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To continue our New York adventure, we meet up with Ryan who ends up showing off his new life in Jersey City, NJ. We then meet Milo, a musician, and his foodie friends.

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Transcript

- [Stephen] If you had a choice to pack up all your things, and paint a picture of the world we live in, what would you do? You'll ask yourself, what do I have to lose? ♪ Baby let me follow you down ♪ ♪ Follow you down ♪ ♪ I'm all in pieces just waiting for you to come round ♪ ♪ Round ♪ ♪ To sing you this song ♪ ♪ Baby, let me sing you this song ♪ ♪ Fine cigarettes and these hard fingertips ♪ ♪ Are what I sacrificed to deliver you this ♪ ♪ Song ♪ - We find ourselves living on this planet we call home, yet we are so disconnected from it all. We feel like complete strangers. The pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of love, the pursuit of adventure, and the pursuit of freedom. My name is Stephen Friedman, and the is the story of, Chasing The Sun. New York is the meeting place of the people. It's the only city where you can hardly find a typical American, as it feels like you belong to the city instantly. It just feels like there are endless possibilities, and that something extraordinary could happen at any moment. I love the sights, the sounds, and the people. It's a type of city that makes you feel at home. But this is not about Manhattan It's about all the interesting people who draw their inspiration from the Big Apple. But their homes happen to be on the other side of the Hudson. Die hard New Yorkers like Ryan made the move to Jersey City purely because the city is affordable. And all the new people like Ryan that did the move simply created this infectious buzz that's hard to not be a part of. - [Ryan] Well when I was six, my family and I moved from the Philippine Islands to New York City. As soon as I got to New York, I just knew that was the place where I wanted to be. It was- it was probably one of my favorite cities that I've been too. Everything about the city was amazing. The culture, the people, the diversity, the art, the music, the vibe. Just everything about it kinda answered to all the things I'd ever wanted in life. And I kinda knew that at a very young age. My name's Ryan Bonilla. I'm an artist, skateboarder, snowboarder and bike rider. When I was 11, my little cousin introduced me to skate boarding. And that opened up a whole new world to me. Skateboarding kinda incorporated all of the things I was into. I was really into punk rock music, hip hop, art, obscure street fashion I guess, and that whole culture and that whole lifestyle kinda just made me who I am I guess. My junior year of college, I got recruited by the Hilfigures. I started working for Tommy Girl and that brought me into the world of fashion. Kinda chilled in that industry for like 10 years and worked the whole corporate life that was one of the greatest experiences of my life as well, I learned a lot and up until this day, the structure that I learned from the corporate world I implement into my daily life. Everything was great about it but, I guess the daily grind kinda got to me and I kinda wanted to live a life where I wanted to do things on my own create the art that I wanted to create, not that other people wanted me to create. So that led me to my knew path now. Which is being an independent artist. Just working on projects that I like and working on people who I really wanna work with. I'm a fine artist so I kinda split my time between abstract painting, photography, and graphic design. So right now I'm working on a stamp project. I made a mannequin for Aurfozel a couple years back and that kinda gave me the idea for what I'm doing right now. So what I basically did was found all these images and I converted them into stamps and I hand stamped this mannequin and that led to my new project now which is, I'm doing a clothing line based on those stamps and all the abstract freeform of stamping. From the move from the corporate world to I guess independent, my independent art life, I kinda had to take a step back from New York City. New York City became something else I kinda fell in love with a grimy and dirty and artistic New York and New York was starting to change so a lot of my friends were kinda moving out of town, moving to different burrows and stuff like that so I felt that it was my turn to kinda like take- take things back and kinda step back and move. What I did was I pretty much moved to jersey city back where I was when I was in high school cause it was super close to the city and its still relatively cheap to live here and create. And I think as an artist you kinda need that. Because of that move my lifestyle became a lot easier, not being in New York and dealing with all the craziness that living in New York entails with. So now I can really focus more on my art and on my passions which is skating, biking, and all that stuff. And it seems to be a better way of living because I'm not so stressed about trying to pay New York City rent anymore. It's a pretty cool place, a lot of artists are moving there. A lot of skateboarders are moving there. Its a real artistic and a very real community right now. A lot of people are passionate about what they do and a lot of people are passionate about building this new community. Everyone kinda- It's still on that DIY thing, where everyone's kinda starting up and starting their own businesses. Its a real cool place because it's very independent and everyone's doing their own thing which is kinda rare these days. Everyone is super cool, the people are friendly. Everyone's willing to help somebody else out, whereas when I was living in New York, everyone's kinda out to get you. One of my best friends in the whole world is my dog Shiba, who, without her I'd probably wouldn't be here right now. She's just a loving dog and she's also my best friend. One thing great about her is that no matter how bad your day is, you go home she just gives you a big smile and everything goes away. Shiba's always around with me when I'm working and it's just good to have somebody there to- to be with because you know I live kinda like a very secluded lifestyle and it's always cool to have a best friend. - [Narrator] Hoboken, New Jersey is rapidly developing. But