"When I'm on the bridge going into the city, I get a smile on my face," Debra Messing has said. "I feel I'm most alive in New York, most myself." In Holly-wood, people are proclaiming Messing, of the hit TV comedy Will & Grace, the second coming of Lucille Ball. But for Messing, paradise is a pair of black boots, a backpack, and a hot pierogi on the streets of the Big Apple. Born in Brooklyn, Messing attended drama school at New York University's elite Graduate Acting Program with her future husband, screenwriter Daniel Zelman. Her star rose in off-Broadway theater before she headed to L.A. for television, starring first as Jerry's elusive love on Seinfeld and then landing her much-lauded current role as Grace Adler. This month she stars as "a sort of dopey, very bad actress" in Woody Allen's latest comedy, Hollywood Ending. Says Messing, "It was the seminal New York experience: to be an actor born in Brooklyn, growing up watching Woody Allen, and then to be in a Woody Allen movie shooting in New York." Someday, she plans to move back to New York permanently. Until then, here's the next best thing.
"Whenever my husband and I travel back to New York, we always stay downtown at the Mercer. We love it because it's very small. You can roll out of bed and you're right in the heart of SoHo, which is just chock-full of wonderful boutiques and restaurants. The hotel itself is unrecognizable from the street. There's no sign. It doesn't feel like you're a tourist. The Mercer feels like a private little studio that I borrow every once in a while. The service is impeccable."