Name: Jami Attenberg
Occupation: Writer. Her new novel, The Melting Season, comes out January 21, when you can also catch her reading at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Tribeca. She’ll also be reading at Word in Greenpoint on January 28.
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Grace Paley. Her stories about life in New York made me want to live here, and her social activism was an inspiration.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
My love can be easily bought with a steak from Peter Luger’s.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I make up stories about people who are either imaginary or some variation of myself.
Would you live here on a $35,000 salary?
I have absolutely lived here on a $35,000 salary in the past, and actually may do so again this year.
What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
It’s been years since I’ve seen anything on Broadway. I’m more likely to attend cultural events in Brooklyn.
Do you give money to panhandlers?
Once in a blue moon.
What’s your drink?
Maker’s Mark on the rocks.
How often do you prepare your own meals?
At least once a day, if not more. It’s actually one of the pleasures of working at home.
What’s your favorite medication?
My answer now is a far different one than if you had asked me in the late nineties, but I’ll say two Advil usually cures whatever ails me.
What’s hanging above your sofa?
A concrete ceiling and sprinkler-system pipes — my couch is in the middle of the room.
How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
More than $100, but I will not judge others who pay more.
Usually 11 p.m., but lately I’ve been staying up to watch everyone bash NBC on the late-night shows. Team Conan, obviously.
Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I won’t go anywhere near the new Times Square. It’s seizure-inducing.
What do you think of Donald Trump?
When I was growing up in Chicago, my family and I used to go to a local chain, Hackney’s, for burgers and their French fried onion loaf. I probably haven’t been to one in 25 years, and yet, I once saw Donald Trump from behind in an office building and the first thing that flashed in my mind was his hair looked like that onion loaf. (Onion-loaf picture here.)
What do you hate most about living in New York?
Currently I hate that the city somehow allowed developers to build all those unattractive, view-obscuring buildings along the Williamsburg waterfront where I live. Nobody wants to live in them, so why are they there?
Who is your mortal enemy?
When’s the last time you drove a car?
Two days ago. I have a beat-up station wagon that has been broken into, hit by a truck, and blindsided by a Hasid in a moving van. But it keeps on ticking. It’s my tough Brooklyn car.
How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
It hasn’t, really. I didn’t have any money before the crash, and I don’t have any after.
Times, Post, or Daily News?
Where do you go to be alone?
I like a nice walk along Kent Avenue to the Grand Street waterfront.
What makes someone a New Yorker?
Being able to give directions, but also looking like someone who might know the directions in the first place. We all develop a certain knowing cast to our face after a while.