Oh, dead lovers of the dark and delirious underbelly of just about every person, place and thing, try devouring the Zinester’s Guide to NYC before you visit next. Ayun Halliday corralled the coolest cats ever to spill their guts on NYC’s greatest and grossest and has crammed all of this information into one small but nicely loaded volume. Now she is on the cyber-tour and … oh, look at that: She’s landed right here on the Daily Slice. Wow. I’ll ask her key questions so that I don’t have to rip through all the itsy-bitsy print at killer speed.
Q. When keeping a low profile, what’s the best place for an otherworldly being to hide out in NYC?
A. It’s all contextual. I once boarded an A train at Hoyt-Schermerhorn with Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger, who’d been making all sorts of waves on the four-block, aboveground walk from their house. But once the train came, none of the other passengers realized that there were movie stars in their midst. So I would say the subway, a place where ordinary New Yorkers on their way to or from work take on a bit of a zombie-ish aspect, too. Or way west in the 50s, around 11pm. That’s where I’d expect to find you if we were in a movie. No one around to hear me scream.
Q. Say a zombie needs a little pick-me up, what do you suggest?
A. What, like eating somebody? I’d recommend the Life Cafe on 10th & B. It’s cheap and most of the things on the menu make me feel picked up when my energy is flagging (good hangover food, too). You’re probably not into brown rice and steamed veggies (though forgive me if I presume). The reason I’m recommending it for you is there are spacious, high walled booths to create the illusion of privacy. You could go around 3pm. The place will be dead after the lunch rush. The waitstaff won’t pay you much mind until you start gorging on theirs. Good eating! Mind tongue studs.
Q. What are your favorite underground venues?
A. If I told you, they wouldn’t be underground anymore, now would they? That said, keep an eye on Gemini and Scorpio. They throw killer events in unlikely places.
Q. I love that you include cemeteries in your guidebook. Where else can a girl hang out with the dead?
A. The Center for Thanatology. Make an appointment. Also, MOMA, the Anthology Archive, the Silent Clowns Film Series at the Library for the Performing Arts, and many other venues screen movies whose stars are no longer with us.
Q. Where to go if one is on the prowl for raw food, organ meats, and other supernaturally tasty treats?
A. Oh dear me, I think I jumped the gun a bit up there. The Life Cafe won’t get you too far in the organ meat department. I assume you like yours raw, so I’ll send you to Los Paisanos on Smith Street, but promise me you won’t eat the butcher. I’m pretty attached to the old guy. Or hell, just go to Chinatown and order something with tripe & tendons.
Q. Say I’m thirsty and I want a zombie, a bloody Mary, or a brain candy in an appropriately moody place, where would I find it?
A. The Zombie Hut on Brooklyn’s Smith Street. Get yourself something with curacao and a cocktail monkey. Play some board games in the back garden. Then go on a feeding binge, thin out some of those screechy girls and fratty guys … you’ll be doing me a favor as without them, the Zombie Hut would seem to be a pretty great place to hang out.
Q. Manga, anime, other virtual delights … what, where, when?
A. Toy Tokyo on 2nd Avenue. The Japan Society is the picture of decorum, but hosts a lot of manga-related events and shows. If you really want to stay up on this stuff, you should get on the New York-Tokyo mailing list.
Q. Best places to meet other zombies?
A. Zombiecon. I’m on the Queen of the Damned’s mailing list. It’s gotten so big that the zombie hordes cannot be contained to a single annual event. Seems like there’s one popping up every other month.
Q. Any other suggestions for the undead, the living dead or the very nearly dead?
A. Get your rotting hands on a copy of the Zinester’s Guide to NYC! They’re all in there.
Absolutely. From Halloween Adventure for creepy costuming year-round to Nerd Nites where the dead-liciously brainy types congregate, there’s plenty to make a ghoulie guy or gal go gaga in this quirky guide to the big bad apple.