Colleen Nika is editor of Rolling Stone’s Thread Count, a daily column that explores the intersections of music and fashion culture. She is also DJ for and curator of Nightvision, a nonconformist and forward-leaning music editorial, radio, and live music platform kicking off in full effect in 2012.This is her take on four places she likes, and one place she doesn’t.
Hotoveli – "The coolest avant-garde boutique in NYC, tucked away on a leafy street in my old neighborhood. They fit my off-duty assassin aesthetic pretty well, carrying rare Westwood, Owens, Comme Des Garcons, Ilaria Nistri, and some rarer import labels. They always have something amazing locked away behind glass, too. I DJed a cool Fashion Week party here last September. The boutique’s co-proprietor, Cody Ross, who also runs the label Priestess NYC, is truly one of my favorite people in the city."
Mela Foundation’s Dream House – "I like to listen to a lot of drone and ambient music these days, which can either evoke feelings of unease or placate them. I feel like a lot of people are on that wavelength right now, so it’s auspicious for us that an actual drone zone exists in NYC. La Monte Young (who Brian Eno hailed as ‘the daddy of’ all studied ambient sounds) once conceived of a Dream House — a place you could go just to experience sound and light in their purest forms. With the Mela Foundation’s help, he did just that. It’s nice to know that in our crumbling and austere times, such a specialized little universe can still exist, and right in the heart of Tribeca. Young still performs here on Saturdays."
Obscura Antiques & Oddities – "I love this place because it means the oddest and most macabre artifacts Manhattan has to offer can be found five minutes from my door. Their specialty: decaying curiosa. This can mean something like a weird chess set or creepy dolls they find at an estate sale to something more sinister, like memento mori or a Tibetan death skull. They often partner with The Observatory, another favorite NYC anomaly, which is a morbid workshop, lecture space, and reading room based in a corner of a library in Gowanus. They had a mummified cat I considered buying before it became the talking point of a related TV series The Science Channel produces."
Myers of Keswick – "For all my favorite British Imports. I grew up under a strong British influence, and I’m still very connected to the culture, which means I sometimes crave its more savory goods. You can’t beat buying this stuff in the motherland (I plan to do most of my Christmas shopping in London), but when I’m in NYC, I buy all my British teas, biscuits, preserves, crisps, candies, and curry here. And not only food and drink — they even carry Fairy liquid and Lemsips and other household goods. Plus, it’s only blocks from Tea & Sympathy and A Salt & Battery, a whole little domain they were aiming to dub ‘Little Britain’. It hasn’t happened yet, but we hold out hope."
NOT SO MUCH
Terminal 5 – "Full disclosure: I got punched in the face at a Hives show in 2008 here, and it’s been on my shitlist ever since. But because of the way the Bowery Presents chain of command works, every moderately successful commercial act plays this venue, which is a shame because it’s awful. The sound is horrendous, the location makes the hike over almost not worth whatever fun the experience may otherwise offer, and its ambiance is zero. I still prefer Roseland Ballroom, or better yet, the more elegant Hammerstein Ballroom, for a more satisfying mid-scale concert experience."