New York State of Mind

This month Natural Selections interviews Dáibhid Ó Maoiléidigh, Postdoctoral Associate from the Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience. Country of origin: Ireland.

1.How long have you been living in the New York area?

Although I’m originally from Dublin, I lived in New Brunswick, New Jersey for six years and during that time I’d come into New York City a few times a year by train. I still remember the shock when I came out of Penn Station for the first time as the wave of humanity hit me. I’ve been living in Manhattan for about two and a half years, and it’s only now that I’m really getting to know the city.

 2.Where do you live?

In Rockefeller University housing on the Upper East Side. You just can’t beat living in the city within walking distance from work. The view and size of the apartments are nice too. The noise from the FDR Drive is the only thing I don’t like about the location.

3.Which is your favorite neighborhood?

I’ll have to pick a combination of the East Village and the Lower East Side, as I often find myself in the East Village during the day and on the Lower East Side at night. I’d go to something like the Dance Parade or have a quiet drink in St. Dymphna’s on St. Mark’s Place during the day. At night I might end up at Darkroom or Mehanata.

4.What do you think is the most overrated thing in the city? And underrated?

Well I’d have to say shopping, but then again, I never liked shopping. The diversity of experiences from one neighborhood to another always surprises me. Going from the Upper East Side to Times Square to Alphabet City is like visiting three different cities.

5.What do you miss most when you are out of town?

I miss the number of different things to do, especially being able to go to karaoke, or to a club, or to a bar, or to eat at two in the morning. There’s always the possibility of doing or seeing something new. I really want to see the installation around the Columbus statue, for example.

6.If you could change one thing about NYC, what would that be?

I’d remove the highways on each side of Manhattan, which ruin the experience of being close to the rivers. Riverside Park would be much nicer if the parkway didn’t go right through it.

7.Describe a perfect weekend in NYC.

There are so many possibilities! In no particular order dinner/coffee/gelato at Eataly, drift through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, go to an Off-Broadway play, brunch at Veselka, relax, read, and recover in Sheep Meadow, walk The High Line, clubbing on the Lower East Side, wander around The Strand bookstore, Shakespeare in the Park, lunch at the South Street Seaport’s Cubana, drinks at The Delancey.

8.What is the most memorable experience you have had in NYC?

One of my favorite experiences was going to see the New York Philharmonic in Central Park. Although it only happens a few times during the summer, I’ve managed to go twice. Wine, cheese, great music, and fireworks! I highly recommend it.

9.If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?

In the US, it would have to be San Francisco. I’ve been there twice and there is a lot to do and see. I wouldn’t mind living in Paris for a while, but in general I like any city that offers a large selection of cultural events, restaurants, and nightspots.

10.Do you think of yourself as a New Yorker?

No, but my friends in Ireland might disagree with me.

November 2012

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