The City Story’s Co-Founder & Editor Juhi Pande, shares the story behind their publications and gives insider tips that “would be great for an immersive city experience” in London & Mumbai. Check out their Kulture Shop Studio Interview.
KS: Tell us more about The City Story.
Juhi: We are primarily an online guide and digital publication. We work with a network of writers/photographers/illustrators on city specific content with the aim of getting more people to read quality content and know more about their city. We don’t have a studio/office space, so we work out of home/cafes/co-working spaces and Operate from London & Mumbai, with a team size of 3 : Shivani Shah, fellow Co-Founder & Managing Editor plus Genesia Alves, Contributing Editor.
KS: Why did you feel the need for creating a curated guide? How would you differentiate The City Story from other existing content platforms?
Juhi: Cities are often big, confusing, anonymous places, but they don’t have to be. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of stories in a city that give us an insight into how that city thrives – how its people live, work, play, eat. The City Story focuses on telling these stories using personal narratives of our local contributors. We like to excavate everything that makes a city whole – its people, spaces, experiences, art, culture. We want to make our cities familiar to travelers who want to experience it beyond Top 10 lists and clickbait and residents who want to discover pockets of their city that they may not know much about. We don’t write about time specific stories or events. The City Story is about those aspects of a city that have stood the test of time or changed the way the city experiences things and contributed to making the city what it is today. We want people to feel at home in our cities – whether they’re residents or travelers – and familiarity only seeps in when you’re privy to a city’s secrets and hidden stories. All our stories are pinned on a map, so when you open it you’re surrounded with pins that are local stories that help you explore every nook and cranny of the city.
KS: Which is your favourite project in the last year & why?
Juhi: Well, to begin with, launching The City Story in January 2016 was kind of a big deal for us. We’d spent 8 months working on the tech+design+content. Also, we had a successful Kickstarter campaign, for which we worked on books + maps as rewards. The very same books + maps are available on Kulture Shop right now. Every few months we add something new to the site – category, change in design etc and all of these feel fairly exciting for the team.
KS: Tell us more about the Books & Art Maps you are retailing with us?
Juhi: Last year we had Prashant Miranda hand paint the maps of London and Mumbai for The City Story. These prints are very precious to us since they were the first commissioned pieces for The City Story and Prashant did a spectacular job with them. His attention to detail + flair with color is remarkable. The maps make for great collectibles/gifts.
KS: Any future products we can look forward to get out?
Juhi: Yes. We’re excited to add new merchandise to our Kulture Shop store every two months and we’re already working on the next product.
Favourite hangouts near your studio:
London – Cafe Oto, Tripspace, The Proud Archivist | Bombay – Willingdon Club, Bombay canteen
Quirky items of inspiration:
Some of us have rocks on our desk, some have photographs, but we keep it fairly simple.
A song that represents the vibe of your studio:
Bright Lights, Bigger City by CeeLo Green
As promised, here are some recommendations from The City Story team from their repository of fantastic experiences in London & Mumbai.
A bookstore that believes in themes rather than genres and will not allow mobile phone photography – Liberia at Hanbury St. (Excerpt – books aren’t divided by genres but by themes. The layout tells its own story. Books about “The sea and the sky” are followed closely by books about “The city”. If you’re looking for something on philosophy or the metaphysical, you might find it under “Enchantment for the disenchanted”. Perhaps you’ll find your next favourite read beside the book you were actually looking for. The experience of finding your book is meant to happen by intuition. Some may even call it magic.)
Hide away from the madding crowd at Chelsea physic garden (Excerpt – It is the smallest Paradise, this garden made up of smaller gardens, a green matryoshka. One of medicines and poisons, of fragrant herbs you can’t help but touch and scent yourself with: rosemary, lavender, marjoram, thyme.)
Sample authentic northern Chinese breakfast food – Chinese Laundry at Islington (Excerpt – The menu is compact and interesting. The dishes are slightly obscure. We ordered a plate of Dumpling Stir Fry to share along with An Egg Hug Dumpling (dumplings omelette) each (we definitely had a “no wonder we’re friends” moment there). We also ordered some Braised Beef Loumei and Milky Little Buns.)
Check out a 65 million year old hill called Gilbert in Andheri – (Excerpt – At 200ft, it isn’t much of a topographical giant. Rajabai Tower dwarfs it by 80ft. Antilia is over two-and-a-half times taller. Malabar Hill, its seaside cousin, is just a few metres shorter. What it lacks in height it makes up for in history – Gilbert Hill is over 65 million years old.)
For legitimately good Parsi Snacks – PAC at Nana Chowk (Excerpt – As a delicious shoehorn into the world of Parsi snacks, try the chicken pattice, little golden pies small enough to be polished off in two big bites. The puffy, crispy, flaky, buttery pastry hides a belly full of lightly spiced, creamy chicken. If you like, you can lift the pastry lid right off and eat it plain so that it crumbles in your mouth.)
For the best ice-cream sandwich Bombay can offer – K Rustom at Churchgate (Excerpt – Everything worth celebrating – or forgetting – demands the presence of a blackcurrant ice cream sandwich. From birthdays and first dates to exam results and heartbreaks, K Rustom’s chunky slab of melting goodness flanked by crispy, fluorescent wafer biscuits makes it all sweeter.)
Experience and know Bombay a bit better – visit the village of Matharpacady near Mazgaon (Excerpt -Today is Cross Feast Day, and a smiling mum teaches her tiny son how to mime the lyrics of Doe a Deer while he happily hops on and off the stage. Every passing local glances appreciatively at the stage, wishes the mum a good morning and grins at the kid.)
Find The City Story on Kulture Shop