New York State Of Mind

This month Natural Selections interviews Leslie Diaz, Associate Director CBC

Guadalupe Astorga

interviewHow long have you been living in the New York area? 

My entire life. I grew up in the old Williamsburg area, in the pre-hipster era. I’ve always been a New Yorker born and raised.

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

I currently live on the Upper East Side, and my favorite neighborhood is Williamsburg because I have so many fun memories from growing up there.

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

For me the most overrated is Times Square. I think there are too many tourists and it’s almost impossible to walk around. I also think the quality of the restaurants there is terrible. Underrated, I think, the Bronx Zoo in winter. This is the absolute best time to see in action all of the cold weather animals, such as the polar bears, Siberian tigers and Snow Leopards. The Siberian tigers playing in the snow are a MUST see. Best of all, the zoo is usually empty so you have the entire park to yourself and you can treat yourself to a hot chocolate at the Dancing Crane Café.

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

NY is the city that never sleeps, there is easy access to public transportation 24/7, access to restaurants, and even clothing stores are open until late hours. I’ve never been able to find this convenience in any other city.

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

There are many beautiful luxury apartments nowadays, but they are displacing many of the native New Yorkers due to the expensive living costs. So, it would be great if the city could support affordable housing so that NYC can continue to accommodate a diverse population.  

What is your favorite weekend activity in NYC?

I love summers in NYC, walking around, stumbling on street fairs, block parties, you never know what fun activity is waiting for you.

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

Growing up here I remember many experiences as a child, from playing handball in the city parks and getting wet during the heat wave, to barbeques on the city streets. I truly feel blessed for being able to grow in the best city in the world.

Bike, MTA or WALK IT???

Walk it first, but then MTA.

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

Maybe Miami, but I would probably eventually come back to NYC.

Do you think of yourself as a New Yorker?

Definitely, born and raised, I will always be a New Yorker.