All articles by Susan Cohen

Susan Cohen is a freelance writer living in New York. She is a columnist and contributor for Gluten-Free Living. Her work has appeared on,, and The Forward's The Sisterhood. She blogs at susanedotcohen. Follow her on Twitter @susancohen.
October 23, 2017

NYC trick-or-treat: The best neighborhoods for sweets and scares

Halloween is a lot like real estate; both the holiday and the industry place a premium on size and neighborhood, it's not unheard of to hear phrases like "tons of it" and "prime location" used to describe trick-or-treating or a new listing, and when it comes down to it, apartment hunters and trick-or-treaters want the same things: the best block, thoughtful exteriors, attention to details, and most importantly, value. Ahead, 6sqft has put together a list of some of the best blocks across the five boroughs to score sweets and scares. Just remember to bring along your broker parent and to count the square feet pieces of candy.
Where to spend Halloween this year
September 30, 2016

Spotlight: Maya Valladares helps artists copy famous works at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you've ever visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art and watched an artist working at a canvas or sculpting amongst the museum's larger than life pieces, then you've seen the Copyist Program in action. Founded in 1872, two years after The Met first opened, the program has provided countless artists the opportunity to copy the great works that fill the museum's numerous galleries. The Copyist Program is overseen by The Met’s Department of Education, and Maya Valladares, an artist focusing on textiles, serves as the its Assistant Educator for Public Programs and Creative Practice. Her role requires her to create holistic experiences through the museum’s public programming, and through the Copyist Program, she works to enhance the experience of copying for the students and cohorts that come through the museum's doors. 6sqft recently spoke with Maya, who shared details about the program’s rich history, what copying offers artists, and what it’s like to duplicate the works of a world-class museum.
Read the interview here
September 23, 2016

Spotlight: The Museum of Math’s Cindy Lawrence on making math a fun and interactive endeavor

In a city with a museum in an elevator shaft and another all about transit history, it should come as no surprise that there's a museum dedicated to math. Located across from Madison Square Park, the National Museum of Mathematics is an institution devoted to the numerous possibilities that numbers hold. Since opening in 2012, MoMath has been a place for visitors of all ages to gets hands on with the subject through interactive exhibits that explore conundrums like how it's possible for a square-wheeled tricycle to pedal on a circular, curved surface. And as of last week, the museum offers the chance to drive remote-controlled cars on either a Möbius strip or a trefoil track in the newly opened Twisted Thruway. 6sqft recently visited the museum to speak with Executive Director and CEO Cindy Lawrence about the importance of making math interactive and most importantly, fun.
Read the interview ahead
September 16, 2016

Spotlight: Employee of the Month’s Catie Lazarus on interviewing the who’s who of the world

Catie Lazarus might have one of the coolest jobs in New York, interviewing the likes of actor Jon Hamm, singer Patti LuPone, United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, and even a hand model. As the host of Employee of the Month, a live interview series at Joe’s Pub, Catie delves deep into her interviewees' careers, adding in some of her own fun (she used to be a stand-up comic) alongside Lin Manuel Miranda's Freestyle Love Supreme, the hip hop host band, and a sketch illustrator. 6sqft recently reversed roles, offering Catie the chance to be the interviewee and talk about her job.
Read the interview here
August 12, 2016

Spotlight: Douglas Quint on How Big Gay Ice Cream Became a New York Foodie Phenomenon

