In this edition of The People in Your Neighborhood, we spoke to Alfred Schatz, set designer for awesome Downtown theater company The Amoralists, whose current production of Adam Rapp’s Ghosts in the Cottonwoods just got extended through December 12! Don’t miss it.
East Williamsburg, Brooklyn! My wife and I moved here over 20 years ago. It was cheap, friendly, and lots of my friends and fellow artists from Syracuse U. had already marked the territory.
Best place to people-watch?
Up until about a year ago, I would have said the OTB across the street from our house. Now that was a Petri dish of social malfeasance if there ever was one. Since it’s closed, though, I’ll have to go with something friendlier (and more sanitary) like The Garden Grill restaurant. Their weekend breakfast patrons represent a wonderful cross-section of folks who live in the area.
Best place to drink?
Why, on the couch in my living room, of course. Project Runway’s not going to watch itself, right?
Il Passatore on Bushwick just south of Metropolitan. Sure there are finer and more expensive restaurants in Williamsburg, but Passatore’s food is consistently great and the service is always excellent. Try the rabbit…
Best bookstore or record store?
I’ll have to go off the map and give a big hello to my friends at Silver Age Comics in Astoria. I’m a lifelong comics geek, and would be remiss in neglecting to mention their terrific store.
Best grocery store or farmer’s market?
Sadly, I’m not thrilled with much in our area in terms of grocery shopping. Khim’s Millennium Market just re-opened on the corner of Graham and Powers and is pretty comprehensive. Better yet, just hop on the L train and head over to Union Square. It’s ten minutes away and the farmer’s market is always great.
I’m a fancypants. I do my laundry at home.
Best outdoor spot?
McCarren Park can’t be beat. The playgrounds and fields are recently renovated, and the pool should be completely refurbished in about a year or so.
Best place to attend a show/view art/see a movie?
As a theater guy, I’ll have to go with Theatre 80 on St. Marks Place, which has the most beautiful and visually accessible stage that I’ve seen downtown. As an art guy, you’ve got to check out the Frick Collection uptown at least once in your life. Really.
Best coffee shop?
See “Best Laundromat.” My wife and I get up EARLY and our immediate need for coffee is not unlike a medical emergency.
Best subway line?
I once saw a guy at the L train station dressed as Boba Fett, playing the Zelda theme on an accordion. Beat THAT, G Train!
Best date spot?
Date? I’ve been married for 20 years. See “Best place to drink” and “Best coffee shop.”
Best neighborhood person whose name you don’t know?
OK, there’s this guy. I’ve known him from the neighborhood since I moved in. He’s got to be in his 60s and is ALWAYS dressed in a sharp looking suit: early morning, late at night, weekends. He’s got a full, thick head of whitish-gray hair, and usually has an Italian newspaper tucked under his arm. We call him The Silver Fox. Who is he, really? Nobody knows…
According to neighborhood folklore, are there any celebrities in the area?
There was a rumour that Princess Zsa Zsa Gabor used to live in our neighborhood. I know it’s false, though, because I started it.
Which are there more of: dogs, bodega cats, strollers, American Apparel ads, or old men on stoops?
Old Cats in American Bodega Ads.
What’s missing from your neighborhood?
What’s the biggest change since you’ve moved in?
Without a doubt, the cost of living. Remember, I moved to Williamsburg because it was cheap!
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?
Fine dining at Baba on the corner of Lorimer and Powers. Limited menu, limited seating, fantastic food.