You probably know Zachary Weiss as the man you need to have at your drinks dos. The 30-year-old New Yorker made his name as a party columnist for some of the Big Apple’s ritziest publications, including Vogue. Today, the impression of his life gleaned from Instagram is impossibly glamorous; Weiss seems to jet from five star hotel, to super yacht, to fashion party, to island paradise and back again – on repeat.
When we chat for this interview, he’s just returned from three weeks of travels in Europe, and dials in from his office in NYC. The version of Weiss who greets me is surprisingly sedate (he’s jet-lagged) in self-professed “schlubby mode,” wearing a dark navy polo and baseball cap. “Got back last night after just the craziest travel day,” he says. “It felt like a whole month of good karma crashing down.”
How exactly did Weiss build his reputation as the life and soul of every fashionable party in Manhattan? “I landed a column [for TheNew York Observer] when I first moved to the city aged 23,” he explains. “I think I was probably a little bit annoying about it, but I was hungry and willing to do whatever was needed at that age. At 23, the idea of having something to do every night is incredibly exciting. The party column showed me corners of New York and the wider world that you’d never have come across otherwise.”
Weiss proceeded to spend practically every night for the first five years of his working life flitting between parties, hobnobbing with the city’s great and good. “The column was weekly and was usually 700 words. We’d cover seven parties in the span of about four days because we usually went to print on Friday morning. There was a lot of hitting the pavement and seeing everything.”
This stint helped Weiss to build up quite the network, and these days, he is a “brand guy” working as the Head of Brand at premium loungewear brand, Nice Laundry and Outerspace, a logistics company described by Cool Hunting as “the only logistics provider with an engaging brand identity.” These two roles are his day-to-day gigs, which he juggles around contributing to magazines and travelling. “My career doesn’t start and end with Instagram,” Weiss adds.
Nevertheless, thanks to the marvels of social media it’s easy to see that Weiss enjoys his clothes, and often brings an ebullient sense of style to his travels; from bold printed trousers to jewel-tone, block-colour blazers. “I always try to be a positive presence,” he says. His style is perhaps best described as classic with a twist, and that’s a trend you’ll spot in his own personal guide to Manhattan, too.
Weiss’s Manhattan Hotspots
“I don’t always go to the fanciest places, but one of the places I find myself getting the most dressed-up for, and enjoying the most, is the Polo Bar. To me, it’s the only place in New York where people will still try to look a certain way. There’s no other restaurant where people try to live out Mr Lauren’s fantasy in the flesh.”
“Another New York classic to me is Indochine. It’s a similar vibe to the Polo Bar, but not quite as buttoned-up. It’s a failsafe place for a date, or an off-the-rails Friday night, complete with drag queens.”
“Bergdorf Goodman is another favourite of mine. It’s one of the only compelling multi-brand stores we have in the city, where you can get a great selection of classic, wearable pieces. Otherwise, you’re left with places where they’re selling hoodies and sneakers, and overly ‘logoed’ stuff that I just don’t go for.”
“The menu at Danté is really built around the greatest hits, but they always manage to surprise you in some way, whether through the presentation or some twist of unexpected flavour – both in the food and cocktails. Not to mention the people watching at both their locations is superb…”
“Casa Cruz is a high-end bar and restaurant that’s opening in the fall – it’ll be very similar to the version in London. I think it’s going to be a really big thing.”
“For cheap eats, I love William Poll. It’s like your grandparents open a deli uptown. They cut the sandwiches into three little strips. They’re the best.”
“Sunny and Annie’s is a place that’s disguised as a bodega. You go in, and the menus are little laminated pieces of paper, filled with the most complicated sandwich recipes you’ve ever seen – they’re like 20 ingredients in each. You’d never know it’s in there at all.”
“Haar & Co. is the one place in the city where I’ll go to get my haircut. I used to live across the street. The guy who owns it, Michael Haar, is who you picture as a barber from a movie. He’s obsessive about cutting hair. I walked in there one day and thought, ‘okay, you’re my guy now.’”
Thomas Mason is a brand of cotonificio albini s.p.a.
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