this old leather tanning factory from the late 1800s is now a historical site that can't be knocked down. For the last 30 years creative people like Milo have used the building for inspiration for the art they live for. Milo was born in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. He lived in South Africa for seven years when he was younger. But now calls Hoboken home. - [Milo] So this building is it's not zoned for living here it's not zoned for businesses here but, it's more just kinda workspaces for artists, furniture makers, musicians. So you've got all types of people in this building. All night basically there's just something going on in here. In this building alone I know that there is, on the five floors, there is at least three or four recording studios. On the top floor here there is a hip hop production studio where they do all vocals for hip hop. Like I said, on the bottom floor sonic youth is in there which is really cool, sometimes I run into those guys. My name's Milo Ventur, I live in Hoboken, New Jersey and I'm a musician and I'm also a part time barista, I work at a coffee shop to pay the bills but music is my first love and something that I hope to keep doing for as long as I can. But I think they were tanning leather in here up until the mid 80s which is kinda wild. Sometimes I walk around in this building and I wonder what was going on in here like a hundred years ago. It's kinda... every little room is... has a little story to tell and it's kinda hard to know exactly what was going on in here but you know the working conditions in the late eighteen hundreds in a tanning factory must've been pretty rugged so. I'm sure it was a pretty crazy place to be. It's just kinda wild all the time here which I kinda like. I kinda like the chaos, you know? I kinda like that there's noise- I kinda like that there's noise all the time in here and it's everybody's just- it's always somebody really close by that's awake and making a lot of noise in this building. I've been playing music since I was about eight years old. I've always had a love for music. My dad was a big music guy, he always listened to, you know, a lot of- When I was- When I was born it was, you know, the mid 80s so he'd listen to a lot of really bad 80s music but he also listened to Pink Floyd, and the Beatles, and probably still has a Nash. So there was always that really legendary music going on so I was, you know, always really inspired by it. I started playing piano when I was really young and then I kinda just switched to drums for a while, and now I've kinda come back to the piano because... the drums is cool but it's not as emotive as I would like. Music for me is just about- it's an outlet. It's kinda a therapeutic thing, where if you're having a bad day or your dealing with some personal issues, to be able to sit there and play even just basic songs on the piano and sing along is kinda a way to let it all out. We live in kinda a really crazy time in a really crazy place where everybody is super distracted all the time and people around here don't wanna stop and talk to you they just wanna kind of get where they're going. And music's a way to connect with other people who are like minded and just stay fresh and feel young and feel good about life, you know? It's pretty awesome. I'll play forever, I'll never stop playing no matter what. I'd rather play music than be a millionaire. If they told me they were gonna give me a million dollars and I would have to stop playing I would turn it down. You know? I work for a coffee roaster based out of Jersey City. There are two guys who own the company one is a British guy the other guy is from Ohio so he's from the Midwest. They buy the really high quality beans and then, you know for me, it's kinda I love to be up where I work because I'm just an employee there I don't own the business so I don't have a huge stake in it but I love the work that I do when I'm up there and I'm able to interact with a lot of people, meet a lot of people who are like minded and interesting up there. I'm a barista, I make coffee for people, you know. I make cappuccinos, lattes, and I pour those little fancy hearts and you know leaves and whatever and sometimes I do competitions and, you know. It's kinda fun. They have competitions where you see who can pour the best heart or whatever, you know? Some people go there and they're real nervous and for me it's kinda like just fun you know? - [Narrator] So Milo took me to the coffee shop where he works and introduced me to Justin who's one of the owners. It felt good to sit outside and chat about day-to-day life. - [Justin] So the way we work as a company, we're looking for in season crops, which I know that that's kinda a plug word, but that's something that we very much focus on. Our whole idea of coffee is based around freshly roasted coffee so the coffee that we start with has to come fresh from our source. We represent the top 5% of coffees grown around the world so we're very selective as far as like the quality of coffee that we choose. But at any time, at any given moment we'll have coffees from central south America, Indonesia, Africa, all over the world. We try to have anywhere between four to six coffees that are really representing the best coffees at that given moment. My name is Justin Hicks, I'm the owner of Mod Cup Coffee. One of the owners, as well as roaster for Mod Cup. We're based here in the lovely Jersey City Heights of New Jersey. - [Narrator] Manhattan tends to be really busy and fast paced at times. But you just go over the George Washington bridge into New Jersey and it's completely opposite. There's more sense of community here and more laid back and peaceful. - [Justin ] There's a lot of big sharks across the river in New York City and for us, we thought it'd be more, I guess reasonable to start out as a smaller company to start in our neighborhood that we live in and directly influence the community that we are a part of. So we thought this was the best option for us. So it was import for us to be a part of our community and give back to our community. And provide them a space where they can come and gather together. - [Milo] About ten years ago, or even five years ago it used to be a little bit of a dangerous place there. It's still kinda is a dangerous place up there, kinda block by block. So