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Her Life Is a Cabaret

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Nellie McKay’s New York


Housing Works Thrift Shop   

Neighborhood: “Harlem. I’m very happy here. But I wouldn’t mind having an apartment with a closet.”

Shopping: “Appletree Supermarket on 120th and Amsterdam. They’re nice, and they have InTouch magazine. I do quite like Betsey Johnson, but it’s a little Hilton-sisters for my taste. Her clothes have sequins, they’re clingy—they just make you feel like Ann-Margret. And I like Housing Works on 17th Street. It’s a thrift store, but rich people donate to it, and they only wear their clothes, like, once, so you can get really nice stuff there. Oh, and I like the candles at Duane Reade.”

Music: “I used to buy records at Colony, but then this guy who works there got my phone number, and he kept bugging me. He works from noon until close, so the only way I can go is if I go in before noon. If I need one song, I’ll go online and copy down the chords. I did that with [John Lennon’s] ‘Woman Is the Nigger of the World,’ which I did at the Bottom Line, before I knew NYU was going to close it. It’s very sad.”


Fat Cat on Christopher Street  

Club: “Fat Cat on Christopher is run by the same guy that ran Small’s. It’s got a really nice atmosphere, and couches and shit. I gave him some money to make it better, because I was so devastated when Small’s closed. But I can’t go there anymore because people know me, and I just feel like everybody wants a job.”

Food: “I like the vegetable dumplings at Zen Palate, and the vegetarian soul chicken at Vegetarian’s Paradise 2 on 4th Street—it’s just like Popeye’s, it’s terrible for you! I hate fancy places. I hate waiters standing over you—you can sense how much they hate you. If the record label really wanted to wine and dine me, they’d just take me to McDonald’s for a veggie burger and fries.”

Movies: “The place I most frequent is Film Forum. It can be annoying, but they have good carrot cake there. I go to Lincoln Plaza, Anthology Film Archives, and for three weekends in a row, I went to Landmark Sunshine Cinema.”


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