John Zapolski: New York City

Security Check:
Hi, I’m John, and I design and build businesses to have a positive impact on society.  I also  provoke, develop, and fund projects with artists that inspire me.

What’s your historical Los Angeles and New York connection?
I just moved back to New York City after spending the last 4 years in LA. It’s my third time living in New York, but I still try to get back to LA to see my brothers as much as possible.

Describe your experience in LA and in NYC.
New York is for me about connectivity — to the rest of the world, to amazing people, to capital, to other cities and geographies, to partners and competition and challengers and collaborators. LA for me is about existing in solitude. Even though there are a number of great people there who I love dearly, time in LA is best for me in the sense that it leaves me with nothing to react to, nothing really pulling at me or stimulating me except my own inner sense of creativity.

What were the biggest challenges of moving from the west coast to NYC?
I’d love to have my LA friends — who are all assholes in the most affectionate, Bukowski-like sense of that word — in New York with me, and my New York friends — who are all beautiful makers and idea machines — in LA with me.

How can NYC and LA best engage with each other?
I think NYC can try to leave LA alone, and admire it from a distance. And LA can show up in NYC once in awhile when it needs to have its ass kicked, and remember to work harder and faster.

Favorite LA secret spot:
I don’t think it’s too secret, but the new Museum of Broken Relationships. Right in the thick of Hollywood Blvd, amidst the craziness, tourists, and depravity, it manages to be both a high concept, community-sourced narrative platform, and an incredibly relatable aesthetic provocation. Sensitive, wonderful, beautiful, sad, poetic…what humans collect and hold onto is just amazing.

Favorite NY secret spot:
Nabe Underground, in Harlem. It isn’t for everyone; but to me, it feels like being at a family party in some friend’s uncle’s basement. And living in LA, I missed the feeling of basements.

If you weren’t building what you were now, what would you be doing or building?
I’m doing what I love to do with my whole life right now. But if I was doing something different, it would probably be focusing more exclusively on creative writing.

Inflight Entertainment: What song/album/podcast/show have you been engaged with lately?
The new Tribe Called Quest album is great, and also led me back to a really fantastic set of remixed rarities that Mick Batyske put out.

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