Tag Archives: New Yorkers

Andre Vasconcelos: NYC’s Top Shelf Guitarist And His Studio Ghidrah Music

Curiosities Insider Interviews Andre Vasconcelos Ghidrah Music Studio Pronoun

We’re excited to share another exclusive interview with Andre Vasconcelos. He’s one of NYC’s top shelf guitarist and now founded his studio Ghidrah Music. His journey is brilliant and his skills in working both roles, are undeniably amazing.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Andre Vasconcelos Ghidrah Music Studio Pronoun
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pronoun

Back in June of 2017, we featured an exclusive interview with the guitarist Andre Vasconcelos, where we talked about how we was shaking up New York with his music. Today, we’re going to talk about his thriving studio Ghidrah Music.

The word, love and appreciation for his talent and skills have spread through out New York, and certainly to other parts of the globe.

Since then, we’ve been to countless shows where he’s performed with his own band, RANN, and we’ve followed his steps when performing beside other great musicians.

It’s been an amazing journey to see Andre thrive from (still) being one of New York City’s top shelf guitarists to now additionally starting his new business, a music studio: Ghidrah Music.

Check out the inspiring interview below and learn more about Ghidrah Music:


1. After our 1st interview a while back, so much has happened, and we’re curious to have an update on what you’ve been up to in NYC.

I’m glad to be back here on this amazing platform of yours Fernanda! I meet lots of people on a regular basis and your platform has made a big name for itself. People constant refer to it and one can easily spot the success it’s been garnering! I’m happy for you both on a professional and on a personal level! Congrats!

Life has been very busy, challenging and productive on the creative world for me. Me and the RANN boys instituted a plan for 2020 “A Song a Month” and we’ve been at it since last December really. With 6 songs out now, a 7th to come on June 26th and a lot of added Spotify traction (we got placed in 2 editorial playlists and increased our fanbase to everywhere in the world, places like Stockholm, Lithuania, Korea are jamming to RANN now!) we’re happy to have made that plan as it proves itself quite the fun challenge. We’re excited to feed both our old and new fans more music every month!

I’ve also been performing a lot as a sideman with some really cool pop artists. Last year I was invited to perform at Zara Larrson’s (Massive Europop star) intimate set at Billboard and Buzzfeed, toured North America with EZI (opening for Top 40 artists MAX, Bryce Vine and Nina Nesbitt), played a bunch of festival dates in both the US and Europe and was supposed to be going on another North America run with Kat Cunning and Allie X before the whole world got shutdown over COVID. So life’s busy and chaotic as usual over here in my camp.

A lot of what I’ve been doing lately as well is more on the songwriting side of the art as well.

Me and my music house-mates of Ghidrah Music, are writing tons and tons of music for/with a bunch of different artists all over the world like Loren Allred, Marcus Paul James, Marta Galuszewska, Maria Mathea, Tom Martin, Cathy Richardson (from Jefferson Starship) and many more.

We’ve written theme songs for TV shows, movies, trailers, video games and many many more.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Andre Vasconcelos Ghidrah Music Studio RANN
Andre Vasconcelos with RANN Band – Photo Credit: Courtesy

2. So, what is Ghidrah Music? What type of services are you offering and lastly, how are you guys distancing ourselves from others in the same industry?

Ghidrah Music is the production outfit of RANN. Composed by the same team as the indie rock band, Ghidrah is a Studio Team that meets over at the wonderful production room that we have at Studio G, in Williamsburg.

Our work is mostly dedicated to writing music and placing songs via sync licensing. We are partnered up with vocalists and writers from everywhere on the planet that are interested in doing the same thing. We write these songs, produce, mix and master them, then we send them out to the various pipelines. Finally, we have in the hopes to sell these licenses to tv shows, movies, video games and such.

Some songs that made their way into big productions are RANN’s “Childish Ways” that was featured in the mega movie “Tudo por um Pop Star” in Brasil and “Cellophane” also placed in a Brazilian blockbuster movie named “Entrando Numa Roubada”.

Other examples are MR VVOLF’s “Never Look Back” that got placed on the movie “All For Nikki” and a parody song we did in for Axe’s North American Campaign “Don’t Overthink It”.

We are currently working with at least 20 different artists trying to diversify and populate our song catalog for placement and we are truly excited about it.

As far as social distancing and pandemic rules go, our Studio got shut down when the Governor gave the order. We split our gear into 3, creating individual “home stations” for each of us and we tackled the work that could be done from home.

