Rob Petrie: New York City

What’s your historical London and New York connection?
New York is a place that’s been in my mind from an early age. Being British, you are brought up on all things American, especially music and cinema. Watching films from Once Upon a Time in America to Ghostbusters, you have this vivid image of what New York looks and feels like, be it only on the screen. Listening to music like the Velvet Underground and being a fan of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art, New York was a place that I would have to be at some point in my life.

Describe your experience in New York as a Londoner.
My first visit was in 2003 and I immediately felt at home (and yes it took me a few weeks to stop looking up!). New York was like a very convenient version of London. Not getting thrown out of a pub at 11 because it was shutting was a novelty and getting a taxi with a light on was a bit out of the ordinary. The decision to move here really was not a hard one. The boats have stopped coming in at Ellis Island a long time ago, yet New York still has this pull for all these people around the world and guys like me. I can’t say exactly what it has as a city but you feel like you need to be within it.

How can NYC and London best engage with each other?
That’s a tough question. To me New York and London are so similar yet when I go back to London now on my yearly visit it seems to have this slight edge about it. It’s important to recognize that each place is different, and has its own strengths that the other can learn from. The best way in my mind for the two to engage better is to keep transferring art, music, fashion and design. The more shows the better. This will stop friends in London from saying “I can’t believe you haven’t heard of these guys”.

Favorite NYC secret spot: Beer garden at Gran/Electrica in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Favorite London secret spot: William the 4th Pub on Harrow Road. Not that secret but away from the tourists looking for the door from the film Notting Hill on Portobello Road!

In-flight entertainment:
What’s playing in your headphones right now? The Clash, Muddy Waters and Moderat for the gym

What are you currently reading? Joe Strummer’s autobiography – London Calling. The guy came and took New York. Only the Beatles had really ever done that before on that kind of scale.

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