Articles by

Steven Weinberg

Steven Weinberg is one on the many tall and bearded young men hailing from Brooklyn, NY. He also draws (illustrations, on walls, really anything he can get his hands on) and writes (for Brooklyn Based, and has several children’s books coming out.) See it all at StevenWeinbergStudio.com.

10/25/13 8:44am

willie-g-halloweenToday the subject of Five Questions, One Drawing, is William Guzman, a five-year old from Park Slope interviewed with his family. Initially Steven Weinberg thought to interview someone who worked at a pop-up costume shop like Ricky’s and ask about ridiculous slutty Halloween costumes, but thought better of that plan. Enough already with the sexy slices and scantily clad kitty cats–what better way to capture the Halloween spirit than by asking someone who actually goes trick-or-treating?

Wait. Do they give us candy, or do we give them candy?

How long have you lived in Brooklyn?
Hmmm… I don’t know. [Mom asks him, “Well have you ever lived anywhere else? And how old are you?” William looks at her for a few seconds.] Five. Five years.

Do you know what you’re going to be for this Halloween?
Um. I made a robot costume. It’s made out of a paper bag. And… cardboard. [William begins to look at his mother again, she asks him to show me the costume.] So I put my arms through these holes. My head goes here. And then I put one arm in this one and the other arm in this one. I’m going to paint it silver.
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09/20/13 7:00am

g-bonney-bkbasedIn our series, Five Questions, One Drawing, artist Steven Weinberg interviews and draws a well known Brooklynite each month. Today, it’s Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge. She was such a great interview that we went over the five question rule and asked a few more.

When you leave Brooklyn and come back what’s the first thing you do?

Five Leaves. I mean I live down the street from here. This is usually my homebase for everything and I feel like I know I can get a good solid meal here, I can work here, I know all the people who work here. They’re fantastic and it just kind of re-grounds me. 

Can I add I’d like people to stop painting things with chalkboard paint?

 And it’s a really good place to sit and stop and people watch. I feel like the first thing I want to do when I get back to New York is to sit and adjust to the pace and people again and this is like sitting in a fishbowl and watching and adjusting again to the pace of things. Because typically when I leave the city I’m going to the south to see my family and it’s just so much slower and different. So this is kind of my ground zero for everything.

You commute by train/bike/car/walk/other? Why?

I go by foot exclusively. Not only because it’s the only form of exercise I get, but I adopted a dog this spring and that was kinda a part of accepting that walking was always going to be a part of the way I commuted because she’s just big enough that I can’t put her in a bag to take her on the subway. It’s also only one stop [from house to work] so I feel like the train’s just kinda lazy.

Where’s your favorite place you’ve lived in Brooklyn?

I think my current apartment is my favorite primarily because it’s finally a good size, I feel like it’s a good location that’s a good compromise of close to work and lots of things I need for day to day life and close to the park.

I had my first apartment in Greenpoint. Then two places in Williamsburg (really briefly), one place in Park Slope, and then back to Greenpoint and then this is the seventh. Seven apartments in 10 years.
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08/21/13 10:59am

LJ-bkbased

In our series, Five Five Questions, One Drawing, artist Steven Weinberg interviews and draws a well-known Brooklynite each month. Today it’s L.J. Mazzilli, second baseman for the Brooklyn Cyclones. Technically all of the Cyclones are Brooklynites, as they live in the Holiday Inn in Gowanus during the run of their Short Single A season, but Mazzilli is a little bit different. His dad, Lee Mazzilli, is a former All-Star and fan favorite of the Mets, the Cyclones’ Major League affiliate, and Mazzilli spent a lot of time with his grandparents in Sheepshead Bay growing up. The Cyclones’ last home game is Sept. 1, so get out to Coney Island soon if you want to catch Mazzilli and his teammates this summer.

When you leave Brooklyn and come back what’s the first thing you do?

Honestly just everything that Coney Island provides is what you’re excited to get back to ’cause everywhere on the road is not like this. You don’t have the strip with the Ferris wheel in the outfield, the whole strip of Nathan’s hot dogs and everything else down there. So that’s probably what we’re excited to get back to.
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07/26/13 9:30am

susan-povichSusan Povich, chief lobsterette at the Red Hook Lobster Pound, has lived in Red Hook since 1997. Her delicious shellfish, passion for lobster and outgoing personality have made her something of a local celebrity. She recently expanded her crustacean empire to Montauk

When you leave Brooklyn and come back what’s the first thing you do?

