New York State of Mind

This Month Natural Selections interviews Prerana Shrestha, Postdoctoral Associate in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology .
Country of origin: Nepal

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

I have been living here for over eight years.

2. Where do you live?

Sutton House, gladly minutes away from the Rockefeller campus.

3. Which is your favorite neighborhood?

My favorite neighborhood has to be the Upper West Side in the 60s near Central Park. I used to live two blocks from the south entrance of Central Park when I first joined Rockefeller, and I loved the proximity to the green space and the running trails both within Central Park and Riverside Park.

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

I think some of the things advertised for tourists are overrated, such as the always-overcrowded Times Square and the overpriced carriage ride in Central Park, when the park is best explored by foot. Among events, I find the Five Borough Bike Tour the most overrated, which attracts over 30,000 cyclists to pedal through the city. Due to the enormity of the event, there are long delays in the start of the event, and long queues at the finish line when boarding the ferry. I prefer the Bike MS NYC tour, which is quite underrated. This bike ride enjoys traffic-free access to the Holland Tunnel (it used to be the Lincoln Tunnel until last year) and is not as crowded as the Five Borough event. Also, the biking event is for a great cause (the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.) The most underrated thing about the city, I find, is just how cheap cab rides are compared to elsewhere in the country.

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

The convenience of public transportation and the access to a plethora of restaurants serving authentic ethnic food.

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

I would ban car honking except for emergency vehicles.

7. Describe a perfect weekend in NYC.

I would start the day with a good breakfast and cappuccino, and then ride my road bike to Riverside Park and bike all the way past the George Washington Bridge. I would then bike back south all the way back to Battery Park. On the way back, I would stop at Cafe Himalaya in the East Village for a hot steaming plate of momos (Nepali dumplings). In the evening, I would go to Joe’s Pub or The Living Room to hear some of the up-and-coming artists perform live, and to catch up with my friends.

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

When I ran the ING New York City Marathon in 2006 and raised funds for a nonprofit organization (Help Nepal Network), which I am currently involved with, to build a health post in rural Nepal.

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

Kathmandu, San Francisco, or London.

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

The other day, I recommended places to visit and to avoid to a bunch of out-of-town visitors straight out of memory. That, and having lived in this city for over eight years, pretty much makes me a New Yorker.

July/August 2012