One of the most exciting things about visiting a city isn’t museums or the latest hot-spot restaurant but immersing oneself in its pop culture: what are people reading or watching on TV? That’s exactly what I did on a visit to the Big Apple last week. Some impressions:
As a Eurovision obsessive, it was incredibly fun to watch the first episode of American Song Contest live at NBC studios. But while hosts Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg had good chemistry and I enjoyed Oklahoma’s take on K-pop, it was all a bit too staged. But it was the first of eight episodes so there’s plenty of time to step up the camp.
Morning TV was a particular fascination and remains surprisingly relevant in the age of streaming – even if the incessant ads made me feel like I definitely needed a pill for “something”. Kudos to The Drew Barrymore Show (pictured), which is a bit kooky but preferable to well-worn alternatives Live with Kelly and Ryan and Today with Hoda and Jenna.
The Oscars are still a big deal: the steady stream of A-listers promoting their films in the run-up to the ceremony made that clear. And despite its diminishing live audience, surely every office in the world was talking about Will Smith and Chris Rock yesterday morning.
As a print media fanatic I had to visit some famous newsstands. There’s Casa Magazines, Iconic and Soho News International. I also took to buying The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal daily; the WSJ men’s issue from the weekend edition is one of my favourite supplements.
New York may be ever-present in our pop culture globally but you’d be surprised at how many new impressions you can gather by soaking up the local atmosphere. For my next visit? I’ll be hoping for some celebrity sightings at the Italian staple Sant Ambroeus in the West Village. Who says that you can’t combine hot-spot restaurants and pop culture?