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New York City is arguably one of the best cities in the world to people-watch. Everyone knows it’s on the streets of NYC that you’ll see it first: this season’s accessory, next season’s trend. But, ask any New Yorker where the best of the best people-watching is to be had and you’ll get a different answer. That’s why we polled a handful of bonafide creatives, whose taste is to be trusted, where they go to get their fill of personal-style inspiration.

We asked artist Luci Pina to give a visual representation of the boundless opportunities for people watching in the Big Apple. As she tells Highsnobiety: “I was asked to create two illustrations that captured the spirit and crowds of New York City. I always draw from reference, particularly from film and archival imagery, so for these illustrations I looked at two of my favorite picture books, Hip Hop at the End of the World: The Photography of Brother Ernie by photographer Ernie Paniccioli, and Spike Lee’s SPIKE featuring photography by David Lee. Both are of course rich in NYC-centric scenes and people, particularly from the ‘90s, which as a massive hip hop fan I’m obsessed with and find a lot of joy drawing from!”

Read on for our panel of experts’ list of go-to spots:

Sintra Martins

Occupation: Owner / Designer of Saint Sintra

Where they live in NYC: Chinatown, Midtown 

“Weekdays in Times Squares between 11pm–1am, Zabars market on a Saturday morning.”

Julian Williams

Occupation: Creative

Where they live in NYC: Brooklyn

“I would say I used to enjoy people-watching on the benches in front of the park across the street from la Esquina, but I might have to update my favorite location for people-watching to be at Lucien on 1st ave and 1st street.”

Dae Lim

Occupation: Creative Director & Mochi Dealer 

Where they live in NYC: Fort Greene

“Dimes Square or the lower east side.” 

Willie Norris

Occupation: Design Director, Outlier

Where they live in NYC: Fort Greene

“Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Bar Blondeau at Wythe Hotel, LadyLand Festival 2023, The Staten Island Ferry, Jac’s on Bond, The Mulberry.”

Rian Phin

Occupation: Fashion consulting

Where they live in NYC: Brooklyn

“Outside of forgtmenot and in Soho wherever people are skating.”

Delia Cai

Occupation: Author and Vanity Fair correspondent

Where they live in NYC: Bed-Stuy 

“Bar Laika, any opening at Jeffrey Deitch, or honestly? The 25th floor bathrooms at Condé Nast. IYKYK!”

Phill Wong

Occupation: Designer + Cofounder of Hawthorne

Where they live in NYC: Chinatown

“Dim Sum – All the older family members wearing the wildest, yet most effortless combination of nondescript clothing while the rest of their family is fighting over who’s paying the bill even though someone put their card down before even sitting down.” 

Aurora Anthony

Occupation: Model, Creator, Artist

Where they live in NYC: Brooklyn

“Museums for me are the best place for people watching. There are all different types of characters walking through those doors and appreciating what they see. From the art school kids in their streetwear fashion, to the normcore starving artists, hungry for inspiration. Writers, musicians, designers, teachers, kids, all there to learn something taken from someone else. I feel like its the only place all wakes of people can coexist without judgment.”


Celeste Yim

Occupation: TV writer 

Where they live in NYC: Fort Greene 

“The backyard of Ginger’s for timeless dyke fashion.”

Isabella Lalonde

Occupation: artist & designer

Where they live in NYC: Lower East Side


Marcus Allen

Occupation: Consultant / founder of the Society Archive

Where they live in NYC: Tribeca

“Corner table @ Fanelli’s & Mercer hotel lobby.Sitting outside at Fanelli’s I see every character. From gym ‘fits with suiting, easy slip dresses, logo heavy knits, the city skater boys, and Soho’s very own Steve Harvey lookalike in Chanel frames and a fedora. Mercer lobby has more metropolitan characters – chic travelers and the seasoned city-boho”

Jihad H.

Occupation: Consultant

Where they live in NYC: St Mark’s

“Definitely certain spots in Dimes (Casino, outside of Le Dive or TIME). Other than that, I feel like wherever I am there’s some ‘fit to be excited about. I love anytime I can see some Margiela, The Elder Statesman, Martine Rose, Richardson, or vintage Hermès.”

Mae McKagan

Occupation: Designer & Model

Where they live in NYC: Lower East Side


 Lumia Nocito

Occupation: Photographer, Model

Where they live in NYC: Nolita

“ Any neighborhood where native  New Yorkers gather, such as the Upper East Side – women from Manhattan know what’s up.”

Emma Stern

Occupation: Artist/writer

Where they live in NYC: Lower East Side

“Olive Garden in Times Square.”


Occupation: Musician, singer-songwriter 

Where they live in NYC: Born in Queens, now currently based in Houston 

“Soho, specially Prince & Broadway.” 

Parker Kit Hill

Occupation: Model/Actor

Where they live in NYC: Clinton Hill

“Sitting outside at Saint Ambrose in SoHo.”


Occupation: Recording artist

Where they live in NYC: Harlem

“I’d say Washington Square Park, Soho, or the subway.”

Quentin Belt

Occupation: Meme Poet/ Casino Doorman/ Photographer 

Where they live in NYC: Tribeca/Bushwick 

“Casino on a Friday or Saturday.” 

Ava Hariri-Kia

Occupation: Model

Where they live in NYC: Williamsburg 

“Booth table at 3 guys on 75th and Madison on the Upper East Side.” 

Masami Hosono

Occupation: Creative Director

Where they live in NYC: East Village

“I would watch people at Grand central bars such as The Campbells or Oyster Bar etc. I think it’s a new trend-ish for people who are tired of Dimes Square”.

Mellany Sanchez

Occupation: Consultant

Where they live in NYC: Brooklyn

“Always on the MTA, especially hours after high school students get out – they have better style than the college campuses in the city. West 4th basketball courts will give you style from across 6th avenue. Early AM in The Ramble for bird watching style.”

Adam Eli

Occupation: Writer and community organizer

Where they live in NYC: Greenwich Village

“Where the gays and the grand dames of the Upper East Side converge – the theater!”

Miranda Barnes

Occupation: Photographer

Where they live in NYC: East New York, Brooklyn 

“Kings Plaza in Brooklyn.”


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