When/Why did you move?
In the spring of 2009, after 5 years teaching history at SUNY Plattsburgh, I celebrated the 400th anniversaries of the “discoveries” of the valleys now named after them by Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson by walking from Montreal to Manhattan. Having come back to my natal place, I decided it was time to stay here. Destiny clearly called me!
What is your favorite neighborhood and why?
As some poet once said, “We love best those hills we know first.” The same goes for ‘hoods: I lived in Red Hook when I first arrived, and fell in love with the place – the rebellious and independent spirit of my neighbors; the half-macadam, half-Belgian block streets; the smell of the chicken slaughter houses and D’Amico coffee roasters; the abandoned grain elevator; Dave Sharp’s amazing barge museum; even that sweet little bike path that runs behind IKEA. . .
Favorite restaurant(s), why?
My dining room – hope you’ll come enjoy a meal there, or on our amazing 1 Grand Army Plaza roof terrace. The food, service, and ambiance cannot be bested in all of Brooklyn. But if you cannot make it there, I’ll meet you at Noodle Pudding in Brooklyn Heights, Amarina on Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights, or if I have to go to Manhattan, any of Paul Grieco’s joints – Terroir in Tribeca or Hearth in the East Village.
Hidden gems, insider tips?
I’m a historian, so all my treasured NYC spots are places where I can time travel: to Lenape “prehistory” up at the Indian Caves in Inwood Hill Park; to the Middle Ages at the Cloisters; to the 1830s on Stone Street in the Financial District or Bank Street in the West Village; to my own teen years of the 1970s at Washington Square or Central Parks. I love all the shorelines, from Red Hook to Staten Island. Greenwood Cemetery! Coney Island! Fort Tilden!
There is no insider tip more life-changing than affirming what you already know: Gotham beckons you to explore it by BICYCLE!