pruzan_big.jpgThe Basics
Age and occupation. How long have you lived here, where did you come from, and where do you live now?
I'm 33, and I'm the managing editor at Print, a wonderful magazine about design and visual culture. I've lived in Brooklyn for six years, after almost a decade in Chicago. I live with my girlfriend, Rachel, and her gentle, elderly doggie, Oscar, in the basement of a Park Slope mansion that's listed in at least one architectural guide. (The mansion, not the basement. Although it's much nicer than it sounds.)

Three for Todd
1. From what I can get the lazy Gothamist intern to Google about you, you're a lifer in the magazine industry. Care to speculate on the goings-on with New York Magazine? Can it ever be saved?
I feel guilty for rarely reading New York magazine, where a couple of my friends work, but I loved the New York Times Magazine under New York's new editor, Adam Moss -- apart from their boring "special" issues, which could be a real chore to sit through. If New York magazine stays away from "special" issues, they shall rule the world. (That includes "Top Doctors," which is a pleasant sop to those named but less than useless for actual consumers with medical situations. I edited a "Top Doctors" special at Chicago magazine a while back, and eesh, it's a nightmare, before, during and after publication.)

2. In Spin you said that Tori Amos was the competing brand to Fiona Apple. Was this an oblique reference to the Shasta vs RC Cola brand wars of my 1970s youth?
Exactly! I can't believe someone finally called my ass on that shit! For those of you who need elucidation: Tori is, of course, the reliable old RC, which goes great with all salty snacks. Fiona is the insecure, somewhat brittle young comer: Shasta.

3. Since you're one of the rare people who has actually been to Iceland, I wanted to ask you about how the Building Cost Index of Iceland compiled in the middle of April 2004 stood at 293.3 points (June 1987=100) and is 0.38 per cent higher than in the previous month . . . wait, just kidding. How awesome is it there?
It's pretty awesome, except if you go in mid-February, which is sort of fun and sort of cheap but sort of dark and windy too. But I'm glad to see their building costs are rising; Icelandic architecture, which tends toward concrete and corrugated steel (which rusts), is not exactly the stuff of national pride. But the people were very nice to me.

Proust-Krucoff Questionnaire
Please share a personal (and hopefully interesting) NYC taxi story.
In October, on the way to JFK, my driver -- apparently in the midst of a drag race that has begun before I show up -- cuts off a pickup truck, then gets into a shouting match when they finally arrive at a stoplight. Other driver tells him to go the fuck back to his own country. My driver: You don't have a country. Other driver: Fuckin' towelhead. My driver: Go fuck yourself. I'm sympathetic until he recites his theory about how the Mossad might've knocked down the World Trade Center. I tell him to shut up and drive, and he never stops apologizing. But the thing that makes me angriest of all, practically for the rest of the week, is that I actually give the guy a decent tip.

Time travel question: What era, day or event in New York's history would you like to re-live?
Monday, September 10, 2001, evening: Dinner with a friend at Clinton Fresh Food. One beer at Max Fish. Subway home, talking to a nice girl. Early to bed; a dreamless, unhurried sleep.

9pm, Wednesday night - what are you doing?
Ordering in.

What's your New York motto?
"New York City. Initial Charge, $2.50; 40 Cents Per 1/5 Mile Thereafter."

Best celebrity sighting in New York, or personal experience with one if you're that type.
The inevitable Vincent Gallo, on a Lower East Side street corner, kvetching to a pal: "I dunno -- I've just been so dazed lately . . . "

Describe that low, low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good.
Even in the lowest moments, I haven't hit that point.

Just after midnight on a Saturday - what are you doing?
Probably returning with Rachel to Park Slope, en route to a drink or two at Barbès, with the dog. (Oscar is a total ladykiller.)

What's the most expensive thing in your wardrobe?
I paid way too much for a Ted Baker jacket, which I knew needed alterations when I bought it. Should've sprung for the whole damn suit.

Finish one of the four following sentences:
2) "She took him to the Whitney Museum where Vladimir admired a row of..."
moneyed patrons wondering if John Currin might have time to do commissioned portraits in time for their anniversaries this weekend.

Who do you consider to be the greatest New Yorker of all-time? (Name up to three if you must.)
Alexander Hamilton, for putting it on the map; John Lennon, for sharing himself with it; Tibor Kalman, for making it grin like a little kid.

What was your best dining experience in NYC?
I'll tell you my worst: 360 in Red Hook, two weeks ago, where Rachel and I sat next to a table with the loudest, stupidest, whiniest, queeniest, most obnoxious asshole I've ever encountered in real life. He was profane, he was scatalogical, he was pretentious, he was imbecilic--he kept saying "She wasn't fat, but she had a Picasso-esque figure"--and the entire restaurant was watching him and hating his guts. And he was too cheap to even order a meal! Just sat there entertaining his idiot friends and making us miserable.

Just how much do you really love New York?
One night two years ago, I was insanely drunk and I lost my Palm Pilot in a cab at 2am. Rachel was on my doorstep the next morning with ginger ale and a bagel for my throbbing skull. Two days later, a woman on the Upper East Side actually figured out I owned the Palm Pilot and called me. When I picked it up from her, I gave her fifty bucks as a thank-you. A few days later she invited me for coffee--but luckily for me, I was already dating Rachel.

What happened the last time you went to L.A.?
Last week, a 10-1/2 hour layover en route to Sydney. I took a bus out to Venice Beach and hung out with my friend Jenny, whose condo faces the freaks on the promenade and the Pacific beyond. I lost my driver's license, somehow, then found it the next day in my baggage.

Medication: What and how much do you take?
Crestor, 1 10mg tab/daily (thanks for reminding me). Migraine medicine, every three or four months. Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout, whenever possible.

Of all the movies made about (or highly associated with) New York, what role would you have liked to be cast in?
John Lurie, Willie, "Stranger Than Paradise."

If you could change one thing about New York, what would it be?
Move the Yankees to Jersey. That'd teach them.

The End of The World is finally happening. Be it the Rapture, War of Armageddon, reversal of the Sun's magnetic field, or the Red Sox win the World Series. What are you going to do with your last 24 hours in NYC?
Root for the Red Sox. And then eat fried chicken until I faint.


Todd Pruzan is an editor at Print and is working on The Clumsiest People in Europe (spring 2005, Bloomsbury USA), an anthology of three nasty and hilarious English children's geography books, written in the mid-19th century by Mrs. Favell Lee Mortimer (1802-1878). Chris Gage conducted this interview.