Name: Grant Ginder
Occupation: Speechwriter for Center for American Progress president John Podesta, and author of This Is How It Starts, out this week from Simon & Schuster.
Neighborhood: Midtown East
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Bethenny Frankel. Wait — she’s been tortured with this “21 Question” business too, right? Can you guys, like, put us in touch?
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
This butternut-squash risotto and strip steak my roommate, Liz, made for my birthday. It was incredible, and I didn’t have to pay for it.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Read policy papers written by the Center for American Progress that I don’t understand, write speeches that display a coherent understanding of said policy, bother my editor until he tells me — in more words or less — that he still likes me, try to create and write about characters more neurotic than myself. Oh, and watch The Bonnie Hunt Show. Totally underrated. That was two sentences. Sorry.
Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary?
The person who wrote this questionnaire has clearly never worked for a nonprofit.
What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
Neil Labute’s Reasons to Be Pretty. I left feeling really unpretty.
Do you give money to panhandlers?
I try to hand over whatever I’ve got in my pockets. Sometimes it’s spare change, sometimes it’s a subway ticket, sometimes it’s a rogue Altoid. One time I managed to hand over one of those Juan Valdez “buy ten coffees and get one free” cards that only needed one more punch. That was a bummer.
What’s your drink?
Whatever’s left in the rotating assortment of bottles on top of our fridge. Unfortunately, one of my roommates recently bought a rather large bottle of Crème de Menthe, so things have been a little ugly lately.
How often do you prepare your own meals?
If ordering and personally adjusting dishes on SeamlessWeb.com with the same anal retentiveness as Sally Albright counts as preparing one’s own meals, then I’m basically Betty Crocker.
What’s your favorite medication?
Ambien. But the other night I took one and woke up the next morning with three empty packs of Gummi Bears and some crushed Doritos around me, so I’m beginning to rethink that.
What’s hanging above your sofa?
My roommate’s gorgeous, postmodern eggshell (some critics may claim that it’s ivory, but it’s eggshell, just trust me) pressure wall.
How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
$29.95. Okay, fine, Jesus, that’s such a lie. I can’t afford a pretzel on the street and I still go to one of those goddamned places that puts the hot towels over your eyes when they wash your hair, and somehow manage to convince myself that “I deserve it” every time.
Are we talking with or without the Ambien?
Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I think I was still watching Saved by the Bell when the old Times Square was in its heyday. So, I suppose the new one. Either way, it gives me panic attacks.
What do you think of Donald Trump?
On him as a person, my opinion’s neither here nor there. That tangerine tone of his skin, though — that’s a subject that could keep me going for hours.
What do you hate most about living in New York?
Being terrified that the nice old ladies who go to the podiatrist’s office located on the same floor as my apartment are actually packing heat. That’s also sort of my favorite part.
Who is your mortal enemy?
Strangers who chitchat on planes. I have a hard enough time worrying about the physics that keep me from plummeting 34,000 feet to my death — I don’t need the added stress of hearing about your hernia.
When’s the last time you drove a car?
The last time I was home on the West Coast. I’m from California — I miss my car. I could drive circles around these cabbies. I’d get shot doing it, but still. I could.
How has the economic downturn affected your life?
My roommate has to buy cheaper steak to make for me.
Times, Post, or Daily News?
I tell my co-workers and my boss the Times. But let’s be real — it’s the Post.
Where do you go to be alone?
The scaffolding that’s set up outside of my window. It’s been there since I moved in a year ago, and it doesn’t look like the Powers That Be have any intention of taking it down. I call it a number of things — my balcony, my porch, my rustic roof deck. Still unclear on the legality of climbing out onto it.
What makes someone a New Yorker?
When your four food groups are caffeine, Ambien, pork, and Pinkberry.