"I live in West Chelsea, and it's my favorite thing to walk the streets and go in and out of galleries, just walk around the neighborhood. New Yorkers are very neighborhood-centric, and that's what they like to do," says 34-year-old fashion designer Thakoon Panichgul. Born in Bangkok, Panichgul—who extends his collection this month with a secondary line available at Barneys New York, Dover Street Market, London, and Lane Crawford, Hong Kong—moved with his family to Omaha, Neb., at age 11, where early glimpses of fashion magazines and the Roman Polanski film Rosemary's Baby made living in the city one day "something I had to do," he says. "Looking at New York in that way, so beautiful and so kind of surreal—Bangkok doesn't look like that. Any other city doesn't look like New York." Panichgul's initial plan to stay just five years was up about six years ago. "I love that in a big city, you can still hide," he says. "It constantly evolves, so there is always a sense of discovery." Below, a few of his favorite finds.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
Il Buco, 47 Bond Street (212-533-1932). The best place for comfort food and a homey atmosphere.
The Little Owl, 90 Bedford Street (212-741-4695)
Doughnut Plant, 379 Grand Street (212-505-3700)
Barrio Chino, 253 Broome Street (212-228-6710). One of the best margaritas in the city and a great scene at night.
GALLERIES & MUSEUMS
Neue Galerie, 1048 Fifth Avenue (212-628-6200)
PaceWildenstein, 545 West 22nd Street (212-989-4258). Large-scale installations, and the space is one of my favorites in the area.
L&M Arts, 45 East 78th Street (212-861-0020). Town house, so beautiful.
If Boutique, 4 Grand Street (212-334-4964). Classic selections.
Atelier, 125 Crosby Street (212-941-8435). One of the first places to carry Undercover, which fits me really well.
Number (N)ine, 431 Washington Street (212-431-8699). Really hidden. The selection is great.
Les Pierre Antiques, 369 Bleecker Street (212-243-7740). I love their one-of-a-kind finds.
John Derian, 6 East 2nd Street (212-677-3917). I could live there.
Lafco NY/Santa Maria Novella, 285 Lafayette Street (212-925-0001). It's across from my office, so I'm always shopping for soaps and candles.
Ursus Books, 981 Madison Avenue (212-772-8787).