It was a challenging time but we adapted correctly and we made the best we could with what we had. This is truly a historic and defining time in all our lives and the main choice here is to not lose focus of what’s important, our health. Being responsible and considerate is paramount. So for now, we’re minimizing our in person sessions very close to 0%. And, we’ll loosen the grip on that restriction as the weeks of successful reopening go by.

3. How was this transition from being on stage, to going behind the scenes and starting Ghidrah Music?

Honestly, you can hardly say it’s been a transition. This is just the natural growth of both paths of my life that were always present. I’ve been on the road and on stage for a long time, but those activities typically happen later during the day.

The production and writing stuff is often occurring during morning of weekdays so, between these two roles you can imagine my schedule gets pretty hectic. A good example of how this works can be be illustrated by last December.

In the morning the Ghidrah boys and I finalized an instrumental cue that we sold the publishing off to NBC, for the show “Making It” with Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler. Right after that I had to get to a rehearsal, so I left the studio, did the rehearsal and made my way to the Bowery Ballroom, where we played a sold-out show with Pop Star songstress Kat Cunning.

Typically my days work like that, mornings and early evenings for Ghidrah, the rest of the evening and nights for side man or RANN live performances.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Andre Vasconcelos Ghidrah Music Studio Apoena Frota
Andre Vasconcelos with Apoena Frota, RANN Band – Photo Credit: Courtesy

4. I’ve seen that in a super short time, you’ve worked with major brands in Brazil and other corners of the globe. Can you share a bit about some of these great projects?

Having discovered that what we truly wanted to do was also our strongest asset was incredibly lucky and fortunate.

We are a group of originally 3 producers. Our company was even called 3P, for 3 Productions. We did the entire debut record by the Brazilian artist Rachell Luz under that alias. We eventually decided to change the name to Ghidrah Music, to honor our ridiculous tendencies. With the name change also came a change of focus, we wanted to use our time and our talents to write music together instead of working as producers for artists. We still do that, but it isn’t the main focus of the company anymore.

What started happening was, the people that knew us as producers and now as songwriters started using us to write songs for their business campaigns. Sometimes it would be a big advertisement campaign, such as the Claro “Novo” campaign we did last year for South America’s biggest phone and internet company.

Sometimes it’d be for an intro for a podcast, or for Call of Duty professional e-sports team Twitter teaser trailer. The point being is that we took our one stop approach for audio solutions from before and we added something even more rare and hard to come across: the ability to write good songs.

That expanded the horizon for us and let us work with a ton of different companies and entities everywhere in the world.

5. A question, maybe hard to answer at this time, but with the global situation of Covid-19, have you been able to identify any new trend or opportunities in the music industry? How severely did the Pandemic affect the industry?

The pandemic has been extremely harsh to the music industry. With shows and events cancelled for the foreseeable future, a lot of my music professional peers are suffering greatly.

I know so many people that have been living exclusively on the road, whether they are side man like me, or road crew, lighting tech, tour managers, day-to-day managers, FoH engineers, etc. Every single one of these guys have had their futures cancelled for an undetermined amount of time. And, that is a very scary thought.

Hopefully the world will arrive at a solution for this horrible virus problem and we’ll be able to return to some form of normalcy soon. Personally, I’ve lost so many concerts, rehearsals and recordings, frankly too many to count.

From a main stage festival slot at Central Park to two mini tours in Mexico and Japan, to a RANN + Jefferson Starship throw down at the Westhampton Theatre, the losses are actually incalculable.

But, what isn’t is the fact that I am alive, well and healthy. We can always regain opportunities and earn back money lost, but we can’t always recover people from the damage caused by this brutal virus.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Andre Vasconcelos Ghidrah Music Studio Stage Pronoun
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pronoun

6. Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us? We’d love a sneak peek!

Too many upcoming projects!

We’re working on a songwriting competition with the awesome Marcus Paul James, that’ll be happening on Friday. We wrote a song together for it and we’re super excited to support our amazing friend belting his beautiful voice in favor of positive change.

We are also expecting to receive Cathy Richardson’s vocals on a song we wrote for a big feature film to be produced in Los Angeles once production re-opens.

And, last but not least, RANN is releasing our newest and most exciting song to date named “When I’m Lucky”. We are so thrilled to share the song with the world, we did an amazing quarantine collaboration video with Brad Wagner and it’ll reach all streaming platforms and Youtube on June 26th, so stay tuned for it!


Thank you, Andre, for this amazing and inspiring interview.

It’s been an amazing journey to see you thrive from (still) being one of New York City’s top shelf guitarists to now additionally starting your new business venture, your studio Ghidrah Music! It’s truly inspirational and amazing to see all you’ve achieved.

