City Stories: Justin Tranter

Justin Tranter

I like to call NoBo home. I just made that up—it means North Brooklyn. I've lived in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and South WillyB since I moved here in 2002 to become a rock star. My mom drove the U-Haul. I never learned to drive; I get too distracted by my own reflection.

The first time my band, Semi Precious Weapons, felt like the hard work was paying off was at the Highline Ballroom. There were kids waiting outside for us when we showed up, and kids waiting for two hours after we played to get my autograph. Backstage, they bring you tea and food—which was a big change from doing my makeup in the van with a Diet Coke (which still happens in many other cities). It was magical. Terminal 5 is the biggest stage we've ever played, and it has the best sound and lights we've ever experienced. We also love Rebel, this wicked weird dance club on 30th, near Eighth Avenue. It's an odd place for rock bands to play, which is why it's so fab for us. We sold that place out, like, five times before big "normal" venues took us seriously. That's where we really started as a band, and where Lady Gaga opened for us—twice!

In Williamsburg, I have a wicked soft spot in my heart for Relish on North 3rd and Wythe. I like to eat there at odd hours: 3pm on a Tuesday or 11pm on a Monday. They've had the same staff for, like, six years, and having a meal brought to you by the same person for six years is pretty fabs. I love that I can eat salmon (to make sure I still look flawless in my panty hose) or get mac 'n' cheese with Pepsi-Cola chocolate cake if I feel like returning to my Midwestern fatty roots.

Shopping in NYC is wonderful. You have to go to Barneys and Barneys Co-Op and buy my jewelry line, Fetty, obvs. The best store in the
City is Seven on Mercer Street—insane fashion that isn't beyond expensive. I'm also a big fan of Alter in Greenpoint and Oak in Williamsburg. Oh! And the Beretta hunting store on Madison has changed my life a few times. If you look amazing, you can get into any vampy party for free, or reduced. But all the best parties are at most $10 to get into. Michael T., DJ Jess, Lady Starlight, The Glitter Kids—they all throw the best parties (and their covers are never more than $10). Your look doesn't have to be expensive; it should just be specific.

New York City is still glamorous. I love to hang out at the Hudson Hotel, because it's gorgey, and rich tourists really love seeing a man in heels. That's kind of why they come here, and I want to send them home happy. I also love any party Lady Starlight throws, and Don Hill's is somehow always fun even if there are only six people there. And if you can find your way into a press event, do it. Ten celebs are always launching something in NYC every night. The booze is free, Michael Musto and Mickey Boardman are charming while taking gossip notes, and the events are covered by photogs. Everyone feels more glamorous when pictures are being taken with really big cameras. Or is that just me?

Justin Tranter is the lead singer of Brooklyn-based glam band Semi Precious Weapons and the creator of the jewelry line Fetty. To find out when you can catch a Semi Precious Weapons show, visit