With a name synonymous with New York nightlife, Paul Sevigny doesn't require much of an introduction. He began his foray into the world of entertainment as a DJ – spinning at exclusive parties in New York and around the world. Before long, he was opening and operating equally exclusive venues of his own, with his most recent venture being Paul's Cocktail Lounge at Tribeca Grand Hotel. With fluorescent, floral artwork created by Josh Smith, and a well-heeled crowd that embodies the full scope of downtown style and culture, the space is essentially the antithesis of New York's contemporary nightlife scene. Which is exactly what Mr. Sevigny had in mind.
(Photo: Peter Ash Lee for W Magazine)
What would the title of your autobiography be? “Lightspeed”
What can’t you travel without? An extra set of underwear and a toothbrush in case the airline loses my luggage. And Kiehl’s Eye Alert cream.
What’s your favorite travel destination? Home, to my apartment.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday in NYC? Get a bike and ride through Times Square at 3am on a Sunday night, when you have it all to yourself. Take it all in.
If you could choose one person to show you “their NYC,” who would it be? There are too many people I can think of, for too many different reasons.
Who has inspired you recently? Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian guy who jumped out of the balloon from almost 25 miles up. Dreams are important in this world, and his jump shows that people still have them and aspire to something more than what we think about on a regular day.
What are your favorite NYC restaurants? For breakfast, I go to Ess-a-Bagel in the East Village. Sparks for steak, and for the history. Emilio’s Ballato on Houston Street. Raoul’s – for the pepper steak, all the way. When people come from out of town, or for celebrations, it’s fun to do the old standards – Daniel, Four Seasons, 21 Club. The Oyster Bar at Grand Central is great too. But for a more downtown, hipster feel, I like Café Select in Soho and Lucien in the East Village.
What’s your go-to spot in NYC for drinks? Besides Paul’s Cocktail Lounge, The King Cole Bar at The St. Regis.
What are some of your favorite NYC brunch spots? I don’t know if I can give away my brunch spots – I still want to be able to get a table!
Where do you get your art fix in NYC? For people that are into art, I recommend the Fall openings at the galleries in Chelsea, or any of the big art fairs. It might not be the best time to actually view art, but it’s an interesting window into the NYC art scene and the energy of the art world. But if you want to find a great affordable piece of art to take home, Printed Matter in Chelsea is the first place I send people.
What are some of your favorite late-night hangouts in NYC? Decibel Sake Bar in the East Village, or if you’re with people from outside of the country, take them to Omen – they’ll love it. But you can’t go wrong with a falafel from Mamoun’s and a game of chess in Washington Square Park.
What are some of your must-do recommendations for NYC visitors? The things that continue to make our city great are ones that have been here forever – parks, open spaces, museums, festivals. Many of them don’t cost a lot of money, are open to the public, and can only be found here. They’re what keeps New York a special place right now. But let’s not forget Fairway, Dean & DeLuca, Di Palo’s, Murray’s Cheese, getting a slice of pizza at Joe’s, and Katz’s Delicatessen – those are all unique NYC experiences.
What are your tips for visitors to NYC? Never before go to the Empire State Building before midnight. Never go to McSorley’s after 3pm, or on the weekends. Try wearing all black, and never wear anything Boston Red Sox related. And if it rains, please don’t carry a large umbrella – this is not a golf course.
What are your favorite NYC stores? Best Made Co. in Tribeca – they’re bringing micro-industry back to NYC. Smaller brands like Supreme. Paul Stuart, J. Press – they’re NYC institutions. A.R. Trapp Opticians and Moscot for glasses. The Strand bookstore.
When you think of NYC, what immediately comes to mind? For me, there’s an inspiring energy that only exists here, and there’s nowhere else in the world where you feel that anything can happen. New York certainly has the highest highs, and with the highest highs come the lowest lows. It’s a roller coaster, but the opportunities that are here are bigger than anywhere else. The possibilities are endless.