No doubt your career in New York City, and across the globe, only continues to skyrocket!

Good luck and keep up posted!


Photo Credits: Courtesy Andre Vasconcelos / Ghidrah and Pronoun

How New Yorkers Can Come Together During The Pandemic

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Grand Central Terminal

New York City, much like the rest of the world, is experiencing all of the stresses and strain of the coronavirus pandemic. Take a look at how New Yorkers can come together during the Pandemic.

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Statue of Liberty

In fact, the city has become an epicenter for the virus, and considerable efforts are being made to slow the spread.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, everyone will be affected in one way or another. Whether that is due to catching the virus or having to deal with the financial or emotional problems caused by the social distancing and restrictions put in place.

However, some people will feel the effects more than others.

It is essential that as a community, we all stop and think about others around us that may be experiencing financial, or mental health problems. And then, if possible, we all try and do something for those around us.

Here’s how New Yorkers can come together during the pandemic:


Look Out For Your Neighbors

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Help Elderly

In a city with over 8 million people, it is easy to overlook our neighbors. But during these testing times, we need to come together as a city more than ever.

Check-in on your neighbors regularly. If you’re able to phone them, do so. You may not see them or be able to talk to them face-to-face, however, you could always drop a note through their door and start communications that way.

There are lots of things that you can do for your neighbors, especially those that may be elderly or at risk. They might need your help with groceries and the basic healthcare products! They don’t have the technology to buy these things online, so be sure to knock on their door and ask if they need anything!

Offer to find out about the government stimulus for retirees, run to the store and get them some groceries, or just be someone that they can talk to when they’re lonely or feeling low.


Follow Social Distancing Measures

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Empire State

In a big busy city like New York, it can be hard to come to your distance from everyone else. However, during the pandemic, it is essential to curb the spread. To do this, everyone needs to play their part.

To help others who may be more vulnerable and at risk from the virus than you, limit your exposure to others by staying at home. We’ve seen that New Yorkers have been great with this which is, after all, respect for other people’s lives and well-being.

If you do need to go out, keep your distance from others, and make sure that you wash your hands often and avoid touching your face. Oh, and don’t forget to use your mask and take your portable hand sanitizer with you!


Take Care of Local Businesses

Curiosities City Secrets New Yorkers During The Pandemic Neighbors

During the Covid-19 pandemic and over the coming months, local and independent businesses will come under considerable economic pressure. A looming global recession will mean that people will be more mindful of what they are spending their money on.

During these times, it may be tempting to spend all of your money in the major chains that offer cut-price produce. But, in the best interests of your own city, it is time to make sure that you shop local and support the New York businesses.

We’ve created a Instagram Social Media campaign where we post about 4-5 small local NYC businesses every day and what you can do to support them. It can be help donate for a fundraiser, sign a petition or even just continue requesting their services and products through home delivery or pick-ups.

You may spend slightly more, however, you will be doing your bit to help local businesses stay open. That’ll mean that New York gets to retain its character, and you get to keep the options of different choices.


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Alexandra_Koch, Omni Matryx, Quinton Delmar, Gerd Altmann and Jon Tyson

The Best Of Vegan With Kim-Julie Hansen

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan by Edward Gebel Thumbnail

From a meat-eater to being one of the most renowned Vegan experts in the world, Kim-Julie Hansen shared with us how she started Best of Vegan, as well as her Vegan Reset blog and most recently launched a fantastic 28-Day Vegan Plan book!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan by Edward Gebel
Photo Credit: Edward Gebel

Tell me a bit about you! Where you’re from, what you studied, where you’ve worked, how you ended up in NYC…

I’m Kim-Julie, I’m 32 years old and originally from Brussels, Belgium, although that’s only partially true. I was actually born in West Berlin (two years before the Berlin Wall fell) and have lived in many places throughout my life.

I studied modern languages and comparative literature (BA and MA) in Brussels and I’ve worked all over the world in tourism and hospitality before starting my own business.

Five years ago I came to New York for an event and stayed with a friend for 5 days. On the fifth day, I knew that I needed to move here.

Luckily, my online business’s audience was located mostly in the US, so I got my Visa thanks to that (and the advice and support of amazing friends who had undergone the process before me!).

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Creamy Mushroom Penne
Creamy Mushroom Pasta – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

You have countless different platforms and social channels. I’d love if you could share a bit about each of them!

My two main platforms are Best of Vegan and Vegan Reset.

