State Senate Candidate Andrew Gounardes Interview Part II: “A Williamsburg Culture Doesn’t Suit Bay Ridge”

10/18/2012 9:00 AM |

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So what do you think about hipsters?
What do you mean?

There was that article that the guy who owns Kettle Black was going to build a beer-garden for hipsters in Bay Ridge, and a lot of people seemed really upset.
I’m not crazy about so-called “hipsters.” [But] I think it’s a misnomer. I go out in different neighborhoods in Brooklyn; some I like more than others. I don’t think a Williamsburg culture suits our neighborhood very well. I don’t think this bar’s gonna be a Williamsburg-type bar. And if you use the word “hipster,” that may have been a way to market it to a certain group of people. On the whole, I think it’ll be local people who come to use that local restaurant or local bar. I doubt anyone’s coming from Greenpoint or Williamsburg to Bay Ridge to try out beer here. Maybe people from Park Slope, who are not hipsters. People from Sunset Park, maybe, who are not hipsters. Or people from Bay Ridge, who are definitely not hipsters.

What other neighborhoods do you like in Brooklyn?
I love all of Brooklyn, I’m a huge fan of Brooklyn. I think Brooklyn should be it’s own independent city, but that’s for another day, another debate, another office. I do like Park Slope a lot, I do like Cobble Hill and Brownstone Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens. But nothing beats Bay Ridge. Nothing beats home. It’s very simple.

What did you think of the fight between the owners of Lonestar and the halal food truck on the corner of 86th Street and Fifth Avenue, when the bar owners tried to stop it from selling food there?
They had a right to be there.

The food truck?
Yeah. I understand the concerns of the bars and the restaurants, I get it completely. The solution isn’t to attack and cause a fight on the avenue. The law’s the law. And under the law they’re allowed to be there. Now if you want to change the law, that’s a whole other debate we should be having. And that comes at the city level. But to attack the food truck because it’s trying to make a business too and trying to earn a living as well isn’t right.

What did you think of that Bay Ridge reality show?
I came out against that. It didn’t represent our neighborhoods fairly. I thought it portrayed… a really poor example of the women who make up our neighborhoods. And it’s based solely on a stereotype. We were talking about stereotypes before, about how everyone thinks Bay Ridge is a very conservative neighborhood. And people still have this mistaken notion that southern Brooklyn still has all of these Jersey Shore wannabes. And that’s not true. Ah, we have some people like that, and some people that fit into any type of box you want to draw. But to take that small sample and to make it representative of the entire neighborhood or the entire borough is wrong. It really demeans and diminishes so many great women in the area.

What’s your favorite pizza place in Bay Ridge?
That’s tough. My all-time favorite, because I used to go there when I was a kid, is Vesuvio’s. But I’m a huge fan of so many… I’m a big fan of pizza. I’ll eat pizza from anywhere. You know, you can’t forget about Gino’s or Pizza Wagon or Nino’s. If I start listing them I’m going to exclude some, so I’ll just say my favorite is Vesuvio’s, but I like ’em all. [pause] Casa Calamari for their squares! I mean, I could go on and on.

Where do you get your bagels?
Now I get ’em at H&L on 88th and Third. I also like that new one on Third Avenue, Bagel Schmagel. It’s pretty good. I used to live over there. I used to live on 76th Street. So I had my favorite bagel shop, my favorite restaurant and my favorite bar all within three blocks of each other.

Which bar?
Longbow. I mean, I also go to Bagel Boy. I mean, that’s the Bay Ridge thing to do, I guess. Go to Bagel Boy.

I just walked by there. They have a big Marty Golden sign in the window.
Yeah.

So are you trying to avoid them now?
No. It’s just out of my way.