Photography by Trevor Smith

Lyle Owerko


| Tribeca

What do boom boxes, Africa’s Samburu tribe and eagle hunters have in common? Well for one thing, they’ve all managed to capture the attention of acclaimed photographer and filmmaker, Lyle Owerko. Catapulted to fame after TIME ran his harrowing photograph on the cover of its September 11, 2001 issue (sadly, his image of the two burning towers is one we’ll never forget), the Calgary-raised artist aspires to bridge ethnic borders via his work, spotlighting various cultural groups through photographs and video. His renowned boom box series: a take on modern-day hip-hop; the Samburu tribe: a series documenting people entirely cut off from Western civilization; and the eagle hunters: an exposé on the wilderness and nomads of Northern Mongolia (a project which had him living in virtually-isolated tents for two years). If nothing else, Owerko’s works don’t just capture moments, they tell stories, stories that inspire us to think, question, learn and remember. Now, that’s the artiest art we’ve come across. Here, Owerko sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Dimes (MAP IT, x) on the Lower East Side for breakfast, lunch and dinner— simply the best. There’s a quadrant of restaurants all basically a stone’s throw from there too: The Fat Radish (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) for great burgers, Cheeky Sandwiches (MAP IT, x) for to-die-for breakfast sandwiches, and Forgtmenot (MAP ITx) for all-around comfort food and cans of beer. Tribeca has evolved so quickly— there’s been a change-over in local fare, but South’s (MAP IT, x) is great for late-night [food], Clementine (MAP IT, x) for sandwiches at lunch and Tiny’s (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) is a solid choice, plus the classics like The Odeon (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) and Bubby’s (MAP IT, x) still pull their weight as local institutions.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee from La Colombe (MAP IT, x) because it’s rocket fuel. When it first opened on Church and Lispenard, I’d go for some java and my teeth would literally rattle.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I have an obsession with the pulled pork bowl from Dimes, as well as their breakfast tacos and açai bowls— all yum. I’ll sometimes eat there twice in one day…

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A Moscow mule. I used to frequent Angel’s Share (MAP IT, x) when it first opened; now, I’m happy having a Tecaté at Forgtmenot or any other hole-in-the-wall in the area.

POWER LUNCH: Gemma (MAP IT, x) has always seemed like a good fit; same for The Fat Radish and Tiny’s or The Odeon— I’m a creature of habit. Occasionally, I’ll stray to Bar Pitti (MAP IT, x) or Omen (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x); maybe hop over the Williamsburg Bridge to Greenpoint Beer & Ale (MAP IT, x) or zoom over to Fort Defiance (MAP IT, x). For sushi, my go-to is Sushi Seki on 23rd Street (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

MUSIC PICK: I’ve been on a crunchy blues trip lately. I also seem to like anything with a lot of “swamp” too it– i.e. Wooden Shjips mixed in with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, hip-hop with flow and the occasional guilty pleasure— I’m a music addict and tend to meander through my day with different genres and speeds of music ebbing and flowing through my studio speakers; I’m trying to keep stimulated pattern eclecticism alive!

BEST BRUNCH: Dimes— it’s the food.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: The corner of Prince and Lafayette Streets— it’s all happening any given day of the week.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Clementine for the “Malibu Veg” sandwich (Sharp cheddar with California crunchy sprouts, chipotle mayo, tomato, red onion and 7-grain bread) or “Donald’s Famous Smoked Chicken Salad.”

GUILTY PLEASURE: Steak-frites from Lucky Strike (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The Campbell Apartment (MAP IT, x) is always quite cool or an end-of-day pint during the summer at The Ear Inn (MAP IT, x)— the only place in the city where one can indulge in a pint outside on the sidewalk.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The genesis of spontaneity in New York’s very DNA.

REGULAR AT: Cheeky’s for breakfast sandwiches or Juice Press (MAP IT, x) for an açai-laden “Guru” smoothie (Coconut water, coconut meat, red apple, açai, goji berry, banana, blueberry, hemp protein, hemp seed, cacao, spinach, kale and vegan dha omega oil).

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: South’s on Church Street— it’s the best for a burger and a pint at the end of a long day. (Also, Roger and Jason are two of the best bartenders ever.)

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: I don’t like to “see and be seen.” There are a few amazing places that are only known by the known and remain unknown due to their special nature— those are the best places in New York.

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: Tulum, Trancoso and Tahiti, and anywhere else blue, sandy and chill between them.

DREAM SHOOT LOCATION: The closed off subway stations.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: Well, I’d say I’m someone who isn’t afraid of going to a post office in Zimbabwe and shipping something I found in a market back home to myself. Most things come from my travels.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Love Adorned on Elizabeth Street (MAP IT, x).

GROOMING LITTLE BLACK BOOK: Kevin Woon at Woon Salon (MAP IT, x) aka the ninja with scissors.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: September 11th. CP

Lyle’s New York


From L to R: First Row: Cafe Clementine; The Odeon; A latte from La Colombe; Tiny’s & The Bar Upstairs. Second Row: Inside Woon Salon; A cocktail at Fort Defiance; Home décor at Love Adorned; The Fat Radish.


Street Talkerinstagram

Instagram did not return a 200.