Best of Vegan is a digital culinary publication focused on crowd-sourced and crowd-pleasing recipes for every occasion and showcasing the best the vegan culinary scene has to offer.

Vegan Reset is my health conscious blog within Best of Vegan. It’s where I share meal prep and plant-based lifestyle tips, as well as my own quick and easy recipes. It’s also the name of my book and online program.

In addition to those, I also share the things that inspire me on my personal page and blog, @KimJulieHansen and I have two additional vegan Instagram accounts: @VeganChallenge based on the free 7-day vegan challenges I host and @IDontWantSalad, an ode to vegan comfort food, which I created to show that vegans can eat much more than just salad.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Green Smoothies
Green Smoothies – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

How was your journey into the Vegan lifestyle?

Unexpected, overnight and life changing. I was the furthest thing from a vegan you could possibly imagine.

I loved meat, dairy and eggs and had them every day. Then, in 2011, I read two books that made me change my eating and lifestyle habits instantly: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz.

It was a strictly ethical decision for me at first and I didn’t even know that veganism could be healthy. I ended up researching and trying to find out everything I could for months.

That’s how I ended up learning more about whole foods and cooking with unprocessed ingredients, incorporating more fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. I had never liked any of these foods, so no one was more surprised than me.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Muffins
Blueberry Muffins – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

What are some myths about Vegan cuisine that people believe?

That it’s bland, boring, not nutritionally adequate, hard to adapt to and impractical.

I believed all of that too before going vegan myself, so as you can imagine, I wasn’t thrilled to give up so much of what I enjoyed, but I soon found out that you can actually veganize practically anything.

Latte? Make it a soy or oat latte. Sushi? Make it a sweet potato or avocado roll. Pizza? Add some vegan cheese and pepperoni. It obviously doesn’t taste exactly the same, but it’s close enough and, given the ethical implications, definitely worth the sacrifice.

What I at first feared would be restrictive ended up opening the doors to a whole new world for me. I enjoy cooking and eating out so much more now. Vegan cuisine is also neither boring nor deficient. You can get all the same nutrients from plants and whenever they’re harder to get, you can take a vegan supplement for convenience.

I do want to note that vegan foods and products aren’t readily available to everyone equally, so I think that as someone who does have access to the lifestyle, it’s important to simultaneously educate and motivate those who are in the same position while also actively working on making access easier for those who do not without ever judging them.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Salad
Smoky Tempeh & Vegan Cheese Salad – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

What are your favorite NYC Vegan spots? Sorry for this tough question, Kim… 🙂

There are far too many to list!

I love using the app “Vegan NYC” to discover new spots, but my all time favorites are Seasoned Vegan, Avant Garden, Adelina’s, Little Choc Apothecary, Bar Velo, Jungle Cafe and Délice & Sarrasin.

I’m probably forgetting half the list…!

How about your top Vegan brands that are really disrupting the industry, in New York?

I love brands that emphasize quality and/or community and are based right out of New York. Some of them include Egunsi Foods, Raaka Chocolate and Foreal Foods.

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Yogurt
Vegan Breakfast Idea: granola, fresh fruit & plant-based yogurt with toppings – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

Ah! And you have a gorgeous life changing book and I was lucky enough to follow closely it coming to life! So tell our readers what it’s all about and what they can expect.

Thank you for the kind words!

My book, Vegan Reset (called The 28-Day Vegan Plan in the U.K.), is a practical guide, a cookbook and a 28-day meal plan. It’s an introduction to ethical veganism, plant-based living and a holistic approach to health.

It’s not a diet in the sense that the goal is feeling good physically and mentally, not weight loss.

While it teaches you how to incorporate more fresh produce and unprocessed foods, there are no strict guidelines and you can adapt everything as you see fit. The main motivation is ethical rather than dietary.

Do you have any super cool upcoming project you can share? Anything exclusive no one knows yet!? Lol!

I may or may not be planning my second book! 🙂

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Rice Pudding
Cinnamon Rice Pudding – Photo Credit: Best of Vegan LLC

More about her Book!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Kim Julie Hansen Best of Vegan Book Vegan Reset
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Vegan Reset: The 28-Day Plan to Kickstart Your Healthy Lifestyle is a 28-day plan for new vegans or anyone looking to get their diet back on track, from the wildly popular creator of Best of Vegan!

No matter what diet you practice, a reset is a way to jump-start or refocus healthy habits and get your body to a state of optimum health. Here, NYC-based blogger and Instagrammer Kim-Julie Hansen of Best of Vegan offers a practical and easy-to-follow program, laid out day by day with meal plans, prep, shopping lists, recipes, and personal tips and inspiration.

