The People in Your Neighborhood: Matthew Rohrer, Poet

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02/15/2011 11:15 AM |


Hey, it’s These Are the People in Your Neighborhood, our semi-regular neighborhood tours guided by a rotating cast of local authors. Today, poet Matthew Rohrer dodges strollers and dodgy neighbors.

Park Slope.

Best place to people-watch?
My stoop on 15th Street where everyone is getting off the train in the evening. There’s a great power dynamic when you’re sitting still staring at people vs. when you’re walking by. Sitting still is somehow the dominant of those two roles.

Best place to drink?
The Gate is still the best bar in Park Slope even though cooler bars have moved in. But my part of the neighborhood doesn’t have enough bars.

Best restaurant?
Elora on Prospect Park West is my favorite restaurant of all time. Spanish/Mexican. I’ve been eating there for 16 years (not constantly, I’ve actually left the premises at times even though I’d stay forever if they let me). Their margaritas are psychedelic and their homemade chips and salsa are perfect.

Best bookstore or record store?
I guess it’s got to be Community Bookstore because they’re the only bookstore left that’s not BnN. When we first moved here there were plenty of used bookstores, like it was a real neighborhood or something.

Best grocery store/farmer’s market?
Steve’s C-Town on 9th street.

Best laundromat?
I agree with the guy who said they’re all the same. Except some are even worse.

Best outdoor spot?
Prospect Park has a sort of secret bench on a hill that is nice at night.

Best place to attend a show/view a piece of art/see a movie?
Does Proteus Gowanus count? It’s kind of on the border of Park Slope and Cobble/Carroll-whatever.

Best coffee shop?
The Dub Pie shop has the best coffee around.

Best subway line?
There is no best subway line.

Best date spot?
I haven’t been on a date really since 1989 so I can’t really imagine what people do on dates. Probably it would be nice to get tipsy and walk through the park.

Best person whose name you don’t know?
There’s a girl who always walks in front of my house and in fact kind of along with me while I walk my son to school every morning and she always looks so mean and never says hi or anything and then when I was in the airport in Minneapolis this Xmas there she was walking by the baggage claim and I waved at her because it’s kind of funny, right? and she didn’t change her expression and then the next time I saw her back in Brooklyn in front of my house she actually turned her head and looked away. I don’t know if she’s the best though. She’s the robot-iest.

According to neighborhood folklore, are there any celebrities living in the area?
There are lots of other poets walking around. I always see D. Nurkse but I don’t know him. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was always power walking with his wife along the park but he’s an anti-bike jagoff who moved somewhere else.

Which are there more of: dogs, bodega cats, strollers, American Apparel ads, or old men on stoops?
Well strollers of course.

What’s missing from your neighborhood?
A giant Babylonian temple that dominates the skyline and belches flames at night.

What’s been the biggest change since you’ve moved in?
I’ve definitely put on a little weight.

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?
The Gate. It could be warm enough in this theoretical October to hang out in their outside patio which is one of my favorite spots in Brooklyn.

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