Introducing our Manhattan Community Manager, Esther Brown

Monday, June 13, 2011 | 11:40 AM

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Hello, New York!

My name is Esther Brown and I’m absolutely thrilled (and humbled!) to introduce myself as the Manhattan Community Manager for Google Places. Like many of you, I’m not a native New Yorker: I’m originally from Chapel Hill, NC. Still, I’ve loved nearly every moment of the (almost) four years I’ve lived here. As my fellow North Carolinian Thomas Wolfe once said, I believe that “one belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it in as much as five minutes as five years.”

Playing tourist on top of the Empire State Building

A bit more about me: I studied creative writing at UVA (Go ’Hoos!) and made my way to New York via Washington, D.C. During my brief love affair with the design industry, I found this neat little site called Twitter and was soon hooked on social media. I went to work at a tech start-up called and discovered a genuine love for community building and all things local. I also started a blog about the foods of my childhood (Y’all Hungary?) and recently stumbled upon this amazing opportunity at Google.

To say that I love my job — and this City — would be a huge understatement. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a fair amount in my life and I can honestly say that, in my experience, there’s just no other city in the world like New York. The people, the energy, the food, the culture, the diversity: New York really is unparalleled in so many respects. So, what are some of my favorite NYC places (my “Best Evers,” if you will)? It’s pretty much impossible to choose only a handful, but I’ll try:

Brunch: New Yorkers are borderline obsessed with brunch — probably because it’s the BEST. MEAL. EVER. My favorite brunch spot in Manhattan has got to be Colicchio & Sons. The space is out-of-the-way and attractive (no need to throw elbows, as is so often the case at crowded brunch spots), and the 10th Avenue Hangover (soffrito tripe with beer sabayon and poached eggs) is so good, you’ll almost wish you were hungover every morning (kidding!). Another brunch favorite? Poco Restaurant and Lounge in Alphabet City. It’s a killer combination for those lazy Sundays: solid eats and unlimited Bloody Marys with blue-cheese stuffed olives? Yes, please!

Tourist Time: My mama raised me on classical music, so whenever she comes to town, we go to the Opera or the Ballet at Lincoln Center.

On my way to the Metropolitan Opera

My favorite place for dinner in that neighborhood has got to be Telepan. The roasted quail, with duck prosciutto, fava, farro and arugula, is really special. Also, take note: a champion of locally-sourced ingredients, Chef Bill Telepan’s annual Harvest Dinners are not to be missed (they’re pretty epic, though, so be sure to take a long walk through Central Park before you dine).

Cocktails: I have a bit of a thing for cocktails, it’s true. Lucky for me, this City has no shortage of unique watering holes for bon vivants like me. Here’s what you do: first, head to Louis 649 in Alphabet City and have them make you the Flowers on the Wall (perfect for a sore throat after a long night at Sing Sing Karaoke on Avenue A). If you can find it, walk on over to Death & Co. in the East Village and, if you can get in, have a Rita Hayworth and a pulled pork slider. Finally, try the Hungarian Rhapsody at PDT, then head back through the not-so-secret telephone booth entryway into Crif Dogs and cap off the night with a deep-fried, bacon-wrapped hot dog. Prefer Tiki-style drinks and pork bun sliders? Try Lani Kai in TriBeCa, then head to Chinatown’s Painkiller — both known for their Polynesian vibe.

I could go on, of course, but I’m way over my word count as it is! Guess I’ll just have to put the rest of my Best Evers in a My Map. In the meantime, I want to know: What are your favorite places in this amazing City of ours? Share them in the comments, review 'em on Google Places, or ping 'em to me any ol’ time: on Twitter at @GoogleNYC or on Facebook.

Posted by Esther Brown, Manhattan community manager


Ed said...

Awesome Esther!

@estheribrown said...

Thanks, Ed! The NYC Nomad is looking good these days as well!

- Esther Brown
Manhattan Community Manager,
Google Places