If you want to become a vegan and don’t know where to start, this is the ultimate guide. But it’s also invaluable for anyone (vegan or not) looking to kick-start healthier habits, whether to lose weight, become fitter, or simply cultivate a more balanced lifestyle.

Kim-Julie introduces you to the benefits of a reset; guides you through the 28-day meal plan; and finishes with additional recipes to carry you beyond the reset—all brought to life with her gorgeous photography throughout. With its emphasis on satisfying plant-based foods and its achievable 28-day plan, this program is a great way to meet your goals of health and well-being.

Buy book here!


Thank you Kim, my dear friend, for sharing your amazing story with everyone and congratulations on all that you have built during these amazing years in New York City!

I’ve had the opportunity of seeing it from close and I couldn’t be more proud of you!

Plus, I can’t wait to see more of your work and continue trying out all of your food (yes, please continue inviting me over for dinner, lol!) and following your tips!

And finally, if you want to uncover more Vegan spots in New York, be sure to explore our website!


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC, Best of Vegan LLC and portraits by Edward Gebel
*Last Update on April/2020.*

16 Things NO ONE EVER Tells You About NYC [PART 1/4]

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Subway

You’ve never been to New York but now you’re days from arriving and started feeling a bit anxious about it? Well, that’s super normal, especially when we’re talking about a city like New York. So, I decided to share 16 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC, for the 1st timers.

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1
©Behind the Scenes NYC

There are a few rules and tips to make your NY experience seamless and memorable. We split this topic into 4 different posts, so check out Part 1 with the first 4 things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC!

Let’s start?!


#1 Yes! New York is safe!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Safety
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Ok. Let’s start from the basics. We all know how dangerous New York was back in the 80’s and 90’s when the city was hit with a huge crack epidemic and we had the famous mobs roaming around.

Most of you have probably heard of the Zero Tolerance Policy, led by Mayor Rudy Giuliani when he was elected back in 1994. There is a lot to this topic and controversial statements, but let’s keep it simple. Bottom line, crime rates were drastically reduced.

It was published in The Economist, back in 2015, that New York was the 10th safest city in the world. Then, in 2017 it showed that we had fallen 11 places, today ranking 21st. But still, it continues a pretty safe place.

That said, like every other big city, there are pickpockets, you should be careful not to roam into some neighborhoods and be careful at night. If you’re in doubt, just ask a friend or talk to your hotel’s concierge.

In addition, most of the crimes in NY, happen in late night hours, so just stay alert, but enjoy the freedom that the city can offer us today!


#2 Use the Subway!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Subway
©Behind the Scenes NYC

I’m from São Paulo, a city with over 20 million people, hence many time bigger than New York, but our subway system is very limited (even though it’s starting to super slowly improve).

But, when you have a “small” city like New York, where you can commute almost anywhere, it’s an indescribable joy! Hahaha!

It’s also a great way to feel like a true New Yorker and experience our crazy lifestyle!

The subway maps are pretty easy: most lines travel North – South and only a few East – West. You can download one of the APPs like NYC Subway or City Mapper to help you out! I’ve been here for 4 years, and still like to check on them, depending on where I’m commuting to!

Now, this is very, very, VERY important! When train arrives, always wait for e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e to come out, before you try to walk in. If you’re just randomly daydreaming and standing in front of the door when it opens, you’ll most likely be run over or called upon. Yikes! (I talk more about this on the topic below!)

Inside a crowded train try and put your backpack in front of you to make space for more people (even if you feel like a sardine in a can). If you’re sitting down, sit in a way that more people fit beside you. For the Manspreaders (men that sit with their legs widely spread out, occupying more that 1 seat), please be mindful! And please, don’t eat on the subway – it’s not a restaurant!

Another tip! Some people get so happy when all the other subway cars are full, and they walk “miraculously” into an empty one! It’s like feeling you’re the smartest one around, right? Well, New Yorkers are not stupid or blind, my dears, that’s for sure…so there’s likely something very wrong with that car. Be sure to check it out!

Oh! And girls, be sure to leave you heels at the hotel. You can use them to go out at night, when you might prefer just getting an Uber.


#3 Walk! But don’t EVER block the passage way!

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Walking
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Brendan Church

YOU might be on vacation, but many people around you are probably running to work!

Sidewalks are like freeways, in New York City! No joke…! So, when you’re walking down the streets and you feel it’s THAT time, where you want to take a selfie or an Instagram picture, be sure to step aside, out of the main passage. Otherwise you might hear a very loud “EXCUSE ME!”