If you're walking on East 7th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A or in the West Village on 7th Avenue near Christopher Street and see a long line on the sidewalk coupled with smiling faces walking by with ice cream cones, you've found Big Gay Ice Cream. The two shops are places where ice cream is not scooped, but swirled, in offerings that have become famous not only for their imaginative ingredients, but their fabulous names. There's the Bea Arthur, named after the "Golden Girls" actress and activist, comprised of vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and crushed 'nilla wafter; the Cococone with chocolate ice cream and toasted curry coconut; and perhaps their most well-known, the Salty Pimp, made up of vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt, and a chocolate dip. One of the visionaries behind Big Gay is Douglas Quint, who, along with Bryan Petroff, founded the business in 2009. While it started out as a summer experiment when the two opened an ice cream truck, it quickly developed into something much bigger (a third location recently opened in Philadelphia and the duo published a cookbook last year). 6sqft recently spoke with Douglas to discuss all the magic that takes place at Big Gay, including how the flavors come to be, their three locations, and the best time to stop by for a cone.
The full interview ahead
August 5, 2016

Spotlight: Climate Scientist Radley Horton Discusses Extreme Weather in NYC

With increasing concerns about rising sea levels and the large quantity of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere, Radley Horton's work is more important than ever. As a climate scientist at Columbia University, he's working on the applied end of climate change by examining data to make projections about the possibility of extreme weather events. Based on the data and ensuing models, he then considers the impacts these potential events and the overall changing climate might have in a variety of contexts that range from airports to the migration of pests. Radley is on the forefront of understanding what might happen and how cities, countries, and other entities can prepare even in the face of uncertainty. 6sqft recently spoke with Radley about his work, areas of climate concern in New York, and what we all can do to combat a changing planet.
Read the full interview here
July 29, 2016

Spotlight: Olympic Silver Medalist Tim Morehouse Hopes to Create a Fencing Hub on the UWS

The opening ceremonies for the 2016 Rio Olympics are a week away, and for many of us it's all about the swimming, gymnastics, and track and field. But for Tim Morehouse, the main event is fencing, a sport with three weapons (sabre, foil, and epee) that has tremendous depth internationally. In 2008, Tim was part of the US men's sabre team that won silver in Beijing, and in 2012 in London, he reached the quarterfinals in the men's individual sabre event. Four years later, Tim has transitioned from a competitor to a fencing ambassador, aiming to raise the sport’s profile in the United States. To accomplish this, he founded and runs Fencing in the Schools, a non-profit organization that teaches physical education teachers the basics of fencing so they can introduce it to their students - especially those who might otherwise not have the opportunity to try it - with the hope of a few of them wanting to take it beyond gym class. In November 2015, Tim continued his mission by opening his own sabre club on the Upper West Side. Though less than a year old, the club is already making a name for itself on 91st, as well as way beyond; at the recent United States Fencing Association's National Championships in Dallas, two of club's students medalled. 6sqft recently spoke with Tim to discuss the Olympics, starting his own club, and his goals of making fencing accessible to everyone.
Read the full interview here
July 22, 2016

Spotlight: John D’Agostino Wants You to Go Wild for the Staten Island Yankees

New York is fortunate to not only have two Major League Baseball teams, but two Minor League teams—the Mets-affiliated Brooklyn Cyclones and the Yankees-affiliated Staten Island Yankees. The latter is based right near the Staten Island Ferry in St. George, and for 15 years, it's been a team for Yankees players who are tuning up after rehab or future Major League players to get their start. Unlike the Major Leagues, the SI team has a shorter season that runs from mid-June until September, and the focus at games is all about the entertainment factor. This is where John D'Agostino comes in. John grew up a Staten Island Yankees fan, but now serves as the team’s Director of Entertainment, where he's responsible for making sure every game has a range of fun programming that gets fans laughing and cheering. 6sqft recently spoke with John to learn all about baseball on Staten Island and why more New Yorkers should hop on the ferry and head to a game!
Read the interview here
July 15, 2016

Spotlight: HRCS’ Robert Burke on Teaching City Kids to Sail the Hudson River

Sailing is an expensive sport and often requires a formal introduction at a young age. For many young New Yorkers, particularly those in underserved communities, the chances of getting this exposure are very limited, which is where Hudson River Community Sailing (HRCS) steps in. The eight-year-old organization’s Sail Academy in Chelsea teaches sailing to 150 students from nine public high schools in the neighborhood. The students enroll in a four-year program during which they earn math and science credit as they learn how to sail, study the marine environment, and build boats. In addition to its work with high school students, HRCS offers Community Sailing, where New Yorkers of all ages can come out and learn to sail. 6sqft recently spoke with HRCS’s Executive Director Robert Burke to find out more about this unique program and what students are learning on the Hudson, and more importantly, beyond it.
Read the interview here
July 8, 2016

