After a short summer hiatus, we return to our blog series featuring members of our Finnish community. Today we meet Johanna Telander, a singer/songwriter and actress who moved to the city in 2007. When she isn’t performing around town, she can often be found working at the Marimekko flagship store on 23rd Street.

Q: What are your three favorite places in the city?

A: One is Hudson Pier. I love walking along the pier, especially in the summer. The pier is always full of life with joggers, families and dogs. Being by the water is relaxing because it helps me dispatch from the everyday grind, and the pier is also a fun place to stroll and people-watch. I also love Greenwich Village; the little shops and bakeries along Bleecker Street are one-of-a-kind, and the music scene is versatile. My third favorite spot is Bryant Park, which is a great place for meetings, and offers activities ranging from free yoga lessons to classic movie nights. They are a great way to get to know the community.

Q. What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

A: I can’t narrow it down, I have a few. Favorite pizza? Lombardi’s. Favorite Thai? Grom. Favorite Coffee? Roasting Plant Coffee. Favorite tavern for food and music? Greenwich Village Bistro. Favorite summer bar? The Frying Pan.

Q: Do you have a favorite store?

A: Yes! The Housing Works Bookstore downtown. I always leave with bags full of books. They carry volumes that I usually can’t find elsewhere, and the prices are affordable. The atmosphere is also welcoming, and there is even a cafe where you can sit and read. The icing on the cake is that all of the store’s profits go to helping people with AIDS. 

Q: What do you like to do on your free time?

A:  I like to explore new areas in the city. On the weekends I go see shows my friends are in, and during the week I thrive on finding new coffee shops off the beaten path. Coffee is definitely my vice!

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

A:  The international, cosmopolitan vibe, the history, the energy and the inspirational people. I also  like the accessibility of the public transportation (I hate driving).

Q: What do you miss the most about Finland?

My family and friends. I also miss the blue skies and waters, and the lovely, rosy summer nights at our cottage.

Q: If you were to describe New York in three words, what words would you use?

A:  Eclectic, vibrant, inspiring.

Q: What words would you use to describe Finland?

A: Unique, Natural, and SISU!

Johanna performs regularly at various venues around town. She sings both covers and originals, and takes requests. Find out more at