19 Fashion Insiders Tell Us Why They Still LOVE New York City

by Eddie Roche

New York City dead? Not on our watch! The Big Apple has been on the receiving end of some negative press lately, but true New Yorkers know our town will always bounce back. We know lots of people who still love our city.

1. Coco Bassey, Content Creator

Coco Bassey

“I moved to New York City in February, right before the pandemic hit, but I still wouldn’t change my decision to make NYC my new home! I’ve enjoyed discovering the city through a different lens, one that’s forced me to slow down and explore parts of New York that I never had the time to notice in the past. I’m also so in awe of how New York set an example for the rest of the country—coming together during such a tough time, and working to get our virus infection numbers down to less than 1 percent! I know a lot of people think that city life can be cold and lonely, but in its toughest times, New York City shows that it’s truly built on the spirit of oneness and community. I couldn’t be prouder to call this place my home.”

2. Brooks Nader, Model

Brooks Nader (Courtesy)

“New York is hands down the best city on earth. One of my favorite things about the city now, during these times, is that all the tourists and people who love New York only when it’s ‘great’ have gone, and all that’s left is real, true New Yorkers, people who love this city as much as I do. And whether you’re dining outside, or going for a jog on the West Side Highway, everyone has a mutual understanding and respect for one another for riding it out in our amazing city. Everyone has pulled together and shown such resilience, as New Yorkers always do. The incredible energy New York has always had hasn’t died, it’s only just starting to rise again.”

3. Victor Glemaud, Designer

Victor Glemaud (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG)

“Having just returned to the city on September 1st after being away for several months, what I’m enjoying the most are my walks to see friends for dinner and being back in the studio redesigning Fall/Winter ’21. I grew up in Queens, New York. The current vibe may be less polished, but it’s still New York City. Keep up!”

4. Jason Wu, Designer

Jason Wu

“I moved to New York 20 years ago and I love it just as much today as I did the day I arrived. To me, NYC represents diversity, culture, and strength.”

5. LaQuan Smith, Designer

LaQuan Smith (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

“What I’m currently enjoying most about New York City is that everyone has transitioned to outside dining. It’s very European, and I love that about the city right now. There’s a vibrant uplifting energy that has been missing for a long time. I personally enjoy people-watching at my favorite Egyptian and Moroccan restaurant, Hamido. The scene is lively, and the food is mouthwatering.”

6. Maggie Rawlins, Model

Maggie Rawlings (Courtesy)

“While things are definitely different right now, I still love the buzz in New York City. Whether it’s restaurants opening up with outdoor seating or stores opening up with limited capacity, I still love the willpower of the people of NYC.”

7. Grace Atwood, Digital Creator

Grace Atwood

“What I love about New York right now is something I’ve always loved…. Even in a pandemic, things are never boring and there’s always something new to discover. The city’s new sidewalk-café culture has brought about many new favorite restaurants and made old favorites feel fresh and new. I feel like I’m falling in love with the city all over again…. It’s a rediscovery of sorts. Spots I might have overlooked in the past have now created these gorgeous little sidewalk oases, and they’re becoming new favorites. In my own neighborhood of Williamsburg, that means places like Aurora (a gem of an Italian restaurant that’s become my favorite spot because of its garden) and OTB (they’ve created the most colorful and happy sidewalk café, perfect for grabbing drinks with friends). And of course, like any true New Yorker, I value convenience; I will never take being able to send out my laundry and get groceries delivered for granted again!”

8. Cynthia Rowley, Designer

Cynthia Rowley

“We’re shooting a video using restaurants that scraped together what they could and built amazing creative outdoor spaces in the streets of NYC, and literally saved their businesses and people’s jobs and our livelihood. It’s to memorialize a moment in NYC that may never be created again and highlight that ‘New York Strong’ spirit and the resilience that our beloved city is known for.”

9. Ilfenesh Hadera, Actress

Ilfenesh Hadera

“New York is unflinching and unapologetic. New York allows herself moments of vulnerability because she knows she’s strong as lignum vitae. New York is that way because she’s made of a community of people who are themselves—bold and proud, open and resilient. The New York that I know now is true to character, doing things on her own time, and on her own terms; she is blossoming in autumn when the rest of the world is preparing for winter. New York has always said, ‘Be patient with me and you will be rewarded handsomely.’ What I love and have always loved about the city is how unwavering she is about her right to evolve—and you can either adapt and change or get left behind.”

