Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Talking to Playwright Amy Herzog About Unexpected Poetry at The Park Slope Food Coop

Posted by on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Playwright Amy Herzog's new play, The Great God Pan, opened yesterday at Playwrights Horizons. An earlier play, 4000 Miles, was an Off-Broadway hit and a favorite of critics, including our own. Earlier this month, the New York Times awarded her its Outstanding Playwright Prize for After the Revolution. She lives in Brooklyn, so we asked her about all her favorite spots around town.

What neighborhood do you live in?
I've lived in the north part of Park Slope, close to Flatbush, for about four years. I originally came because a close friend with an amazing apartment was moving, and I jumped at the chance to live on the top floor of a beautiful brownstone for rent that was so far under market that I felt guilty about it. The karma hit me back a year and a half later when the owners sold the building. By then I was hooked on The Slope.

Best place to people watch?
The Brooklyn Larder has a pretty snazzy clientele.

Best place to drink?
I like the Hibiscus Margaritas at Fonda in the South Slope. For local and unpretentious, I enjoy the Park Slope Ale House, though I find if you want to sit outside in the summer you should bring our own mosquito nets.

Best restaurant?
Sorry to be so obvious, but Franny's always hits the spot. The small dishes are ridiculous, and I am not generally a dessert person, but I swoon over the panna cotta.

Best bookstore or record store?
I like the Community Bookstore on Seventh Avenue and was excited to see it featured on my favorite TV show, Louie. (Though on the show they pretended it was in Manhattan, which is not cool.) If a cat-free environment is preferable, then BookCourt in Cobble Hill is lovely and tasteful.

Best grocery store/farmer's market?
You either love the Food Coop or you believe it's proof that socialism does not work. I love it. I also find that the the announcements over the PA system are an excellent source of found poetry:

To the member looking for her wheatgrass:
I found your tray on the floor
in aisle three.
It is now back in produce
where you can find it again.
I'm sorry you're so angry.

Best laundromat/dry cleaner?
Well, we have laundry in our basement... um, do people really have favorite dry cleaners? The one I go to is on Seventh Avenue near Union. I think my clothes usually come back clean. Oh no, I'm not sure if they're green, though. Am I living an unexamined life if I've never thought about this?

Best outdoor spot?
I live in a garden apartment with a teeny back yard. Until the tornado claimed our huge old tree it was leafy and shady and just the best. We bought a $25 barbecue which, it turns out, totally does the trick.

Best place to attend a show/view a piece of art/see a movie?
St. Ann's Warehouse in DUMBO. Still thinking about this piece called Misterman I saw there last year—starring Cillian Murphy, who proved himself to be a brilliant experimental theater performer as well as a movie star.

Best coffee shop?
Cafe Regular du Nord. Good espresso drinks. Very Fraaaaansh. Also featured in Louie in a disquieting scene with Chloe Sevigny.

Best subway line/bus?
The B has a special place in my heart. It's humbler than the Q or the 2/3 (no fancy digital technology) and it takes me to my grandma's apartment in the Village.

Best date spot?
Well, I'm married so take that into account—I have some unfashionable, fogey-ish preferences like being able to hear what my husband says. We've had some nice nights over good food at Al di La. Also, I recently had a really nice "date" with a close friend at Brighton Beach; we ate a lot of dumplings and borscht and then walked along the shore.

Best person whose name you don't know?
The person responsible for the found-poem above.

Best celebrity in the neighborhood?
John Turturro. Though I don't think he's a Coop member.

Which are there more of: dogs, bodega cats, strollers, American Apparel ads, or old men on stoops?
Strollers, of course. I wish we had more old men on stoops.

What's missing from your neighborhood?
A really good sandwich shop closer than Brooklyn Larder. Lunch can be hard in Park Slope.

What's been the biggest change since you've moved in?
I got married and had a baby. Oh, is that not what you meant?

It's a Saturday night in December. You don't feel like traveling very far but you're antsy for a night out. Where do you go?
Let's say BAM for a movie and then if we're feeling really adventurous maybe some fancy drinks at No. 7. My husband is going to read this and be like, "When have we ever done that?"

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart


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