Photography by Trevor Smith

Curtis Kulig


| East Village

Rarely does street art become as iconic as New York-based artist Curtis Kulig’s. Then again, rarely is it as universally poignant too. Catapulted to fame by his most popular work— a spin on the “I <3 NY” slogan via a heart-like cursive “Love Me” phrase— the artist-slash-photographer-slash-illustrator is brilliant at showcasing emotive simplicity. His graffitied manifesto, now far more recognizable than its tee shirt-slinging predecessor, stretches far beyond borough borders too: the celebrated message canvases city walls from LA to Berlin to Istanbul. And then there’s his cult collaborations with leading street brands like Vans, Obey and DKNY. But alas, few artists paint in just one color, and Kulig’s infamous catchphrase is just one piece of his museum-worthy puzzle— you’ll find his name attributed to works on canvas, film, typewriter poetry, neon and sculpture too. Our bet? The artist’s best is yet to come. Until then, Kulig sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: The curry spot, Goemon next to Cocoran (MAP IT, x). Their classic mama’s curry dish is perfect and so is the kimchi.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee from Café Select (MAP IT, x)— it’s easy.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: Café Sabarsky (MAP IT, x). I order their bratwurst and sauerkraut.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A negroni from Miss Lily’s (MAP IT, BOOK ITx).

POWER LUNCH: Sant Ambroeus on Lafayette Street (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— it’s like a daytime club; business people like that [sort of thing]…

BEST BRUNCH: EN Brasserie (MAP ITBOOK IT, x) it’s mellow (so let’s keep it that way).

MUSIC PICK: Lately, reggae. Stretch Armstrong knows good music, but good luck getting it from him.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Central Park or the stairs by Whole Foods on Houston Street.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Souen (MAP IT, x) for a macro plate with salmon.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Ice cream from Morgenstern’s (MAP IT, x).

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The Statue of Liberty boat ride.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The walking and the people.

REGULAR AT: Café Select and Lucky Foot Spa (MAP IT, x).

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Somewhere with candles and a table where you can both sit on the same side.


TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: The bathhouses on Fulton Street (MAP IT, x) and in the East Village (MAP IT, x).

TO GET INSPIRED: Central Park.


GO-TO GETAWAY: Iceland for the baths and the short flight from NYC.

CLOSET CHECK: My personal style is more of a uniform. I wear the same thing for weeks, then change. I’ll shop at Brooks Brothers (MAP IT) and New Balance (MAP IT).


GROOMING BLACK BOOK: Freeman’s Sporting Club Barber (MAP IT, BOOK ITx). Ask for Inna (x).

FIT PICK: The Chinatown YMCA (MAP IT, x) to swim.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Running the marathon! CP

Curtis’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Salad from Dean & DeLuca; Inside Freeman’s Barbershop; Hats from Freeman’s; Art by Kulig. Second Row: Café Gitane; Cone from Morgenstern’s; Miss Lily’s; Kulig’s photographs.


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