People say that New Yorkers are rude and I strongly disagree! They are very solicitous if you’re lost and need help but, like every other busy human late for work, they won’t enjoy daydreamers blocking the streets. You can take a look at this post we did about “31 Curious Facts About New Yorkers We Just Love“, this way, you’ll get the hang of it!

Oh! This is also true for the subway escalators and stairs! If you’re walk up or down any stairs, but especially in the subway, be sure to follow the flow on the correct side, usually, your right side. On an escalator, if you don’t want to rush up, stay to your right side too, letting people that do.

And I forgot to mention. While walking on the streets, on the busiest ones especially, don’t just suddenly turn or stop. You have to look, and “kinda signal” your next move to avoid collision.

Lastly, if you’re waiting for the light to cross the street, but there’s absolutely no cars coming, even though it’s NOT the correct thing to do, many people just cross it. I mean, just be very careful if you do that or simply step aside for anyone that wants to go head!


#4 Understanding New York’s Map

16 Things No One Ever Tells You About NYC Part 1 Grid
©Behind the Scenes NYC

Ok, let’s start with first things first. Number one is maybe noticing that most streets are named through numbers, making it pretty easy to locate yourself or how to get to your destination.

The street numbers officially start at 1st Street on the East Side and 3rd Street on the West Side of Manhattan. From there, numbers go up, up, up to 220th, but that’s all the way up in Inwood, on the very North tip of Manhattan. That’s where The MET Cloisers museum is located!

From North to South, street blocks are shorter to walk through, while East to West, the blocks are significantly longer. Also East to West are only the Avenues – starting from York Avenue, through 11th Avenue (a.k.a. West End Avenue). On the very extremes, you’ll find the highways: 12th Avenue and the FRD Drive.

In between the numbered Avenues, you have some of the famous ones like Madison Avenue, Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue. Broadway also crosses the city diagonally, starting on the Upper West Side, all the way down to Battery Park.

Lastly, just for your reference, Central Park starts at 59th Street (a.k.a. Central Park South), up through 110th Street (a.k.a Central Park North), in Harlem. “The Secrets Of Central Park Walking Tour” will give you some more insights and secrets about the park!

Don’t freak out…it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Just grab a map or check Google Maps along the way, and you’ll be fine!


If you enjoyed these first 4 tips about things NO ONE EVER tells you about NYC, be sure to check our Part 2!

For any questions regarding travel or event planning for Corporate Groups, contact our experts to help you out!



Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC and courtesy of Brendan Church
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Doc Hersons: Story Behind a Harlem-born Absinthe Brand

Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Kevin Herson Stacey Luckow

New York City is known for many things, from being the #1 Fashion Capital in the world, to its tireless nightlife, but did you know it’s also the home of the 1st and very special, all natural, small batch absinthe producer named Doc Hersons?!

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New York City is known for many things, from being the #1 Fashion Capital in the world, to its tireless nightlife, countless fantastic restaurants and yet a priceless art scene. Of course, there is much more to this list!

But, maybe something you didn’t know: It’s also the home of the 1st and very special, all natural, small batch absinthe producer named Doc Hersons.

A while ago, we hosted a great tasting event, paired with fantastic acoustic music, at one of Williamsburg’s coolest rooftops. Doc Hersons was the brand we brought in to offer the tasting and share a bit of his journey.

We were so intrigued with the product and their story, that we decided to interview Kevin Herson that founded the brand with his wife, Stacey Luckow.


1) Tell us a bit about your background and what lead you two to start Doc Hersons? Is it a family tradition, or a personal passion?

We started the distillery in 2012 in our basement in Harlem. My day job as a commodity broker ended around 3pm each day, while Stacey would only return home from working at our vintage clothing store in the East Village around 9pm.

This left plenty of time for me to experiment in the basement of our Harlem apartment. I started buying distilling equipment and experimented with making Whiskey and Moonshine.

Then I decided to try make some Absinthe, since I had always enjoyed drinking it.

My Chemistry background and knowledge supplied the baseline for which soon became a full functioning Absinthe distillery on 142nd and Broadway, the 1st Absinthe distillery in NYC.

2) We love Harlem! What is it about this neighborhood that relates to the brand and being there during the journey to bring this product to life?

I feel that starting a distillery in a Harlem basement just seems sort of a natural beginning for an Absinthe distillery. Harlem has many great stories and an amazing history, as does the Absinthe.

3) Why absinthe? I feel that not many people know how to drink it, so what are the challenges when trying to introduce this spirit into people’s lifestyle?

