Lyle Owerko is an artist, photographer, and documentarian who has proudly called Tribeca home for the last 15 years. You may recognize his work for everyone from publications to brands to human rights groups, or from his iconic photo of the September 11th tragedy that ran on the cover of Time Magazine. Owerko is originally from Calgary, Canada, and studied at Brooklyn's prestigious Pratt Institute.
What would the title of your autobiography be? “Been There, Done That”
What can’t you travel without? A camera; It’s my sketchbook, my best friend, the eye of my soul and the journal upon which I write with light.
What’s your favorite travel destination? Rio — it’s got it all. Close seconds (for different reasons) are Tahiti, South Africa, Kenya and Mongolia.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon in NYC? Sleep late and then enjoy a long drawn out ritual of coffee, breakfast and the Financial Times.
What has inspired you recently? Lately my eye has been drawn to Mongolia — I just returned from my second trip there and can’t even begin to explain the light… it’s truly a remarkable place. The environment there is beyond what written words can express.
What are your favorite NYC restaurants? Living in Tribeca, your “local” sushi restaurant becomes Nobu, which has so many signature dishes. It never disappoints. The Odeon is always a favorite, as is Tiny’s and Cafe Gitane. Other favorites are The Fat Radish, Raoul’s and Blue Ribbon. When in a hurry, I tend to run in to South’s on Church Street which has a cast of top-notch bartenders, or to Thai Son for Vietnamese on Baxter Street.
What are your go-to spots in NYC for drinks? That’s simple: The Leadbelly, The Carlyle or Angel’s Share – other favorites are The Ear Inn in Soho and Dirck the Norseman in Brooklyn.
Where do you get your art fix in NYC? New York is an entire canvas – a fix within a fix – always leading to a new fix. Gallery-wise, it’s Chelsea for the occasional art safari, checking out the big name venues, then uptown for the same bold face galleries, and then the LES for up-and-coming artists as well as Red Hook and Gowanus in Brooklyn. The Met is never just one quick visit.
Do you have a favorite artist? I really enjoy whatever my friends are up too — there’s such an inspiring group right now from JR to Kaws, Prune Nourry, José Parla, Daniel Horowitz, Shantell Martin, Josh Cheuse, Patrick Mohr, Ryan McGinness and the my dear friends in Brazil, Os Gemeos. The last 24 months have been incredibly inspiring from all of them.
What’s your favorite late-night hangout in NYC? Nothing beats a New York rooftop in summer. That’s it – truly the best canvas of all; a warm evening, cold drinks and plenty of inspiring conversation amongst close friends while gliding along twilight’s ridge with some great genius creating a soundtrack of whatever they feel is right for the moment.
What are some of your under the radar must-do recommendations for NYC visitors? Lunch at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central, and hopping a fence at Central Park in late fall to spend the afternoon staring at the canyon of buildings surrounding a small patch of quietness. As well the view of New York from Red Hook — where one of the cities best foodie spots is Fort Defiance. Amazing meals and an erudite wine selection that matches with grace.
What are some of your favorite NYC stores? Nothing beats one of the go-to flea markets in Brooklyn on a weekend.
What music are you listening to these days? I’m sort of obsessed with Vancouver Sleep Clinic, as well as Jagwar Ma and Chet Faker. The Aussies have been pumping out a lot of solid listening entertainment lately. I’m totally digging on The Temples, Dusty, Black Pistol Fire, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Bones of J.R. Jones, Goat, The Kooks, Liam Bailey, Jungle, and the latest from The Black Keys.
When you think of NYC, what immediately comes to mind? This city is one giant power source of energy where anything can happen at any time. It’s one of the most attractive factors of the Big Apple – it’s always ripe to provide a taste of something new at any given moment.