Much of what you need to know about former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili's adopted Willamsburg life can be gleaned from the photos that appear in this delightful NY Times profile, which feature the ex-leader bopping around Smorgasburg with a coconut, posing in his neon green shoes and red shorts with his bicycle, and staring listlessly into the void from one of the neighborhood's countless barstools. Is he lost in reverie over his politically prominent past life, or are his thoughts more pedestrian—Wythe Hotel rooftop, or Pepela in the East Village?
Saakashvili seems to be fitting in well with the moneyed beardos and "women in revealing overalls," though most of his neighbors are probably not staring down potential 11-year prison sentences for human rights abuse and embezzlement of public funds, which financed, among other things, "hotel expenses for a personal stylist, hotel and travel for two fashion models, Botox injections and hair removal, the rental of a yacht in Italy and the purchase of artwork by the London artist Meredith Ostrom, who makes imprints on canvases with her naked, painted body." He's proud that no one has been able to unearth any offshore accounts in his name.
He also gave his massage therapist "a gold necklace with some kind of religious pendant," which she opts not to wear "because my God is Frank Zappa.” You can't make this stuff up.
Some of Saakashvili's favorite things are:
2. The Wythe Hotel rooftop
3. Not offshore accounts
4. Cafe Mogador
6. Clocks made from retro hardcover books
7. Not Vladimir Putin
This is how he feels about Queens, where he lived while attending law school at Columbia: “Queens is like wannabe New York. I remember that bitterly. Williamsburg is like New York, not over-the-bridge people.” His eldest son is the reigning fasted iPad typer. He is peripherally aware that Hasidic Jews wear "big hats." He can speak a little Ossetian.
He fits in pretty damn well in Williamsburg.