New York State of Mind

Olof Dallner, Post-doctoral Associate in the Friedman Lab

by May Dobosiewicz


From: Stockholm, Sweden

Been in New York: 4 years

Lives in: Upper East Side

What was the first thing you did when you moved here?

Went to IKEA. I thought, this is kind of sad—first day and I go to a Swedish store. But then I took the boat back to Wall Street and walked into a film shoot with the Rock and Samuel L Jackson. I was standing in front of them and thought, no, this does not feel like Sweden anymore. This is different.

Are you part of a Swedish community in NYC?

Yes and no. There’s a sport in Europe called floorball, and I’m in a group of 20 or 30, mostly Swedes, and we play every week. I’m also part of something called Friend of the Pea, this Swedish society that has been here since the 1960s. We get together to eat and drink. There are lots of Swedes in New York. The world’s second largest midsummer Swedish celebration is in Battery Park!

Have you done the New York marathon or triathlon?

Yes, both. Most of the races I do are ultra races though. Five weeks ago, I won a quintuple ironman in Virginia. It took just under four days.

How do you feel about CitiBikes?

I love the system—the Swede in me is happy—but I also realize it’s a problem. You end up not bringing a helmet, so this can be really bad.

Have you ever witnessed an accident here?

Six weeks ago, my girlfriend got doored by a cab and tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). She needed ACL reconstructive surgery.

If you had to live somewhere other than New York, where would you live?

I’m a climber, so Colorado. I love the West coast, too—San Francisco and San Diego are great.

Are you happy with the mayoral election results?

I am. What makes this city great isn’t the rich people; it’s in the grittier parts that you see some really cool stuff. It would be sad for that to disappear because people who live there can’t afford it. I think Bill de Blasio really connected to that issue, but he’s going to have to work hard to enact these policies. Time will tell how it will work out; it’s very complex to be the mayor of New York.

What is the most overrated New York activity? Underrated?

The most overrated is definitely the sightseeing things. I tell people that if they want to experience New York, put on a pair of good shoes, go out and walk. You’ll see things you don’t see anywhere else, so that’s the most underrated.

Do you consider yourself a New Yorker?

In being here for four years, at some point it switches and New York becomes home instead of Sweden. When you come back from a weekend away and see the skyline, it’s a very distinct feeling. It feels like home. So I guess I do.

What is your favorite New York movie?

Midnight Cowboy or Taxi Driver. Classics.