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Yakitori, Swifty's and Seersucker

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Whether you're cultivating a look or creating a memorable film, details matter. Few know this better than writer-director Wes Anderson, who, with his new movie The Darjeeling Limited hitting theaters tomorrow, sat down with us to discuss the intricacies of New York. Wearing Wallabee boots, a white linen suit and lime-green argyle socks (and looking a bit like a young Tom Wolfe), the East Village resident talked about restaurants, fashion and hanging with the elderly.

UD: If Rushmore's Max Fischer were in New York, where would he take a date?
WA: Huh. I don't know, that's pretty difficult. I'm not sure. I can tell you some restaurants and things I really love.

UD: OK.
WA: Well, in The Royal Tenenbaums, we modeled one of the sets on this restaurant Gino. It's on Lexington between 60th and 61st. They have zebras all over the walls. That's a good place.

UD: We'll check it out. Any others?
WA: Do you know New York Noodle Town? It's at Bowery and Bayard. That's a really good one. Let's see what else...have you ever been to Yakitori Totto? That's great, although I hate for the word to get out, because it's already impossible to get a table there.

UD: Even for you?
WA: Oh yeah. They don't take reservations. For a while I was going there a lot so they knew me and my friends, and they'd kind of try to get us in early, but still we'd have to go wait in the karaoke place next door.

UD: Do you karaoke?
WA: A little bit.

UD: What's your song?
WA: I think the last time I was there everybody tried to do that U2 song "One." That was a big number. And then Randy Poster, who's our music supervisor, was singing a song by either Lionel Richie or the Commodores.

UD: So how long have you lived in New York?
WA: I moved here maybe around '98.

UD: Five words or less, how would you describe it?
WA: Well, I'm from Texas, so for me, what's different about New York is that it's old. I mean, a lot of New York is not old, but in Texas, like in Houston, all the architecture is from the last 40 years or something. So New York has history. And it's literary. When I first came to New York, I had all these ideas from books and things. Um, so that's two words—history and literature.

UD: Any places you like to go to get ideas?
WA: Well, I just go to friends' houses and restaurants...I used to live on East 70th Street, and I liked a restaurant around there called Swifty's. I think it's named after a dog—Swifty the dog. It's a little bit like this place called Mortimer's back in the old day—kind of a blue-blood, society kind of restaurant. And there are a lot of New York stories that go in and out of there. And almost everybody who goes there is old.

UD: You like that?
WA: I do, because it's just a completely different set and point of view than what I'm used to most of the time.

UD: Watch out, you might make it popular with a younger crowd.
WA: Oh, yeah, hearing about the restaurant with the old people. They'll have to turn them away in droves.

UD: You're known for your fashion and the fashion in your movies. Where are you shopping these days?
WA: Oh, I don't shop. I don't buy any clothes. Or I almost never get any new clothes, anyway. I think because I wear suits all the time, more press requests come from fashion than anything else. But I don't work in fashion, and I don't go to any stores. I get all my suits from the same guy, named Mr. Ned. I wouldn't say that's exactly the height of fashion, going to Mr. Ned.

UD: Is he in New York?
WA: Yeah. And I get shirts at one place. I've gotten them there for 10 years. And that's really my entire wardrobe.

UD: Well, what's your favorite fabric?
WA: I would say...cotton. Oh, you know what? Seersucker.

UD: Seersucker's great. Do you have a favorite cinematic piece of clothing?
WA: Yeah, that I love. I really like when characters in movies have a really recognizable costume that sticks with you. For instance, in Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro wears the same thing for the whole movie. Or no, I think he has one change. At a certain point he has more guns, so he needs a bigger jacket.

UD: The Darjeeling Limited takes place on a train moving through India. If it had to be filmed on a New York subway train, which one would it be on?
WA: Hmm. I think that you'd really need a very long line. Like maybe the one that goes out to the US Open. I think it's the purple one.

UD: The 7?
WA: Yeah, let's go with the 7.

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