss not to mention Friedman’s personal work too— we’re major fans of his voyeuristic portraits of modern burlesque dancers (a series which brings a whole new side of New York to life) and his peppery personal blog, thefacinator. Here, Friedman sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I live in Hell’s Kitchen (technically), but most real estate brokers prefer to use the name “Clinton” as the area is quickly gentrifying. For a long time, I didn’t think there were any great places to go for a bite so I would wind up at The Palm (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) eating a steak, but recently, a very cool “food court” called Gotham West (MAP IT, x) opened down the street. It feels more like Williamsburg than Hell’s Kitchen— in fact, the entire staff seems to commute from there. It’s all farm-to-table in a communal setting and the food is amazing: perfect breakfast sandwiches in the morning, bespoke tacos in the afternoon and my favorite spot, Cannibal (MAP IT, x), has great obscure cuts of meat. (I love the homemade hot dogs with tripe chile or the pig’s head cuban sandwich… Yes, it’s made with a pig’s head.)

COFFEE OR TEA: Always coffee. The best is at Blue Bottle (MAP IT, x) inside Gotham Market. I don’t get a pour over because it takes too long. I get a rich, thick (almost syrupy) Americano.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: My favorite meal in the city is so simple: a double burger with bacon and avocado served animal style with special sauce from Lucky’s Famous Burgers (MAP IT, x). I’ll usually order two with a side of sweet potato fries. No tricks here, just an amazing meal.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: I’m allergic to cocktails so this question is a bit tricky to answer… If I could, I’d saddle up to Danielle Levitt’s bar, Wise Men (MAP IT, x)… I understand she does it right!

MUSIC PICK: My taste is always changing but I prefer my music in the background (either of a conversation or while I’m working). I grew up in the city and spent many nights being forced by my parents to sit through the NY Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, but now, they don’t have to force me. (I’m going to get a big “I told you so” from my mother when she sees this.)

BEST BRUNCH: I love White Hall (*Location now closed) on the weekend. The food is great, but the light through their windows and the interior décor is what really makes this place stand apart from the rest. (Not to mention, it’s usually packed with all that’s young and beautiful in NYC.)

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: The corner of Broadway and 42nd Street.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Juice Generation (MAP IT, x) for a protein shake and raw salad.

GUILTY PLEASURE: I feel like my daily staples are guilty pleasures— steak, burgers and fries. If I really want to overdo it though, I’ll get in the car and drive to Brooklyn for just about anything from Momofuku Milk Bar (MAP IT, x). I usually sleep on my back on those nights.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Riverside Drive. It feels more like Europe and it’s quiet with no tourists. Also, when you get up into the 150s, just inside Riverside Park, there is the best Dominican street food being served in the summer… Shhh!

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The fact that everything can be delivered.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Who has time for a date in this city? If I did, it would be at The Waverly Inn (MAP IT, BOOK ITx). It has the most flattering lighting of any restaurant anywhere.

DELIVERY GO-TO: I’ve been ordering Chinese from Shun Lee West (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) since I was in high school. The menu hasn’t changed in decades and the food still tastes the same.

TO GET INSPIRED: It’s getting harder and harder to find inspiration in NYC; every neighborhood is starting to look like every other. My NY inspiration comes from a bike ride through Central Park or a walk along Park Avenue at night— anything that looks like the New York of 1980 or 1990 or even 2000… Classic.

TO RELAX AND UNWIND: I feel old in Brooklyn so my escapes tend to be North of the city. You don’t have to go very far to feel very far away.

DREAM SHOOT LOCATION: Right in the middle of Fashion Avenue (7th Ave) in the mid-30s with lots of cars and traffic.

CLOSET CHECK: I have a uniform and I don’t stray from the formula often: A thin cotton t-shirt from James Perse (MAP IT), All Saints (MAP IT) beige pants and black Chuck Taylors— it makes getting ready in the morning and packing for trips very easy.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: My interior style is a bit dark, a bit moody, masculine and eclectic. I collect taxidermy and books. For furniture, I shop at Roark Modern (MAP IT, x). They’re the best, no question. Lisa Bowles is the owner and she has such a brilliant eye. (She’s also a knockout— a real “broad.”)

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Always tricky in this city because everyone seems to have everything. I like poking around Bookmarc in the West Village (MAP IT, x) for something special.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: My trainer, Jay Peters. He is terribly handsome and makes me a better, stronger man every day. ([email protected])

FIT PICK: My fitness routine is routine. I lift weights at the gym 5 times a week at Equinox (MAP IT, x) or I’ll train with a trainer at Steel Gym in Chelsea (MAP IT, x). It’s packed with body builders which is a refreshing change from the scented towel crowd. I’ll also hit SoulCycle (MAP IT, x) 2-4 times per week, but only with Akin. Once you spin with Akin, all the other instructors seem too easy.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: An “only in NY” moment happens every day… It’s just that kind of city. CP

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