10. Prabal Gurung, Designer

Prabal Gurung

“I have loved being able to witness New York City come alive with the much-needed conversation around social justice. It’s amazing to see a real reckoning happen, not just in New York but all over the world, around issues that have been close to my heart, and that I have been vocal about for some time. The city has erupted with protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and the murals and graffiti painted all over the city tell the stories of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the countless other lives that have ended tragically. The summer anthem has been the rallying cries for social justice that reverberate through the streets as so many of us have marched for change. There’s a powerful resistance that lives in New York, one that pays reverence to the BIPOC and black trans activists who paved the way for us all. Right now, New York feels ungentrified, and everyone who left the city left it to us, for us. The city feels more alive than I have seen it in some time. I see the performances at Sheridan Square on Christopher Street, and vogueing at Chelsea Piers. It feels like the city is alive with creativity and energy. I’m grateful to witness this version of NYC in my lifetime. This has been such a difficult time for all of us, yet New Yorkers are as resilient, pragmatic, and hopeful as ever.”

11. Maya Stepper, Model

Maya Stepper (Courtesy)

“I love New York because it has taught me so much about myself. The city turns you into a fighter; it toughens you up and makes you strong. I love the many different people and cultures that are joining together. I have met some of my best friends here, have fallen in love here, struggled and celebrated here. I never get tired of seeing the skyline.”

12. Marc Bouwer, Designer

Marc Bouwer

“One of the things that was special to me this year was having the Whitney Museum as my backyard. I could meet with a friend or two and have a drink on the stairs. I also used it as my workout space to keep my body in shape. Currently, I love all the open tables on the streets and the dangling lights. I’m grateful that I live in one of the safest cities in the world right now. I love you, New York. I will never leave you.”

13. Christian Cowan, designer

Christian Cowan (getty images)

“New York has this incredible energy that can only come from millions of people from somewhere else converging in one place to make their dreams come true. It’s the magic that makes it the city it is. I can’t wait to get back and go to a Susanne Bartsch party and see everyone living their lives.”

14. Wes Gordon, Designer

Wes Gordon

“I love seeing how many people are wearing masks. It makes me proud to be a New Yorker.”

15. Todd Snyder, Designer

Todd Snyder

“I think what’s really cool about the city right now is the people who are still here. They’re real New Yorkers who decided to stick it out during a really hard time. It’s neat to see people, walk by them, and realize that we’re all in this together. I think my favorite thing is I can now get in to any restaurant I want to on short notice! I’ve recently been to ABC Kitchen, Gramercy Tavern, and Scarpetta who have found creative ways to operate during this time.”

16. Stephen Gan, Founder, V, and Creative Director, Elle

Stephen Gan

“What I love most about New York is that it’s called New York! Every day everything we come across is new. And it’s a city that doesn’t let you get on with adhering to old patterns and old ways. It’s a city filled with positivity, and it certainly welcomed a guy like me, who started from nothin  and landed from the Philippines. I’m from the islands and found on the isle of Manhattan,  an incredible breed, New Yorker, who let me get my start here. I was different from my “American“ friends but they embraced me as I embraced my being different. For that reason, I have always had a thing for “outsiders ” and always will want to give others who are “different “ a chance in this magical city.

17. Anna Sui, Designer

Anna Sui

When I first arrived in New York in the 1970s it was notorious for the high crime rates, unsafe subways, and other social disorders.  But out of that chaos, creativity flourished with some of the best artists, filmmakers, and musicians emerging from that period.  I think back to how after the last global pandemic and World War I came the Roaring Twenties, with incredible Art Deco architecture and the iconic flappers.  So, I am optimistic to see what will evolve from this challenging time.  With so many talented minds in one place, I know something incredible will come out of New York.”

18. RubinaDyan, model and artist 

Rubina Dyan (Courtesy)

What I will always love about New York City is its resilience, energy, and constant sense of life. I moved here five years ago and I fell in love; I felt right at home. Nothing can take away the strength and power this city possesses. ”

19. Varsha Thapa, model and singer

Varsha Thapa (Courtesy)

“I love New York because it’s the only city in the world that accommodates so much diversity and allows us to experience various cultures through people. I’m inspired by the abundance of art and artists in the city that consciously and subconsciously become a part of my art. I love how I can meet musicians from all walks of life and can instantly collaborate with them. The pandemic has allowed us time to dive deeper into our art, reconstruct and create something with all our presence, which would be arguable pre-COVID times.”


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