There are few cities where spotting a celebrity is a realistic possibility, so being in one is kind of strange in that whenever you see someone that could be someone, it’s easy to just go ahead an assume that it is. New York is one of these cities. If you see a Justin Timberlake-looking guy in any old town, you’d say, “Oh weird. That guy kinda looks like Justin Timberlake.” But if you see a Justin Timberlake-looking guy in New York, you turn to whoever is closest and go, “Oh ma gawd! Is that Justin Timberlake!??!” And sometimes, although rarely, you’re actually right.
If you are planning to visit New York (or you live here, are moving here, etc.) and want to spot a celebrity or two while you’re in town, there are certain places that are more likely to work out for you. A couple of these are from first hand experience! Here’s five suggestions of places to
stake out visit and Times Square isn’t one of them.
I had a friend from out of town visit recently and one day she was out and about in Brooklyn Heights without me. Later that evening she told me about how she saw Lena Dunham there who “sounded exactly like her character on Girls!” To which I replied, “No! Really?!” My sarcastic remarks aside, Brooklyn Heights is a good place to try to spot a celeb because it’s the nice, brownstone building, quaint-looking Brooklyn of television and film fame, rather than Bed Stuy or Bushwick of Where Regular People Actually Live fame. Movies are also frequently shot here. Speaking of…
Film sets are a good place to track down celebs because they have to be there and thus can’t run away when you start staring at them like a creep. For example, today in New York The Carrie Diaries, Boardwalk Empire, and Orange is the New Black are being shot, just to name a few. This helpful website lists what’s being shot in NYC each day. There is always some Law and Order going on. Always.
Specialty Food Stores
This sounds random, but think about it. Celebrities like getting into food trends because, and this is just a theory, food trends are expensive and celebrities have money. Plus, gluten is totally bad for you, guys! (Please don’t take me seriously.) This tip is one I would not have known about if it weren’t for my boyfriend who worked in a vegan ice cream shop for the first year we lived here. He saw a pretty wide variety of people ranging from Russel Simmons to Roy from The Office (David Denman). Pop into a vegan, gluten-free, or we-hate-soy shop and see what happens.
The East Village
This one is my pièce de résistance because it was in the East Village that I saw Julian Casablancas from The Strokes and had a real stomach drop feeling because I LOVED him when I was a teenager. The East Village has a bunch of restaurants and bars and stuff that plebeians and celebrities alike enjoy. Also spotted: Chrissy Teigen and John Legend to whom I had the reaction of, “Oh my god! Let’s walk the other way lest they think we’re following them!”
West Village/Greenwich Village/The Village
Whatever you choose to call them, the West Village/East Village really sets up a Gatsby-style West Egg/East Egg situation. While the East Village is cool, but sometimes overpriced, the West Village is too overpriced to be cool unless you can actually afford it. Enter celebrities. There are a lot of designer shops here as well as a ton of restaurants with outdoor seating, so…. if you’re looking for celebs, walk past them thangs and try to peep at everyone. Current residents include Sarah Jessica Parker and Julianne Moore. This also works for the nearby fancy-shamcy ‘hoods of Soho, Chelsea and Tribeca.
As far as what to do once you actually spot the celebs, I don’t have very good advice unless you want to follow my paranoid method of determining which way they’re walking and quickly going the opposite. I would strongly suggest against pictures though. Savor the moment. Live in the now. Oogle them like a weirdo with your mind, not your camera.
Hope this helps! Have any of you had any cool celeb sightings in New York?