Dave 1 Says You Should 'Just Play Along' When Visiting Williamsburg

"My dream at 12 years old was to move to New York. I'm still pinching myself."

by Peggy Truong
Dec 15 2015, 4:30pm

Dave 1 is not that different from you. When he's not touring or making music with P-Thugg for Chromeo, the Montreal native can be found at one of his regular brunch spots or digging through crates of records at the Brooklyn Flea. You may find him at the Wythe Hotel or McCarren Park for some downtime. You may bump into him at the Fool's Gold storefront on Metropolitan Avenue. Just the other day, he went to see Spectre, the latest James Bond film ("I'll do cute shit like that"). Of course, all these things can be found in Williamsburg, Dave's home base for the past seven years.

VICE: What's your earliest memory of Williamsburg?
Dave 1: Suroosh [Alvi] took me to dinner at Diner in 2002. That was my first time getting off the Bedford stop and walking all the way to Broadway. Back then it seemed like a trek. It was obviously a lot less fancy than it is now, a lot less gentrified. I did the tourist move, I got the burger. It's on the menu but everything else is off the menu. I still remember that. That was my first experience of Williamsburg. Then I went to a couple parties there in the early 2000s, right when I moved to New York. Obviously it was already the de facto hipster breeding ground. The word "hipster" was just starting to become used in 2002. It was a new concept. There were New York Times articles. I thought the neighborhood was really cool. Everybody was dressed cool. Way cooler than me. I was just some chump who had moved from Montreal.

Do you have a favorite neighborhood character?
I really like the guy that plays Spanish guitar on the Bedford platform. He plays acoustic guitar and sings. In the morning he sings these kind of like melancholic songs. I was thinking that maybe if I get married one day I would have him play there, but I wouldn't want it to be a patronizing inside joke. He's really there every morning with his guitars. It brings out a little emotional note to my mornings. That's my dude.

What are you feelings about the L train?
I love the L train, man. I don't have a problem with it. I love that there's a dedicated website for it. I like it man, it's the best outfit in New York. I like the L train. Everybody looks great on there. And it's really convenient. I don't have an issue.

Do you ever bike?
Last time I biked some dude snapped a picture and put it on Instagram. I kind of looked goofy on there. I've gotta be careful a little bit. I felt like I looked like a goofball. I think I would never not look like a goofball.

Where do you like to eat in Williamsburg?
I used to live across the street from Marlow & Sons, and Diner. I would go there literally every day. They're still my favorite restaurants in New York. Not a week goes by where I don't go there. I love them.

Now I live closer to Café Mogador so I'm definitely there very week.

I like the Wythe Hotel restaurant which is the same dude as Marlow and Diner. There's this Italian spot on Berry called Antica Pesa. It's not my favorite décor... it's very convenient for when you want to bring your parents to dinner in the hood. They do make the best cacio e pepe pasta that I've had in New York. I'm a real stickler for that kind of pasta. Most people don't know how to make it well. They make it real well.

I love El Almacen, it's an Argentinian spot. I don't eat a lot of red meat or steak but I'll have it there. It's so good.

Man, I like everything. I also go to Samurai Mama for noodles.

Do you have a favorite coffee spot?
It's a little bit twee but I go to Bakeri. It's cute. I'll go there.

The thing about Williamsburg is, if you trip and fall, you're either going to land on a coffee shop or a yoga instructor. Or a yoga instructor drinking coffee. Or a juice spot. I don't really seek out coffee because I can find it anywhere.

Where do you go for peace and quiet?
When it's nice out, I'll go to [McCarren Park] like everybody else and chill there. At night, I'll take a walk through the park and sit at a park bench, old school style. I'm happy to do that. That's a good vibe.

What's one activity you would recommend to a first-time visitor?
People watching. Just go to Bedford and North 7th. It's a zoo. It's basically the new St. Mark's Place. Just sit there and watch. Take it all in. The vibe's amazing. Nobody can criticize it.

What's a Sunday in Williamsburg like?
Waiting outside for brunch and hanging. It's quality-of-life shit. You won't really see me at one of those pools at the hotel. I'm totally guilty of going to Smorgasburg. It's fun. Or to the Flea. I've gotten dope furniture there. Some cool mid-century pieces. All that stuff, you take with a grain of salt and you end up really enjoying yourself. People who complain about it, they might just be taking themselves a little too seriously. The quality of life is really great out here.

What's your go-to spot for a slice?
I like Motorino on Broadway. I also like the old-school stop on Bedford between North 7th and 8th. The one everybody goes to at five in the morning when they're drunk. I get the pizza with everything on it, with three pounds of produce and weird suspect meat. I love that.

Boil down the neighborhood to one thought.
Either it would be, "You're no different" or "Just play along."

My dream at 12 years old was to move to New York. I'm still pinching myself. And I've been here for 13 years.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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