It's hard to believe that four years ago, the only people who had ever heard of Jason Wu were avid doll collectors or massive Ru Paul fans (if you don't believe us, just google the drag diva). While we're not exactly in either category, we can still appreciate that the Manhattan-based designer was basically running a toy empire at the tender age of 17. When most of us were puttering about in high school, Wu was on an exchange program in France and decided to be a fashion designer—and what Wu wants, Wu gets. Five fast and furious years later, after a sojourn at Parsons and a stint at Narciso Rodriguez, he had accomplished more before he was 26 than most achieve in their lifetime, winning Fashion Group International's Rising Star award, then nabbing a finalist spot from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award. The game-changer came with the Obama factor—the first lady rocked Wu's designs (Vogue cover, Inaugural Ball) more times than Madonna's switched up her look, making him a household name with families that think Balenciaga is a city in Spain. The wunderkind took some time out of his insane schedule to give us the skinny on five Manhattan spots he just can't live without. From some addictive pizza to a sinful speakeasy, we know what we're up to to this week, and it's not collecting dolls.
1. Strand Bookstore: "One of the best bookstores in the city. Their second-floor mezzanine houses a great selection of art, fashion, and design tomes. I love spending Sunday afternoons there!" 828 Broadway (at 12th Street); 212-473-1452
2. Momofuku Ssam Bar: "The steamed pork buns are perfection. I recommend going with a group of friends and sharing a bunch of small plates--that way you get a taste of everything. After dinner I love going to the Milk Bar next door for some great desserts." 207 Second Avenue (at 13th Street); 212-254-3500
4. Otto Enoteca Pizzeria: "Those who say you have to go the way of hole-in-the-wall delis and street carts for an authentic Manhattan slice are mistaken. Mario Batali does the best gourmet pizza in the city." 1 Fifth Avenue (between 8th Street and Washington Mews); 212-995-9559
5. PDT: "A fun little speakeasy with a relaxed atmosphere and a strong, inventive cocktail menu, all hidden behind a hotdog shop." 113 Saint Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A); 212-614-0386
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