21 questions

Sociologist Dalton Conley Sleeps in Two Chunks

Name: Dalton Conley
Age: 39
Neighborhood: Penn Station South
Occupation: Professor and Dean of Social Sciences at NYU; author, Elsewhere, U.S.A.

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
My childhood dog, Knuckles, a German Shepard who failed out of police training school, was sent to the pound, adopted with two days before execution, run over by a car on the Lower East Side, shot at, left to starve for two weeks (not by us), and was grumpy and loyal as hell.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Pakistani cab-driver food at the gas station on Eighth Avenue and Horatio Street.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
This … answer questions.

Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary?
Is there really a choice?

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
The Lion King, for my daughter E’s last birthday. We got a backstage tour at which the set designer said, “Back in my neighborhood we never got to go to Broadway for birthdays…” I made sure to repeat that in her ear.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
I give the cash to my kids to give. And make sure they look the person in the eye.

What’s your drink?
About twenty cups of tea per day.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
Almost never. I don’t have a kitchen except for a hot plate and microwave. I am camping out amid sawdust and plaster with a wife, two kids, and lots of pets while we are building our apartment literally around us.

What’s your favorite medication?
Valerian root. I take them to wind down from the tea.

What’s hanging above your sofa?
Nothing at the moment, but behind it is a stack of boxes about eight feet high, a bunch of wires, some Hula-hoops, and usually a cat sitting atop all of it to escape the barking dog down below.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
Twenty dollars. I go to the barber school across the street on 29th for $4.99 and let them practice on me.

When’s bedtime?
Usually 10; but then I wake up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours of reading and pop some more Valerian. I read that two sleep chunks is the natural way humans lived before artificial light.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
Old. Used to go there for fake I.D.’s when we were 14.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
I don’t.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
That we now have Ruby Tuesday, Applebee’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, Chuck E. Cheese, and other such venues.

Who is your mortal enemy?
The evil Dalton inside my head.

When’s the last time you drove a car?
Last summer, taking my daughter to camp for the first time.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
Luckily, I’ve got tenure…

Times, Post, or Daily News?
Do I have to choose?

Where do you go to be alone?
The movies.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
The ability to jaywalk without looking up.

Sociologist Dalton Conley Sleeps in Two Chunks