New York State of Mind

This month Natural Selections interviews Jim Keller, Grants Management Specialist in the Department of Sponsored Research & Program Development. Country of origin: United States.

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

I moved here from Buffalo, NY nine days before 9/11—September 2, 2001.

2. Where do you live?

Crown Heights, Brooklyn, but I’m about to move on up to the East Side!

3. Which is your favorite neighborhood?

That’s a really tough question. I’ve lived all over in the years that I’ve been here. Clinton Hill, Prospect and Crown Heights are definite favorites. I also have a fondness for Bushwick, having lived there the longest and more than once!

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

Hmmm. I guess I would say that Manhattan in general is overrated only because when people move to New York, they often restrict themselves to living there, almost as if it’s a status symbol or something. Underrated by far is Open House New York weekend, which gives free access to hundreds of private residences and historic landmarks throughout the five boroughs. Visit for details.

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

The subway, surprisingly enough. There is something invaluable about being able to go where you want, when you want. This isn’t possible in the freezing depths of Buffalo, NY, for instance, without a car, which I do not possess.

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

I really despise a lot of the glossy new high rises constantly being erected. The first of these parked itself on top of the Lower East Side, which used to be home to great music venues such as Tonic and Luna Lounge.

7. What is your favorite weekend activity in NYC?

Getting dim sum at Jing Fong in Chinatown, followed by a trip to the Ice Cream Factory around the corner. It can’t be beat!

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

In 2003, while working for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), I was afforded the opportunity to tour the Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner when it docked in NY.

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

I really loved L.A. when I visited and I also like Portland, Oregon, where my brother lives.

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

Yes. I remember when I first moved here people used to say “You’re not a New Yorker until you’ve lived here for seven years.”  I thought it dumb that people cared so much about something so trivial. So, by those standards, having lived here for twelve years, I’m a New Yorker.

September 2013