Best place to people watch?
Truthfully, when I'm in town I'm generally working which means I don't have the luxury of time to people watch. I do that when I travel. Rural Romania and Ukraine are good places to people watch.
Best place to drink?
Pete's Candy Store is still the place for me. The vibe is always good, the prices are reasonable, and they have the best music room to be found anywhere right in the back. Watch out for Dave the bartender though... he's a real jerk.
Breakfast is my favorite meal, and EGG serves a great one at all hours. I love the farm-fresh ingredients, the hot peanut lagniappe they serve at dinner, and the guys that bus the tables are so nice and friendly. Now, if they could just get a little less dead pig-happy, I'd be there every day.
Best bookstore or record store?
I love having SPOONBILL & SUGARTOWN right down the street from me. If I'm in the city, Housing Works Bookstore down on Crosby is a great place to spend a coupla hours. And, of course, The Strand, a very dangerous place. No matter how large the stack of books I'm reading is at any given moment, I still can't seem to leave The Strand without picking something up.
Best grocery store/farmer's market?
My favorite farmer's market is on Sunday's in Chester, CT. Come on up sometime!
I go to the GIANT LAUNDROMAT over on Metropolitan between Bedford and Driggs. Good folks.
Best outdoor spot?
If the weather's above 45 degrees and it's not raining, there's no place in Brooklyn I'd rather be than the McCarren Park tennis courts.
Best place to attend a show?
See my answer on best place to get a drink. Other venues that I love to see shows at are Jalopy in Red Hook and the Abrons Arts Center down on the LES.
Best coffee shop?
I like the VERB on Bedford.
Best subway line?
Thankfully, it would seem that the days (years) of constant trackwork and delays on the L may be over. Make mine the L!
Best date spot?
MOTO on Broadway in the Burg. Billy and Johnny did such a nice job with this place. It's dark and intimate and never too loud, and every time I go there, there are smiling couples having romantic dinners. And I get jealous and wish that I weren't single so I could be on a date there too!
Best person whose name you don't know?
This is a tie between the wonderful waitress at AKO (sushi joint on Bedford) who is always smiling and laughing and the small, older guitar player on the Bedford Ave subway platform with the pencil mustache who sings his heart out in Spanish and plays a mean little guitar. I love that guy.
According to neighborhood folklore, are there any celebrities living in the area?
I think I've seen Jimmy Hoffa a coupla times.
Which are there more of: dogs, bodega cats, strollers, American Apparel ads, or old men on stoops?
Kids from American Apparel ads.
What's missing from your neighborhood?
Sure would be nice to have a little indie movie theater here. [Ed. note: indieScreen, at the corner of Kent and South 2nd, is playing some good flicks this month...]
What's been the biggest change since you've moved in?
Oh man, I moved here in 1997, so I've seen a few changes. I'm not one of those people who piss and moan about the old days though. Sure, it was cool to be here when it was cool to be here, but these days the food is better, the trains run more often, and the hood is safer. People still give me funny looks when I tell them that I live in Williamsburg. It used to be because they didn't know where it was (or thought it was a Chasidic neighborhood). Now they roll their eyes and ask how I can stand it.
It's a Saturday night in October. You don't feel like traveling very far but are antsy for a night out. Where do you go?
Probably over to Pete's Candy Store (see my response to the first question). I'm a creature of habit, what can I say? Probably why I've been here so damn long...