Absinthe has an interesting history and many myths associated with it.

I think the spirit is very misunderstood, and the controversy surrounding it was intentionally made well know through the efforts of the French wine industry – read the “History” paragraph on Wikipedia).

Our Absinthe is very unique and we simply enjoy it over ice or in the various different cocktails that call for Absinthe as an ingredient.

I feel the biggest challenge regarding Absinthe is dispelling all the myth’s surrounding it. This will take time, for almost 100 years Absinthe was illegal in the USA so we have some truthful storytelling to do to educate people that Absinthe can be enjoyed just like all the other wonderful categories of spirits out there.

4) So, what’s the biggest myths about absinthe?

Absinthe doesn’t make you hallucinate, it never did and it never will.  It’s a unique spirit and the truth is it’s delicious!

5) Tell us a bit about how absinthe is made.

We start by fermenting grains from upstate New York. We then run that ferment through a stripping still to get a raw alcohol, raw meaning all the good and the bad alcohol mixed together.

Then, we take that raw alcohol and transfer it into our pot still, add a bunch of different botanicals from fennel, anise, Grand Wormwood, mint, lemons… etc. That concoction is boiled and fractionally distilled to collect all the good alcohol infused with the flavors and essential oils from all the herbs.

Once we collect the good stuff, we proof it and then add additional herbs for color and flavor, all 100% natural. Finally, we strain off the spirit from the botanicals, let it settle and then bottle it all up to enjoy.

6) Do you know a few curious historical facts about the spirit that you can share?

Wikipedia does a good job of this. However, most people don’t know that Absinthe was originally developed as a Malaria prevention. This was way back when it was first produced, in 1792.

7) What are the main characteristics of each of the 3 products by Doc Hersons?

  • Green Absinthe: Notes of licorice, mint and slightly bitter
  • Red Absinthe: Floral Hibiscus, licorice and citrus notes
  • White Absinthe: Poppy seed, licorice and vanilla woody spice

8) Besides having the drink neat or with ice, when you teach people about how to consume it, what are the best easy mixes with each of the 3 flavors?

Each of our different styles of Absinthe can simply be enjoyed over ice or in the various traditional cocktails that call for Absinthe as an ingredient.

Or, one can enjoy them in the following simple cocktails:

  • Green Absinthe (1/2 oz) over ice, fill the glass with ginger beer and garnish with a mint leaf
  • Green Absinthe (1/2 oz) over ice, fill the glass with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge
  • Red Absinthe (1/2 oz) over ice, fill the glass with ginger ale and garnish with an orange wedge
  • White Absinthe (1 oz) over ice and garnish with a jalapeño slice

Or even add 1/2 oz White Absinthe to your favorite Bloody Mary cocktail for an extra note of flavor and fun.

And, if you’re into beer, check out 52Brews to enjoy the great beer as a way of life.

9) Are there any upcoming flavors we can expect to see in the near future?

We are working on some other spirits projects, but as for Absinthe we just produce the three styles traditionally know, Green, Red and White.

10) The bottles and the labels are very unique and give us a delicious, nostalgic feeling. What’s the idea behind the visual communication?

Branding and aesthetics are all centered around classy, simply, elegant and intriguing. Visual representations of what one can expect when they enjoy sipping on our Absinthe.

11) Do you offer any catering service and experience, for people interested in learning more?

People are always welcome to reach out personally to find out more about our Absinthe. They can even email or call to schedule a special distillery tasting/tour. We do both public and private events to promote our brand on a regular basis. Each event is coordinated on a case by case basis.

12) Where can people purchase your products, besides online?

Besides online, there are a number of liquor stores listed on our website DocHersons.com under our “buy” tab. There are also many bar and restaurants throughout NYC and NY State that serve our Absinthe.

13) Any new upcoming project that you’d like to share with us, as a “teaser”?

We are working on a new spirit to be released in February of 2018. Keep an eye out but it’s a surprise!

14) Since you’re a Harlem-expert, we’re curious to know what are your favorite “behind the scenes” spots!

Regarding a couple cool spots in Harlem, I can suggest our favorite spot, Harlem Public. You can ask for Roni the bartender, he is awesome and makes some of the best cocktails in the city.

There’s also a great liquor store there called Pompette Wine. When you get there, ask for Mozel. He owns the store and knows a lot about great local wines and spirits.

We don’t live in Harlem anymore and haven’t for about 5 years, so we are not really current with some of the newer happening spots.

We live in Brooklyn now, so some of the cool spots we like to visit are Le Boudoir and Chez Moi, both in Brooklyn Heights!


