A New York Minute With Gerard Koeppel, Author of ‘City on a Grid’

November 11, 2015

We’re kicking off a fun new series called A New York Minute, where we ask influential New Yorkers spitfire (and sometimes very random) questions about their life in the big city. Want nominate yourself or someone you know? Get in touch!

Gerard Koeppel is an author and historian of New York streetscapes and he’s lived in NYC his entire life (he was actually born in a Manhattan hospital that’s since been replaced by a high rise condo). Gerard just released a brand-spankin’ new book yesterday, “City on a Grid: How New York Became New York,” and between talks at the Museum of the City of New York and book signings, he was nice enough to answer some quick questions about his personal New York experience.

6sqft: Worst apartment or roommate horror story?
Gerard: Dancing naked with my future wife when we thought the roommate was elsewhere. Merely embarrassing? You didn’t know the roommate.

What stereotype about New Yorkers do you embody?
Gerard: I’m a complete provincial: an islander (Manhattan), a villager (Greenwich), and don’t really know much about Queens (except the 7 to Citi).

How do you take your bagel?
Gerard: Back in the day, only a warm H&H everything with scallion would do. Now, middle-aged with a dad bod, I pass all bagel counters, crying inside.

Who are three people that make NYC a better and more interesting place?
Gerard: Public sculptor Tom Otterness, urban archaeologist Joan Geismar, shaggy energizer Jacob deGrom.

What part of the city have you not spent much time in but would like to?
Gerard: The waterways, especially the saltwater marshes, which make the built city seem like the anachronism.


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  1. D

    “Shaggy Energizer”!