There are unwritten rules about New York, e.g. never look a native in the eye or walk on the left. Tony Granger, global CCO, Y&R, shares the decrees and delights of the place you mustn’t call New York


What is the best thing about working in advertising in New York?

The scale. This city is one of the only places on earth where agencies can pitch for US$10, 15, 20m-plus in revenue.


And the worst thing?

The scale. There’s a lot at stake. Clients spend a lot so they tend to be cautious (rightfully so).


What advice would you give to a visitor?

Firstly, don’t call it NYC, the Big Apple, Manhattan or New York. It’s ‘The City’.

The best way of getting around is by subway. It’s easy; it runs uptown (north) or downtown (south). None of that crazy, spider-web underground that confused the hell out of me in London.

Wait until the train has stopped at your stop before you get up, and let the passengers off the before you enter. Never make eye contact – it creeps us out.

Walk to the right on sidewalks and stairs. Tourists look up and amble down the street. We look down, so please stand to the right. We’re in a hurry.

Don’t expect us to walk around you when you’re taking a shot of your buddy on Wall Street. We’ll walk straight through your shot.

Please don’t ride the horse carriages in Times Square. We think they are cruel and you’ll get shouted at. Walk, it’s good for you.

You may think we’re rude. We’re not. If you’re lost, we’ll help you find your way, it’s our pleasure. If you’re struggling up the subway stairs with some heavy luggage, we’ll help you, no need to ask, and if the door is closing on you as you rush into a train, we’ll hold it open for you. 


Who do you/would you love to work with in the industry?

John Hunt for his magic. Lee Clow for his cool, LA surfer thing. Bob Isherwood for his drive. Eric Vervoegen for his craft. Kerry Keenan for her fighting spirit. Menno Kluin for his ambition. I could go on and on and on.


What is the best US ad you have seen in the last year?

The Game Before the Game for Beats by Dre. Great insight and great production. From ‘digital’ (isn’t that word so old school?) agency R/GA.


Where’s the best place to eat in New York?

I love Da Claudio in the financial district. His place was taken out by Hurricane Sandy and re-opened six months ago. Best Italian food in the city. Period.


The best place to drink?

The newly restored Pier A Harbour Bar in Battery Park. The perfect place to drink a Belvedere martini while watching the sun set over the Statue of Liberty.


If you’re booking a hotel in New York, where would you stay?

Different strokes… If you like to party and are a bit of an exhibitionist, The Standard, High Line in the Meatpacking District is the place for you. Floor to ceiling windows gives everyone views of your room. If you’re a little shy don’t forget to close the blinds. If you like classic, old school luxury, The Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue: an iconic Upper East Side hotel. Be prepared to dig into your wallet. And, for the hipster crowd, Wythe Hotel. Ok, so it’s in Brooklyn and not technically in ‘The City’, but it’s on the East River with crazy-good views.


One table, four places. You and who?

My dad, I’d love to have one more conversation with him. Nelson Mandela, I’d ask him a million questions. John Lennon, I’d ask him how such a young songwriter had so much knowledge.


What’s your favourite memory of New York?

My first trip here for a shoot. I stayed at the Plaza and was driven around in a black stretch. I thought, ‘I could get used to this’.


What do you miss when you are out of the city?

My family.


What’s New York’s favourite pastime?

Lying in Central Park in the summer. It’s our beach.


If it were a product, what would New York be?

An adrenalin shot.


What’s your one-line life philosophy?

To infinity and beyond (thanks, Buzz Lightyear).


If you could have one question answered, what would it be?

What are the Powerball numbers for a US$400 million jackpot win next week?

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