21 questions

Delia Ephron Wants to Know Who Taxi Drivers Are Talking to All the Time

Photo: Elena Seibert

Name:   Delia Ephron

Age: “Older than ABC Kitchen”

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

Occupation: Writer, most recently of The Lion is In.


Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? 
Fiorello LaGuardia, the fictional version. A mayor who could sing and dance.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? 
Whatever my sister Nora is serving.

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I write.

What was your first job in New York?
A camp counselor at the Police Athletic League. In Hell’s Kitchen, which was what the Forties between Ninth and Tenth avenues was then called. I was responsible for about twelve 9-year-olds, all neighborhood kids, and we did fun things in the city.

What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
Death of a Salesman
. I loved it. I was in a daze for days.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
On subways. It’s not like a rule or anything: only subways. It’s just I’m always very distracted on the street.

What’s your drink?
Rosé. I like to drink pink things. 

How often do you prepare your own meals? 
Dinner? Five-or-so times a week. Maybe three. I also make lunch and breakfast — pancakes, biscuits. I love to cook. Especially baking, which is sort of a problem because then we eat it. Right now I’m off sugar, so that’s put a crimp in it, but probably tomorrow I will go back on sugar.

What’s your favorite medication?

What’s hanging above your sofa?
A charcoal drawing of Fred & Ginger. Dancing of course. By my artist friend Jenny Snider. It’s very joyful. 

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
Hair is very important. I don’t like to judge. Actually I do like to judge, but hair is very important.

When’s bedtime?

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I suppose the old, because I don’t really like the new. Actually, the thing that drives me crazy about Times Square is how crowded it is. It’s an assault. I love to walk in NYC but I hate to walk in Times Square because it’s like, get me out of here.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
Why does anyone care what he thinks?

What do you hate most about living in New York?
Taxi drivers. I could go on and on about this. I will. They talk on the phone even though it’s illegal. Who are they talking to? The calls go on forever. They drive like maniacs.  Once when the taxi was going a million miles an hour, I asked the driver to please slow down and he said to my husband, “I’ve got one of those at home.” Fortunately I love the subway.

Who is your mortal enemy? 
Anyone who wants to keep a woman down.

When’s the last time you drove a car?
Six months ago in L.A. Visiting my stepson, sister, nieces, friends. Doing some work. The car I had started without a key. I was really shocked. It turns out most of them don’t need keys. I can’t keep up with cars, but my favorite radio show is “Car Talk.”

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
Less money, more anxiety, more responsibility.

Times, Post, or Daily News?

Where do you go to be alone? 
Between cell phones and iPads there is no alone. But I suppose I walk my dog in the neighborhood.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
New Yorkers are born all over the country, and then they come to New York City and it hits them: Oh, that’s who I am. 

Delia Ephron’s 21 Questions