New York Itinerary: Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars

Actor-musician Jared Leto and his certified-platinum band 30 Seconds to Mars have been keeping busy, readying their third album, This is War, for release on December 8th. But not so busy they can’t play with Manhattan’s punks and paparazzi. It’s all in a day’s work for the hardcore heartthrob. (Also check out our behind-the-scenes report.)

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“You’re kidding me,” says Jared Leto, grabbing his forehead at the terrible news: New York’s Union Square—where, for many locals, downtown begins—will be the proud new owner of a T.G.I. Friday’s. “I remember when Babies ‘R’ Us first arrived in the neighborhood,” he says. “On one hand, it was like, This is the end. On the other, it was nice to see people weren’t afraid to do business here.” Fans who know and love Leto from his days as Jordan Catalano on television’s My So-Called Life might be similarly ambivalent about the actor’s transformation into a mascara-wearing rocker. But it’s nice to see he’s doing business, too, especially when it momentarily looked like his band, 30 Seconds to Mars, might not get the chance. Comprised of Leto, his brother Shannon (the band’s drummer) and Tomo Miličević (lead guitar), 30 Seconds almost fell apart after Virgin Records sued them for $30M for allegedly refusing to honor their three-album contract. “It was hell,” he says, “But it’s over. This Is War is kind of like a celebration.”

Café Gitane 242 Mott Street It’s just that kind of place, you know, the kind where everyone goes, the kind where you run into your friends. Like we just did. [Leto bumped into photographer Terry Richardson, pictured below, and musician Moby sitting outside.] It’s a neighborhood place that has been here for a while and still feels like a neighborhood place. That’s not always the case in New York. I think places that last a long time are here for a reason.

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Trash and Vaudeville 4 St. Mark’s Place Trash and Vaudeville was making and selling those skinny black jeans that are everywhere now long before they were popular. The great news is that at this place, they’re 60 bucks. It’s a local New York institution, but I’m surprised this place has held on as long as it has. The owner stuck it out, and he’s still here, kicking ass.

San Loco 111 Stanton Street San Loco is New York’s only real taco place. I was living here off and on for quite some time, a long, long time ago, in 1991. [My brother] Shannon lived here in 1993, in Alphabet City. I used to come here at all hours. It’s one of my favorite places: easy, cheap and good. It can stand up to the Mexican food in L.A.

Balthazar 80 Spring Street Balthazar feels like an authentic French restaurant. It’s not like Café Gitane, when you feel like you’re in New York. It more or less takes you there. Their food is so consistent and solid. I’ve been coming here for years. I go in the off-hours—it’s open all the time, and it’s even more beautiful when it empties out, especially during the day, when fewer people are here.

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Café Habana 17 Prince Street I’ve been trying to get Shannon to go here for so long. I’ve been telling him forever that they need to open one in L.A. Now they’re opening two in L.A. Habana has a special charm to it. You’re crammed in there with a ton of other people—models, locals and tourists. It’s crowded, but there’s just a good energy, you know? I often go to the takeout counter next door when it’s too crowded. I’ve got to get some plantains.

For more of Jared’s favorite spots, check out the BlackBook Guides on your iPhone.

Photography by Adam Fedderly. Styling by Bryan Levandowski. Grooming by Kumi Craig @ Exclusive Artists. Leto’s own T-shirt, pants and jacket. Cardigan by Gucci.

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