Mia Berrin of Pom Pom Squad's Day Off in NYC Includes Pierogies and Opera
"Something about New York that's so special is it's smaller than you think it is in many ways. You also can't really be bored, unless you want to be bored."
By Sadie Bell and Mia Berrin
Published on 6/16/2022 at 12:00 PM
Mia Berrin | Photo by Sammy Ray
Mia Berrin is the brainchild behind the New York-based indie-rock band Pom Pom Squad, which is known for their campy, unabashedly feminine aesthetics and grunge-inspired sound. Last year, the group released their debut full-length album, Death of a Cheerleader, and this year they are touring extensively for the first time and making a handful of festival appearances.
The New York music scene is so strong, but it can be really hard to stand out. So as Pom Pom Squad has come up in New York over the years, I feel really honored in a lot of ways that people did notice my band and feel strongly enough about it to have the stories of being like, "Oh, I saw you play in a bar three years ago and now you sold out Bowery Ballroom." My mom pointed out to me recently that we had a show at Bowery Electric, and now I'm doing Bowery Ballroom, which is a wild trajectory in such a short time. In that way, I feel really connected to New York venues and what the music scene in New York is.
I also feel really connected to the city in general, since I've lived here and in different neighborhoods for a few years now. Something about New York that's so special is it's smaller than you think it is in many ways. You also can't really be bored, unless you want to be bored.
Veselka | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
"I love it, it has a lot of memories for me. It's a really special place and such a New York staple."
I love to start a day at Veselka, which is an amazing Ukrainian diner. It has a very cozy feeling, and in typical New York fashion, either the staff is really nice to you or really, really mean to you, which I find charming. I used to live down the street, so I went there every chance that I got.
I don't live as close anymore, but I love Manhattan, so after getting a late start to my morning, I like to go into the city to run some errands, and ultimately have to end up having an early lunch at Veselka. I always do the short rib and potato pierogies. I've spent so much time there since I've lived in New York. I spent New Year's there; I got into a fight with a stranger there; I broke up with somebody there; I spent my 21st birthday there. That's a particularly special memory: I went with some friends that I was living with at the time and had my first legal drink—I think it was a glass of white wine—but I was already a little drunk, so I showed up, had a lot of pierogies, and it was very sweet. I've done it all at Veselka. I love it, it has a lot of memories for me. It's a really special place and such a New York staple.
Whitney Museum of American Art | Photo by Sean Sime
"I really appreciate that the experience of going there is walking around Chelsea and the Meatpacking District and then looking at all the art. It's like an escape from reality in a weird way."
In the afternoon, I have to hit the thrift circuit. I go to the L Train Vintage in Manhattan and I go to the L Trains in Brooklyn. I love Buffalo Exchange. Recently, I've been into Other People's Clothing in Ridgewood. It's close to me, which is nice, but I've found a lot of really solid pieces there. Some of my favorites finds are a Prada silk taffeta shift dress and a Vivienne Westwood Anglomania white dress. I also found my favorite vintage shirt there, which is a white button-down with this amazing, long, sharp collar with vintage lace on the edge. It's so beautiful and one of the pieces I wear the most in my closet. OPC has been very reliable for me in my good thrift karma.
I also love to spend the afternoon at The Whitney. When I need a day to let my mind free-associate, or I'm looking for inspiration, I love going to museums. I like even just going to Washington Square Park and people-watching—I find that really inspiring. I love the atmosphere of The Whitney, though, and I really appreciate that the experience of going there is walking around Chelsea and the Meatpacking District and then looking at all the art. It's like an escape from reality in a weird way. It's so much quieter. I often like to go there and sit on a bench and write in my journal.
The Whitney has long been a favorite museum of mine, but I was really inspired by the Biennial a few years ago. There were a couple art pieces that I really loved. This one was an experimental piece called Easternsports by Alex Da Corte and Jayson Musson, and Dev Hynes did all of the music. There were these four walls with this story projected on them and all of these plastic oranges scattered across the floor, and the whole thing smelled like oranges. Visiting that exhibit felt like a moment of escape where I could engage in something completely different than my day-to-day. I went to that exhibit maybe once a week when it was going on and would bring different friends every time to see how each person reacted.
Washington Square Park | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
"The beautiful thing about being in New York is there's always something going on around you. You just have to look up from your phone."
In the evening, my favorite spot for dinner and drinks is Tabaré. The space itself is very romantic with low lighting—it feels sort of like a speakeasy. I went there on Valentine's Day, but I've also gone with friends if we're trying to put on an outfit and have a night. They have this drink called the Pituco. It's fresh shredded strawberries, orange gin, and rosemary syrup. This particular drink is the only alcohol I get excited about—it's seriously the best drink I've ever had. It's a Uruguayan restaurant. I'm very much a meat-and-potatoes girl—literally. They have a skirt steak with a chimichurri sauce and duck-fat potatoes, and it's absolutely incredible. I go there every chance I get. I especially love going there to celebrate things. I've been threatening to take everybody in the band at the end of the tour. Every tour that I go on, I'm like, "Oh, we have to go at the end of tour!" It hasn't worked out yet, but one day it will and it'll be tremendous.
My ideal day would end at The Metropolitan Opera. I went to the opera for the first time recently and had the most amazing time. I love an excuse to get dressed up, so I put on my little outfit—broke out my mom's Chanel bag—and walking into the space just felt so luxurious. I feel personally connected to red velvet, and the space is completely covered in red velvet—the stairs, the railings, the walls. My obsession with red velvet is something I was thinking about a lot when I was writing Death of a Cheerleader. When I first started thinking about the album, I was thinking a lot more about texture and color than sound. I felt out what those textures represent, what they would sound like, how they make me feel, and I think red velvet is iconic. When you think of red velvet, you think of theater seats and red carpets and all of these very decadent scenes. I was also very interested in exploiting the creepiness of very pretty things. I'm not exactly sure how to explain the allure of it, but it does have one, and you feel it when you walk into The Met. It's phenomenal.
Then it's an incredibly fulfilling artistic experience, seeing people singing at that level, which is extremely difficult. It's overwhelmingly beautiful—the space itself and being able to absorb that much hard work and talent and experience the show.
The beautiful thing about being in New York is there's always something going on around you. You just have to look up from your phone. No shade to looking at your phone—I do it a lot. But New York is a really special place, so it's hard not to be inspired wherever you are. You just need to stop, take in your surroundings, and give yourself enough space for your brain to connect with the city, then you're able to see that.
Places to Eat & Drink
Things to See & Do
Various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn
Various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn
885 Woodward Avenue, Queens, New York City and 333 Troutman Street, Brooklyn, New York City
Washington Square, New York City
99 Gansevoort Street, New York City
30 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City
6 Delancey Street, New York City
327 Bowery, New York City