Are there any bookstores as unique as those clothing shops?
I like a bookstore on Bleecker Street called the Biography Bookshop. They don't have only biographies, but I think they probably have a good selection. I read mostly fiction, so I don't even know how their biography section is. They are so helpful there. If you look on the shelf for something and you can't find it, just ask the guy behind the desk, and they will dig it up for you. I also like Three Lives & Company bookshop. Three Lives is prettier, while the other is more ramshackle, but they are both pleasant to be in.
Where do you typically spend your lunch hours?
The best pizza is Joe's Pizza. It's just great pizza, with a really thin and crunchy crust. You can get either a regular slice or a slice with fresh mozzarella, and either is delicious. And also the tomato sauce is kind of light-colored and not sweet. You know how sometimes bad tomato sauce is sweet? This is not sweet. It's sort of salty, light, fresh-tasting tomato sauce with cheese on a thin crust. It's really what I think pizza is meant to be. It's not fancy at all, but it's really good. Oh, you know what's a great place, a good neighborhood place? Bonsignour Café. It's like a takeout-food neighborhood place. There are only four tables. You can't sit down and eat. It has really delicious food, really good coffee, and really great people who work there.
What about dessert? Is there another neighborhood place you want to take us to?
On Ninth Avenue between 40th and 41st, there's a place called the Cupcake Café. It's a little hole-in-the-wall place with incredibly good cupcakes and cakes, and they're beautifully decorated. They're made with butter-cream icing, so they're not too sweet. I guess you have to kind of know about it, because it really is a hole in the wall. There's no air conditioning. Nothing in there except beautiful cupcakes. Whenever I find myself in that neighborhood, I always think about going there and getting one of those cupcakes.
What are your favorite little pocket neighborhoods?
I like the far West Village, where it's still, at least for the moment, pretty quiet. When I was in college, I used to spend a lot of time on the Lower East Side, although I don't anymore. I remember feeling that was an amazing place at that time. Everyone lived in such teeny-tiny apartments, so there was one particular coffee shop called the Pink Pony that everyone used as their living room. Union Square farmers' market is great. It's best on the weekends. It depends on the season, but you can get really great local produce. There's one stand that has delicious grainy bread and granola and things like that. You can get beautiful cheese and farm-raised meat. It's a really good market. Really far west in Chelsea is nice. Central Park really puts all the other parks to shame. I like Prospect Park in Brooklyn too. It's really beautiful. The same person, Frederick Law Olmsted, designed both of them.