Photo Joe Hume
Favorite place to people watch?
The stone benches at Grand Army Plaza on a Saturday. As long as it’s not so cold that my butt freezes when it hits the stone, this is where my [six-year-old] daughter and I love to see the different types of people. I do laugh at the line at the coffee truck and the Blue Moon Fish people who start lining up at the crack of dawn. But mostly the people make me happy. I like public space. It reaffirms my love of Brooklyn.
Favorite place to drink?
The bar at Vinegar Hill House. So, I didn’t go until Frank Bruni wrote something about a super cold martini but once I did I was very happy. My husband got that ice-cold martini and I got one of the fancy cocktail drinks whose name I can no longer remember, but this bar is one of the few places where it really is worth it that your bartender takes ten minutes to fix the drink.
Al Di La. This is our standby but we never tire of it. I love that everything is delicious and that they never have a bad night. My daughter was about three weeks old on her first trip.
Favorite grocery store or farmer’s market?
Gotta give credit to the Park Slope Food Co-op. Love the cheese selection—and the cute cheese buyer—and the organic snackage. I even love stocking groceries there because manual labor quiets a writer’s overactive mind.
Favorite outdoor spot?
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry esplanade. I love the entire garden but particularly the esplanade in warm weather. It beats Prospect Park and is only a couple blocks farther. Especially awesome to go on the nights they let you picnic.
Favorite place to see a show or a movie?
BAM cinema. I love to see movies there. The seats are comfy and there are no bad views. I saw Manhattan there the year after 9/11 on 9/11 and I felt connected to my city.
Favorite coffee shop?
Cafe Martin. This shop needs its own reality show. It’s like Cheers. Or Barbershop. The banter, the refreshing lack of laptops, and lack of babies. Martin is laconic and handsome and wholly impenetrable. The only downside is that it’s so small you cannot discuss movie pitches there or someone will steal them.
Who’s your favorite local celebrity?
I hear Sarsgaard does a co-op shift. Receiving. I’d like to receive him.
Favorite date spot?
Thistle Hill Tavern. Romantic but not in-your-face romantic, enough din to cover up those awkward silences on a first date, good beer for the gents, organic and local food, but waiters who are not precious. And you can sit outside when it’s warm.
Most intriguing local character whose name you do not know?
The sign-ripper. He walks around the Slope tearing stoop-sale flyers off lampposts. I am sure it is some form of OCD. He is the most famous person in Park Slope. I once heard him speak aloud and was stunned at his voice’s melodiousness. The guy could do Mitsubishi Galant voiceovers for a living.
What’s been the biggest change since you moved in?
The money just keeps going up up up. The renovations, the private school auctions—Berkeley Carroll got over $60,000 for a Mario Batali dinner for ten—the Town Cars. It’s as though the recession does not exist for my zip code.
It’s a Saturday night in December. You don’t feel like traveling very far but are antsy for a night out. Where do you go?
The Vanderbilt. It has a Manhattan feel, a great menu, a satisfying wine list, Fleisher’s meatballs, and a lot of room. What more could you ask for on a Saturday night in Brooklyn?