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Mirjana Vicari is a New Yorker born and raised, who moved to Hell’s Kitchen 12 years ago. You’ll see her around the neighborhood with an assortment of four-legged furry friends, because she’s best known as Tilly’s Walks! This is Mirjana’s West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
Born and raised! Brooklyn for the first two years of my life and then grew up in the suit and tie district of 46th between 2nd and 3rd Turtle Bay, until I moved out of my grandparents’ place. I lived on 57th Street between 1st and York with my two best friends and a dog in a one bedroom, then Jackson Heights Queens to my own one-bedroom palace 🤣, then “east Williamsburg” with a crazy but loveable roomie, then Bushwick in my tiny studio, then border of Greenpoint/Williamsburg in a newly built one-bedroom, until finally landing back in the city in Hell’s Kitchen in 2011. It’s been quite a ride!
What was your first job? What do you do now?
My very first job was oddly enough in Hell’s Kitchen in 1995, as a coat check girl at the Red Blazer, a jazz and supper club venue that’s now called Swing 46 on W46th between 8th and 9th on Restaurant Row. I now run my dog walking service Tilly’s Walks, named after my almost 16-year-old adopted pup and best friend, Tilly. March marked 10 years we have been walking Hell’s Kitchen pups — and I couldn’t be happier that I get to do what I love day in and day out!
What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
Since I am a die-hard Knicks fan, it would have to be bumping into Kristaps Porzingus “KP” in the elevator of one of my client’s buildings when he was playing for the Knicks. He was super nice — and SUPER tall at 7’3 compared to my 5’3!
Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
Oh my gosh, where do I start? It’s home! It’s vibrant, it’s loud (not just the Lincoln Tunnel traffic 🤣) it’s always buzzing. There’s such a sense of community. Most of all, there are SOOOO many pups here!
What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
Being able to walk eight to 10 pups at once would have to qualify as a superpower, no? 🥰
What else should we know about you?
Since I spend A LOT of time outside, if I see something/someone off I will notify people heading into/towards the iffy situation. So if you ever walked by someone telling you to cross the street or walk the other way, it was probably me 😅 It’s the way I operate. Do unto others… You know the drill.
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Mirjana’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places
Landmark Tavern — 626 11th Avenue (bw W45/46th St)
Treated like family always. The staff is always so kindly and welcoming and for a gluten and dairy free girl I CAN EAT THE WINGS! Yes, you read correctly — buffalo wings that aren’t breaded and no butter in the sauce! Don’t skimp on the fries — they’re some of the best in Hell’s Kitchen, hands down! And you must wash it down with a Tito’s slightly dirty martini that they mix to perfection! Is your mouth watering yet?
Kausa — 745 9th Avenue (bw W50/51st St)
Some of our most beloved staff from another location moved over here and of course we had to try it! I’m a sucker for a maracuya sour, and Walter makes the best ones in Hell’s Kitchen! My hubby swears by the chicken and ceviche.
Tulcingo del Valle — 665 10th Avenue (bw W46/47th St)
Best Mexican in all of NYC, no questions asked. Spicy chicken soup for cold days when you need to warm up, the freshest, just delicious, guacamole you have ever had and the frozen mango margaritas are out of this world. Irma and her family work so hard every day to keep hungry Hell’s Kitchenites happy 😊
Don Antonio — 309 W50th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
Cocktail game is on POINT! I always feel like I’m on vacation when I step foot into Don Antonio. I’ve mentioned before I’m gluten and dairy free and they have a gluten free vegana pizza. I swear to you when I first bit into it I literally cried. It’s THAT GOOD! I bring all my pizza-loving friends there and they rave about how delicious it is.
Little Pie Company — 424 W43rd Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
Literally THE BEST pies you have ever had in your life. Their staple, the sour cream apple walnut, will have you licking every last crumb off your plate.
Clinton Dewitt Dog Park — 11th Ave & W54th St
Love that we have a big dog and small dog run section here. All the pups are so super sweet, as are their humans! Every once in a while you will get the one owner who is too into their phone and not their pup… Am I judging? Hmmm maybe just a little 🤣
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Just wanted to say I’m so happy to know you are back, Phil. This neighborhood wouldn’t be the same without you and W42ST. Welcome back!
You can follow Mirjana on Instagram @tillyswalks. If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself) please fill in this form — w42st.info/WSSnominations
You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.
Awww a lovely story and also great to realize your name is not actually Tilly 🤦🤦 Mirjana always has a smile on her face and she is the most professional polite dog walker !
Elaine! You are just so kind! Thank you so much ❤️🙏🏼
Great to see my lovely neighbor featured! She’s a doll, offering help when I moved in and when I had Covid, so friendly.
Carol! You are so so so sweet thank you so much for the kind words❤️🙏🏼
Mirjana is the best dog walker we have ever had. Was able to make our old pug’s elder days the best they could be. Kind and patient.
Tod! Thank you so much! I’m so grateful to have met you and Jane and you dear sweet Lucy🙏🏼❤️ she was an angel in every respect. We miss her so. Thank you so much for the kind words❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼
Mirjana is such a great dog walker and wonderful, kind person. So happy to see her featured here!
Debbie you are so sweet.. Honestly.. My heart is so happy to have met you. Must see you soon! ❤️🙏🏼
I used to be a dog walker in Hell’s Kitchen as a matter of fact I was the first real dog walker and petsitter in Hell’s Kitchen. I help build Astros dog and Clinton Dewitt dog park.
Michelle thanks for paving the way quite literally for all of us that came after you! 🙏🏼
Mirjana is a doggone terrific neighbor!
Omg! Thanks so much Maureen!!! 🙏🏼❤️
Mirjana is the BEST. The cared for my baby girl like she was her own. Amazing human and friend to both me and my dog. Hell’s Kitchen is lucky to have her! 🐶💖
Sweet sweet sweet Courtney! So blessed to have been in your baby girls life and so thank you have met you! 🙏🏼❤️
Mirjana is the best best best! Knows how to bring even our anti-social pup out of her shell! So caring, thoughtful and always so gentle with timid little pups
Thank you so so so much Andrew 🙏🏼 so grateful 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼
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