New York State Of Mind


This month Natural Selections features Brian Fabella, Research Technician in the Hudspeth Lab

Interview by Guadalupe Astorga

Brian FabellaHow long have you been living in the New York area?                           

17 years in July.

Where do you currently live?  Which is your favorite neighborhood?

I currently live in Woodside, Queens, and my favorite neighborhood right now is Long Island City. I like going to Gantry State Park. The kids and I have fun and there are good restaurants and bars.

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

I think the most overrated is the Statue of Liberty. It is beautiful for sure, but visitors go there and completely overlook the underrated Ellis Island, which I think offers a good snapshot of America’s immigrant history.

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

I miss the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich from my local bodega, I can’t really find the same type of sandwich when I leave the city.

Has anything (negative or positive) changed about you since you became one of us “New Yorkers?”

Living in NY has forced me to become more assertive, so I think that is positive, but at the same time it has caused me to become less patient.

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

I would like to decrease the rent everywhere since it’s becoming harder and harder for people to find a place that is close to the city and relatively affordable. You have luxury skyscrapers going up everywhere that the majority of New Yorkers can’t even come close to affording.

What is your favorite weekend activity in NYC?

In the summer I love to get on the East River Ferry and take it down to Governors Island, and then bike around and explore the island with my family. We would end the day by drinking a few beers and eating some tasty but overpriced food.

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

Other than 9/11 and the blackout in August 2003, the most memorable experience is when I met my wife in 2001 at a party. We were from completely different social circles and we had no mutual friends, but we found ourselves at the same party and we started talking. Eventually I got her number and put it in my cell phone, but at the end of the night I lost the phone. And since this was before the age of social media, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find her, but luckily she gave me her business card. I called her, we started dating, we got married, and now we have two kids. So I often think back: if our friends hadn’t separately invited us to that party and if she hadn’t given me her business card, none of that would have happened.

Bike, MTA or WALK IT???

Bike! I’ve been commuting to Rockefeller ever since I started and it’s much faster and less stressful than any other way.

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

My wife’s family lives in Long Island and my family lives in Las Vegas, so if I were to move it would be either to Las Vegas or Long Island.

Do you think of yourself as a New Yorker?

Since I’ve lived here for almost half my life, I do for the most part. However, I grew up saying “go get in line to buy the tickets,” while born and raised New Yorkers, like my kids, say “go get on line…”. This still sounds so strange to me, so I don’t think I will be a true New Yorker until that changes.