Spotlight: Alex Gomberg Keeps Up the Tradition at 63-Year-Old Brooklyn Seltzer Boys

When Alex Gomberg says "I have seltzer in my blood,” he's not referring to the quantity of seltzer he drinks, but rather describing how deep the seltzer tradition runs in his family. It began in 1953 with his great-grandfather, Moe Gomberg, who opened up Gomberg Seltzer Works, a seltzer bottling plant in Brooklyn. The term seltzer man may be new to some, but it refers to someone who delivers seltzer in glass bottles right to your door; no supermarket needed. Over the years, seltzer delivery went out of favor and the family business, currently run by Alex’s father Kenny Gomberg and uncle Irv Resnick, continued to bottle for others, but was no longer doing delivery routes themselves. Four years ago, Alex joined Gomberg Seltzer Works and felt strongly that company should return to its delivery roots. He helped developed a delivery branch, aptly named Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, and today, Alex is well on his way to becoming many New Yorkers’ 21st century seltzer man. His idea of returning to delivery service was right on the mark as the company is benefitting from a myriad of factors including nostalgia, a focus on curated, well made items, and the popularity of home delivery. 6sqft recently spoke with Alex to find out about Gomberg’s seltzer, what it’s like to be a seltzer man, and how he's bringing seltzer delivery back to New York.
Read the full interview here
July 1, 2016

Spotlight: Pyro Spectaculars’ Gary Souza on the Art of Creating Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks

When America celebrates her 240th birthday on Monday, Gary Souza will be marking the occasion in a very big way. As a fireworks designer for Pyro Spectaculars, he is responsible for creating and overseeing the wondrous fireworks that make the nation ooh and aah during Macy's 4th of July Fireworks. This year’s show will be Macy’s 40th annual production, a huge milestone for the department store, and will take place over the East River in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. Pyro Spectaculars is a multigenerational family business begun by Manuel de Sousa after he immigrated from Portugal to the San Francisco area in the early 1900s. Over the years, the business has grown tremendously from creating small fireworks displays to a company that now spans five generations and is responsible for providing fireworks for some of the biggest names in the sports and entertainment industries, including the Winter and Summer Olympics, Super Bowls, Disney, and at concerts for icons such as the Rolling Stones. When it comes to Macy’s, Pyro Spectaculars has a 35-year collaboration with the store that has propelled the fireworks company to develop technology that allows for safer, more elaborate firework creations to come to life. 6sqft recently spoke with Gary to learn about the magnificence of fireworks, what it takes to produce the Macy's show, and some of the exciting new elements at this year’s display.
Read the interview here
June 24, 2016

Spotlight: Kristin Heckler Delivers Bouquets on Wheels at Uprooted Flower Truck

In a city where ever-rising rents often hamper potential small business owners from opening a storefront, mobile retail has become a popular alternative. Food trucks certainly led the way over the last few years, but the business model has spread beyond the culinary world and now includes a flower shop on wheels. A year ago, Ashley Custer and Kristin Heckler introduced New York to Uprooted Flower Truck. The business parks in neighborhoods around Manhattan to sell their New York-inspired, hand-tied bouquets available in three sizes: studio, loft, and penthouse. The driving force behind Uprooted is to not only bring flowers directly to New Yorkers, but to help people engage with and hopefully gain a deeper appreciation for them. 6sqft recently spoke with Kristin to learn more about this budding business and how it’s developing a unique identity in the city.
Read our interview with Kristin
June 17, 2016

