Did you know that one of A+R’s own is now based in New York? Between A+D meetings and managing sales in and around his new home base, senior design advisor Conor Ford invites us into his new digs and new life in Gotham.
Conor made the move this last Spring, just shy of his 7th anniversary at A+R. The timing couldn’t have been more ideal as A+R’s trade business dominates overall company sales and New York continues to rank second to California in those sales. The stylish California native first started at A+R’s bustling Venice location, before the shift from small décor and gifts to primarily furniture and lighting. His eye for aesthetics and interiors is prized among the wide swath of repeat trade and consumer clients that Conor has attended to at each new A+R location—on Abbot Kinney, La Brea and, the latest and largest home, downtown LA.
While the A+R team in LA misses seeing him daily, Conor remains a vital company presence based thousands of miles away in his new Brooklyn home, appointed with many furnishings from A+R, and, not surprisingly, beautifully executed:
A+R: As a child of Southern California, what was the appeal to moving to New York?
Conor Ford: Moving to New York City was something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. It seemed like a right of passage of sorts, and it’s a box that needed to be ticked at some point in my life. But NYC also is the intersection of many of my interests. From art and design to literature and food, NY has the best of it. I also wanted to experience seasonal weather for a change.
A+R: What was the biggest challenge of making the move?
CF: As a triple Virgo, feeling like I had the logistics under control was by far the biggest challenge. I had only moved once before, and that was from Santa Monica to Miracle Mile, so moving everything (including a cat) across the country was daunting. I flew out a few times to look at apartments, and ultimately sign a lease, but decided to let my NY and LA leases overlap for a month so I could take my time organizing everything.
A+R: What is “something” from life in LA that you brought to NYC?
CF: I've always enjoyed the array of outdoor activities in LA. Unfortunately, NYC doesn’t have much in the way of hiking trails, but I still enjoy spending time in the park and being outdoors. That said, I won’t be found laying out on a towel in Central Park. As a Southern California boy, it seems ridiculous to be in a bathing suit and not on a beach.
A+R: What do you miss most of LA life in NYC?
CF: Obviously, I miss the network of friends and family I have in LA, but also the sense of familiarity I have with that city. I’m still learning NYC, but exploring the different neighborhoods and communities has been really satisfying. I make a point to walk as much as possible, instead of zipping around underground. Last weekend I walked from Fort Greene to Central Park.
A+R: What do you miss the least?
CF: As far as what I miss the least? Driving. It’s so nice to be able to get around without being tethered to a car. I’ve read more books on the subway in the past 6 months than I did all of last year.
A+R: What has surprised you about NYC since making the move?
CF: I was surprised how public everyone’s lives are here in New York. As opposed to LA, where everyone, myself included, is isolated in their car, running in and out of somewhere, and then back in the car, New Yorkers are forced be around each other all the time. You can jump on the subway or walk down the street and see every emotion. Someone’s laughing, another crying, the guy in the corner is yelling about something—it’s all out in the open.
A+R: What is your favorite discovery?
CF: I really enjoy getting lost in Prospect Park. It’s the perfect place to go with friends or solo, and you feel outside the city. My pick-up/drop-off laundry service has also been a game changer.
A+R: Where do you take friends/family visiting from Cali?
CF: There’re a few places I like to take visitors. I love my neighborhood of Fort Greene and enjoy walking people down the streets of brownstones. It’s visually such a contrast to LA/Southern CA and feels like quintessential New York. I also take visitors to Domino Park in Williamsburg because it’s right on the East River and has the best view of the skyline. The last stop is usually my favorite restaurant in the West Village, Extra Virgin. The food is fantastic and, if you can score a spot on the patio, the people-watching is equally as good.
A+R: What is your favorite thing about your new hometown right now?
CF: The weather in NYC has finally shifted and fall is officially here. The summer was rough, with a few weekends so hot and humid that the mayor declared a state of emergency. So we’re all very excited for the cooler temperatures. The leaves are just starting to change and it’s all very atmospheric.
Photo Credit: All images, including self portrait, by Conor Ford.