Homecoming Queen

Actress Lisa Vidal, on a visit to her hometown, finds much has changed — for the better

While actress Lisa Vidal is on hiatus from filming her hit TV show “Being Mary Jane,” opposite Gabrielle Union, she’s found herself spending time in New York City.

The Spanish Harlem-born actress — an alum of shows like “Rosewood,” “The Division” and “ER” — dished to LLNYC that despite having lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years, she still misses the city she grew up in.

New York City “will always be my home,” said Vidal. “I’m a city girl. There are a lot of things about California that I love, but there’s something about the vibe in the city and the life and the people that will always be a huge part of my heart.”

Visiting at least three times a year helps keep the longing at bay, and her summer visits usually include a trip to the Hamptons.

On the June day we spoke, Vidal had just finished lunch at Cull & Pistol, the oyster bar inside Chelsea Market. Being in Chelsea brings back interesting memories for the actress: She used to film the crime series “Third Watch” right across the street from the now supertrendy shopping and food destination.

Vidal used to fIlm the crime series
“Third Watch” in Chelsea back when
it was a “shady” neighborhood.

“Oh my god, it was awful. It was a shady-ass neighborhood; you did not want to walk around here. We were constantly escorted or put into cabs,” she said.

But now the neighborhood couldn’t be more different. Filled with upscale eateries, boutiques and new developments, Chelsea is one of Vidal’s best-loved areas to visit when she’s back in town. One particular favorite activity? Walking the High Line.

“I love walking in New York; it’s my favorite thing to do. It’s what I did when I was in school here.” Vidal attended the High School of Performing Arts in Lincoln Square, but walking wasn’t her only method of transportation back then: “I used to roller-skate through the city; it was so much fun.” After she graduated, she worked in theater and soon started getting roles in film and on TV, including “The Cosby Show.”

When she’s not walking around the city, you might find Vidal fitting in a little retail therapy here.

“I’m a shopper,” said Vidal. “So I like all the little boutiques inside [Chelsea] Market.” (Among the many shops there, one can find Anthropologie, Corkbuzz Wine Studio, Fat Witch Bakery, L’Arte del Gelato and Li-lac Chocolates, just for starters). Other favorites of Vidal’s are the clothing stores Muleh (160 Ninth Avenue) and Lilla P. (420 West 14th Street).

While shopping might be Vidal’s true love, food isn’t far off. And like any true New Yorker, she knows which city delivers the goods. “New York has the best food, I don’t care what anybody says, it’s the best,” said Vidal.

During her trip, she had plans to go to Morimoto, the sleek Japanese restaurant, and to get her Italian food fix at the authentic staple Pepe Giallo and at Mario Batali’s Del Posto.

Since Vidal’s filming hiatus is anticipated to last until the end of the year, she has plenty of time for shopping, eating and working on new endeavors, too. “I’m developing a project that I optioned the book rights to,” she said. “I’m not really talking about it too much because it hasn’t happened, but it is an amazing character, and it’s New York-based.”

So perhaps Vidal will be able to spend even more time in her hometown.