Danyel Smith Misses the BART

Danyel Smith
Photo: Getty Images

Name: Danyel Smith

Age: 42
Neighborhood: Work: Murray Hill; home: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Occupation: Editor-in-chief, Vibe magazine; vice-president/editorial director, Vibe Media Group; author of the novels More Like Wrestling (Crown, 2003), and Bliss (Crown, 2005).

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Lena Mary Calhoun Horne.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Fancy? Babbo. Almost always? Salmon cakes and grits at the Usual on Vanderbilt, in Brooklyn.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Ask and answer questions.

Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary?
I did.

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
If I hadn’t just seen Terrence Howard in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, it would be Fantasia in The Color Purple. Before that, it was waaaaaay back when Stockard Channing was in The Little Foxes.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Yes, even more, when I’m sad.

What’s your drink?
A Jameson and ginger ale. With a cherry if times are happy.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
More often than not. I’m from California, so even after fifteen years here, “takeout” remains a phrase for quotation marks or italics.

What’s your favorite medication?
Aleve and Turner Classic Movies cure most everything.

What’s hanging above your sofa?
We can see Prospect Park. Kinda.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
When you only get two a year, you can splurge.

When’s bedtime?
When does the last episode of any version of Law & Order, on any channel, end? And does my DVR count?

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I know old Times Square only from the movies. But I do like that Dave & Buster’s.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
I wish he would call me with some real-estate advice. I’d be able to really see Prospect Park.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
That the subway system is not exactly like Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in Northern California.

Who is your mortal enemy?
Time!

When’s the last time you drove a car?
Everyone snaps on me because I’m from the West, and I should know how to, but I don’t know how to drive. That said, the last time I drove a car was seven years ago in Hollywood.

Who should be the next president?
A genius pragmatist with a poet’s heart.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
Nytimes.com.

Where do you go to be alone?
Walking. From Barnes & Noble to City Bakery to McNally Robinson to Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery to … well, on and on like that.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
Being cool with not having real space. And knowing, on the morning of September 11, 2001, in the sunny comfort of my parents’ den in California, that even if it’s about Amtrak, it’s time to get — immediately — home to Brooklyn.