Check out our business in Red Hook because she is our baby! Usually this is followed by a cup of coffee made from Stumptown beans. If I have been away for awhile, a trip to Fairway is definitely in order and a bike ride to Paisanos Meat Market.
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06/20/13 6:27am

image

In our series, Five Five Questions, One Drawing, artist Steven Weinberg interviews and draws a well known Brooklynite each month. Today, it’s Clay McLeod Chapman, author of The Tribe, a trio of children’s books about a band of runaway middleschoolers squatting in their old school. The first installment of which, Homeroom Headhunters, was released last month. He is also the creator of  The Pumpkin Pie Show, a storytelling series he describes as a “literary fist in the face.”  McLeod Chapman moved to Brooklyn in 2000, and currently lives in Ditmas Park. He describes his occupation as a writer/daddy and intertwines the two to great comedic effect. See for yourself tonight when he performs as part at  Funny Story, our monthly storytelling series with Brooklyn Brewery.

When you leave Brooklyn and come back what’s the first thing you do?
I’m pretty OCD when it comes to returning home. The trip isn’t officially over until I’ve unpacked and put everything back in its proper place. We’re awfully close to Brooklyn College, which has an amazing pool, so if I can, I’ll rush off for a quick swim to wash the jaunt away. Or just raid the pantry.

You commute by train/bike/car/walk/other? Why?
We’re a couple blocks away from Newkirk Plaza, which has officially become my favorite subway station ever. It’s above ground—and from what little I know about Paris, which is absolutely nothing, in my mind it kind of feels like one of those Parisian open air subway stations. Plus it has the best Jamaican jerk chicken restaurant in the whole wide world: Fisherman’s Cove. Simply the best. Better than all the rest.

How many different places have you lived in Brooklyn? Which is your favorite?
Four-ish. I spent a summer couching it in the Downtown Brooklyn/Fort Greene area while I was still in college. Does that count? That’s my -ish. For six years, I slept in my childhood bunk-bed in Park Slope, and it totally wrecked whatever love life I had. Which wasn’t much to begin with. But still. Bunk-beds: Romance-killer. It took my wife-to-be to lure me out to Williamsburg. We lived at the base of the Williamsburg bridge for six years—and then, as of last year, we moved to Ditmas Park. No more bunk-beds for me, baby!

What’s your ideal Brooklyn date?
In Park Slope, I’d pick up Vietnamese sandwiches from Hanco’s on 7th Avenue and take them up to Prospect Park for a little afternoon picnic. In Williamsburg, I’d say start at the Nitehawk and then walk down to Milk [Bar] for a slice of crack pie. In Ditmas Park, it’s get the baby to bed by six or seven; pick up an order of extra-sauced jerk chicken; and fall asleep halfway through an episode of Law and Order: SVU.

You have a new book out, Homeroom Headhunters, all about bunch of runaway middle schoolers secretly living in their former middle school. Are there other Brooklyn locations you could imagine secret societies secretly living?
BAM is the first place that comes to mind. If I was a member of the Tribe, looking for a home-away-from-home to call my own, I’d totally hide inside BAM. But that’s just me. The Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza would be pretty amazing. I’d try to take over Pies N’ Thighs if I could, but that might get a little too crowded. I know it’s cheating a little because it’s in Manhattan, but the secret City Hall subway station below the Brooklyn Bridge would be cool too. Why stop there? I say the Tribe should take over the entire subway system! We can hop from train to train, station to station! We own the rails! We own the trains! The underground is ours!

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04/12/13 7:01am

5QsSophieIn our series, Five Questions, One Drawing, artist Steven Weinberg interviews and draws a well known Brooklynite each month. Today we present to you Sophie Blackall. An illustrator of children’s and middle grade books, she also wrote and illustrated Missed Connections, a book of drawings and love stories based on, you guessed it, craigslist missed connections (including the story, “We Shared a Bear Suit”)Blackall has lived in Brooklyn since 2000; she shares a studio with other artists in Gowanus and refers to her current neighborhood as the “Barclays Center Greater Car Park.”

