Turiya Minter may have grown up in San Diego but there was another city calling her name. “I’ve always wanted to live in New York,” says Turiya. A series of fortunate events — a friend’s roommate moving out and quickly getting a job in the city helped her settle into her new home in Harlem where she has lived for eight years.
Now working for an architectural design firm, Turiya enjoys going out to eat, shopping and knows some excellent Happy Hour spots in the neighborhood.
We spoke to Turiya about her favorite bars and restaurants in Harlem and personal style.
What do you do for a living?
Turiya: I work for an architectural design firm in West Chelsea. I work remotely right now and I’m a HR/Executive Assistant. It’s a nice job because I’m in a creative environment, it’s a much more laid-back and flexible vibe.
What are you doing for yourself personal care-wise to stay sane during this crazy period in politics and COVID-19?
Lots of long walks through Central Park. I love walking around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, or walking along the park down Fifth Avenue to Engineers Gate and then around the Reservoir. I also have a lovely group of friends that I've been able to safely gather with during this time too. Somedays I completely check out, put my phone down, turn on some really good music (The Brand New Heavies, Brother Sister album is my go to and favorite), and chill with a good book.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Harlem?
I love early morning walks in Harlem, getting a coffee from Settepani. Harlem is so neighborly, people always greet each other in passing with “hello”, “good morning” or a familiar nod, it's really nice. I also love Happy Hour too. I love Lido, my favorite bartender Shine used to work there, she made the best dirty martinis in my opinion. It's still one of my favorite places in Harlem. I also love Vinateria.
I love spontaneous Friday nights. Next to Settepani there’s a French restaurant called Barawine. I think they have the best outdoor seating in Harlem, it’s on Lenox Avenue at 120th street with wrap around outdoor seating.
Harlem in the summertime is great, I also enjoy Sundae Sermon in St. Nicholas Park, DJ Stormin Norman spins house music and a sea of beautiful Harlem folks come out to dance and enjoy the music while picnicking and socializing.
You know the restaurant scene in Harlem well. What Harlem restaurant has the best fried chicken and mac and cheese?
I think Charles Pan Fried Chicken has the best fried chicken in Harlem. It simply never disappoints. As for mac and cheese, honestly, I prefer the homemade varieties of friends and loved ones. My grandmother Dorothy's is my favorite. A couple of my really close friends here in Harlem also make really delicious homemade mac and cheese. I much prefer theirs over any restaurants.
How would you describe your personal dress style?
I've loved the color black since middle school but my mom wouldn’t let me wear it. She thought the color black wasn’t for little girls. Moving to New York was an open invitation to revamp my wardrobe in the color black. I would describe my style as eclectic perhaps, neither a fashionista nor a fashion victim, I like to mix old and new pieces, a mixture of classic and modern. I love a fitted black dress with boots, hoops and a red lip".
What type of gift-giver are you? And what was the best gift you’ve ever shared with someone and why?
Honestly, I'm super tortured when it comes to gift-giving, it's nerve-wracking, especially for friends that seem to have everything. For 364 days out of the year leading up to a friend’s or loved one's birthday I try to look for clues as to what they might like or something that has caught their eye. This is why I love NiLu, they literally have something. Beyond that I like celebrating friends over dinner, bottles of wine, the typical festive ways you would celebrate.
Where’s the first place you’re headed to once it's safe to travel?
Other than my hometown of San Diego, California to see my mom and visit with friends, Paris or London are up next. I've been dying to return to Paris.
Harlem Habitué by NiLu
No matter if you are born and raised Harlemite, transplant from some other place or a frequent visitor, you want to wear some swag that lets people know you are in the know – it’s the Harlem World Way.
Ha·bit·u·é pronounced həˈbiCHəˌwā. Means a resident of or frequent visitor to a particular place. Harlem Resident or Harlem Frequent Visitor.