Manhattan is a tiny island. Sometimes it feels like you’ve past all 2 million of the population on 42nd Street. In a city where there are literally swarms of people, the odds are pretty high that I’ve already brushed past several soul mates and avoided eye contact with potential life-long friends. Sometimes these connections are made.
I would say I met Kati through my roommate April. I would say she and I became friends when we ended up working the same job this summer. The funny thing is, back in 2010, Kati and I worked for the same company. This was my first, and only desk job. This was her first job in NYC, selling Broadway concessions. Every week I saw her name on Excel spreadsheets. I knew which theater she worked at, how many Snickers bars she sold. We likely both attended the company Christmas party. Yet we never met exactly.
Thank goodness for this small world and paths that are destined to cross again. I might bemoan the fact we didn’t become friends sooner, but I’m so glad to have her in my life now. A breath of sunshine, sweeter than Vermont maple syrup, with eyes that shine brighter than the lights of the Great White Way, and this weeks featured Other New York Cliché, Kati, take the stage!
Borough and neighborhood:
Manhattan. Harlem/Morningside Heights area. I love Brooklyn and Queens, too!
How are you a New York cliché?
I came to New York to be an actor. That in and of itself is about as big a cliché as there is. But wait…there’s more! My first day moving to New York, at age nineteen, I got hired to work selling water and candy from a tray at Broadway Shows. The best part about it was that I got to watch the shows I worked at for free. Almost every night I would sit in the back of the house and shed a poetic tear because I was forced to work for the theater instead of dancing on Broadway with the other actors. Let me translate – I expected to come to New York, instantly be cast on Broadway due to my natural, raw talent, and never have to work a survival job. I learned my lesson very quickly.
They say no one who lives in New York is actually from New York. Where are you from?
I could not possibly from anywhere more different from New York. I’m from Putney, Vermont. It’s a town of 1000 people at the absolute most. I grew up working on a dairy farm. I suffered from crazy culture shock when I first made the move.
Bloomberg is banishing you from NYC. You have 24 hours before you have to pack up and leave forever. How do you spend them?
I wake up early and get student rush tickets for my favorite Broadway show (whatever that is at the time). Once I’ve gotten the tickets, I go back uptown and eat breakfast with my friend Patt. After that, we go to the park and meet up with as many people as want to and have a picnic, complete with multiple bottles of wine, sunglasses, and bathing suit tops. There can also be a Frisbee or two involved. We stay there for a couple hours until we get hungry again. At that point, we go to Chipotle. No matter what everyone else may say, although it’s a chain, Chipotle is hands down one of the most delicious places I’ve eaten! After that we go to Blockheads on 50th street for four-dollar margaritas. Before the 8:00 pm show, we would all go to the pier and watch the sun set over the water. After the show, I would go to Lucky Strike bowling alley in Port Authority, and bowl with my Broadway Show League bowling team. Then I would take a cab home with my friends Kristie and Patt, and play Mario Party until I fell asleep.
What restaurant/bar you keep going back to, even though you’ve been meaning to try a dozen others?
Nizza on 9th Ave. It has its own gluten free menu, and delicious gluten free gnocchi and breadsticks. It’s kind of expensive, so I usually go there when my parents are visiting and want to take me out to dinner. I’m also obsessed with Blockheads because they have the aforementioned $4 frozen drinks.
So you live in NYC, but what’s one super-touristy thing you secretly love?
I just love going to Broadway Shows. I know that there are all sorts of wonderful, artsy, experimental off and off-off Broadway shows in the city that are much cheaper and potentially better, but I just love to go see a really flashy Broadway musical. Especially around Christmas time. I always do student rush or standing room because it’s much cheaper. I do try to see all sorts of theater, but there’s a hype around Broadway shows that makes going to them really exciting.
Ever had a run-in with a celebrity (A-D List)?
I’ve had a lot because of my front of house jobs, plus a couple of random run-ins. Let’s see if I can think of all of them: James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Daniel Day Lewis, Meryl Streep, Anette Benning, Jeff Daniels, Lea Michelle, Tony Shalhoub, Justin Bartha, Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman, William Shatner, James Cordon, Liza Minelli, Ben Vereen, Shia LaBeouf, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Zach Galifinakis, Bob Baliban, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Groff, Chris Pine, Olivia Thirlby, James McCavoy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Andrew Garfield, Scott Adsit, Whoopie Goldberg, Jeff Goldbloom, Kevin Spacey, Michael Emerson, Nick Jonas, Hunter Parish, Kim Catrall, Katie Holmes, Sarah Jessica Parker, Victor Garber, Tom Hanks, Anne Hathaway, Paul Rudd…that’s all I can think of. There’s probably more than that, though.
You totally saw something weird on the subway or street today (you may not have registered it was weird because you are jaded), what did you see?
A guy was asking people for money on the L train, but he was asking for specifically either $2.25 or $4.50. He also said that if no one had those exact amounts of money they could just give him a bagel. Then a lady gave him a bagel and he just dropped it on the floor and started asking for money again.
What is your favorite fictionalized New York? How does it compare with reality?
This is so embarrassing, but I read all the Gossip Girl books a while back (I can still say I’ve never see the TV show!). I would like to think that New York City is as glamorous as it was portrayed in those books. Unfortunately that only happens if you’re filthy rich and spoiled. And it turns out that those people are usually who I like the least.
Plug something! Be it something you are involved in, you significant other/roommate/cat is involved in, or just something you think is extra-special and going on in NYC.
My friend Evan started an incredible community theater called After Work Theater Project. It’s for anyone who wants to do theater, but can’t because of work or whatever reason, or for anyone who is pursuing acting and wants to be in a fun, stress free show. I did Hair and Rent with them, and I am about to do Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat with them starting in November. The productions they do are incredible, and doing shows with them I found one of the strongest communities I’ve ever been a part of. Definitely go see their shows, or if you like to act sign up to be in one!