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21 questions

Ric Burns Does Not Begrudge Anyone Anything

Name: Ric Burns
Age: 55
Neighborhood: Morningside Heights
Occupation: Documentary filmmaker. His new film Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World premiered on PBS this week and can be viewed online on the American Experience website.

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
John McEnroe.

What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
A Porterhouse at Peter Luger.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I sit in a darkened room and revise things; striking similarities to Jack Torrance.

Would you live here on a $35,000 salary?
Not unless I was 25 and unmarried.

What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?
God of Carnage. Really a captivity narrative, about the extent to which theater has been captured and held hostage by TV.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Only when I’m with my boys.

What's your drink?
Martini. Tanqueray up with olives.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
Once a week.

What's your favorite medication?
Coffee.

What's hanging above your sofa?
Prints of Lincoln and Washington.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
I never spend more than $50, but don’t begrudge anyone anything.

When's bedtime?
12:30 a.m.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square? The Old Times Square. Because the Times was still there, because for all the squalor it wasn't a theme park, and because it kept the reality of the city's most vulnerable citizens front and center in public awareness.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
He's one of the ten most influential New Yorkers of the last 30 years.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
The closing of the 72nd Street ramp to the West Side Highway and the hideous Trump buildings that closed it.

Who is your mortal enemy?
I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of outing him. I will say he’s undeservedly prominent, and the only non-reptile I’ve met with nictitating membranes under his regular humanoid eyelids.

When's the last time you drove a car?
Yesterday.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
It has made a film about Goldman Sachs more interesting.

Times, Post, or Daily News? Times.

Where do you go to be alone?
The Catskills.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
Fate, chance, and/or very strong desire to be someone other than who you are.

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