Global communications expert Annemieke de Keijzer is originally from The Netherlands but made her home in Hell’s Kitchen eight years ago. This is Annemieke’s West Side Story.

Annemieke de Keijzer
Annemieke has lived in Hell’s Kitchen since 2015. Photo: Jeremy Driesen

So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I moved to the area from The Netherlands in October 2012, a couple of days before Sandy… It was an ‘interesting’ start to my US adventure to say the least. I lived in Jersey City (Paulus Hook — the best view; I could see the skyline from One World Trade to the Empire State Building) for three years and moved to Hell’s Kitchen in December 2015.

What was your first job? What do you do now?
I used to work at Merck Animal Health, the part of Merck that makes products for pets and farm animals, which relocated me from The Netherlands to the US. As a member of their global communications team, I was responsible for setting up the social media capabilities and strategy. In the summer of 2017, I decided it was time for something new after 13 years with the company. I wanted more freedom and flexibility, so I started my freelance consulting business MikiMedia. It’s still there, but am currently leading the global communications and marketing department at Argenta. Originally a New Zealand company, we develop and manufacture innovative animal health products for other companies. With MikiMedia, I am still involved in the branding of Untied Brewing, a microbrewery in New Jersey. By now, we have designed over 100 beer cans, I think!

What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
My partner is a musician and when I met him, he played in the orchestra of Kinky Boots. That cast and crew was like family and we had many awesome parties and hangs. I know that’s more than ‘a minute’, but they made me feel so welcome and I am very grateful for that and thinking of it still gives me the warm and fuzzies. A literally very cool day was when my sister and nieces were visiting and we decided to take a helicopter tour while the Hudson was partly frozen over. Magical!

Annemieke de Keijzer
Annemieke at the 9th Avenue Food Festival. Photo: Jeremy Driesen

Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
The buzz, a million restaurants, cozy coffee spots, easy access to theaters and almost everything you could ever want to do, right at your fingertips. At the same time, you can find peace and quiet in the community garden (great for an introvert like me).

What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
Hmmm… That’s a difficult one. Staying curious and being creative, I think.  
I love (travel) photography but have been a bit lazy about it. Before the smartphone, I always brought my camera, but it’s been a while now. I still want to make a table book with my best photos at some point. Just for myself. Seeing the photos brings back so many great memories of all the traveling I’ve done. 

Hudson River Park children playing in fountain at sunset.
Hudson River Park. Photo: Annemieke de Keijzer

What else should we know about you?
I was born in a small town in The Netherlands where there still is not a single traffic light. When I was in high school, a teacher told me that my English was absolutely horrific and that I would never learn it. Who would have guessed I would end up smack in the middle of Manhattan, working in communications for an international company? Funny how life can go. 

Annemieke’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places

The Jolly Goat Coffee Bar — 515 W47th Street (bw 10th/11th Ave)
Fantastic coffee and a very nice owner and barista. It’s a highlight of my week to go there and I have taken friends and family who are visiting there as well. Everyone is a fan.

Annemieke de Keijzer at the Jolly Goat
Annemieke enjoying coffee at The Jolly Goat. Photo supplied.

Domus — 413 W44th Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
Luisa and Nicki are so incredibly friendly and they have an amazing collection. I always go there for presents and end up buying much more than I needed. I traveled all over the world myself and love that they source unique fair trade products that support local artisans.

Mari — 679 9th Avenue (bw W46/47th St)
The food, the service, the care they put in each handroll! It’s really a fantastic place and if you have something to celebrate, I highly recommend it. If you go, sit at the counter so you can see the chefs in action. 

Pier 84 Dog Run — 12th Avenue & 44th Street
I absolutely LOVE dogs. We are not allowed to have pets in our building and I travel too much, but I hope that sometime in the future I’ll have one of my own. I often go to the Pier 84 Dog Run to just get my fix 🙂

The Marshal — 628 10th Avenue (bw W44/45th Street)
It’s one of those places where you keep coming back. The personnel is friendly and I appreciate the farm-to-table concept with locally sourced products. 

Stony Hill Farm’s Market on 43rd Street
I love cooking with fresh, in-season ingredients. It’s my Saturday ritual to go to the market and pick up a whole lot of produce for the week. 

International Groceries — 543 9th Avenue (bw W40/41st St)
It smells like you just traveled across the globe, and the people are very friendly. Not to mention the tasty products.

Fresh From Hell — 326 W47th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
Don’t go there enough, but I love their juices and creamy oatmeal for breakfast.

Schmackary’s — 362 W45th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
You can’t just pass by when you smell the fresh cookies!

Chez Josephine — 414 W42nd Street (bw 9th/Dyer Ave)
Wonderful atmosphere, live music, fantastic staff and great food. It transports you to Paris in an instant.

You can follow Annemieke on Instagram @annemiekedekeijzer. If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself), please fill in this form —

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