21 questions

Sir Harold Evans Is Annoyed by ‘Condescending Head Waiters Pretending to Be English Dukes’

Name: Harold Evans
Age: “Carbon dating examination in process” [Ed: 81]
Neighborhood: Midtown, East Side
Occupation: Editor-at-large, The Week; author. His autobiography, My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times is out November 5 from Little, Brown and Company.

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
S.J. Perelman. I hate to think I ought to add he was the New Yorker resident wit, screen writer for Around the World, to whom all misfortunes were “good copy.”

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Madhur Jeffrey thali from Dawat. A magic carpet back to my adventures in India in the sixties and since.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Ask questions. Both of others unfortunate enough to encounter me in inquiry mode for writing, and constantly of myself.

Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary?
Yes, gladly, if I were 20 again.

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
The revival of Hair. I was shocked, shocked, shocked ….

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Rarely to panhandlers — seen too much of the begging rackets in Asia — but always to buskers who brighten dreary patches.

What’s your drink?
Red wine.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
Often enough, if sardines on toast counts?

What’s your favorite medication?
Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.

What’s hanging above your sofa?
Lartigue photo of Edwardian man in flat cap and all-white clothing (Tom Wolfe?) pausing on beach to think Great (and maybe unspeakable) Thoughts a few yards from two gossiping women in long white dresses, while three somber suited men, umbrellas hoisted against the sun, stride away.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
Begrudge a dime.

When’s bedtime?
Between 11 p.m. and midnight.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?

What do you think of Donald Trump?
If he didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent the Donald as a symbol of the marvelous thrusting, optimistic, never-say-die braggadocio that is one of America’s specialties.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
Noise in unspeakably noisy restaurants that are supposed to be fashionable, being greeted (or ignored) by condescending head waiters pretending to be English dukes.

Who is your mortal enemy?
Father Time.

When’s the last time you drove a car?
Last month, driving to the Orient Point ferry then driving to see my son, George, at college on Cape Cod.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
Almost defeated my heedless optimism about life and New York.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
All three, and the Financial Times and the Washington Post. I’m a newspaper junkie.

Where do you go to be alone?
A Long Island beach.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
Willingness to be lucky (acknowledgments to E.B. White).

Sir Harold Evans Is Annoyed by ‘Condescending Head Waiters Pretending to Be English Dukes’