It just occurred to me that so many people who aren't from the New York area are coming to see Kyary next weekend. One of my Tumblr followers asked me for recommendations of things to do so I thought it would be fun to come up with a whole list of what's going on in case other people are interested. This list includes art shows, stores and places to eat that aren't really tourist standards that I think Kyary fans would enjoy.
Junko Mizuno and David Cook at The Cotton Candy Machine
I have been looking forward to this ever since Junko tweeted at me personally after I bought one of her original pieces this summer telling me that she was preparing for a show here. My heart definitely stopped beating for a second. Her shows have been primarily in California so this is a rare treat. Also what a dream that I am going to be working this opening event too! David Cook is also a fantastic artist so it's definitely worth stopping by to see this show and pick up a cute art thing or two if you can't make the opening. The opening event is Friday March 7, 7-11 PM but the show runs until April 1st. Read more here.
Sebastian Masuda's Colorful Rebellion Seventh Nightmare at Kianga Ellis Projects
Yet another absolutely amazing and well-timed art installation. Sebastian is the owner of the Japanese clothing line/store 6%Dokidoki. This exhibition is described as being a self-portrait project with 7 different zones within the gallery representing the 7 deadly sins. I am going to the opening tomorrow and couldn't be more excited. The process photos have been crazy so I can't wait to see what it looks like it person. There seems to be some confusion from people interested in this event. This show, as well as the one at Cotton Candy Machine above are free admission because these are at galleries, not museums! The exhibition runs from February 28th-March 29th at Kianga Ellis Projects. There is more event information on this Facebook page including the dates and times that 6% shop girl Yuka will be performing at the gallery. This is a definite must-see for every Kyary fan!
Kinokuniya is one of my favorite places in New York City and it's just a 10 minute walk from Best Buy Theatre. On the entry level, you can find art and fashion books, travel guides for Japan, English books and some toys. The bottom floor of the store has a bunch of cute stickers, craft items, stuffed animals, childrens' books, Japanese novels, and magazines. And of course, the top floor is where you can find rows of manga both in English and Japanese, CDs, DVDs and anime toys. There is also a small cafe and a sitting area where you can purchase food and drinks. It's really difficult for me to go in there and leave empty handed. Consider that a warning.
St. Marks Place / East Village Area
There are so many shops and restaurants here that I can recommend. Search and Destroy, pictured above, is a totally unique store with lots of secondhand items. It mostly doesn't have anything I would want to wear, but it's worth going in just for the experience that I'm not going to spoil by describing here. Below it is Kenka, my favorite izakaya style bar. It too has an interesting interior design that will make you feel like you're somewhere in the Japanese underground. The menu includes Japanese staples such as onigiri and ramen as well as some things that are more out of the ordinary including...bull testicles...? The best part is that they give you some sugar to make a cotton candy after you pay for your food. For more shopping, Trash & Vaudeville is a staple. In fact, Kyary went there last time she was in New York and it's included in her tour documentary. Think Hot Topic but if Hot Topic was 100x cooler. Toy Tokyo is an awesome toy store that's located on 1st just a block or two off of St. Marks. They sell art toys, plushies, and have a bunch of rare collectors items.
For other food places, there is Japadog (Japanese style hot dogs), and multiple bubble tea places though I am personally a fan of TKettle's strawberry black tea. Another one of my favorite places to eat is Udon West, where I usually get a set that includes negitoro don and udon soup for what I think is about $8. There are endless restaurants of different types both on and around St. Marks. My favorite two ramen places are Ramen Setagaya and Ramen Misoya which both offer vegetarian options. Misoya has several vegetarian options while Setagaya has only one but they're all excellent.
My diet includes an extraordinary amount of Asian food so that's a lot of what I mentioned but if you don't want Japanese food, I highly recommend Indian restaurant Milon which is another place with an unforgettable interior design job. The whole inside is covered in holiday lights. I went there for lunch for the first time last week and had a special that included a samosa, soup, and a main dish with rice which only cost me $10 including tip!
I could honestly go on for ages about places in this area because it's where I spend most of my time so if you have any questions, just ask and I would be happy to help.
Endless food recommendations because it's one of the best parts of New York. East Japanese Restaurant is a kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi place that is super affordable and a lot of fun. There is more than one New York location too. I used to work for them and I got all the free sushi and I would still eat there again so that says something.
Here are a few places in lower Manhattan: Mimi and Coco is such a cute little restaurant owned by two Japanese girls. They specialize in takoyaki-type food items that they call "teriyaki balls". I love the ones with the potato filling. Eight Turn Crepe is a yummy Japanese crepe place in SoHo that I also love. And if you're on a super budget, Vanessa's Dumplings is awesome because you can get 8 dumplings for like $3. I think the prices on this website are wrong because I definitely only spent $6 last time on 8 dumplings and a egg and chive pancake. There are multiple locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.
I hope this helps some of you out when you're in town for Kyary next week. Maybe I will see you around too. n_n As always, comment if you have any questions and I will be more than happy to help you out.