When you leave Brooklyn and come back what’s the first thing you do?
I have a little farmhouse three hours upstate which I visit regularly and love to death, but I’m always happy to return to Brooklyn, to my vibrant, loud, festive, colorful neighborhood. That is, once I’ve found a parking spot. Until then I’m cursing like a seawife.

How do you commute?
I ride my bike to my studio in the Gowanus, which I share with four of the best children’s book author/illustrators in Brooklyn…nay, the world! Brian Floca, Eddie Hemingway, John Bemelmans Marciano and Sergio Ruzzier. Biking is definitely the best way to get around Brooklyn.

How many different places have you lived in Brooklyn? Which is your favorite?
Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, South Park Slope and now the aforementioned Barclay Center-ish area. I spent the most time in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens and my kids went to P.S. 29 and we made a lot of lovely friends there. It still feels like a village nestled within a city. But I have to say I love having a whole slew of subway trains at my disposal these days. Poor F and G.

What’s your ideal Brooklyn date?
I feel very lucky to have BAM just down the road, and cocktails at Berlyn after a show is always fun. And we’ve been going to Noodle Pudding in the Heights forever, where they treat us like family. But lately we’ve been favoring James. My domestic partner is on crutches at the moment, so our dinner dates have to be within hobbling distance.

In your subway car painting for the New York MTA Arts for Transit program you really captured the variety of people who ride the trains in New York. Is there a specifically Brooklyn scene you’d like to capture where you think you could depict a similarly wide swath of the borough?
Either the Coney Island Boardwalk or Long Meadow, Prospect Park. Both are filled with a brilliant convergence of people, and while the subway gathers us together then suspends us temporarily in transit, these other two places are where we go to relax and have fun and meet up with friends and celebrate birthdays and learn to dance salsa and learn to ride a bike and lose a kite to the wind and buy or sell carved mangos on sticks or cotton candy or churros…there’s always something to see.

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03/15/13 10:20am


toko

In our series, Five Questions, One Drawing, artist Steven Weinberg interviews and draws a well known Brooklynite each month. Today we present you with Brooklyn Net, Tornike “Toko” Shenegelia. We really wanted to find a Net who not only plays basketball in Brooklyn, but also lives here. Toko, who is a rookie and originally from the country of Georgia, fits the bill more than anyone else on the squad. He had an extended stay with cousins in Bensonhurst when Hurricane Sandy flooded the Nets’ practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J. and they were practicing at the Barclays Center.

When you’re hanging out with your relatives in Bensonhurt, is there a spot you like to go to with them?
We just like to go with the family at home or sometimes we go see a movie or have a dinner. We try to try pretty much everything since this is my first time here, and I don’t want to just stick to just once place. I’m trying to see what’s best and then maybe I choose just one.

You commute to the Barclays Center by train/bike/car/walk/other? Why?
Sometimes car service. Or sometimes my friend just drops me off.

If you were to live in Brooklyn, is there one part of the whole borough you’d want to live in?
I just know this part here where the [Barclays Center] is and Bensonhurst. I don’t know much so much. So, it’s okay, like I don’t know what’s possible in Brooklyn.

If you would take somebody out on a date in Brooklyn what would you take them out to do?
Well I already have a girlfriend, so I’m pretty much like settled down.

(Oh perfect, so where do you guys go out?)
Oh, if it’s a dinner then probably Nobu place is a pretty good place. Or try some different stuff. [Editor’s note: yes, we and Toko both know Nobu is not in Brooklyn. He just really likes it and that’s his go-to date spot.]

How are home games in Brooklyn different from games you’ve played in other places?
In Europe it’s big difference I would say. For instance some of the team fans just stand the whole game and sing and dance, and it doesn’t stop. They would be throwing coins and everything on the court. So, pretty much crazy, crazier fans than we have here.

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02/01/13 8:08am


noah-and-rae

In our series, Five Questions, One Drawing, artist Steven Weinberg interviews and draws a well known Brooklynite each month. Today we present to you Rae and Noah Bernamoff, Park Slope residents since 2007, co-owners of Mile End Delicatessen in Boerum Hill, Mile End Sandwich in NoHo and co-authors of The Mile End Cookbook. Their commissary kitchen in Red Hook, where they smoke all that delicious meat, was badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy. 