Thank you Kevin, and Stacey for sharing your beautiful story with us. It’s certainly an exciting journey, and we will stay tuned for the new spirit launching soon!

If you want to learn more about Doc Hersons, this small batch absinthe producer, take a look at their website.

When you decide to visit the neighborhood, you might want to start by visiting a park we love called Morningside Park. Plus, stop for lunch at Seasoned Vegan, even if you’re not Vegan. We promise, you’ll be amazed with their dishes!

Lastly, if you’d like to be put in touch with them, we can connect you! As Kevin mentioned, they offer very exclusive tasting tours, so let our experts organize it for you! For Corporate requests, for catering or tours, talk to our team.

http://dochersons.com


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Doc Hersons
*Last Update on March/2020.*

31 Curious Facts About New Yorkers We Just Love

Curiosities City Secrets 31 Curious Facts About New Yorkers

We all know that New Yorkers are very unique types of human beings and that we do have our peculiarities! Some might even say we’re a bit crazy but, then again, we don’t really care. See 31 curious facts about New Yorkers we just love!

Curiosities City Secrets 31 Curious Facts About New Yorkers
Photo Credit: Help us find out! Claim it if it’s yours!

As we said, New Yorkers are pretty interesting human being, with very unique, and weird habits.

So, we decided to put together a list of several pretty hilarious things New Yorkers commonly do.

Some of these were extracted from an article we found by our friends at BuzzFeed! It’s short and sweet!

We have to emphasize that #31 is definitely the ultimate best one in our point of view. Or, at least in our Founder’s point of view. This is something that she mentions almost ever single day after commuting to work.


31 Curious Facts About New Yorkers:

1. Strategically jaywalk in zigzags so that not a second is wasted.

2. Craftily weave through the crowds to get on that fully packed 6 train.

3. If they’re not talking to someone, they have their earphones on. All. The. Time.

4. Lean over the yellow subway line to see if a train’s coming – as if it’ll make it come any faster.

5. Gets crazy mad at places that aren’t opened 24h a day. Why in the world would they ever even close? Specially a pharmacy or a pizza spot.

6. Ride bikes in traffic, during blizzards, with no helmet on.

7. Roll their eyes to people that can’t swipe in their metro card on the first try.

8. Listen to music while reading a book and standing up on the subway.

9. Ask how much you pay for rent and how big your apartment is, even if they’ve just met you 5 minutes ago.

10. Pretend like crazy stuff isn’t happening while it’s happening.

11. Talk about how you can’t wait for winter during the summer…and then how you wish it were summer in the winter.

12. Avoids eye contacts so that people don’t fee like you’re opened to talking to them. You need directions? They might not stop…

13. Considers every single park as a type of “urban beach”, and can simply strip down to get a sun tan.

14. Make fun of Williamsburg, especially if you live in Williamsburg.

15. Eat bagels as drunk food.

…and still…

16. Take random pictures of people on the train to show friends.

17. Love cursing. A lot. Like, really, a “shit load” of cursing.

18. Look up at night to see what color the Empire State Building is.

19. Jaywalk so that not a minute is wasted.

20. Get crazy mad that they encounter a line of 5 people walking side by side, blocking the entire sidewalk. Damn tourists…

21. And walk at super speeds to avoid anyone with a clipboard. And, would probably win the Power Walking marathons.

22. Squeeze into super-crowded (but free!) yoga classes, which sort of defeats the purpose.

23. Can eat pizza at any time of the day, specially at 3am.

24. Can’t understand why people literally walk into the subway, before people are able to step out. WTF!?

25. At every new year, reduces the radius in which they actually commute to and from. At some point, they’ll sleep, work and play in only 1 neighborhood.

26. Can see a snake wrapped around the subway’s bars, and just look away like there’s nothing there and continue reading.

27. Are probably the worst drivers on the planet…but are experts in ordering Ubers in a split second, or hailing a cab in the middle of 42nd Street.

28. Are considered rude and snobbish, but are actually very hot hearted people. Deep deep inside.

29. Although they all seam impatient, they’ll silently stand in massive lines at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, or simply to grab a coffee.

30. Complains about almost everything but, in the end, couldn’t see themselves living anywhere else on the planet.

31. Ride over a bridge on the subway or in a cab, look at the skyline, and remember why you live here in the first place! 


Photo Credits: We’re not sure who’s picture is this! Please claim it, if it’s yours! We found it online with no credit.
*Few excerpts from BuzzFeed.*
*Last Update on March/2020.*

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