A Football Player's NYC Game Plan

A Football Player's NYC Game Plan

I confess, I have a thing for football players. In fact, I am kind of nutty about the whole sport, ever since I saw my son make his first touchdown at age 7, playing Pop Warner football, running with excitement into the end zone, his little legs speeding along like a Charlie Brown character. So, it was with great pleasure that I interviewed first-year Offensive Tackle for the New York Giants, Justin Pugh. Pugh seemed as excited to have landed in New York City for his first "job" as Max did making that first touchdown. Pugh, who was the No. 19 overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft, graduated fro Syracuse University in 2012, where he was a team captain. Originally from Holland, Pennsylvania, Pugh now resides in West New York, New Jersey.

Justin Pugh (©Elisabeth Bryson Photography)

How did it feel to be signed to play for the New York Giants?

There is no feeling to describe getting drafted. To end up with the Giants, an organization that is so family-oriented: It’s like nowhere else.

How about New York fans?

Growing up outside Philadelphia, I’ve always been around a strong fan base. New York fans, though, are diehard, loyal fans with a lot of patience. Last season, when we started out 0-6, I still had fans telling me that we were going to make it. The faith they have in their teams!

What are some of your favorite shops and restaurants in the city?

For suits, I love Élevée in Midtown—I need to have a lot of things custom-tailored, and they do everything to fit you perfectly. Acustom Apparel in SoHo also does great custom work: They use a 3-D scan to get your measurements. It’s pretty cool. If you’re as into shoes as I am, you have to check out Flight Club for shoes in Union Square. They have an unbelievable selection, including limited editions and vintage. For restaurants, everyone has their go-to pizza place here, but nothing compares to the margherita pie at Lombardi’s in NoLITa. They’ve been doing it right since 1905, but it’s cash only and no reservations on the weekends. For a fancier dinner, it’s Tao Uptown. It’s the first restaurant that I went to after coming to New York: The Chilean sea bass satay is great. Finally, Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side makes the epitome of a good sandwich. Imagine a football-size pastrami Reuben. I’m a big guy, and at my hungriest, I could eat only half!

Justin's Perfect Day

Morning: Juice and Golf

I would first get a (weight) lift in and do some yoga. Then, I would take the ferry into the city from New Jersey. First stop: Juice Press for a Mother Earth pressed juice and raw oatmeal. Next, some friends and I would hit golf balls at Chelsea Piers.

Afternoon: Beer and Basketball

We’d have some lunch and then we might grab a beer at Bounce Sporting Club and catch a Syracuse basketball game.

Evening: Dinner and Singing

Del Frisco’s for dinner (filet mignon, mac ’n’ cheese) and then my friends and I would go to one of the karaoke bars in Koreatown!