Edon Ophir: New York City

What do you do? 

Hi! I’m Edon. I work on Uber’s marketing team in NYC and am spending the summer in London helping our team as it continues to expand across the UK. In the 2+ years I’ve spent at Uber, I’ve worn many hats. I launched the company’s global social support operations, have run large scale marketing campaigns in three markets (NYC, NJ, CT), helped kittens find a home, measured the company’s impact on public transit in New Jersey, its growth on the Jersey Shore, and led Uber NYC down 5th avenue its first-ever appearance at New York pride. It’s been a wild ride, and I’m thrilled to be spending the summer at Uber UK, working on initiatives from UberPITCH, our 4 Year Anniversary, new market launches, and more.

What else should we know about you?
In case the name didn’t give it away, I’m Israeli. Grew up in the states and lived in Tel Aviv for 4 years after university, before landing back on the Upper West Side in 2013.

Fell in love with yoga 3 years ago, and am constantly lamenting my need to practice more. But it’s about non-attachment, right?

What’s your historical London and New York connection? 
I’ve been traveling to the UK since I was a kid, both as a favorable stopover destination on our many family trips to Israel and while tagging along on my mom’s business trips. She’s an IT executive and recently served as CIO for a bank in the UK, so my trips out here had increased in recent years. The real moment I fell in love with London was likely when I was 16 though, when I spent the summer on a pre-college journalism internship program at the University of London. We got to stay in Russell Square, learn from top journalists, and sneakily explore the city’s best bars and restaurants each night!

Describe your experience in New York as a Londoner.
People constantly ask me to compare the two cities and I don’t think I can. They really are two completely different entities—both enchanting and captivating in their own ways.

The weather in London has definitely been a low point, but I’ve watched myself slowly fall in love with all the city has to offer. From the abundance of markets (Maltby and Broadway Market FTW), to the cultural and architectural differences in each neighborhood, to my certifiable Waitrose-addiction —it’s going to be hard to leave!

I’m also not much of day-drinker, but pub life has really surprisingly enamored me. Folks here work VERY hard, as hard if not harder, than New Yorkers. Who knew that Saturday afternoons at the pub could be the most relaxing experience? I suppose it really is a way of life, as I spent my first pub experience here watching as neighbors came around with their children, pets, and extended families in tow.

London feels a bit more international than New York, and I’ve found that every interaction here becomes extremely intellectually stimulating as a result.

How can the two cities better engage with each other?
New York and London are sister cities in every sense. No two metropolis’s command such an influence over a number of leading industries and maintain that distinct “center of the universe feel.” Many companies invest heavily in exchange programs for their employees between New York and London and I’d strongly encourage those that don’t to reconsider. I’ve seen firsthand just how much our London team has been able to help our New York operations, and vice-versa.

Favorite NYC secret spot:
I’m such an Upper West Sider at this point–in love with my neighborhood and the decidedly authentic dinners at Celeste or my always fresh go-to Spring Kitchen. The biggest neighborhood secret has definitely been the Cricket Club at Burke and Willis, a movie-set worthy speakeasy with delicious cocktails and a real real uptown rarity.

Favourite London secret spot:
Oh man, being new here makes every great spot feel like a “secret” when I’m sure its hardly the case. However the standouts have definitely been dinner at Chez Elles, probably one of the most authentic french restaurants I’ve ever been to, drinks at the historic Wilton’s Musical Hall or the The Bermondsey Arts Club–which used to be a public violet!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I don’t know about live, but I’ve never traveled to Asia and am eager to get over that way and explore already!

In flight entertainment: 

I’m listening to a lot of Kygo these days.

The past few years, I’ve found myself incredibly fascinated by neuroplasticity. Dr Joe Dizpensa’s book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, is an extremely scientific and dense introduction to the world of quantum physics. Its taking a while to finish–but for me its a real page turner and a real validator of meditation/mindfulness and most of the spiritual trends that have recently gained more mainstream attention.

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