For years, Swank had been looking for a play to do, not an easy prospect when living in Los Angeles but one of the true benefits of being a New York actor. Another benefit, according to Swank, is living a life that is not focused on her own fame. “You know how sometimes you feel like you’re watching a celebrity when you go to the movies? You can see it—it’s like the actor can’t get out of their celebrity. If an artist can’t get into the thick of it all, what do you draw from? With Meryl Streep, you never think you’re watching a celebrity. Daniel Day-Lewis —he went and became a cobbler for a year,” she says, her eyes widening at the idea of spending that much time surrounded by shoes. “Now, that’s someone who’s really in the middle of life!”
Hilary Swank's New York
I really like shopping on Elizabeth Street. I love Barneys. I’m not a big fan of big places—I don’t like shopping in malls. I love the Marc Jacobs store on Mercer Street. The people there, Stacey and Robert, they’re like my dear friends now. I go in, we have pizza—one of my favorite foods—look at the clothes, and I shop.
I really love Equinox; getting a massage there is amazing. I didn’t work out for two years, I burnt out on it. Now I just try to listen to my body. I started doing Pilates. I really like spinning. I used to go to the one on 19th Street when I lived near there; now I go to all of them. If I’m at a rehearsal space uptown, I’ll go to one near there, wherever I am.
New York Landmarks:
I enjoy going to the Met and the Planetarium. And the New York Public Library is to me one of the most beautiful buildings besides the Chrysler Building. One of the things I love about New York is I feel it has its own personality—the city feels like a person, like an entity. It’s the best city in the world.
I like to ride the subway. I do a pretty good job of being incognito. I just don’t do anything weird like wear sunglasses. That’s a big celebrity thing, and it makes you stand out tenfold. Who is going to be in the subway with sunglasses on, except for a celebrity!? A hat usually works pretty well. I just wear my jeans, my tennies, my North Face jacket. New Yorkers are cool about it. They look at you, but they don’t make a big deal.
For the Home:
The 26th Street flea market—I love going there for vintage fabrics. I could never find beds for my two dogs—Tanner and Lucky—that weren’t plaid, so I bought fabric there and made my own dog beds. I love Calvin Klein for home stuff—he has great sheets, and I really like his plates and stemware. I got my couch and chairs from Housing Works on 17th Street, dark-green velvet with wood trim. Also, ABC Carpet & Home has great things. I like to get a better deal usually, but . . . when you need something, they’ll have it.
I’m really picky. One of my favorites is Cafe Colonial on Houston Street. Love it. I usually get what’s called the Brazilian beans; it’s rice and beans. And the kale! They make the best kale ever. I love Indian food—Surya is where I do a lot of my interviews. If I’m feeling like a breakfast or lunch thing, I go to Bubby’s for vegetarian chili, huevos rancheros. I like to see a play and have dinner afterwards at Joe Allen. They have really good corn on the cob. I love dessert, and I love Magnolia Bakery. They need to use less sugar in their icing, though. It gives me a headache.