Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
I'll be turning 28 in about a month. (I tend to plan--or at least neurotically worry about--things well in advance. So I'm deeply into an interior-monologue debate about where to hold my annual birthday drinking outing this year.) I am the editor of mediabistro.com. I have lived in Manhattan for five years and nine months, give or take. Prior to that I lived for four years in California, where my undergraduate institution was unfortunately located. I lived for my first 18 years in South Orange, New Jersey, which is 28 minutes from Penn Station on New Jersey Transit's fastest Midtown Direct trains. I currently live in the West Village, just around the corner from WXOU, my favorite bar, at which I may or may not have my birthday drinks.
Three for Thee
1. What's your standing among the New York media elite? Ankle-biter or does Tina Brown call you "The Jesster!"?
I think I occupy a slightly loftier spot in the cosmology than ankle-biter. I am, perhaps, a shin-biter. Or even a knee-biter, on a very good day. Tina Brown has replied to emails from me. This only started happening recently. She does not have a nickname for me. Simon Dumenco has called me nicknames, but he no longer returns my emails.
2. If you could buy one magazine and run it as you see fit, which one would it be, and what percentage of the staff would you immediately, mercilessly, and publicly fire in order to assert your all-encompassing power over them?
It's a cliche, I know, but I'd buy The New Yorker. Because, well, wouldn't it be cool to own The New Yorker? (This, incidentally, was Si Newhouse's only rationale, too.) I would immediately, mercilessly, and publicly fire Bruce McCall: It's not just that his theoretically funny items aren't funny, it's that I don't even see how they were supposed to be funny in the first place. It would be a shame, but I'd also be forced to fire John McPhee, because I'm really tired of reading about shad. Beyond that, I'd spend several weeks expressing tremendous confidence in the staff I'd inherited and then I'd fire Caroline Miller. I realize she doesn't work there in the first place, but this is apparently what one does.
3. When I went to your New York Magazine piece about the most expensive meal served by various New York restaurants, a Victoria's Secret ad popped up next to the article which got me thinking: what's the most anyone should pay for a prostitute?
It's a stretch to call that a "piece." Regardless, in the era of Craigslist, the most one should pay for a prostitute is $49/month for Roadrunner. The rest will happen, gratis, on its own. Actually, even $49 is too much. The Dbest package is a significantly better deal.
Time travel question: What era, day or event in New York's history would you like to re-live?
I've always thought the Prohibition era seemed like fun--if you knew how/where to not be prohibited. I've also heard that people who were not bankers or lawyers could afford Manhattan real estate then.
9pm, Wednesday night - what are you doing?
In all likelihood: Sitting in a bar, ordering another drink.
What's your New York motto?
Remember pretty soon after September 11, when friends periodically sent around mass emails saying that you really needed to leave the city for the weekend because there was going to be an attack? The ones that always began with your heretofore rational friend saying something like, "I never usually forward these things, but I got it from my roommate, whose best camp friend went to college with Colin Powell's shrink's daughter" -- the daughter part was always there, and was very key, because it explained why some 20-something dork had access to this top-secret Tom Ridgian chatter -- "and she says something's definitely going to happen"? Well, I remember replying to one by insisting that I'd much prefer to be crushed to death on the E train in some horrific disaster than live in a post-apocolyptic world in which there was no New York. Could that count as a motto? If so, it's mine.
Describe that low, low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good.
It has never crossed my mind. See above.
Just after midnight on a Saturday - what are you doing?
Sitting in a bar, ordering another drink.
Finish one of the four following sentences:
1) "Outside of his building, on E. 9th Street, Chip took money from Enid and..."
was overcome with desire for this interrogation to end.
Where do you summer?
Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Or else at weddings. So many weddings these days.
Who do you consider to be the greatest New Yorker of all-time?
What was your best dining experience in NYC?
The chef's table at the Park Avenue Cafe on my 25th birthday.
What happened the last time you went to L.A.?
I thought the toast was going to be at the rehearsal dinner. Turned out it was at the wedding. I drank more than I should have. I prepared less than I should have. I bombed. Badly.
Medication: What and how much do you take?
Unprescribed Propecia, which I'm not sure is working. Prescribed Claritin, in allergy season. Two Advil, with some regularity. Nothing else I'll discuss in a venue to which my mother might Google.
Of all the movies made about (or highly associated with) New York, what role would you have liked to be cast in?
Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street: I've always wanted to go out there a youngster and come back a star. Normally, I just come back a drunken youngster.
If you could change one thing about New York, what would it be?
Send the bankers and lawyers to Greenwich, where they belong, or at least to the Upper East Side. Then maybe I can afford to buy an apartment.
The End of The World is finally happening. What are you going to do with your last 24 hours in NYC?
Eat. A lot. And then drink.