Ji Son Choi: New York City

Ji Son cooks up fun, collaborative ways to partner with advertisers for Guardian Labs, the brand partnerships division of the Guardian.

What’s your historical San Francisco and New York connection?
I immigrated from Seoul to San Francisco when I was 4 and lived there until I headed out to L.A. for college. My parents are still in SF, so I’m out there whenever I get a chance. I knew I wanted to end up in New York since I was in high school; lo and behold, it’ll be ten years for me in NYC this December. Good things come to those who wait!

Describe your experiences in SF and NYC.
I didn’t explore SF much while I lived there, since I was just a kid trying to survive junior high and high school. Whenever I get back there to see my parents, I venture out to see all that I can. It’s such a charming, historic and beautiful city, which I didn’t fully appreciate while I lived there. As for NYC, it’s the closest place to what I call home. I have a love/hate relationship with it as most New Yorkers do, but it has completely gotten under my skin. I often am in awe of the fact that I live here.

What is the biggest challenge of moving from SF to NYC?
The weather and pace of life! NYC has an energy about it that cannot quite be articulated until you experience it for yourself. At first, it’s overwhelmingly stressful, but you ultimately feel exhilarated by it. The weather, needless to say, is both a gift and killjoy. Every season has something endearing about it, but the winters are long!

How can NYC and SF best engage with each other?
Step 1: Buy exorbitantly expensive property in both cities. Step 2: Fly back and forth in business class weekly. All kidding aside, I find that businesses/brands that have prominent locations in both NYC and SF have created ways for employees and customers to be able to make an organic connection between the cities. Seeing the parallels between the two cities isn’t hard — both have thriving scenes when it comes to food, health and wellness, the arts, architecture, tech and a lot more.

Favorite SF secret spot
SF is such a naturally photogenic city, so I would have to say that the Coastal Trail is my wandering nook of choice. There are all these different trails within the main trail that you can happily get lost in. Either way, you almost always get views of the Golden Gate Bridge and vast Pacific Ocean. What more could you ask for?

Favorite NYC secret spot
When I first got to NYC, one of the more elusive things in this city of everything was finding a decent taco. Being a west coast girl, I didn’t realize how good we had it! Luckily, I found my fix — the perfectly made crispy fish taco at Tacombi. You won’t be disappointed!

If you were not at Guardian Labs, what would you be doing?
I have a huge interest in food and healing, so I’d love to be working in nutrition. I also have a friend who met someone that traveled the world to select songs for Apple commercials. I died a little when I heard that!

Inflight Entertainment: tell us what song/album, TV show, podcast, or web videos you’ve been watching lately.
I have been just a little obsessed with Kodaline lately. British music and I have had an enduring love affair.

From the 2905 Miles newsletter: connecting NEW YORK CITY + SAN FRANCISCO

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