As the director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Lisa Phillips knows a thing or two about the “renaissance,” as she calls it, of Bowery Street. The New Museum, is after all, at the center of that explosion of art on Bowery with its Guggenheim-esque new building that opened on December 1, 2007.

Picture 6When Lisa isn’t at the forefront of all things innovative, she heads up a few blocks on Bowery to the New Museum’s antithesis, Gemma. “This is where I spend most of my time and eat most of my meals,” Lisa told citybuzz of the East Village area.

Gemma’s an Italian restaurant that’s as rustic as you can get in ultra-modern New York City. There’s the classic thatched red wine bottles, wooden table tops and copper covered bar that evoke a feeling that Dorothy is no longer in the East Village anymore. The menu is filled with tried and true favorites like delicious wood-fired pizzas and soft gnocchi with a hearty Bolognese sauce. The easy setting and reliable food leaves diners like Lisa Phillips with the impression that, as the New York Times stated,”Gemma has an unlabored panache that makes an evening go down very easy.”

*** Lisa Phillips has been the Director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art since 1999.