Alex helps scour cities for fascinating and talented people to host experiences on SideTour. Currently he’s in the middle of a caffeine detox, so please tweet him your favorite dance tracks to help him stay awake.
Where’d you grow up?
Mount Vernon, NY and The Bronx. I only mention the Bronx because not many people know where Mount Vernon is and the Bronx brings some level of context to my hometown. Whenever I tell out-of-towners that I’m from Mount Vernon, they think Virginia and ask what it’s like to share a hometown with George Washington. Denzel Washington is from Mount Vernon, NY though and you know – that ain’t so shabby.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
When I was 12 I worked at a Country Club in one of the wealthy towns 40 miles away. It was my only option because I wasn’t legally able to work, so I had to do something off the books, like a golf caddy. It sucked because all of the other caddies were 3-5 years older (and therefore stronger) than me. So, they got all the work. I went there four days a week for five weeks. Finally, on the sixth week I got out to the greens. It really sucked. The bag was half my weight. I made $60 that day though. That was awesome. The next summer, I finagled my way into working at the Hallmark store in a mall 40 minutes from my house. I appreciated the air conditioning, guaranteed paycheck and never strained myself picking up a birthday card.
Those formative years were a great learning experience on what a sucky job actually felt like.
Describe your perfect NYC day:
Any day with a good surprise. Life can get real routine and monotonous if you’re not paying attention. Even in NYC. You’ve got to be a bit spontaneous or daring to keep it interesting.
What’s your favorite part of working at SideTour?
My job right now is basically finding the most interesting people in New York City and talking to them about why they do what they love. That’s just an extraordinary opportunity. I know I’ve found the right host when I get excited just talking to them about their experience. It was like that with Danielle Saunders and David Greco. Think about it. David beat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown. Danielle won Chopped All-Stars and then was Diddy’s personal chef. These are just extraordinary people.
Yesterday, we were talking to a guy who’s going to be hosting an experience soon who has been bartending in NYC for the last 20 years and now runs a venue in Meatpacking. He used to tend at this bar after-hours and has these crazy stories about actors, musicians, mafia, and their strange happenings after the city shuts down at 4AM. Dude has some serious stories. And I’m sitting here listening to him and it’s just amazing. I mean, this is New York City. This is what the city is. It’s 4:30AM and only a few joints are open and if you are in there you’re a celebrity or gangster who’s high on something or you just got off of work (bartenders, call girls, etc.) So there’s just this crazy intersection of social class and culture with a-list Hollywood actors and directors socializing with NYU barbacks and call girls. It’s nuts. But, that was NYC then! That was NYC as much as City Hall, or $1 coffee from blue cups or hot dog vendors. That’s part of the soul of the city and it’s just amazing to get access to that. Who wouldn’t love this job?
Favorite NYC hang-out?
If I’m in the East Village and it is early then I’ll do drinks at Summit Bar. That spot gets too crowded nowadays though. If I’m in LES, it’s culturefix or 169 for drinks. Hotel Chantelle or IMOK for dance parties. I go where the good music goes. A few Sundays ago me and five friends convinced the good people at Epstein’s to let us put our iPods in and turned that LES-sports bar into a Sunday dance party. You’ve gotta bring the party with you. Or as Stephen Covey said, “You’ve gotta carry your own weather.” You know, it’s sunny because I say it’s sunny.