Name: Glenn O’Brien
Occupation: Writer, most recently of How to Be a Man: A Guide to Style and Behavior for the Modern Gentleman, out Tuesday April 26 from Rizzoli.
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Robert Benchley, the great Algonquin Round Table figure and New Yorker humorist who went on to write in Hollywood and have an acting career as a curmudgeon. I love his resigned but noble sense of humor in the face of mass societal stupidity.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Probably something at Le Bernardin, but my wife’s cooking is competitive.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I read, write, talk, and schmooze.
What was your first job in New York?
Part time: painter at Nina Needlepoint. Full Time: editor at Andy Warhol’s Interview.
What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
Hamlet with Jude Law. (He was good!)
Do you give money to panhandlers?
Yes, unless they look professional.
What’s your drink?
I drink a lot of Bordeaux. I like Château Haut Brion because it sounds like O’Brien.
How often do you prepare your own meals?
A few times a week when necessary, meaning when my wife won’t cook and I don’t feel like delivery from Chinatown Brasserie. Tonight I’m doing hot chicken wings.
What’s your favorite medication?
Pol Roger Cuvée Winston Churchill.
What’s hanging above your sofa?
Famous Negro Athletes by Jean-Michel Basquiat. When Basquiat was still doing graffiti he did a big mural of Famous Negro Athletes on the side of the tire store that was on Houston and Mulberry. I said it was the best thing he’d ever painted, and the next day he arrived with a big drawing of it for me.
How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
More than a hundred. I go to Gad Cohen, who refuses to take money from me, so I give him wine or I pay $15 at Astor (to a barber I don’t want to give away) plus big tip. Or I cut it myself, which I did for years.
After midnight, hopefully before two.
Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
Old Times Square, with theaters and traffic flow intact.
What do you think of Donald Trump?
I wrote “An Open Letter to Donald Trump” for Fantastic Man. Basically I think he needs help, and not the kind he might think.
What do you hate most about living in New York?
New York as it is now — I miss private parties. New York in general — cars from elsewhere.
Who is your mortal enemy?
I think Fran Lebowitz is still unhappy that I discovered her, but sadly I can’t take it back.
When’s the last time you drove a car?
This morning, 100 miles in from Connecticut where we have a house.
How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
It confirmed my suspicions.
Times, Post, or Daily News?
Post on waking, Times after coffee and full consciousness.
Where do you go to be alone?
The woods in Connecticut.
What makes someone a New Yorker?
Traditionally, living here seven years; according to the government, being here 183 days in a year; I suspect, karma.