21 questions

Playwright Itamar Moses May Have the World’s Largest Private Collection of Dinosaur Art


Photo: Itamar Moses

Name: Itamar Moses
Age: 30
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Occupation: Playwright, The Four of Us, about two writers, one of whom becomes wildly successful and is totally Jonathan Safran Foer and one of whom may be Itamar. It’s opening tonight at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Does Batman count? “Gotham” is basically New York, right? If so, then Batman. If not, then Jennifer Connolly. I saw her in my neighborhood once, and it changed my life.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
That’s tough. But the chef’s special rolls at Yamato Sushi on Seventh Avenue in Brooklyn are incredible.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I write for a few hours first thing in the morning, before I shower even, wearing clothes from the previous day, so that I can get as much done as possible before my brain turns on and stops me, by filling with doubt, brooding about the past, or coming up with ideas for things I can do with the rest of my day; I spend the rest of my day doing those things.

Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary?
What’s a “salary”?

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
Just in the last two weeks I saw Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Come Back Little Sheba, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. This was a fluke. I lucked into a string of free tickets.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Sometimes. Mainly the ones around where I live because of the strange way in which I feel that I “know” them.

What’s your drink?
Jameson. Rocks. Is that the right answer?

How often do you prepare your own meals?
Shamefully rarely, given how great the kitchen is in the house where I live. More often when I travel, to rehearse a play out of town, for some reason. Maybe because the food is worse everywhere else.

What’s your favorite medication?
This is a really weird question that says more about your magazine than my answer could possibly say about me. But when I had all four wisdom teeth removed, I was on Vicodin for a few days. That’s a feeling I’ve been trying to recapture ever since. And when I get a cold I get excited to take Sudafed because it’s basically speed. Then I lie still, feeling my heart beating in my lips.

What’s hanging above your sofa?
There are actually three sofas in my living room. One of my housemates is, among other things, a freelance paleontological illustrator, which means he draws dinosaurs, so over two of the sofas are enormous framed pencil drawings of dinosaurs. Over the third sofa are three paintings he did of a park in New Haven, Connecticut. Above which are several more framed drawings of dinosaurs. They’re actually everywhere. I am not joking. I’d be willing to bet that my house contains the largest private collection of dinosaur art in the world. For what possible reason would anyone have more?

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
I never spend more than $50, but you’d have to look at my hair to determine if that really answers your question.

When’s bedtime?
This is a good barometer of my psychological health. If things are good, then like 11:30 maybe. If things are not so good, then, pointlessly, 2 a.m., as though I’m waiting for something else to happen that day that will earn me my sleep, and it never does.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I moved to New York in 1999, so I don’t think I’m qualified to judge. I avoid the new Times Square whenever possible, but I think I might have avoided the old one, too, if for different reasons.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
I like him. He has a sense of humor about himself. I mean, right? He does, right? I’m not projecting that, am I? Because otherwise he’s just insane.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
The knowledge that, because it is impossible to conquer New York, you either have to die here or leave defeated. You cannot leave in triumph. Or, I mean, maybe you can, if you reach some kind of “emotional maturity,” but good luck with that, everybody.

Who is your mortal enemy?
And give them a heads-up? Please. They will never see me coming.

When’s the last time you drove a car?
When I went to see my parents in California over the holidays. I love driving. There. I hate it here.

Who should be the next president?
Probably someone who could never get elected, like Joseph Biden. Have you ever seen that guy yelling at generals about torture? I want a president who is as apoplectically outraged as I am about the last eight years. Though I also understand why that’s maybe not constructive.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
Times. Except when I’m waiting for my food late at night in the 24-hour diner on my corner, and the Post and the News are lying around. Then I like to look at the covers and see how they came up with headlines to make exactly the same story mean opposite things. Incidentally, they don’t seem to have senses of humor about themselves.

Where do you go to be alone?
I’m alone pretty much all day, usually asking myself, “Where do I go not to be alone?”

What makes someone a New Yorker?
I guess being here with no return ticket, so to speak. Departure not anywhere on the calendar. I mean, the same thing that makes someone anything: committing to it. That, or having been born here. Then you’re a New Yorker no matter where you go.

Playwright Itamar Moses May Have the World’s Largest Private Collection of Dinosaur Art