Radio On The Real. Fiona Byrne.

Transplanted from Dublin to New York almost a decade ago, Fiona Byrne has evolved from a mainstream print journalist from Us Weekly, The New York Times and New York Magazine into a modern day multi-media trend-spotter and tastemaker for all things downtown.

fiona byrne, the byrne notice, new york city, craig lacourt

Portrait of Fiona Byrne by Craig LaCourt for On the Real. www.craiglacourt.com.

Currently, she’s editor-in-chief of the online fashion, lifestyle and culture destination, The Byrne Notice. We had a lot of fun chatting with Fiona about wearing scrubs, the constitution of a trend, the future of the glossy printed page and the best places to paint Manhattan’s skyline. Just when we thought it was a wrap, she shared some choice words for the boardroom suits running the “everyday deals” at Whole Foods. Consider yourself on notice, lads.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Renovate. The Bean Pad.

It has been one helluva ride and it is finally winding down. Blinds being installed, touch-ups in full swing, the kitchen…almost done and furniture being delivered. With any luck, Kevan will be moving in during the next couple of weeks. Woot, woot! renovate, the bean pad, kevan bean, on the realSo, let’s check in for a progress report. The kitchen. The old one was perfectly nice and Boffi, so quality was great too, but it was a boring Boffi. Instead of replacing the cabinets, Mr. Bean chose to reconfigure and re-face the existing ones with a lightly finished reclaimed oak.renovate, the bean pad, kevan bean, on the realHandsome as hell, I’d say, and pulling the fridge around to the other side of the room opened up the whole apartment…huge bonus. Each area seems to relate to the other in a much more cohesive way. Back in the bedroom, the kind and very talented women at Own Entity chose a cork wall paper for behind the bed and some super cool lighting fixtures.renovate, the bean pad, kevan bean, on the realCan’t wait to see how this all comes together with those moose antlers and Kevan’s art perfectly arranged and displayed. Finally, remember those closets on the way to the master bathroom?renovate, the bean pad, kevan bean, on the realWell now, it’s a full on custom and manly dressing area with plenty of room for a Mrs. Bean should one of those happen to emerge one day. Pretty bad ass, I must say. The finish line is right around the corner. More Own Entity and design choices Kevan made with them in the next and last Bean Pad post. Stay tuned!

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Old School.

South side of East Houston between Attorney and Ridge in March of 2013.houston street, 2013, old school, graffiti

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

OTR Presents. Economy Candy.

If you happen to live downtown and didn’t escape to Uptown, Upstate or your buddy’s new townhouse in Fort Greene, you are fully aware that Halloween was a complete wash…especially if you live in a flood zone. Normally, Halloween = shitloads of candy, so you missed out this year whether you’re a kid or just a die-hard sweets monger. No missing out any more! This year, Christmas + Hanukkah + every other holiday celebrated right around now = the previously referred to…shitloads of candy. That’s it!Your only stop to procure said shitloads is Economy Candy on Rivington Street. This place has everything from Charleston Chews to 12-packs of Pop Rocks. Bottle Caps to Astro Pops. You can buy M&M’s, gum balls, Jelly Bellies and rock candy by the pound or your favorite chocolate by the slab. Even if you hate candy, you have to check this place out. There is nothing else like it. Economy Candy is a true Lower East Side institution.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

The Local. Sugar Sweet Sunshine.

Over the past few years there has been a cupcake war raging on this long and skinny slab of mayhem on which I write. I still see lines around the block outside one over-blown West Village institution that serves up these little round soldiers. I have had many of them in my day and most are ho-hum. Whatever. Fine. BUT, there is one establishment that makes a cupcake that literally blasted my boots off the first time I dug in. Ladies and gentleman, may I present to you the Pistachio Cupcake from Sugar Sweet Sunshine.sugar sweet sunshine, pistachio cupcake, cupcake, Jesse shafer, greg mchale, jesse and greg, on the real, nyc travel, nyc restaurants, new york city, manhattan, Brooklyn, tourism, nyc bars, nyc It is (or, usually, they are) the best confectionary creation I have ever stuffed in this flapper of mine. Seriously. It’s ridiculous. The cake is perfectly…I’m about to say it…moist and tastes almost as if you’re downing a bowl of that amazing instant green pudding your mom used to whip up when you needed something sugary. And then you have the perfectly buttery “Moose” on top with a sprinkle of genuine roasted pistachios. The combination makes for a wonderfully nostalgic and sublime culinary journey that makes my taste buds and eyeballs spaz in unison every time I enter this warm and welcoming cake shop. If you’re not into those little green nuts, every other cupcake at Sugar Sweet squarely slams the competition so make sure to try them all. They also have incredible cakes, pies and puddings that all feel as if they just came out of Grandma’s oven. No highbrow here. Just damn good down home darn sweet cooking.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Renovate. The Bean Pad.

