Q&A: Ballet Dancers Share Favorite New York Experiences
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Q&A: Ballet Dancers Share Favorite New York Experiences

Paul Kolnik
We asked five New York City Ballet dancers to reveal their hometown favorites, from where they eat after a performance to where they go to indulge.

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Tyler Angle, Principal Dancer

Favorite Restaurants: The bar at Gramercy Tavern. To relax, I like to sit in the garden at Frankies in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood. Vinegar Hill House, also in Brooklyn, is wonderful, really exceptional. If I have a night off and I’m feeling extravagant, I’ll go with friends to the bar at Jean Georges.

Culture Fix: I’m an opera fanatic. Most times, I’ll be back up at Lincoln Center to the Metropolitan Opera. Benjamin Britten’s music is a favorite of mine, and Shostakovich’s The Nose is spectacular. I have a subscription to the Met with my brother, Jared, who is also a principal in the company.

Indulgences or Guilty Pleasures: If I want to give myself a present at the end of the season, I’ll spend the afternoon at the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, which is amazing.

Places to Dance: I don’t like to go club dancing, but on Sunday nights the hotel 60 Thompson has a live Cuban band—great for salsa dancing. You can go humiliate yourself or you can have a lot of fun. I do both. Everyone dances, no one’s self-conscious, and you never know what is going to happen.

Favorite Neighborhoods: Brooklyn Heights, but I enjoy exploring other Brooklyn neighborhoods like Carroll Gardens, Vinegar Hill, and Fort Greene. And having coffee in the early morning on the Brooklyn promenade: it is quiet except for the joggers, dog walkers, and people doing the crossword puzzle.

Adrian Danchig-Waring, Principal Dancer

For a Quick Lunch: Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center for the open-faced tuna tartine. Their oatmeal raisin cookies are one of the few things I crave all the time.

Favorite Restaurant: The menu at Roman’s in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood changes daily, depending on what sort of produce and meat is available, but on Saturday they bake and sell their own bread—some of the best I’ve had in New York.

Culture Fix: I think one of the most exciting spaces is the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The programming is dynamic, and I trust them as arbiters of what’s happening now. The BAC has really good dance performances and exquisite chamber music concerts. I find myself going to the Joyce Theater a lot as well. We joke that the Joyce is where dancers go to see dance.

Favorite Neighborhood: Red Hook. If I had a different job I would set myself up there in a heartbeat. It’s built on a human scale and has a remarkable sense of light and air because it’s at the western edge of Long Island, looking out onto the bay.

Rebecca Krohn, Principal Dancer

Favorite Restaurants: After a show I like to go to the Smith, right across the street from Lincoln Center, for the salmon dish that changes seasonally, and a breaded, pan-fried trout. And they also serve great cocktails. Downtown: I love Sobaya. They make their own noodles in-house. It’s intimate and quiet.

Watering Hole: Izakaya Ten is my ultimate favorite. It’s a Japanese place with great sake.

Indulgences or Guilty Pleasures: Donuts. And for me, there’s nothing better than a bag of fresh apple cider donuts covered in powdered sugar from the Tucker Square Greenmarket on West 66th Street.

Culture Fix: Recently, my husband and I spent an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I wanted to see a John Singer Sargent painting. Before we knew it, we had spent hours in the galleries, because there’s so much to see.

Favorite Neighborhood: Chinatown. I like to wander streets and look at the exotic dried fish and produce. It’s amazing how just being there transports you to a different place. Winnie’s is a great karaoke bar; it’s a fun mix of neighborhood locals, college kids, New Yorkers, and visitors. It’s $1 per song and a complete dive. For apartment envy, I like to walk around the West Village, ogling the townhouses.

Best Dance Classes: Steps on Broadway is where I go when we’re not in season. It’s open to the public, so a nonprofessional can go and take a class next to people at the top of their field.

On a Free Afternoon: I love to spend time in Riverside Park and Central Park with my dog. Both are nice pockets of calm in the middle of the chaos that is New York.

Sara Mearns, Principal Dancer

Culture Fix: I try to hit all the major theaters as often as possible: Avery Fisher Hall for the Philharmonic; Carnegie Hall for classical and pop music concerts; New York City Center for its Encore productions of Broadway shows, and the dance programs at the Joyce Theater, which are thrilling.

Night Off: I like the wine bar Casellula. It’s very small, has a great wine list and delicious cheeses. I like to go for drinks at the Empire Hotel lobby bar, which is low key and has wonderful music. And it’s right across the street from Lincoln Center.

Favorite Neighborhood: I love the area around where I work at Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. I’ve grown up in this area. I’ve been coming here since I was 12 years old, and it feels like home. I find it inspiring to be here.

For a Sweet Treat: Magnolia Bakery on Columbus Avenue for the banana pudding!

Georgina Pazcoguin, Soloist

Favorite Restaurants: The lunch at Jean Georges’s Nougatine is a great value. For a special occasion, Gotham Bar & Grill—I love the butternut squash soup. For an after-the-show dinner, I’m a Momofuku Ssäm maniac. My favorite dish is the spicy pork sausage and rice cakes. And if you have a huge group, I suggest going for the steak.

Watering Holes: Depends on the night. For a dive, Old Town Bar, close to Union Square. Momofuku, of course, also has great cocktails.

Shopping: The Nanette Lepore shop on Broome Street; I love her design style and clothes.

Indulgences or Guilty Pleasures: My acupuncturist Bianca Baldini works at Sacred Space New York; that’s my healing and my indulgence.

Culture Fix: I go to MoMA often and enjoy going to P.S. 1 in the summer. I like to spend a whole afternoon, unplanned, at the museum. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to wander as is the Brooklyn Museum. And you can’t beat Carnegie Hall.

Favorite Places: I think one of the most beautiful places to visit is the Cloisters, its gardens, as well as the Fort Tryon Park. And I am fond of Riverside Park around 96th Street.

Places to Dance: The Westway, a former strip bar, with different theme nights and raised platforms—what dancer doesn’t like to dance on a platform? It is on Clarkson Street in the West Village. For classes, the Broadway Dance Center is visitor-friendly.

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