When you leave Brooklyn and come back what’s the first thing you do?
Rae: We don’t get away that much, but upon return always head to the deli to check in.

Noah: I call my Jewish mother to tell her I returned home and that I’m fine.

You commute by train/bike/car/walk/other? Why?
R: We have a car, which is really the most efficient way to get to Red Hook.  Our Jetta Sportwagen is often used by Noah for schlepping and running between locations and meetings, so I most regularly hop on the subway to get places.  Conveniently the B63 runs pretty express from our home off of 5th Avenue in Park Slope to the deli on Hoyt and Atlantic, so that can be a good option if the weather is unwalkable.  I’ll also admit that I’m pretty tight with the folks at Family Car Service, which is by far the most reliable car service in the neighborhood.

N: Car seems to be a necessary evil that actually makes me yearn for the subway.  The subway is one of the most uniquely New York experiences that anyone can have.  When I get a chance, I try to bike, but more often than not, I find some excuse not to.

How many different places have you lived in Brooklyn? Which is your favorite?
R: We settled in Park Slope when we moved from Montreal six years ago and haven’t relocated since.  Noah likes to joke about living in “Park Schlep” and we can sometimes get down on the limited dining options in the nabe, but overall it’s a very comfortable and friendly place to live.  We’ve always dreamed about moving to Red Hook, and might actually make that happen one day.

N: Sad to say that I’ve only lived in Park Slope.  So, basically, any other neighborhood in Brooklyn is my favorite.

What’s your ideal Brooklyn date?
R: When you own a small business with your husband there are few official “dates,” but when we can sneak away we head to spots outside of our usual radius.  A hearty meal at favorites like Tanoreen in Bay Ridge or Spicy Bampa in Bensonhurst followed by a long walk is pretty ideal.

N: Buratta and olive oil in the backyard of Frankies, some sparkly, a bonfire.

Mile End’s commercial kitchen in Red Hook was quite damaged by Hurricane Sandy. So, if a lot of delis name sandwiches, and other menu items after people or things, what would your “Sandy” menu item be?
R: Sandy hit with a ton of force and was gut wrenching and destructive, so it would probably be something like a “kitchen sink poutine.”  A total gut bomb that rips its way through your insides, and that you’re pretty upset about the next day. Honestly, I’m not rushing to name anything after that storm, so don’t plan to find it on our menu anytime soon.

N: Unwieldy fatty soup with little bits of unidentifiable matter floating in it.

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12/06/12 10:34am

In our series, Five Questions, One Drawing, artist Steven Weinberg interviews and draws a well known Brooklynite each month. Today we present to you John Hodgman, author of Areas of My Expertise, humorist, star of the Judge John Hodgman podcast, Park Slope resident and arbiter of us all. He will perform at The Bell House on Dec. 21.

When you leave Brooklyn and come back what’s the first thing you do?

I do what everyone does, or should: strip naked. Then I put those clothes and my luggage into the bathtub until I can run everything through the hot dryer to make sure I did not pick up any bedbugs. Then I spray down my suitcase with rubbing alcohol for the same reason (but also the smell). If you spend any amount of time staying in hotels, even nice ones, you should do this. Unless you like bedbugs.

The difference is that, because I am doing it in Brooklyn, I feel happy to be home. Though I lived in Manhattan for 13 years and loved it, I never could relax there. Everything felt a little too narrow: the streets, the sidewalks. In one apartment building the walls were barely the width of my outstretched elbows, and they were painted flesh pink, so every morning, going to work, it felt like you were being born. It’s not like I grew up on the prairie, but I constantly felt like I was about to be hit on the shoulders. Whereas Brooklyn is just that much broader, with wider buildings and boulevards and blue patches of sky that remind me more of my native Brookline, MA.

Also, I like towns that begin with the letters BROOKL.

You commute by train/bike/car/walk/other? Why?

