New York State of Mind

This month Natural Selections interviews Rada Norinsky, Manager of Transgenic Services. Country of Origin: Ukraine.

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

I’m originally from Kiev, Ukraine. I’ve lived in New York since 1996. It’s already been 17 years!

2. Where do you live?

I live in Brooklyn. The name of my neighborhood is Kensington, cleverly called “suburbs of Park Slope” by the real estate folks. To credit their sale -oriented creativity, I should say that we are indeed only ten minutes away from Prospect Park and the famous Park Slope neighborhood!

3. Which is your favorite neighborhood?

I’m not a mono-neighborhood lover! I’ve loved the Upper West Side because that’s where my acquaintance with the City started in 1996. We came from Knoxville, Tennessee to visit our friends in their tiny apartment on 75th Street and Columbus Avenue. We were smitten by the food aromas floating in the air of the neighborhood! We were mixing with people strolling the streets! We danced swing on Lincoln Square! After living in Tennessee for 4 years, it felt like magic! I loved the East Village when I was studying at New York University. Now, I guess I like Park Slope for its homey, family friendly atmosphere, for its Upper West Side-like architecture, and abundance of great restaurants.

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

I don’t know… maybe the pompous title, “Capital of the World?”

And underrated?

The friendliness of New Yorkers, of course if they are not in a rush.

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

The diversity of people—I never feel like an outsider in New York (provided that I’m walking in the right neighborhood); the convenience of public transportation if I’m anywhere else in the States (known urban exceptions like Boston and San Francisco are excluded); the diversity of ethnic restaurants.

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

I would definitely ban all barbecuing in city parks. It kills all the remaining fresh air in the city.

7. What is your favorite weekend activity in NYC?

I can have two types of favorite weekend. One is with my kids, and one is without them. One with kids would have started with everyone getting up on time, eating their breakfast (maybe kids can do some pancakes? Or no, they are not old enough!). Everyone behave

s, we go to a museum, the kids are all excited about stories of ancient Greece or Rome (and remember everything afterwards), no one whines, we stroll through Central Park, eat lunch, the subway is running smoothly, on the way home there’s no battle over the iPad, calm evening, nice family movie, kids go to bed early, and we drink some wine and enjoy cheese from Zabar’s.

The one without kids is even better…

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

Those seventeen years in New York gave me a whole bunch of stories to talk about. One is a combination of a bad experience and a good one bundled together. Both are very

memorable. August 14, 2003. The huge Northeast blackout. Everyone panics, buses packed with sweaty people, cell phones are not connecting. How to get home??!!

The fun part: we met each other in the crowd! My husband and I are walking from Midtown Manhattan all the way to Kensington, Brooklyn. Chinatown street vendors are begging us to eat their melting ice creams. Hot, hot, hot. The Brooklyn Bridge is swarmed with people. It really feels like the Bridge is swinging under our marching feet. It’s scary! We run to the other side. Oh, great joy! The Brooklynites are greeting us with water! They give us cups of icy water and we can pour some on our overheated heads and still get more cups to drink. Two hours down. How many more until we get home?! It got really dark and people were lighting candles on the their porches. Many were playing guitars and singing.

They cheered us on and it was really a beautiful, uniting experience! But I hope it will never repeat itself! After five hours of walking, we got home.

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

I wish I could have several residences. Some in the great European cities, some in the mountains, some by the sea. Why not dream? It’s better than just moving to New Jersey.

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

I think I’m one until I get too comfortable and feel like I know everything. Then—boom—I get one of those nice New York-style surprises–a lovely orange envelope on my windshield. Who writes those parking rules?!

February 2013

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