‘Noise Musician’ Lee Ranaldo Wishes There Was More Silence in New York City

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Name: Lee Ranaldo
Age: 54
Neighborhood: Tribeca
Occupation: Musician-Artist-Writer. He'll be performing April 28 at Santos Party House for the Film-makers' Coop Benefit Concert, in a lineup including Laurie Anderson, Tony Conrad, and Erik Friedlander.

Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Lou Reed (all of the above).

What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
Frankie's 457, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, last month. Solid, down-home, and delicious, with very little pretension.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Read the New York Times, mostly.

Would you live here on a $35,000 salary?
For a family of four, that would be pretty hard, I'd say. Can certainly be done, although not in Manhattan anymore.

What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?
August Osage County.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Not usually. My kids like to, though.

What's your drink?
Americano Mezze/Misto "Americino" is my own phrase for it — a twelve-ounce Americano with steamed milk plus foam on top.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
We eat at home more than 50 percent of the time.

What's your favorite medication?
Band-Aids.

What's hanging above your sofa?
Sofa is not against wall, only air hangs over.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
A good cheap haircut can be had in New York, still, for 10 or 15 bucks. On the other end, above about about $200 is going overboard, to me, but people do ...

When's bedtime?
One a.m., give or take an hour or two.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I have great memories of the old Times Square — wouldn't have missed being here to see that place for the world — but I can also deal with the new Times Square in the overall scheme of N.Y. City 2010. I don't spend much time there, other than gawking at the lights. I don't mourn the old, romantic, dirty Times Square, although it was more unique.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
He's part of the development history of a town ripe with developers who've put their stamp on the city over hundreds of years, oftentimes without the vision to have the city's best interests at heart.

His hair creeps me out.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
Sometimes the lack of silence gets me down — odd for a "noise musician" to admit.

Who is your mortal enemy?
As a cyclist, it often seems to be the motorized vehicles that clog our streets.

When's the last time you drove a car?
I rarely drive, but this past week I put 1,050 miles on a rental driving with my family through southern Utah, Arizona, and Nevada — Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Route 66, Las Vegas.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
Perhaps a much-needed reality assessment across the board? Everyone I know feels things are a bit tighter, at best, and that they lost a lot.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
N.Y. Times, hands down.

Where do you go to be alone?
It's easy to be alone in the city — walking, cycling, just about anywhere.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
Loving this city and loving living here.