What’s your favorite city, and why?
New York City. Why? Just one step off a train in NYC and I promise that you will see.
You seem to be “big city” oriented. Where do you go to escape the hustle?
There is a covert bluff near the abode of my upbringing that I frequent. When it is low tide, a secluded islet ascents from the water. It is the secret berth where my confidant and I trekked through the Seven Seas, braved Poseidon’s trident, and adventured to Narnia in high school. We have been inseparable ever since. But, there is a peculiar alcove in my room—a small library lined ceiling-to-floor—where I can escape to any place and to any world simply by releasing a book from a shelf.
What inspires you to create?
Inspiration inundates me from everywhere—I am overwhelmed by the revelations of my favorite authors, the fallen leaves on a walk during autumn, the looming shadows cast by harsh unrelenting light, the remnant melancholic notes of a solo saxophonist echoing through the night.
I am intensely moved by art that embodies the tenuous nature of existence or are emotionally driven. I am enticed by wistfulness, minimalism, and idiosyncrasies—the harmony of symmetry and asymmetry. I am inspired when I travel and I am enamored by the humble conversations that I have with strangers—I am enlightened to angles and views unlike my own.
What is the most underrated place in New York City?
Frick Museum: A home to some of the best-known paintings by the greatest European artists, sculptures, French furniture, porcelains, and Limoges enamels from the eighteenth century.
Greenacre Park: A modest, emerald-green oasis with a 25-foot-high waterfall cascading over the rear wall and a lovely outdoor café.
The Cloisters: Most do not realize that admission to The Metropolitan Museum of Art also gives access to this garden devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe from the twelfth century.
Hidden Subway Station Beneath City Hall: An underground architectural marvel, with tall arched ceilings lined in antique tile and glass skylights that flood in natural light.
The Back Room: One of only two speakeasies in New York City that operated during Prohibition and is still in existence today. It is a timeless underbelly of New York’s past.
Tell us about a little place you love.
Milk & Roses – It is an incredibly unassuming little restaurant tucked away in a quiet part of Brooklyn and it is easy to miss if one is not paying close attention. Upon entering, one will be greeted with an intimate vintage library adorned with rustic textured walls, deep maroon button-tufted seaters, and a lovely hidden garden. I always return for their pastas and panna cotta.
Before a flight, I am usually too stoked to sleep, so I take the time to write a detailed checklist of all my belongings, study maps, learn important conversational phrases of the local language, ensure that my camera batteries are charged (of course), and finalize my plans abroad.
Nana Tsay: A koi in the urban sea. This very accurate self description by the photographer, equestrian, and aspiring physician from New York gives way to her mysterious urban vibe. Nana is a deep thinker enticed by the hidden wistfulness and minimalism in city life. When she is not working intently at the biomedical research laboratory, attending to patients at the hospital, or galloping through the forest on horseback, she can be found behind a camera documenting her travels to cities around the world.