To kick off 2012, we at Finland Center are starting a new blog series that checks in with local Finns about their lives in New York and offers a few of their insider tips into the city. Think of it as another way to bring our small community closer. First up is digital marketing wiz, music producer, and DJ Ilkka Kurkela, who’s a recent New York City transplant.


Interview by Katariina Forsberg

Q: How long have you lived in New York?

A: I’m a fresh newcomer, I’d say. I’ve been living here for three months, so not for too long yet.

Q: Why did you move to New York?

A: After my wife got a job in the city, I decided to take the chance of a lifetime and spend some time in the Big Apple as well. I work remotely to Finland as digital marketing expert at the JTO School of Management.

Q: What are your favorite places in the city?

A: Times Square, Central Park and the restaurants on 8th and 9th Avenues.

Q: Any favorites among these restaurants?

A: There are so many that it’s almost impossible to choose one. One that I’m really fond of is restaurant “9” on 9th Avenue.

Q: Do you have a favorite store?

A: The Marimekko’s Flagship store on 5th Avenue is definitely worth checking out.

Q: What do you do on your time off?

A: I’ve been producing electronic music and DJing (drum’n’bass) for 15 years or so. Whenever I have spare time I try to update my music site at and produce music. I also try to meet new people as much as possible, and help organizations like Finland Center Foundation. Promoting Finland and Finnish values in NYC is something that I’m really interested in. Could coffee be considered as a hobby, too?

Q: What do you think is the best thing about living in New York?

A: This city is pretty much The City of Cities… I mean, it is the center of everything, there are always new things to do, so many people, and different cultures. It’s an environment that really inspires you.

Q: What do you miss about Finland?

A: Sauna. Sauna. Sauna.

Q: If you could describe New York in three words, what would they be?

A: Impressive, inspiring, interesting

Q: How abut Finland? What words would you pick to describe it?

A: My roots, the sauna, the seasons

To learn more about Ilkka: