New York State of Mind

This month Natural Selections interviews Sara Schaafsma, a postdoctoral associate in the Laboratory of Neuroscience and Behavior.  Country of origin: The Netherlands.

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

I have been in NYC for a bit over a year.

2. Where do you live?

Faculty House, Upper East Side. Crawling distance from the lab.

3. Which is your favorite neighborhood?

The Lower East Side.

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

Overrated: parades. They sound like fun, but in the end it’s just a couple of people walking by, waving a flag.

Underrated: New Yorkers. Americans always complain that New Yorkers are rude. I disagree (except when they are behind the wheel. What’s wrong with them then?!). Maybe it’s because Europeans are even ruder, but to me New Yorkers are almost always extremely nice and helpful.

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

The possibility to do something exciting every minute of the day or night, whenever you’d like.

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

I would make the city bike-friendlier. I love to bike in the city and visitors also enjoy it a lot. But drivers are not used to bikes, often don’t see them, and don’t know how to share the road with them. That makes biking a lot more stressful than it should be.

7. What is your favorite weekend activity in NYC?

I always very much enjoy just walking around in one of the many cute neighborhoods. Of course it also includes going out for brunch and dinner in one of the many amazing restaurants in the city. I will drink different beers from different microbreweries and end the night with a concert or show.

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

That’s hard to choose. But I was very much impressed by the combination of the Sleep No More show and the party “Carnival des Corbeaux” that followed. It was a very unreal, carnal, mysterious party in an awesome, disturbing setting.

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

I love the experience of living in a new place. I love big cities, but could definitely also see myself living on an African plain for a while.

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

Not really, although most New Yorkers I meet aren’t originally from NYC. That does make me feel welcome to feel like a New Yorker. But I just haven’t lived here long enough to truly feel as a New Yorker would.

April 2013