The harmonizing trio—Katie Martucci, Caroline Kuhn and Lucia Pontoniere—talk NOLA vibes, favorite trees, and the best place in Brooklyn to meet (and make friends with) musicians
KATIE (middle): I think I came here one of the first nights that I got to Brooklyn. They have music here every single night, and we came out, and I fell in love with it immediately. I realized sort of separately, like if I’m looking at Yelp or anything like that for a place to eat or to go out, all I’m looking at are the pictures and what the lighting looks like. Then I got here and was like, oh my god, everyone looks so good here. It’s incredible.
There are singer-songwriters that play here, there’s a band from I think Mali that plays here often, there’s gospel brunch… They just have great music and you walk in, and it feels like a vibe. It’s like it’s so mysterious, anything could happen…
LUCIA (right): You know what’s funny? The bartender was telling me that the owners had both lived in New Orleans, and so this is supposed to be like a New Orleans-style… or it’s influenced heavily by New Orleans. And it’s funny, because Katie had lived in New Orleans for awhile, and I was like, oh, it’s so funny that Katie loves this place. It’s like a memory or something.
CAROLINE (left): I’m now the only band member who has never lived in New Orleans.
KATIE: I realized from walking around Brooklyn or finding different places to go, it’s totally like, what slice of New Orleans can I possibly find?
[Is there anything specific you get when you come here?]
LUCIA: Daiquiris were the drink du jour.
KATIE: I guess you could say that.
LUCIA: The happy-hour daiquiri special. Their cheese plate is delightful….
CAROLINE: We just ate a very large amount of olives.
486 Halsey St, (718) 513-0339, barlunatico.com/
CAROLINE: The memories of high school!
KATIE: It was so good.
CAROLINE: Ah, that was such a good show!
LUCIA: You know, it’s a free show, and you can get right up there and see the most amazing bands. And it’s a beautiful park. That was just such a great introduction to that—it was like, whoah. Because The Wood Brothers are, you know, probably one of my favorite… folk-influenced, folk-rock-blues bands.
KATIE: That park saved me. Living like half a mile from it, I think… being able to walk there all the time and having a minute to be in nature and to go for runs and slow down. It just made, I feel like, all the parts that I was worried about New York, not a problem. I just had that space to breathe.
LUCIA: Parks are so important when you live in a city. The fact that you have Prospect Park and Central Park is so amazing.
CAROLINE: I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Prospect Park, except for when I was in high school, there was this one tree, behind the waterfall—it was the smoking spot.
Growing up in Manhattan, when I got to high school, I had a lot of cool friends who lived in Brooklyn… I was meeting these art majors. I met this one girl, she was so cool, she lived in Park Slope…
We were hangin’ out and everyone would just keep going to this tree, and I would just follow the group, and you had to climb behind a waterfall to get to a tree and everyone was smoking pot there.
LUCIA (to Katie): You have a favorite tree as well, right?
KATIE: Yeah! There’s this tree near the boathouse. I don’t know what type of tree it is, but it’s kind of a Willow tree where the branches sort of hang, but the leaves are big, thick leaves, and when you’re in there, you’re totally encased in greenery. It feels like a fairy house, you know. I just wanted to be five years old in there again. It’s so magical.
KATIE: Cafe Madeline is a really, really yummy cafe around the corner from my place in Ditmas, and the food is all just really, really freaking well made. Beautifully prepared.
It just has a yellow awning that doesn’t say anything on the front, and then on the inside, it says, “Is it me you’re looking for?” It’s very elusive.
The part that’s been really nice for me, living so close to there: Ditmas Park is just full of so many working musicians. If you go into Madeline regularly, you see someone walk in with a guitar case, and people are just super friendly. So I feel like I’ve met a lot of people that I’ve started playing with in different capacities just by saying hi at Cafe Madeline. It’s just known. It’s like, oh, you must live in the neighborhood and you’re a musician.
LUCIA: Like, “I’ve seen you at Cafe Madeline a lot during working hours. You must be a musician.”
KATIE: I’ve met a lot of people that I’m now friends with there.
1603 Cortelyou Rd, (718) 941-4020, mkt.com/cafemadeline
KATIE: Ah! I got overalls from there today.
LUCIA: That’s probably the best thrift shop in the worrrrld.
KATIE: I’ve found so many things there.
LUCIA (to Katie): This YouTuber girl from Canada was posting about the Beacon’s Closet you love.
KATIE: I always go to the one in Park Slope on Fifth Avenue.
LUCIA: That was the one!
KATIE: I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion it was especially good.
LUCIA: Yeah! YouTubers go there. Influencers and stuff. It’s a really good one.
CAROLINE: Some people have the chain stores they go to, they know what works for them for their basics. A lot of people, including myself, just really love to go to a thrift store. I get a little discouraged when you just see the one thing on the rack and there are thousands of it. I like to have one specific individual thing.
KAREN: We’ve talked about this, I don’t want to put words in your guys’ mouth, but I feel similar too, where this weird scary, focused calm comes over me. I’m gonna touch everything, I’m going to try on every single shirt. It’s not exactly relaxing.
LUCIA: You’re determined!
LUCIA: We love hitting thrift shops on the road, too. I feel like we’ve done that in so many cities.
CAROLINE: It’s the most fun souvenir, in my opinion.
92 5th Ave, (718) 230-1630, beaconscloset.com
KATIE: So me and Caroline sing together in a swing thing, as well. Had you been to Sunny’s before that?
KATIE: It was such a trip. She did so good coming from uptown Manhattan to Red Hook.
CAROLINE: You have to take a bus… and a train. It’s one of those feelings like I’m just out of the condensed hustle, and it’s really quite relaxing even though it took me a long-ass time to get here.
KATIE: It’s right on the pier near the water… the sunsets are insane. You don’t get that in other places. It’s so vibrant.
It’s been around for a real long time. It’s a little divey, and just very quirky, and they’ve got a back room for music, and in the winter they make their own cider and put a bunch of whiskey in it…
It’s a really nice place. I’d heard about it for years before moving here from other musicians. It sortof got built up in my mind and then met its expectations.
CAROLINE: I think a lot of the time, it has to do with the crowd. We have our friends who are very supportive and nice, but I just love the vibe of what seemed to be the locals coming in and out.
253 Conover St, (718) 625-8211, sunnysredhook.com
[This interview has been edited and condensed.]