My New York – J.B. Smoove
I love this town. This is my city.
He loves it so much, he jokingly says he’ll be mayor one day — because New York could use someone “smoove” to run things. The former “Saturday Night Live” writer is an actor-comedian who broke out as Larry David’s housemate Leon in “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” The Mount Vernon native, 46, now lives in DUMBO and currently hosts “Four Courses With J.B. Smoove,” a dinner-table conversation show on MSG with guests including Larry Johnson, John Salley and Jim Breuer. This is his New York.
1. Madison Square Garden, Eighth Avenue, at 33rd Street
“I went to my first hockey game this year. That was something else. There’s nothing like going to a Rangers game. I am addicted to hockey now. I’ve seen it on TV, but to be there? I had no idea that white people were having so much fun without me. I felt more at ease when DMC from Run DMC (inset) was right behind me, and he said he’s been a hockey fan forever. I felt comfortable hanging out with that brother.”
2. Oficina Latina, 24 Prince St., at Mott Street
“Their menu is so diverse between all types of Latin foods. They take their menu and break it down by destination. Wherever your mouth wants to go on that night — you can say, ‘Hmm, I’ll take a little bit of Brazilian on my tongue tonight.’”
3. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” location, The Milan, 300 East 55th St., at Second Avenue
“Shooting in New York is always fun. When we shot on the street — anywhere we shot — people would gather around and they couldn’t resist. They loved Larry so much, the show and Leon, that they would shout out in the middle of a scene. Larry would be doing his lines, and someone would yell out, ‘We love you, Larry!’ Larry would have to stop and be like, ‘Shut up! We’re doing a TV show here.’ But he loved it, man.”
4. Smith & Wollensky, 797 Third Ave., at 49th Street
“When I was working at ‘SNL,’ we had an after-party there. I love those little sliders, man. The [‘SNL’] after-after-parties were too crazy for me. Too dangerous. In three seasons, I went to maybe three after-afters. Those things were crazy, and then you’d have to deal with people on Monday about what the hell you did on that night. By the time you leave the after-after, it’s probably daylight.”
5. Catch, 21 Ninth Ave., at West 13th Street
“I used to work repairing soda machines in bars, [and] one of my main stops used to be the Meatpacking District — and that was before it became the Meatpacking District it is now. I like Catch because I remember how it used to be down there. You could get a drink, but you could also get mugged.”
6. West Fourth Street Courts, West 4th Street, at Sixth Avenue
“One thing we used to love to do is play basketball here. That was my spot. It’s weird playing there, because the out of bound line is the fence. There was no saving a bad pass, because you’d run into the fence. There’s no rule for mistakes over there. It’s like a cage match.”
7. Red Bamboo, 140 W. 4th St., at Macdougal Street
“It’s vegetarian and amazing. It’s soy. You can have crab. You can have ribs. Can you imagine veggie ribs? You won’t even miss the real meat because it tastes so close to the real thing, because the damn sauce is so good. It’s all about the sauce with ribs, anyway.”
8. Times Square, 42nd Street, at Broadway
“Back in the day, you could come from Mount Vernon, hop on the 2 train at 241st Street and ride all the way to Times Square. For us, we thought riding the train was the greatest thing on earth. Times Square wasn’t like it is now. You had the fake ID spots. You’d get one of those and go to the real clubs to hang out, even though you were 17.”
9. The Bronx, Kingston Tropical Bakery, 4000 White Plains Rd., at 226th Street
“When I get into town, the first thing I want to get is one of these Jamaican beef patties. Any time I leave town, I buy a box of them — I get six beef and six veggie. My wife is a vegetarian. When my wife is with me, I eat vegetarian. When she’s not, I eat meat. I’m just being honest. My wife is going to read this and know that I’m having buffalo wings and beef patties when she’s not around.”
10. Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, waterfront between Atlantic Avenue and Jay Street
“You gotta check out the waterfront over there from Atlantic to the Brooklyn Bridge. They got a volleyball court over there with real sand. Who has real sand in New York? They have new soccer fields. They have an amazing new kids’ playground over there that I want to use my damn self. That’s how nice it is.”
Read the full article at the New York Post by Reed Tucker.