Director Susan Seidelman Hates Pompous Studio Executives, Loves Quirky Old Men

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Name: Susan Seidelman
Neighborhood: Soho
Occupation: Film and TV director

Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Dorothy Parker was pretty cool. Also a guy named Joe Ades, who recently died, epitomized what I love about New Yorkers. He was 74, had a British accent, wore a dapper suit, and for years sat on a milk crate on the sidewalk near the Virgin Record store at Union Square, hawking potato peelers. But he would go home at night to a big apartment on the Upper East Side and eat dinner at his regular table at Cafe Pierre. What I love most about New York is that no one is exactly who or what they seem. I watched this guy for years selling $5 potato peelers, but didn't know about his other life until I read his obituary in the New York Times.

What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
Ginger- and coriander-crusted tuna with orange-braised oxtail — an odd combination of meat and fish served at chef Patricia Yeo's restaurant called AZ — in the Flatiron district. Unfortunately, AZ closed a few years ago.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I spend a lot of time waiting for something to happen.

Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary?
Definitely — lots of free and cheap stuff to do.

What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?
I rarely go to Broadway. Expensive and too many tourists. The last show I saw was Passing Strange.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Yes.

What's your drink?
Vodka martini — straight up with olives — but a few years ago I discovered chartreuse, a secret formula of 130 different herbs made in France by Carthusian monks — which is great for keeping the conversation going at the end of a dinner party. It produces a slightly spacey buzz and is a mix between nauseating and incredibly interesting.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
Rarely. My husband is a great cook and yells when I try to get near the stove.

What's your favorite medication?
Vicks VapoRub.

What's hanging above your sofa?
Nothing. My sofa is in the center of the living room. It stands alone.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
Anything over $120.

When's bedtime?
One a.m., weekdays.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
Definitely old. The Times Square of Midnight Cowboy (late sixties, early seventies).

What do you think of Donald Trump?
I think underneath his gruffness, he's probably a sweetie, but with tacky taste.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
The dog poop on the sidewalk — especially where I live downtown.

Who is your mortal enemy?
Studio executives with MBAs who don't really like movies and have no knowledge of film before 1990. On the other hand, I also hate pompous know-it-alls and cheap people.

When's the last time you drove a car?
Two months ago — in New Jersey.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
I've become more selective about where I go at night — and I eat home a lot more.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
Times and Post.

Where do you go to be alone?
I take a long hot shower — my best ideas come in the shower and it gives me a chance to clear my head.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
On the one hand, I think a real New Yorker is someone with street cred and a nothing-shocks-me attitude. On the other hand, a real New Yorker is someone who came from somewhere else where they felt like an outsider and then chose to move to New York to be around other misfits.

Susan Seidelman will introduce her films Desperately Seeking Susan and Smithereens tomorrow night at the 92nd Street YTribeca.