Gregory Constantine on New York, new cultures and a new venture.

Gregory Constantine on New York, new cultures and a new venture.

A Sydney transplant in New York, Gregory is the former head of global music and cultural partnerships at Smirnoff, who is currently launching his own entrepreneurial brand. In 2017, Gregory was named in the Forbes 30 under 30 list as one of the world's brightest young innovators, with work that has helped drive inclusivity and diversity through music. We spoke to Gregory about creativity in a new culture, his next venture and some valuable inside tips for life in New York.

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ON WHERE YOU’RE FROM

Sydney, Australia.

ON WHERE YOU’RE LIVING

I lived in the Lower East Side for first 3 years and I’m currently on the apartment hunt at the moment! I chose the LES as it still felt so raw to me, right by the Williamsburg bridge and had an amazing rooftop that I ended up throwing a number of summer events on.

ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH NEW YORK

It’s definitely a love / hate relationship. New York is so vibrant and energetic which is amazing to be a part of, however to be in the thick of it all the time takes its toll. I always say that to be able to live full time in New York you need to be able to get away from New York too, which I’m extremely fortunate to be able to do with all the travel that I do.

ON THE BEST NEW WORD OR PHRASE YOU’VE HEARD IN THE USA

‘Dead-Ass’ is a phrase I think is hilarious and is a classic New York statement, which basically means being dead serious.

 

The ‘Smirnoff Sound Collective’ features a diverse collection of artists in content and events around the globe. Images courtesy Smirnoff

ON A CULTURAL DIFFERENCE YOU NOTICED IN THE USA 

One of the biggest cultural differences for me is everyone’s willingness to help others, regardless of their socio-economic situations. I found it really different to Australia, where here people are so willing to connect or help out even if there’s nothing in it for them. There’s really something to be said about the way that people still hold themselves here and look to lift those up around them regardless of what might be happening in and around the country politically, socially, culturally or even in their every day lives.

ON HOW LIFE IN A NEW CULTURE INFLUENCES YOU

New York for me is still the epicenter of culture and diversity. You can be whoever you want and be as comfortable with yourself because there are so many others who are just being themselves too, unshamingly. The diversity, inclusivity and feeling of being able to be yourself really translates into work and my outlook by having the feeling and confidence to be able to think and do, freely. 

There’s really something to be said about the way that people still hold themselves here and look to lift those up around them regardless of what might be happening in and around the country politically, socially, culturally.

ON YOUR NEW VENTURE

My new business stemmed from years of wanting to creative something with purpose that merged all the things I’ve learnt over the years across marketing, branding, innovation and product. My business partner is one of the most brilliant people I’ve met, and together we’ve created a company that produces the cleanest, purest and healthiest alcohol on the planet using only air, water & sunlight. We have patented technology that transforms carbon dioxide into extremely high purity alcohol, for which the United Nations awarded us one of their highest awards in sustainable development for its promise toward preventing climate change. We’re going to be launching our first product in 2019, so stay tuned!

 

Above: Gregory Constantine at work in New York. Below: Smirnoff House ‘Love wins’ created after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando to raise funds for their foundation. Images courtesy Gregory Constantine

ON WHETHER NEW YORK INSPIRES ENTREPRENEURIALISM

Absolutely. New York runs at such a high pace all of the time that what you can achieve in a single day in New York, might take someone weeks to accomplish outside of the city.

ON SOMETHING YOU HAD TO GET USED TO

Just the pace of New York and what that means mentally and physically. Being in a city that literally never stops really takes some time to adjust to and is ultimately what drives me and keeps me motivated. The pace and work ethic you need to be able to keep up in such a high intensity environment like NYC brings out the best (or worst) in people and is something I definitely had to take some time to get used to.

The pace and work ethic you need to be able to keep up in such a high intensity environment like NYC brings out the best (or worst) in people. 

ON WHERE YOU FIND INSPIRATION

Music is always my inspiration. Having grown up playing several instruments, I still find solace in the ability to break away from the grind of the city and find time to either go listen to music or even try find somewhere to play. I also owned a Harley Davison here and going for rides at sunset through the city and out to Brooklyn really takes my mind away from the hustle of New York and lets me really take in the majestic nature and inspiration the city can give.

ON SOMETHING PEOPLE SHOULD DO WHEN THEY FIRST MOVE TO NEW YORK

Just spend time walking and exploring the city. There’s so many nuances to this place that you can get lost for days exploring it all. Be open.

ON NEW YORK IN ONE WORD

Magnetic. 

 

Above: Harvard Business School lecture. Below: Smirnoff Sound Collective in Ibiza. Images courtest Gregory Constantine.

ON NEW YORK’S BEST KEPT SECRET

I cant give that away 😉

ON A FAVORITE MUSIC VENUE

I’m a big fan of the Output rooftop for a summer vibe – https://www.instagram.com/p/BiSWckfF1s3/

‘Dead-Ass’ is a phrase I think is hilarious and is a classic New York statement, which basically means being dead serious. 

ON GOOD FOOD

Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter for the best fried chicken in New York City or Buenos Aires for amazing low-key home style Argentinian food.

ON NEW YORK’S BEST SLICE 

Sal & Carmines on Broadway & W 102nd. Unknown to many, but still the best!

ON SOMETHING FROM AUSTRALIA YOU NEED A FIX OF

Catching an Aussie breakfast at one of the many spots in the city (Two Hands, Hole in the Wall, Banter) takes me back to my Bondi days!

ON WINDOW SEAT OR AISLE

Aisle, I’ve got long legs!

 

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Nuggets in this interview

neighborhoods

Lower East Side, New York

"I chose the LES as it still felt so raw to me, right by the Williamsburg bridge".

–Gregory Constantine

food and drink

Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter, New York

"Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter for the best fried chicken in New York City".

–Gregory Constantine

food and drink

Sal and carmines, New York

"Best slice.. Sal & Carmines on Broadway & W 102nd. Unknown to many, but still the best!"

–Gregory Constantine

food and drink

Two Hands, New York

"Catching an Aussie breakfast at one of the many spots in the city (Two Hands, Hole in the Wall, Banter)".

–Gregory Constantine

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