you get a lot of different types of people up there, which I love. It's... you get people who are really, really poor and you get people moving up there who have a lot of money. And it's just this crazy clash of people up there right now. So it's really interesting to see a community like that changing. - [Justin] Right now it's interesting because it can turn into just about anything we want it to turn into in a way. We can kinda manipulate that and make it unique to itself. And turn Jersey City into like a destination spot and not another Brooklyn or another Manhattan or anything like that so, I think we have a really interesting canvas for building this neighborhood. And it's just now starting to get kinda moving. Yeah, I like to see my costumers everyday and seeing how they're doing and talking to them and just, you know, bullshitting with them. I enjoy that part of my job and I don't want that ever to be really like, taken away from me and I think once you get to a certain level you lose that connection with your costumers on a personal basis. I don't know how I feel about that yet. - [Milo] I mean I really spend most of my time here to be honest with you. I like going to New York, going to shows. I love food, going to new restaurants that are awesome. I love trying all different types of food, there are so many different restaurants around here that are great and cheap and you can try anything you want. - [Rebecca] The best thing in food is simple food prepared well. And quality food is something that, I'm not a hospitality and I'm not a foodie per say but I believe in eating real food and eating well. I'm not a health nut either, I just think that people should be doing the best thing they can for themselves and their lives by taking in real food. And by real food I mean not food from like hormones not food that's big portions that you can get in America with little- with little price tags. But food that locally grown or sustainable food and that was something that my partner and I and the chef all agreed on and really believe in. So, he kept the menu around that like lets make the food real lets make it approachable. And also keep- the chef wanted to keep not fine dining, but keep it to a quality plating and ingredients where you're delivering this fine dining esque food in a casual approachable manner. Hoping to encourage more people to step out of their usual food boundaries. I'm Rebecca Johnson, I'm the creative director of the kitchen at grove station, which is where we are right now. Everything in here, like when starting to design the restaurant, everything you do is, takes part, like every detail is part of the sensory experience. It's a lot about escapism. Which has nothing to do quite with food but everything to do with theater or the drama or the art side of it. Like when you go out to eat, what are you doing it for? I mean you could eat it at home every night if you'd like. And sometimes you go places and the food you know you can repeat at home as well. But going out more for that moment of escapism and that sensory experience which everything contributes to. To like the seat that I'm designing or that someone else is designing for you to sit in, how far away that table is from you when you're sitting like, your silverware and the food portions and the food itself, and you're looking around and you may not pick it up or even take note of it. But you leave subconsciously taking this all in and I think its why people actually find restaurants as such magical places. I wish I could take credit for that but that's totally David, the executive chef. One of his big things was taking, we call it gateway foods. And the burger isn't one of them but we like to play with the idea of having food be a high end food where people could start ahead and be approachable. So having things on there, playing with thing that are unassuming like the burger and taking that to a level of sophistication with the smoke and the presentation that is a playful thing on his part and also showing you how sophisticated or how wonderful the burger itself is with the beef and the things that you overlook when you're usually eating. He, at one point when he opened up, he first had a uni soup, cauliflower uni soup on the menu, which is really avant guard for this area I would say, but having that on the menu next to that burger and having cauliflower in that soup all these things make it more approachable so our joke was always: "okay lets start people with the burger and get them on their third visit eating the uni soup." And it's one of our going- running jokes here. So the painting I did initially they're hanging up and it's a take on the traditional american gothic with the two farmers and instead of the two farmers it's two rabbits. Very long ears, and I guess in some sense, I never thought about till right now, but the same way Dave takes that burger, it's like taking an American classic, being a bit playful with it, and making you think twice about it. Sense of community helps, definitely nurtures creatives. There's such a strong network of support that as an artist I think is essential because so much of being an artist is beating yourself up or constantly needing verification for like, why am I doing this and this community is definitely very supportive, like Mod Cup, like the fact that you know I met up with Mod Cup and we made this creative partnership just seeing in like Milo like the- going to the shop seeing him, he'll tell me about music, I'll talk to him about my new art project, and there's this wonderful mutual respect and encouragement. And that's definitely, living here is good for creatives in that regard. - [Milo] New York City is a wild place man, it's like, just so unique and just it always seems like you're fighting against it. Its like this push and pull thing because you can make it in New York City but New York City can also just beat you down. So I just, have to just, try to keep a clear head and just be positive about life and just enjoy what I do as opposed to constantly be thinking: how am I gonna do it. Just do it, you know? - [Narrator] I guess this is why we're born to travel. As history has told us stories of the world we live in. I think we owe it to ourselves to create our very own. It's pretty exciting if you think about it. Cause what will tomorrow bring?