I’m excited to announce that each month, I will feature an “influencer” from various cities! Jessica C. Andrews of immediately came to mind when I thought of who I wanted to feature for New York. A fashion journalist extraordinaire, Jessica is constantly exploring the city to shop different looks, attend red carpet events and interview some of your favorite celebrities! I recently had the chance to connect with  the South Orange, New Jersey-native about some of her favorite hotspots in the Big Apple (the non-touristy places of course). They say you’re an “official” New Yorker when you’ve lived in the city for 10 years or longer so yes—Jessica is official!

Jessica C. Andrews

Jessica C. Andrews

Influencer: Jessica C. Andrews

Leesa: So, of all places, what made you choose to live in New York City?
Jessica: I came here for College, Columbia University and decided to stay!

Cool, nice! New York is such a big city with tons of restaurants and cafes. What’s your personal go-to place for tea/coffee?
I’m not a big coffee or tea drinker but as a full-time writer, I go to places for the Wi-Fi! Lenox Coffee, Aroma Expresso Bar and The Bean are favorites.

The brunch options in the Big Apple are endless. What’s your favorite spot?
Brunching is a New York City tradition! I love Buddakhan in Manhattan, Balthazar in Soho, SoCo in Brooklyn, Chocolat in Harlem and Calle Ocho on Upper East Side (unlimited Sangria!)

Where is your favorite spot to grab a martini or glass of wine?
I love to unwind in the lounges on the Lower East Side. I mostly visit bars at luxury hotels for cocktails. They’re chic, intimate and never overrun with patrons.

Besides Soho, where does Ms. Andrews like to shop in the Big Apple?
I often go shopping in the Village for unique finds you can’t get anywhere else. One of my favorite boutiques is on West 4th Street.

There’s always an outdoor festival going on in NYC in the summer. What are some of your favorite summer festivals?
My faves are Governor’s Ball for the incredible music lineup, Afropunk for the fashion and hair inspiration and BAM Dance Africa for the amazingly talented jewelry and fashion vendors.


Speaking of hair inspiration, sometimes bad weather happens at the most inconvenient time and a salon run is a must. If someone is on vacation in NYC and this happens, which salon/s would you suggest? Can you suggest any salons in particular for natural hair? Do you know if they take walk-ins or only appointments?
I rarely go to the salon but I went to Devachan for my haircut because they specialize in curly hair.  I went to David Groshen Salon for my first color and Cutler salon for the color I have now—all appointment only. I had a great experience at all three!

What do you dislike and what do you love about New York City? Please be honest!
As far as dislikes, there’s an ease of living in most other places in America that NYC lacks. Rudimentary expenses are sky-high and simple tasks like grocery shopping prove difficult here. If you’ve ever spotted me lugging grocery bags up my stoop and fourth floor walk up, you know what I mean! (laughs). There’s incessant noise, strangers can be vicious, and landlords are worse than a Disney supervillain. Still, I like to believe the pros outweigh the cons.

New York City is a nonstop adventure. I love that there is a diverse array of cultures represented. I can enjoy Ethiopian or Korean cuisine and then go see a Broadway musical set in 19th-century France or a modern museum exhibit dedicated to natural hair. As an artist, my creativity is stimulated and imagination expanded by living in Manhattan. I live for those magical NYC nights that start at a favorite restaurant with my girlfriends and end with me bumping shoulders with Oprah and Janet Jackson at an awards ceremony or movie premiere. I came as a college student from a small town and was able to fulfill goals bigger than my dreams thanks to the access New York City provides.

What advice would you give to someone looking to relocate to New York?
New York  is brimming with opportunity but the reality of day-to-day city life can be sobering. You need to be equal parts dreamer and hustler in order to make it here. I blog quite candidly about the highs and lows of my experience in New York City at, check it out!