With the groundwork established and Kevan’s plans to renovate approved, the fun started right away with the demolition. When Kevan was interviewing contractors on-site for the job, one struck him as the most together because he had commented on the fact that another contractor doing work in the building had not properly covered the floors and walls of the elevator and lobby. He assured everyone that his guys would bring and install the necessary protection so Kevan wouldn’t get dinged by the building for damaged floors and walls. That guy got the job.kevan bean, renovate, Jesse shafer, greg mchale, jesse and greg, on the real, nyc travel, nyc restaurants, new york city, manhattan, Brooklyn, tourism, nyc bars, nycWell, guess what happened? On the first day of demo, his workers come in to rip out walls and floors…a huge mess…and they don’t put anything down to protect the elevator or the lobby. Half way through their load-out, the building’s super shows up and understandably flips out that these guys are making a huge mess for him to clean up.kevan bean, renovate, Jesse shafer, greg mchale, jesse and greg, on the real, nyc travel, nyc restaurants, new york city, manhattan, Brooklyn, tourism, nyc bars, nycOut of spite or rage, he shuts the elevator off to the 13th floor (Kevan’s apartment) and calls the president of the condo board to report the mess. The board president then calls Kevan (who is shooting and unavailable) in a blind rage telling him that he is going to be fined and threatening legal action if he doesn’t immediately rectify the situation. Welcome to the building, Kevan! kevan bean, renovate, Jesse shafer, greg mchale, jesse and greg, on the real, nyc travel, nyc restaurants, new york city, manhattan, Brooklyn, tourism, nyc bars, nycAt least these guys swept up after they ripped everything out. Oh, and that’s one day’s work even with the three hours of downtime before they got the elevator turned back on. Thanks guys for the great work, but did you really have to piss off everyone right out of the gate?

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

OTR Presents. Moscot.

Leave the squint to Clint. How about a pair of kickass shades from Sol Moscot? This local family-owned business first began selling ready-made eyeglasses from a pushcart on Orchard Street back in 1899, and has been faithfully serving New Yorkers optical needs ever since.How many years have you walked past one of those huge Moscot signs without trying on their iconic frames? Your loved one deserves the gift of sight without glare, but don’t you dare go to Sunglass Hut. Moscot and represent.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

The Local. Freemans.

Before kids, before meaningful responsibilities and certainly before this forum of ours moved from infancy to toddlerdom, there was a cozy and rustic tavern tucked away in a nook at the crossroads of Little Italy and the Lower East Side. Many long afternoons were spent at the perfectly worn zinc bar with great friends and loves nibbling on Devils on Horseback and Smoked Trout, sipping on French 75’s. Sadly, that tavern was too long forgotten by this writer and unfairly so.Freemans at the end of Freeman Alley just off Rivington is back on the radar and it’s as great as it has ever been. No matter how many times you’ve been, Freemans always feels like a find…like you really have to know the underground byways and secret handshakes of this town. When you enter the blue door at the end of the graffiti adorned lane, you are greeted with what they describe as this “rugged clandestine Colonial American tavern” with walls loaded with peeling paint and vintage taxidermy. The menu follows the same mantra, “simple, rustic and inspired by early American traditions.”For brunch, the Piedmontese Cheeseburger is amazing and the Smoked Trout is second only to the ones I smoke at home…but, I digress. The Roast Pork Sandwich is one that also must be tried with its blanket of thinly sliced pickled zucchini and garlic mayonnaise piled between two slices of grilled peasant bread. Dinner brings other fantastic goodies. To start, go for the House Made Country Paté, the Hot Artichoke Dip or Steamed PEI Mussels. For the main, their Whole Grilled Brook Trout is always a winner as is whatever their Daily Market Fish happens to be. Or for something a little meatier, go for the Grilled Pork Loin or Colorado Lamb Stew.Whichever your culinary poison, wash it all down with one of their classic cocktails or traditional old-world wines. If you’ve never been to Freemans, go now. If it’s been a while, let this serve as your reminder. If you go all the time, call me an idiot and have a nice day.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Reading. New York City: 1940 vs. 2012.

There was a cool article in the New York Times online recently about this old market analysis for advertisers from the 1940′s that was based on then-current Census information.  That admittedly sounds like a snooze, but what is fascinating are some of the pictures and descriptions of the neighborhoods.  For example, here is an excerpt of one of their “Neighborhood Profiles” on Chelsea:
This is a very active industrial and manufacturing district.  At 14th St. and Ninth Avenue there are wholesale poultry and meat houses.  New York’s fur and florist center is located in the area from Sixth to Eighth Avenues and from 26th to 30th Streets.  Although almost deserted at night, it is one of Manhattan’s most crowded areas by day.  Poor grade tenements prevail.  But there’re some excellent apartment developments.  London terrace at 23rd St. between 9th and 10th avenues is one of these.
That’s a good one, right? “Almost deserted at night” is practically the opposite of Chelsea in 2012.  I also enjoyed their hardscrabble profile of the Lower East Side in 1940′s.
Visitors to New York find the Lower East Side an amazing show. There is nothing comparable in America. It is the most populous, most crowded, most old-world district in New York City. It’s more than 100,000 foreign-born population gives the Lower East Side a tinge that is essentially alien. But the district is changing. It has lost more than 40,000 foreign-born since the previous Census. Total population has dropped 225,000 in 20 years. Slum clearance has added many parks and playgrounds. The pushcart markets, Chinatown, the Bowery, barber colleges, tattoo shops, flop houses, second-hand clothes exchanges provide color and atmosphere seldom encountered in the American scene.
Nary a mention of hipsters, fixed gear bikes or ironic moustaches… but “tattoo shops, flop houses and second-hand clothes exchanges”?  Funny how much things change in 70 years, and also how they do not.
About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.