Planning a trip to New York can be overwhelming for a first-timer. There's just so much to see (and eat), so heeding a local's advice is your best bet.
Everyone, meet Eunice Lucero. Currently residing in NYC, she's our go-to girl for the whats and wheres of the Big Apple. She spends most of her days as the Senior Beauty Editor of All Things Hair, covering the latest beauty trends and brands we need to know about. But before that, she was a Preview and Style Bible editor for six years, and Sparkling's EIC for two. Oh, and she's also a certified astrologer.
Overall, you can bet that Eunice knows what a Preview girl should do in NYC. Keep reading and she'll tell you everything you need to know!
How did you end up living in New York?
"I’ve been spending summers in the U.S. for as long as I could talk—first in the West Coast, then as I found my love for publishing, the East. Coming from a mixed family it was always a split decision where to put down roots, with Manila winning that conversation for a while. I finally repatriated in July 2013 after a long and heartfelt stretch with the Philippine beauty and K-Pop scene, and I’ve been here ever since."
What was your first impression of the place?
"When I was younger, we were living in suburbia so it was all waiting for the ice cream truck and jumping on couches. Then it my twenties, it became an ill-advised hot minute in retail. At that time New York City was just the endpoint of a long commute from where we lived in Long Island. It lost its charm pretty quickly, but on the plus side stripped away any sense of entitlement I had about entering the workforce.
"When I moved again in 2013, it was a bit of the reverse: I expected to be eaten up by the industry, so I might have overcompensated with the work ethic (jean-pile trauma?). I learned soon enough—and as a lot of native New Yorkers will tell you—it’s not just who you know, but how hard you hustle. That paper chase is real."
What do you like most about the city?
"Trick question! Top of the list: Fellow repatriates, because only they know the struggle of craving for sinigang during our gloomy city storms. Also you can act like a homesick FOB all you want around them and they will bring you Jollibee. It’s like prison; I’ll buy you an $8 cocktail if you go to Queens with me for a Jolly hotdog.
"Next, in no particular order: The hip-hop. The pizza. The tons of artists and creatives that you can interact with every day, NBD. I love how you can get to Brooklyn or wherever via the subway, even though everyone sh*ts on our subway system, literally and otherwise.
"I love that New York City is a fashion and art destination, however wacky your tastes get. Where else can someone like me become a certified astrologer? I appreciate the no-nonsense work ethic and how it eats you up if you’re not careful. I adore the parks in the summer. I saw my first firefly ever last week in Prospect Park during a nude rendition of Hamlet (because why not) and I legit teared up."
How would you describe the vibe of the city?
"Fast, image-conscious, and fiercely competitive, for better or worse. If there’s anything you need to know before you move here, it’s to check your ego—and stupid heels—at the door."
How do New Yorkers dress?
"There is a lot of variance because this mostly depends on a couple of things: where you live (I call mine bodega-cazh), where you work (turn up or die), and how you get to both (flats are your friend!). But in general, street style is definitely edgier and trendier, since we get trends straight from the source. But everything's also synthesized to fit a hectic, walk-everywhere lifestyle; so needless to say we’re always weather-conscious and athleisure has yet to die. I would say it’s half comfort dressing, half kapal-mukha."
How about in terms of beauty?
"Very self-aware, like almost reflective of your personal branding; you’ve got your uptown gals who swear by their daily blowout appointments, and then you’ve also got people in the Village who are all about the grunge, with lipstick stains and blue hair. You’ve got the natural boom, so your God-given texture, whatever it is, is now embraced. Makeup has to be on point but not too fleeky, or else you suffer the label of an Instagram brand whore or worse, a West Coaster (JK. Sorta.) The coveted look is sleek and well-curated, and like you absolutely know what you were doing."
Any NY shopping hotspots or hacks you want to share?
"Invest in blocky heels—anything else is a waste of time and closet space. Same goes for huge bags: Manhattan restaurants are cramped, so scale down what you put behind your chair and also what you lug around with you all day. Avoid SoHo in the summer and give the online 'circular market,' a.k.a. second-hand fashion, a try. The back room of 10ft Single by Stella Dallas, a thrift store in Williamsburg, has a ton of designer pieces. I almost hate myself for telling you."
What about hotspots for the tastebuds? Your favorite places to eat?
"No joke—my corner bodega makes the best tuna melt in the world. But I guess everyone says that; it’s like your mom’s cooking. Of course, Café Habana! Pizza-wise, Grimaldi’s in Flatiron keeps it real. Hop Kee for mainstream Chinese. Pig and Khao is where I show off to my non-Filipino friends. The Mermaid Inn has awesome happy hour oysters (go on Mondays). But my current obsession is upscale Scandinavian, so Aska in Brooklyn is a must-visit. For everything else, especially world-renowned sushi, just Yelp it—seriously."
Any travel tips for first-timers?
"Don’t gawk in front of subway exits, prepare to pay twice as much for everything, and Chinatown is cash-only. Buy an Acne jean jacket."
Aside from the usual tourist-y spots, what other underrated sights do you recommend seeing?
"I wouldn’t say they’re underrated, but West Harlem has fun food and jazz spots, and don’t underestimate the magic of reenacting Beyoncé in Coney Island. Dumbo and Long Island City have sick views of the city, and I would never not take you to K-town if you come visit."
Favorite thing you got in New York so far, or something you have that always reminds you of it?
"My Acne jean jacket is the best transitional piece ever. Alexander Wang booties and bralettes never fail me, and I stock up on J.Crew tees and Prada wedges for not-so-basic basics. And all Madewell everything!"
How would you compare New Yorkers to Filipinos?
"New Yorkers are very punctual, respect your personal space and time, and value merit above all else. But on the flipside, they’re also obsessed with karaoke and are actually pretty fun and hospitable, so maybe there’s a midpoint there!"