AndrewAndrew Makes a Home on the Lower East Side (Interview)
Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared in the July issue of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.
To say AndrewAndrew is one of New York’s most dynamic DJ duos does not do the pair justice. Besides being known as “the first iPod DJs” and now as “ the first iPad DJs,” the two Andrews have been dressing identically, reviewing theater on and off Broadway, and hosting radio shows and live events for more than a decade.
They are self-titled “ubergeeks,” enthusiasts for New York City culture in general, and seem to be warm-hearted Renaissance men. Many people consider them performance artists, or at least a “collective.” They often finish each other’s sentences, always enhancing or clarifying what the other one is saying. Spending time with them certainly has the effect of spending time with one persona. To keep the line between the two of them blurry, they never disclose their last names.
At the moment, AndrewAndrew’s home away from home (or rather, home across the street) is the Parkside Lounge, where we met up just as they finished shooting a scene playing themselves in Lena Dunham’s new HBO series, Girls.
After moving to the Lower East Side almost a year ago, the Andrews knew the Parkside would be the perfect spot to host their weekly “After After Work” party on Tuesday nights.
“We’re real dive bar connoisseurs,” one Andrew says. The other Andrew says, “I think this is a very important location on the LES, because it’s an authentic dive bar – and there aren’t that many left anymore.” Since they fly all over the world to DJ parties for high-profile museums, arts institutions and fashion industry events, they say people are always shocked to find them in a place as “below the radar” as the Parkside Lounge.
It’s a place where they can test things out. “It’s our night,” one Andrew explains, “It’s a little bit off the beaten path so we don’t have these new transplants, like NYU kids, coming in and expecting a Rhianna-thon.”
“The fact that we’re as far east as we are is good, it means we’re not in ‘Hell Square,’ you know, the bachelorette party zone … We’re far enough away that no one accidentally wanders over to Ridge Street.” They like that the crowd is also very diverse.
“Plus, there’s always something interesting going on in the back room, which is an added bonus,” says the other Andrew.
I ask why they moved down here instead of to Brooklyn. They explain they could never go to Brooklyn because “we’re grown-ups,” says one. “And we don’t we don’t wear flip-flops all the time,” says the other.
What really lured them to the neighborhood after seven years on Roosevelt Island, they claim, was Wylie Dufresne’s experimental restaurant, WD-50, on Clinton Street. One Andrew explains: “When I brought up the notion of moving to the Lower East Side, after having all these lovely amenities — a doorman, an elevator, you know, modern appliances — Andrew’s perception of what the LES was was basically like a shoebox full of rats.” The other Andrew nods in agreement.
“But when I showed him on a map how close we would be to WD-50, he immediately said, ‘OK! Let’s go take a look at it.’”
They are happy to report they love living here, even though their apartment “does look like the abode of someone who lost their fortune and moved all their antique furniture from the Upper East Side to the Lower East Side.”
AndrewAndrew’s most recent endeavor is to review (via iPhone videos) as many of the restaurants in the neighborhood as they can.
“Now that we’re down here, it seems like the best place to live if you’re a ‘foodie.’” They admit they don’t like to use the word “foodie” because everyone eats food. “It’s not unique,” says one Andrew, “most people have at least three meals a day and enjoy it — and can even distinguish flavors — so calling yourself a foodie is ridiculous.”
Then why the restaurant reviews?
“Well you know, we are living in the Age of the Reviewer,” he says.
“Yeah, with Yelp, with social media, everyone is becoming a reviewer,” says the other Andrew. “You take pictures of your food, you review it on Yelp, you blog about it, you send it to your friends … but usually our reviews are more about the experience, and what happened to us along the way, instead of just pictures of food.”
They particularly like to eat on, or near, Clinton Street, and both agree there is something magical about the area because it’s “un-branded, it’s non-Starbucks-ish…and each place you go offers such a different experience.”
Their current favorite is Mission Chinese on Orchard Street. “It’s sooo good,” one says, “Mission Chinese has this incredible dish, the pastrami dish, it numbs your mouth…it freaks me out, but it tastes so good, I can’t stop eating it.” The other agrees, “For late night, with a group of friends, there is nothing better.”
I ask what will be next, after the DJ-ing, hosting, theater and foodie reviews. “It’s too hard to say,” says one Andrew, “it’s all been so organic. But I don’t think we’ll ever get tired of what we’re doing.”
“We’re passionate people and we get obsessed with things and we love sharing those things with the world,” the other explains. Luckily, for now – a lot of those things happen to be here on the Lower East Side.
Photos in this story are by Alex M. Smith. You can visit his web site here.