Photography by Trevor Smith

Bruce Pask

Men’s Fashion Director, Bergdorf Goodman & Neiman Marcus

| East Village

On paper, Bruce Pask sounds pretty darn cool: he’s been in the men’s fashion game for several decades, clocking in at such tony titles as GQ and The New York Times’ T Mag before planting his Common Projects-bedecked feet at Bergdorf Goodman. (Oh, and there was that stint working alongside Annie Liebovitz on campaigns for the likes of The Sopranos, too.) Now as Men’s Fashion Director of Goodman’s and Neiman Marcus, he’s the guy whom many of the best dressed dudes have to thank for their discerning, yet cool closets. But, Pask’s paper trail isn’t the only thing that makes him great (nor is his own effortlessly elevated style). Meet him in person and he’ll likely invite you up to Bellport, where he resides most weeks and where fashion is as far away as the Manhattan skyline (as if you hadn’t guessed, it’s also where this shoot took place). Instead, you’ll talk Schwinn bikes, collecting vintage Volvos and the hiccups of growing your own tomatoes– all benchmarks of Pask’s off-duty life. If it’s a decent day, perhaps he’ll even take you out for a boat ride on the South Shore before hosting a gaggle of friends all weekend long. The point is his joie de vivre is infectious and what makes Pask truly great is his ability to live life to the fullest and to inspire all of us to do it too. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Well, my favorite go-to spot is anywhere Gerardo Gonzalez is cooking. He used to be the chef at El Rey (MAP ITx), a short stroll from our apartment, but has now opened his own place called Lalito in Chinatown (MAP ITBOOK ITx). It’s a bit more of a walk, but well worth it. He grew up in SoCal not far from where I was raised in Arizona so I appreciate his inventive take on Southwestern flavors that are very nostalgic to me. The pork carnitas is a must and I love his take on black bean dip done with squid ink and cannellini beans. The room is also a really pleasant place to eat; I usually sidle up to the bar for dinner. For more of a “neighborhood” joint, I really love Porsena (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) and usually sit at the bar in the adjoining Extra Bar. I always order my favorite wilted escarole salad and their cannelloni pasta with spicy lamb sausage— it’s got the perfect amount of kick so I rarely deviate from it (it’s a signature of theirs).

COFFEE OR TEA: I’m afraid I don’t really drink coffee or tea. I grew up in the desert and though I know it is a myth about it not being beneficial to drink hot beverages in hot climates (it’s actually better than drinking ice cold things!), it always felt counterintuitive to me.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I would say that it is a special treat for me to go to Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria (MAP ITBOOK ITx). I love the warm, rich interior and the delicious Italian food. I love their crispy artichokes and bucatini cacio e pepe— it’s heaven on a cozy fall evening.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: If I had to choose a cocktail, I would say margarita at Rosie’s (MAP ITx), but as I’m more into beer— my drink of choice— I’m happy to go anyplace where there is a nice selection on tap. I’m most apt to bring home Blue Point Toasted Lager or Montauk Summer Ale, but the bar D.B.A. around the corner on 1st Avenue has a great range (MAP IT, x).

Pask on the beach; Picking tomatoes in his garden at home

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: I’m most likely to head home and relax with a glass of wine— preferably a pinot noir from Oregon— but I have also started to frequent this new-ish bar/resto in the West Village called The Spaniard (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). It has a great look, a terrific, large bar with plenty of seating and some great beer on tap (even though it specializes in whiskey). They also make a mean steak tartare, a great burger and other terrific, simple food. 

DINNER WITH FRIENDS: I love going to Achilles Heel in Greenpoint (MAP IT, x) on a Sunday for their “Hell Chicken,” a special evening held weekly or so throughout the year. Chef Lee Desrosiers is a true grill master and his technique with fire is incredible. It’s a great place for small groups as you can head out back and watch Lee’s process as you sip a beer. I also really love Kings County Imperial (MAP ITx): a fantastic, relatively new Chinese restaurant in Williamsburg that’s just two stops on the L from me. I eat the dry fried long beans like French fries!

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: I’ve lived in the East Village for most of my life here in NYC (more than 25 years) and I love to take walks in the neighborhood. I’d certainly start with a walk through Tompkins Square Park where we have some resident hawks that my boyfriend, Joey, is quite fascinated by. They get a lot of attention from passersby as well as photographers that follow them daily. I’d then continue east on 11th or 12th Street, passing the local gardens while heading to the East River where I like to sit and watch the sun set on Brooklyn and passing boats. Then I’d head down along the waterfront before cutting back into the city around Delancey Street. It’s a nice way to spend a beautiful evening.

