We’re really big fans of Foursquare! It’s a social network that allows you to see where your friends are eating and drinking and having more fun than you—which often is right down the block. It’s based on the idea of “checking into” venues. Once you are checked in, your friends know where you are. If you’re kinda obsessed with local entertainment, like us, it’s fun (and extremely helpful) to see if your friends are hanging out at Schiller’s—while you’re finishing up your whiskey and Vernors at nearby Motor City Bar. (You can even follow us!) Each week or so, we catch up with one of Foursquare's most active NYC members.
The East Village has a little something for everyone, but while many people claim it as their stomping ground, Christopher-Ian Reichel has proven his cred by pinning down some of the most sought-after mayorships on Foursquare. Top of the list: Double Down Saloon, home of Slim Jim–laced Bloody Marys, midget porn and piles of wonderful, cheap booze. When he isn’t busy getting his dive on, Reichel hits the takeout window of popular lobster-roll joint Luke’s Lobster a couple times a week, where her recently lost his coveted mayorship.
Why do you like Double Down Saloon?
The bartenders. They know how to work a crowd and set a mood, and they aren't afraid to throw out the people who deserve it.
With so many bar choices in the area, how did Double Down Saloon become your favorite?
Sometimes I like a well-crafted cocktail from places like Ward III or White Star, but other times I just want a good, solid, old-school, punk-rock dive bar. And for that dive, Double Down never lets me down, whether I bring one friend or 20.
What other East Village venue are you dying to become mayor of?
None at the moment, although there are many restaurants here that I love (including Back Forty, Prune, Casimir and Belcourt). As far as bars go, I'm waiting to see what becomes of Idle Hands as it settles into the neighborhood.
You recently lost your mayorship at Luke's Lobster. [Editor's note: We shot Ian's photo during this brief moment of pride and jubilation]. Bummer. What is it about their lobster rolls that made you frequent the place?
Their lobster rolls really are the best I've had anywhere, either inside this city or out traveling. Since Luke's is close to home, I usually stop in for a quick bite if the line is short.
What is the most overhyped neighborhood spot?
PDT. This neighborhood has had a few decent efforts at hidden, speakeasy-style cocktail bars, but PDT has been a disappointment since it opened on my block. It's one of those mediocre places that seems to exist strictly as a magnet for those members of the bridge-and-tunnel crowd who are desperately trying to capture the impression of a "wild night out in the big city." There are two words for the place: douche factory.
You are the mayor of a scenic outlook listed as "Pluto" on Second Avenue and Fourth Street. WTF?
I have absolutely no idea. Before Luke's opened, I was the mayor at Mermaid Inn. One day, while checking in at Mermaid, I saw Pluto listed, and decided I wanted to be the "Mayor of Pluto."
If you had a meeting with Foursquare, what would you tell them to do to improve their network?
Foursquare needs better privacy controls if they want more people to use it, or even for some of us to use it more. Social networks and geo-location are all fun and games until you have to deal with your first creepy stalker.
Photo by Ryan Muir