Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, Queens
LinYee Yuan, 28-year-old associate editor for Theme, keeps it real in the do or die and shares some of the best spots in beautiful Brooklyn.
Brief bio, occupation: Associate Editor, Theme Magazine. Originally hailing from the Lone Start State, LinYee still holds onto her Texas roots with her 5-meat Texas chili and dry-rub brisket she home-smokes from her backyard in Brooklyn.
Length of time in New York: Almost a decade in New York City (with a quick hiatus on another beautiful island city, Hong Kong). 4 years in Bed-Stuy!
EAT & DRINK
Favorite high-end restaurant:
Locanda Vini E Olii, 129 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn.
Located in a converted one-hundred-year-old pharmacy, this restaurant was built on a passion for food. Locanda specializes in Tuscan home-style cooking made from seasonal ingredients, hand-made pastas, and an amazing selection of wines and marinated olives.
Best deal restaurant:
Royal Bakery and Roti House, 618 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn.
It’s run by a Trinidadian-Indian family now relocated to Brooklyn. Half of the operation serves West Indian-style Chinese food, the other half sells bakery goods: rum cake, loaves of freshly baked breads, and the best West Indian style roti! Try the goat roti and the codfish cakes, and for takeout, the roti with chickpeas on the side.
Best street food:
A & A Bake and Doubles, 481 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn.
A takeout-only spot, this tiny neighborhood institution serves fry bake—a fried, flat bread filled with salted dried fish—for breakfast, and “doubles,”—curried chickpeas skillfully wrapped in fried flatbread with a dollop of chutney and pepper sauce—all day. Admire the flyers for the latest and greatest dancehall parties while you wait in line.
Choice Market, 318 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn.
Great for lazy-weekend coffee and brunch. Neighborhood folks congregate around the single farm table, and the outdoor benches are great for people watching. It’s owned by a French couple, and everything from the prepared foods to the baked goods are mouth-wateringly amazing. Try the savory cheddar scallion scones and the lemon meringue pie—possibly the best I’ve ever had.
Best place to work on laptop with free Wi-Fi:
The cafe/gallery space, Frank White, 936 Atlantic, Brooklyn.
It’s an homage to the Notorious BIG, who grew up right around the corner. Co-owner Muhammida, serves up a great strawberry lemonade, and the backyard deck is a perfect place to get some work done on a sunny day.
I’d like to shout-out my favorite dance party in New York! On late summer Sundays, Soul Summit, Dekalb Avenue and Cumberland, Brooklyn, takes over Fort Greene Park for the best dance party of the year. Every Sunday, after moving over from the Fort Greene Farmer’s Market, you can find hundreds of people of all ages dancing to the soulful house beats in this crazy outdoor party.
Social clubs are a Brooklyn staple. These unmarked bars are housed in basements or living rooms in residential buildings for local folks, usually older gentlemen, to gather for an unrushed drink or two. I’ve checked out a southern gentlemen’s club in East New York with the best funk/soul/R&B jukebox, a Jamaican living room club with hostess in full camouflage, and my nextdoor neighbors used to play a lot of Stevie Wonder in between rounds of dominos.
The Strand, 828 Broadway. It’s a great resource for bookworms and browsers alike. I can spend a whole day getting lost in their three-floor collection, or perusing the one dollar books outside.
Mid-Manhattan Library Picture Collection, Third Floor, 455 5th Avenue. One of my favorite things about New York City is the picture collection at the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library. It seems archaic, but I love physically going through folders of images carefully cut out and categorized in this crazy taxonomy of everything from 1920s professional uniforms, to watch faces.
Photo by Jason Lewis
Stuart and Wright, 85 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn.
It’s located in a historic space previously occupied by a family-run dry cleaners. The owners, Alec and Celeste, are two of the nicest folks around and they carry a beautiful range of clothing and accessories including APC, Samantha Pleet, and United Bamboo.
Favorite art space/gallery/museum:
Noguchi Museum, Long Island City, Queens. It’s housed in a converted factory and home to the work of sculptor and landscape architect, Isamu Noguchi. Noguchi lived/worked across the street from the early ’60s until his death. Besides the permanent collection, the space also has a beautiful garden where, it’s said, Noguchi used to sit and eat lunch with his assistants.
Favorite outdoor space:
When the weather gets nice, have lunch at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park. It’s sandwiched between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge with grassy knolls and a breathtaking view of downtown Manhattan and the East River.
Best touristy thing to do:
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear and beautiful day.
Only local does or knows about:
Staying home on the weekends and starting your party week on Monday night!
Best events in each season:
My favorites: riding bikes to Prospect Park to catch a free outdoor concert, or taking a picnic and blanket to the pier to watch a sunset movie. One summer, we caught Erykah Badu for an outdoor show at twilight. Another time, a friend and I stumbled into a press conference with Manu Chao in Central Park’s Summerstage; after meeting him, we got a front row view of the show! Nowhere in the world compares to the sheer amount and quality of live music, free shows, and fun outdoor events of summertime New York City.
How you would spend a day off in your city:
It’d start the night before, hopscotching to several events without the guilt of having to get up for work the next day! Then I’d start the day right (without an alarm), and read the paper over a lazy diner breakfast. Next, I’d enjoy a couple hours wandering through a museum exhibition—a treat without having to fight the normal weekend rush of people! Lastly, “urban hiking” (with no destination in mind) through any of New York City’s amazing neighborhoods; there’s always an adventure around the corner.
Best website for local info:
The ladies at Worship Worthy always have the pulse of New York City’s best parties, sample sales, openings, and general happenings. Plus, you can read about the women who are the driving force behind the scene.