My office is across the street from my home, so I very rarely drive. When I go into Manhattan, I take the subway. I used to wonder why the F train followed such a crazed and seemingly random path. I didn’t understand that it was built to connect all of the very specific, few, non-Slopish places I need to go in the world: Clover Club, Shopsin’s, The Zigfeld Theater, and the offices of my doctor on the Upper East Side.

How many different places have you lived in Brooklyn? Which is your favorite?

One and yes.

What’s your ideal Brooklyn night out?

This is the two-year anniversary since I saw the Mountain Goats at the Bell House and John Darnielle covered Ace of Base’s “I Saw The Sign.” That I am now within walking distance of some of the best comedy and live music in the city was not my expectation when I began my middle age here.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is nearing the end of his third and final term of office. As one of Brooklyn’s most prominent experts and extra-legal judges, can we expect a campaign in 2013? What would be on your platform? How would you eviscerate your rivals? Any scandals to look forward to?

The many, many photographs of me de-bed-bugging my luggage in the nude that are all over the internet prohibit me from seeking any public office. May we begin a draft Jonathan Coulton movement? It’s time that Brooklyn had a feral president.

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11/06/12 9:00am

Today we’re kicking off a new series, Five Questions, One Drawing, in which artist Steven Weinberg will interview and draw a well known Brooklynite each month. We’re thrilled to start with the charming and talented Emma Straub.

Name: Emma Straub

Occupation: Writer (Straub’s new novel, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures is at the top of our holiday gift list)

Neighborhood
: Prospect Lefferts Gardens

Brooklynite since: I commuted from Manhattan to high school in Brooklyn, starting in 1994. Moved to Brooklyn in 2004, left for grad school in 2006, moved back in 2009, and have been here ever since.

When you leave Brooklyn and come back what’s the first thing you do? If I’ve been gone only a few days, I kiss my cats and proceed about my day-to-day business. If I’ve been gone a week or more, I might be craving some foodstuffs: bagels, really good pizza, etc. I believe it to be a coincidence that all of my favorite foods are New York City staples, but perhaps that’s not actually true. Certain mythologies are sacred. Either way, I will quickly work my way back around to all my regular haunts: BookCourt and WORD, BAM, my sofa.

You commute by train/bike/car/walk/other? Why? I take the train into Manhattan, except maybe on the weekends when parking is less annoying, and then I might drive. I often drive around Brooklyn, because it’s more direct. Because I’m a terrible person, that’s why. I do like taking long walks, but not usually as form of actual transportation. I think people who ride their bikes around Brooklyn are insane. The ones who don’t wear helmets are triply insane, with an added death wish on top. I would ride a bike down an empty country road, and that’s it.

How many different places have you lived in Brooklyn? Which is your favorite? I used to live on Smith Street, in Carroll Gardens, and now I live in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, which is right by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which would all make you think that I have some kind of a green thumb, but sadly that is not the case. There are other neighborhoods in Brooklyn that I fantasize about: Greenpoint, near Franklin Street; the cobblestoned blocks in Red Hook; the grand, slightly ramshackle mansions in Ditmas Park; the Mailer family manse along the promenade in Brooklyn Heights.

What’s your ideal Brooklyn date? Walk to Franny’s, eat so much pizza, walk to BAM for a showing of a Cary Grant movie, hop on the subway home. Simple and perfect. There is also wine and chocolate involved. And my husband, of course.

Your new novel Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures is about the rise and fall of a Hollywood starlet beginning in the 1920s and must have required a ton of historical research. What are your favorite historical spots in Brooklyn? Any places you see as great seeds for stories? I think I wrote a historical novel about Hollywood because I could never write one about New York. It’s my home, where I grew up (albeit in Manhattan), and my personal connections to the physical locations are too strong to be ignored, or fictionalized, at least for now.

Most of my favorite historical spots in Brooklyn have to do with my youth–places where I drank beer and ran wild as a teenager, mostly in Brooklyn Heights, where I went to high school. There was UTB, and Squib Hill, and the insides of many fabulous houses. Those are all wonderful places for stories to begin–the moment when you’re standing on the threshold, about to walk into a party, and there’s only one person you really want to see. The moment when you smoke your first cigarette and you feel your world change from one to another, expanding to allow this new avenue to open. Brooklyn is full of those stories, as it has always been.

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