Photography by Christian DeFonte

Luke Crisell

Editor-in-Chief, Sweet

| Williamsburg

Luke Crisell isn’t exactly new to the whole “risk-taking” thing: fresh out of college, he made a transatlantic move from his home in England to NYC where he lived in a hostel just so that he could intern (for free) at NYLON magazine. Fast-forward a few years and said temporary internship would eventually turn into a major masthead takeover… as the Executive Editor of both NYLON and NYLON Guys, no less (Crisell worked alongside fellow CITIPHILE and Nylon vet Aya Kanai). All said and done, when we heard rumblings that Hearst (the publisher behind glossies including ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire) was looking to launch a never-before-seen Snapchat-based magazine, we weren’t surprised to learn they christened Crisell Editor-in-Chief. Covering food, fashion, music and art, he works hand-in-hand with Cosmo E-I-C Joanna Coles (who initially spearheaded the project), posting new content for the app-based lifestyle mag daily. Innovative irreverent, in-the-know and intriguing, Sweet is one step (if not leap) ahead of the game… then again, so is Crisell. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: (It should be noted at the outset here that I’m vegan; it’s not something I like to advertise, but important when it comes to restaurant recommendations I’d imagine.) Kings County Imperial (MAP IT, x) is a Chinese-American spot in the shadow of the BQE that opened last year. It’s essentially on a side street and although word is definitely out now, you can still get in without much of a delay on a school night. The mock “eel” (a mixture of shredded, breaded and fried shitake mushrooms) is absolutely delicious, no matter how long you wait for a table. They’re also carrying the torch for tiki drinks, a Brooklyn trend that doesn’t seem to be going away: these ones are (thankfully) not too sweet and, if you’re only having one (mistake), it should be the Shanghai mule made with vodka. Dar 525 (MAP IT, x) is a real neighborhood spot, especially great if you’re alone—order the lentil soup and some grape leaves, sit at the bar and read your book. And although it’s not quite in the neighborhood (it’s in Bushwick), Momo Sushi Shack (MAP IT, x) is a fantastic spot with communal tables and the best vegetable gyoza in town.

COFFEE OR TEA: My being British probably requires that I say tea here, but I drink coffee every day. I’m around the corner from Gimme (MAP IT, x) (which many locals swear by) and The West (MAP IT, x). My favorite? Starbucks (MAP IT).

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: That is an extremely difficult question which I’m sure everyone says. I’m not really a foodie so the most important thing for me is atmosphere. I love Supper (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) in the East Village (and its sister restaurant Lil Frankie’s (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), but there’s a reason that one’s in this parenthetical and Supper isn’t). The wine list is extraordinary (order the Teroldego), the pasta is homemade and, if you sit at the bar, you can watch them make it which is fun. This is the kind of place I bring my family when they’re in town: unpretentious, delicious, homestyle Italian food that is made to be talked over. Order the bruschetta to start, but for the entree, talk to your server; they will know more about what’s good that night than I do.

MUSIC PICK: I don’t have a favorite kind of music, but my favorite venues in the city are Mercury Lounge (MAP IT, x) and Baby’s All Right (MAP IT, x).

BEST BRUNCH: Little Choc Apothecary in Williamsburg (MAP IT, x). Vegan crepes are a pretty rare thing and they’re so wonderful here that it can make your whole day. They have great juices too.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: The L train, especially on a Friday night. The reverse commute into Brooklyn is something to behold.

GUILTY PLEASURE: by CHLOE (MAP IT, x) vegan fast food.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: There is an office building on the Upper East Side, on Madison Avenue, that is full of antique book dealers. They don’t have storefronts so you have to go into the elevator and wander the hallways and just knock on doors and see if they’re there. It’s like walking into apartment after apartment filled with rare books and it’s pretty magical. I’m not sure if it’s a secret (or if it’s well-kept), but it’s pretty awesome.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The people close to me, unless they’re with me, in which case not a lot… it’ll be there when I get back.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Selamat Pagi (MAP IT, x) is a Balinese restaurant that the guys behind Van Leeuwen (MAP IT, x) opened. There are only ten or so tables, and the food is really unique; it feels special for some reason.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Ako Sushi (MAP IT, ORDER ITx) and Wild Ginger (MAP IT, ORDER ITx)— both simple Seamless speed-dial situations.

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: I love going to the Upper East Side early on a weekend, going to Argosy Books on 59th Street (MAP IT, x), and ending up at The Met (MAP IT, x). It doesn’t matter how busy it is, I can always find peace there.

GO-TO GETAWAY: Our cabin in the Catskills. I think the Catskill Park (MAP IT, x) is probably my all-time favorite getaway too which is convenient. I also love going to Lambertville, a town in New Jersey near the Delaware Water Gap that’s full of amazing antique stores and has one of my favorite book stores anywhere; there are lots of swimming holes around there too.

CLOSET CHECK: Jeans, sweatshirts and sneakers. I like A.P.C (MAP IT, x). My friend, David Lindwall makes incredible T-shirts (and other things)—you can find them on his online store.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: There’s a guy in Lambertville called Ben Albucker who has an unnamed store in Lambertville at 36 North Union Street (x). He has the best taste in interiors, furniture, etc. of anyone I’ve ever met and has a store where he sells incredible pieces, many of which he restores himself. It’s probably the best recommendation in this whole article.

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: Asia Tui-Na (MAP IT, x)— it’s a massage place on the 8th floor of an unmarked office building in Murray Hill.

FIT PICK: It’s quite involved to be honest. I work out at least six days a week: in the gym, in the pool, on a bike and running outside. I go to SoulCycle (MAP IT, x) once a week— Trammel is the best instructor in my opinion. Say hi if you’re at the 27th Street location at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: It’s not one moment because it happens every weekday, but there is a woman who stands at the top of the stairs giving out newspapers where people leave the L train to connect to the A, C, and E trains during rush hour who is absolutely amazing. She always talks—loudly and insistently—to the heads-down, earbuds-in commuters as though she’s friends with them; she is totally indefatigable. She brightens up every weekday morning for so many people. CP

Luke’s New York

Luke Crisell

From L to R: First Row: Fresh ricotta di pecora from Supper; Baby’s All Right; Vegan crepes and cookies from Little Choc Apothecary; Argosy Bookstore; Second Row: SoulCycle; Pizza from Dar525; Inside A.P.C; Vegan ice cream from Van Leeuwen.


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