MUSIC PICK: I love The XX, but don’t often listen to live or recorded music for that matter. I’d be more apt to go to a Broadway musical for my live music fix. I see shows quite often and there is such an abundance of great productions in NYC. My latest favorite is Dear Evan Hansen which has a terrific soundtrack of amazing, catchy and moving songs by the composing and songwriting duo Pasek and Paul, two bright young stars on the scene who just won an Oscar for LaLaLand and a Tony for this show.

Pask at his Bellport home

BEST BRUNCH: I must say that brunch is not an activity that I have ever participated in. I prefer to get the day going rather than spending prime daytime hours in a restaurant.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: JFK airport. I travel quite a bit and always enjoy sitting in a terminal watching the world pass in front of me.

GUILTY PLEASURE: I am not big on sweets, but I do have a particular affinity for chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. Every now and again, I’ll pick up a pint of Talenti’s gelato at Union Market and bring it home. 

REGULAR AT: I’m a regular at a restaurant around the corner called GG’s (MAP ITBOOK ITx). I used to live upstairs and was there a couple of nights a week. Now that we’re cooking more, I’m not such a frequent guest, but I do love it and the team working there. The manager, Gabriel, is kind and a pleasure to visit, and he always makes room for us even when it’s packed. Pizza is their specialty and it is delicious. They have some great house suggestions or you can customize your own. 

DELIVERY GO-TO: Oddly, even though I live in the food delivery capital of the world, I never really order in. We cook a lot at home, but when I need a quick fix, I walk to the taco truck parked at Avenue A and 1st Street for some great Mexican food just a block away.

GO-TO GETAWAY: I go out to Bellport on the south shore of Long Island pretty much every weekend when I’m in town. I’ve had a place there for more than fourteen years and I love how restorative being there is for me. The city during the week is busy and scheduled so it’s such a pleasure to head out there and unwind, having spur of the moment dinners with friends that have become the center of my social network. It’s situated on the bay and the beach is a short boat ride away so most daytime activities revolve around the water.

CLOSET CHECK: My style is quite simple and casual, usually built around a softly tailored jacket or suit worn in a relaxed way. I have a particular vintage Helmut Lang denim jacket that has become a staple in my wardrobe and I wear that in a more dressy way sometimes with a shirt and tie or turtleneck and trousers. For me, it’s about the combination of something casual worn with something dressy. And I am almost always wearing Common Projects sneakers, especially in Goodman’s Grey, a color exclusive to the store where I work. My favorite place to shop is, of course, Goodman’s, the Bergdorf Goodman Men’s Store. For me, it is peerless in its selection of designer clothing and sportswear as well as unique pieces and footwear. I am in the store on a daily basis and love spending time there. It is truly a special destination in this city.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: My style is pretty grounded in a clean New England look that comes from my having spent summers on the Cape and then living in Bellport. I love wood floors, beadboard, vintage wooden furniture, things with character and personality. Rooms for me have to be bright and airy, filled with pieces that are personal to me.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Copper Beech in Bellport (MAP IT, x) is an incredible new store that is in an old grocery that took the place of an original vaudeville theater in town. It’s owned by designers Thomas O’Brien and Dan Fink and it is filled with beautiful pieces as well as an amazing selection of prepared food which I take to the beach almost every weekend.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: I get my haircut monthly by Ruben, the owner of East Village Barbershop on 10th Street (MAP IT, x). He’s incredibly skilled and quite a character. The place is total entertainment and he makes me laugh every time.

FIT PICK: I’m afraid to say that I have fallen off the fitness wagon. I used to attend yoga sessions about three times a week, but wasn’t able to keep to it due to frequent travel. I am a pretty high energy guy with an active life, walking being my transport method of choice. Out in Bellport, I bike pretty much everywhere.   

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Well, I once spent an evening at the penthouse apartment of magician David Copperfield playing vintage arcade games with him. That certainly is, in the inimitable words of Cindy Adams, only in New York, kids. Only in New York. CP

Bruce’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Inside Lalito; GG’s pizzas; Common Projects sneakers; The Spaniard. Second Row: Menswear from Goodman’s; Home accents at Copper Beech; BBQ at Achilles Heel BK; Porsena pasta.

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