About That Time Out New York Interview

Jose Vilson Interviews, Jose

I thought I’d let you in on a little secret. Time Out New York magazine recently came out with the New York 40, a collection of 40 people who emblemize New York City in all its corporate, liberal, and sleek-grit glory. Everyone from Tina Fey and Derek Jeter to Jay-Z and Liev Schreiber showed up on the elongated cover. You then must imagine my utter disappointment that Time Out New York never actually called me up after they interviewed me for their magazine. I wanted to wear my Patrick Ewing Anniversary Edition Team USA jersey for the photoshoot. There goes the man holding me down again.

But fear not! I have the transcript of this wonderful interview right here. You know I’ll never let you down. Full transcript below:

Who are your favorite New Yorkers?

Wow, good question. [pauses] Patrick Ewing, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre, Spike Lee, and Denzel Washington round out my list. I know it’s sports heavy, but they formed a lot of the memories of the real New Yorkers of my generation.

What’s had the biggest cultural impact on New York in the past 13 years?

Gentrification, and specifically, all these trust-fundies coming to NYC and following Mike Bloomberg’s lead. Outside of 9/11, nothing’s been bigger. On the one end, I appreciate that hard-working families aren’t scared to walk down the ave. when they come home from work, but once that happens, does it mean they need to be pushed out because they can’t afford the rent? What happened to our artists, our culture, our grit? Can’t have NYC look too much like it belongs in a snowglobe.

What about your favorite moments?

Hmm …

You have a couple?

I got a million. I remember the Yankees’ dynasty from 96 – 2000, when my headmaster in high school let us have the day off to go to the Yankee parade. Or even when I met Talib Kweli randomly in the middle of the street right before I went to buy his album. Those kinda things rarely happen, and when they do, it happens in NYC.

What’s your favorite place in NYC?

Oh, Union Square by far. It’s where all the cool protests happen, where I can have inexpensive Thai / Vietnamese, where I run into celebs without even trying, and where b-boys and b-girls still flaunt their skills for free. Union Square is one of the few places where there’s that confluence of influence, fa real.

You’re the only teacher blogger on this list. Do you think NYC Educator belongs on the list?

Without a doubt. Then again, man, my whole blog roll has enough information to take you all ’round the world. Besides NYC Educator and EduWonkette, I’m feeling The Bronx Is Learning’s joint right now and GothamSchools. They all seem to be doing good work in their respective fields.

Speaking of which, has education really improved in NYC?

Not. On. Your. Life. But a few of us definitely want change. We’re really going to need a dramatic but thoughtful shift in how we teach our children, from top to bottom. It’s probably why so many teachers have started to blog in NYC. We have a rich political understanding, even subliminally.

Is it weird being one of the only Black or Latino people on this list?

Kinda because there’s so much diversity in NYC in general. Queens alone is the most diverse district in the world. The Lower East Side is all types of diverse. NYC celebrates diversity. Then again, that’s also become a prominent theme in the education blogger sect. Not many people like me actually blog, come to think of it. Then again, I don’t mind being that, because it’s the story of my life.

That’s fair. Who would you have a drink with on the list?

Are you serious? The Captain of course! Along with Jay and Joe. And for extra J-ness, let’s add Junot. Mattafact, I’ll Facebook him right now. HA, just kidding.

Complete this sentence: New York is …

the new millenium’s Rome, replete with artisans and debauchery and complete empirical inclinations seeping through its veins.

That was actually fun. Feel free to tell TONY how you liked it.

jose, who is totally kidding about being interviewed by their staff, but wouldn’t mind nonetheless ;-) …

p.s. – Believe it or not, that was the first TONY I’ve ever bought.