Daniel Schneider-Weiler is the director of a new San Francisco showroom being opened by de Gournay, the famed British luxury retailer of bespoke hand-painted wallpapers. Born in New York, he grew up on the Gold Coast of Long Island’s Nassau County and studied Art History at Oberlin College. In the years since, he’s worked on notable projects for institutions like Bergdorf Goodman, the Waldorf Astoria, and David H. Koch Theater, and on magnificent residential projects across the globe. Here, he gives us his thoughts on his favourite New York haunts.
What neighborhood do you live in and why do you love it?
I currently live in Manhattan, NY—arguably the best city in the world. I’ve had the pleasure of living here over the past five years, and have lived uptown for all five. It’s the perfect location: head downtown for my nights out, and escape uptown for my relaxing days in. I live on Riverside Park, so I can’t tell you how many beautiful spring afternoons I’ve spent running up and down the island. Where else can you spend a rainy day in a world famous art museum? Casually meet the most ambitious, accomplished people? The reasons to love Manhattan are just endless. But I’m an excited to get to know San Francisco better. You can say I’m hopping from one bubble to another, but you just can’t beat the foodie, outdoor scene, and bubbling tech industry of the Bay Area!
Is it blasphemy to say I live in a major metropolitan city and don’t drink coffee? I’m a bit of a purist, and only seem to drink caffeine when in foreign countries and served complimentarily with breakfast (a.k.a., when it is forced or when it is free). That being said, I’ve spent so much time at the Think coffeehouse right off of 14th street in the West Village. It’s a great place to sit down and get some work done. My colleagues, who are addicted to coffee and can actually distinguish the wheat from the chaff, seem to love the Jeffrey right on E. 60th Street (off of 2nd Avenue) which gets great imported coffee.
Favorite spot for a cocktail?
In New York, I think that the Boom Boom Room at the Top of the Standard is my favorite spot for a cocktail. They have the most beautiful interior—designed in a nouveau Deco style—and the most incredible views looking over downtown. In the early evenings it’s quite relaxed, and at night turns up into a party. You can also head just upstairs to Le Bain if you want to get some fresh air on the roof. Abroad, my favorite spot would have to be Svaetgarten. My friend and I recently stopped by there for a cocktail before dinner, and I was truly blown away by the drinks we had. Unfortunately no drink since has quite lived up to that standard, but I can assure you I faithfully (and happily) search in vain!
Date night destination?
New York City has the best of both high and low brow, so I choose spots where I can experience it all. I enjoy going to Oriental Express, a small cocktail bar located in the heart of West Village, which is always quiet, chic, and delivers consistently delicious cocktails—or a bar like the Ginger Man, which is large, boisterous, and has an enormous array of imported beers. For dinner, there’s Il Buco Veneteria (the most delicious Italian food) or right down the street the Smile, which is not too nice but not too basic either. Being in New York City, you find yourself constantly going to the higher-end establishments as there are just so many of them, but I do feel like it’s my duty to strip away all pretense—so you’re just as likely to find me at a diner as a trendy restaurant.
Buzziest new resturant?
Oh gosh there are a million of them… I can never quite keep on top of it all. Those are what friends are for, no? Gunter Segeer, Upland, Polo Bar, Seabird. To be honest, I’m looking forward to experiencing more of the San Francisco food scene as they have fresher ingredients, and are arguably more inventive/ahead of the curve. As much as I love the fine dining of New York, the Bay Area has better quality food and really takes gastronomy as part of its cultural identity. So I have a feeling the buzziest new restaurants are not on my radar yet, and are one flight away westward!
Favorite find in the neighborhood?
Our very own de Gournay showroom in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights neighborhood. It’s located on Sacramento Street right across the street from Spruce. It’s a large showroom with the most gorgeous designs and colourways on display; it’s such a genuine pleasure to see the artist’s craftsmanship up close, and we have the most lovely little garden in the back. Let’s see how well kept this secret stays, though!
Where do you find your favorite go-to hostess gift?
It depends on the guests and the type of party. I’ll go to Symthson’s to get some of their small accessories. Because the quality is so good, you know whoever the lucky recipient is will really appreciate the gesture. If it’s a smaller, more familiar get together, I will go shopping at places like ABC Home or Flying Tiger of Copenhagen to find more personalized or cheeky gifts!