21 questions

Michael Psilakis Gets a Traffic Ticket Every Day

Name: Michael Psilakis
Age: 42
Neighborhood: Franklin Square, Long Island
Occupation: Chef, Restaurateur. Fish Tag, his new Mediterranean-style seafood restaurant with chef Ryan Skeen, opened this week on the Upper West Side.

Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
I don’t know him personally, but I love Woody Allen’s work. He brings New York into his films as a character.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
In 2002, I had a twenty-course raw tasting menu at Esca. It was one mind-blowing dish after the next. One of Pasternack’s best.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
The entirety of my day is spent developing new things — everything from trying to improve efficiency in my restaurants and kitchens to creating menu items and new restaurant concepts.

What was your first job in New York?
In my teens, I worked in my father’s fur shop in Manhattan. I started out doing very basic tasks and eventually made my way up to sewing fur coats. Wasn’t expecting that were you?

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
I recently saw The Lion King with my 5-year-old son. So many kids!

Do you give money to panhandlers?
Yes, I’m a sucker for panhandlers. I give them money, and food if I have it. A lot of people look at the homeless as lazy, but I think, What bad thing had to happen to this person to give up on life? They all have a story.

What’s your drink?
Whiskey, and other assorted brown liquors.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
I hardly ever cook for myself. If I’m alone, I’d rather go out to eat to see what other people are doing.

What’s your favorite medication?
I don’t really medicate. Is coffee medicine?

What’s hanging above your sofa?
I’m never home long enough to notice. I’ll ask my wife.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
I don’t have much hair, but I still need to take care of my head. I usually shave my own head, but about once a month I go to the Art of Shaving barbershop. It’s $30 for the royal treatment, plus $10 tip. I think $50 is my max for a full shave.

When’s bedtime?
3 a.m. Basically after everyone is done eating and drinking.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
The older one was more gritty and had more character. It’s like Vegas down there now; it doesn’t even feel like NYC anymore.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
He’s awesome, except for the hair. I’m just jealous.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
When I have time to go anywhere else, I realize that New York City forces you never to stop. You don’t even know you don’t stop when you’re in the thick of it, but you don’t. I love, and hate, that about NYC.

Who is your mortal enemy?
Joe the traffic cop who gives me a ticket every day.

When’s the last time you drove a car?
Every day. And I get a ticket every day.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
It’s affected me financially, and it’s creatively changed me. In down times, people are moved more toward the familiar, so for the most part, artists are stifled. A bad economy stops experimentation and puts a damper on the evolution of art.

Times, Post, or Daily News ? Times.

Where do you go to be alone?
The bathroom. It’s the only place where people won’t bother me.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
The attitude that anything and everything is possible.

Michael Psilakis Gets a Traffic Ticket Every Day