Offensive tackle for the New York Giants, Justin Pugh was the No. 19 overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft. Pugh graduated from Syracuse University in 2012, where he was a team captain. Originally from Holland, Pennsylvania, Pugh now resides in West New York, New Jersey.
How did it feel to be signed to play for the New York Giants?
There is no feeling to describe getting drafted. To end up with the Giants, an organization that is so family-oriented, it’s like nowhere else. I really believe that the culture in the organization and around the facilities is like nowhere else. I’ve heard veterans and guys that have been around the league say the same thing. Overall, I’m just very fortunate to be with the Giants and to have landed in a metropolis like New York City!
How about New York fans?
Growing up outside Philadelphia, I’ve always been around a strong fan base. New York fans, though, are diehard, loyal fans with a lot of patience. Last season, when we started out 0-6, I still had fans telling me that we were going to make it. The faith they have in their teams is a lot higher than in most cities, and that’s a great feeling to have on the player’s side!
Do you have a favorite neighborhood in the city?
The Meatpacking District is definitely my favorite spot. There is a lot going on, tons of good restaurants: I like to go out to eat there, check out some of the new bars and just explore. It’s a good scene, especially for the “young professionals” crowd.
What are some of your favorite shops and restaurants in the city?
For suits, I love Élevée in Midtown—I need to have a lot of things custom-tailored, and they do everything to fit you perfectly. Acustom Apparel in SoHo also does great custom work: They use a 3-D scan to get your measurements. It’s pretty cool. If you’re as into shoes as I am, you have to check out Flight Club for shoes in Union Square. They have an unbelievable selection of Jordans, Nikes, Adidas, Reebok and more, including limited editions and vintage. For restaurants, everyone has their go-to pizza place here, but nothing compares to the margherita pie at Lombardi’s in NoLITa. They’ve been doing it right since 1905, but it’s cash only and no reservations on the weekends. For a fancier dinner, it’s Tao Uptown. It’s the first restaurant that I went to after coming to New York: The Chilean sea bass satay is great. Finally, Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side makes the epitome of a good sandwich. Imagine a football-size pastrami Reuben. I’m a big guy, and at my hungriest, I could eat only half!
My Perfect Day
Morning: Juice and Golf
I would first get a (weight) lift in and do some yoga. Then, I would take the ferry into the city from New Jersey. First stop: Juice Press. It’s a game changer for me. They specialize in raw foods, juices and smoothies. My favorite is the Mother Earth pressed juice and raw oatmeal. Next, some friends and I would hit golf balls at Chelsea Piers.
Afternoon: Beer and Basketball
For lunch, the boys and I would hit up Katz’s Deli—I've got to have that pastrami reuben! After eating, we might grab a beer at Bounce Sporting Club and catch a Syracuse basketball gamem(Go, ‘Cuse!).
Evening: Dinner and Singing
Del Frisco’s for dinner (filet mignon, mac ’n’ cheese and a lobster tail) and then my friends and I would go to one of the karaoke bars in Koreatown! I’ll definitely keep my day job, but I have been known to do a mean rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”