Peter Tunney, the artist based in Tribeca, grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, in what he calls a truly idyllic childhood – "'Stand By Me' meets 'Leave It To Beaver.' All we did was play outside, regardless of the weather, hikes & adventures through the woods and railroad tracks, and dinner with the family every night. What more can you ask for?" Now, Peter is an acclaimed artist known for his graphic collages made of newsprint lying underneath optimistic words and phrases like Don't Panic, Gratitude, and City Of Dreams.
What would the title of your autobiography be? “The Life, Death, Life, Death, and Subsequent Life of Peter Tunney”
What can’t you travel without? Magic tricks and playing cards. Because most parties, dinners, and places I’ve ever been to are desperate for some form of entertainment. This way, if need be, I can provide.
What’s your favorite travel destination? It used to be Africa. Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, the Kalahari Desert. And I really reveled in spending time on Lake Rudolph in the Northern Frontier District of Kenya, near Ethiopia. Quite specifically, a small island known as The Isle of No Return. These days, I’d have to say the South of France.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon in NYC? Read The New York Times. Have a luxurious lunch. Chain-smoke Cuban cigars.
If you could choose one person to show you “their New York City,” who would it be? Either Jeff Koons or Robert De Niro would be awesome. I’m sure those guys make really interesting tracks in NYC.
Who has inspired you recently? Justin Beiber. I’m serious. I just saw “Believe,” and watched him write some words on a legal pad that turned into a song that became a giant stadium concert that toured over a hundred cities. Anything is possible.
What are your favorite NYC restaurants? I love the Kobe sliders at Nobu, the poulet cajun at Le Bilboquet, and Cipriani Downtown, where I order the baked tagliolini. I may be addicted to baked tagliolini.
What’s your go-to spot in NYC for juice? Liquiteria for their amazing cold-pressed juice! I live on the stuff – and they deliver!
What’s your favorite NYC brunch spot? Any authentic New York City diner is great for me. The Square Diner on Leonard Street in TriBeCa is perfect if you like old-school New York chow.
Where do you get your art fix in NYC? I get my art fix in the basement of my gallery. I’ve got all my supplies, clippings, ephemera, and everything I need to make anything I want. It’s truly a dream.
What’s your favorite late-night hangout in NYC? Right above my basement, in my gallery, I pretty much watch a movie or two there every night. It’s one of the few places left where you can watch a movie while smoking a good cigar.
What are some of your under the radar must-do recommendations for NYC visitors? Bargemusic concerts in Brooklyn, underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s unbelievable. I would recommend having a drink at The River Café before or after. And while it’s not exactly under the radar, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is pretty awesome.
What music are you listening to these days? I like to work to Yo-Yo Ma, Vivaldi, Bach, and Brahms. I also like The Postal Service. But mostly I listen to my jukebox; it’s loaded with my actual 45s, mostly from the 60s to the early 80s. It’s almost eerie when you hear the needle hit that scratchy record. It takes me back in time. And I am so into TLC it’s ridiculous – “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs,” “Creep.” Please. Put one up for my girl, Left Eye.
What song would you consider your personal soundtrack to NYC? I love Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.” I do listen to that on auto-repeat, sometimes for days. I get hooked on songs.
When you think of NYC, what comes to mind? Three words… city of dreams. I love NYC. It IS the city of dreams. There’s simply no place like it on this earth and there never will be. It has a unique and enormous amount of energy pulsing through it every day.