Spotlight: New York Croquet Club’s Peter Timmins Brings the Game to Central Park

If you head west on the road that winds by the Sheep Meadow in Central Park, there's a good chance you'll see New Yorkers dressed in white, playing croquet on a stretch of green lawn. Yes, the sport associated with tea parties and country clubs has a home in New York thanks to the New York Croquet Club. But the club’s dedicated members are not playing the typical backyard version. Instead, they're playing American Six-Wicket Croquet, an iteration of the sport played in the United States that exists on the croquet spectrum alongside the internationally played Association Rules as well as the widely popular Golf Croquet. American Six-Wicket is an intense game that's full of strategy, as players try to maneuver balls with their mallets in ways that are hard for those unfamiliar with the sport to imagine. At the New York Croquet Club’s helm is Peter Timmins, an ambassador for the sport in New York City. Peter tells everyone he meets to give croquet a try at one of the club’s free Monday evening clinics, which is exactly how he was first introduced to it. 6sqft recently spoke with Peter to learn about the complexities and excitement of croquet and why there is nothing better than playing the sport in Central Park.
Read the full interview here
June 3, 2016

Spotlight: Adam Caslow Carries on ‘A Lox’ of History at Acme Smoked Fish

For many smear-loving New Yorkers, there's no better way to usher in the weekend than with a bagel and lox. And one of the companies keeping this culinary tradition alive is Brooklyn-based Acme Smoked Fish, a family business that traces its roots back to 1906 when Harry Brownstein started selling fish out of a wagon. For over 100 years, members of the Brownstein and Caslow families have been providing New York with smoked salmon, herring, fish salads, and other specialties. Adam Caslow and his cousin David Caslow are part of Acme’s fourth generation, continuing to grow the company and adapt to the city's current "Renaissance in appetizing." 6sqft recently spoke with Adam to learn more about Acme's rich history, smoked fish, and how he feels about carrying on a family tradition.
Read the full interview
May 27, 2016

Spotlight: Adam Blumenthal Keeps Magic Alive at 91-Year-Old Tannen’s

At a time when the inner workings of so many things have been demystified, magic still has the ability to stump us. But for magicians to make tricks look seamless, a tremendous amount of time is invested in perfecting the craft and engaging with colleagues who can help them grow and develop their skills. And in New York, magic is cultivated on a daily basis above the hustle and bustle of 34th Street at Tannen’s Magic. The business has been serving the magic community since Louis Tannen opened a street stand in 1925. He later took the business indoors, where it became a gathering place for magicians of all ages and skill levels to purchase and practice their tricks. The current keeper of Tannen’s tradition is Adam Blumenthal, who fell in love with magic at a young age, in part thanks to the store, and is now responsible for ensuring its legacy and introducing it to a new generation of magicians. 6sqft recently spoke with Adam to learn more about magic, Tannen’s, and New York’s magicians.
Read the interview here
May 20, 2016

Spotlight: Frank Cullen Wants to Teach You the Joys of Surfing at Rockaway Beach

While temperatures outside are still a bit chilly, New York’s devoted wetsuit-clad surfers at Rockaway Beach are not deterred. Right now they have plenty of room in the water, but in the next few weeks there will be a bit more traffic when the busy summer crowds arrive at this popular surf spot. Amongst the experienced longboarders and shortboarders, there will be a fair number of newbies who'll be starting their surfing journey under the guidance of Frank Cullen and the New York Surf School. Frank has deep roots at Rockaway Beach. He first began surfing with the local guys during summers and later founded the New York Surf School there. When not out teaching kids and adults how to catch a wave, Frank is also a real estate broker working in Rockaway and parts of Brooklyn. Given his connection to the beach as a surfer and local resident, while also dabbling in local real estate, it goes without saying that he possesses a unique perspective on the changes taking place at Rockaway Beach. 6sqft recently spoke with Frank to find out more about surfing at Rockaway Beach, the New York Surf School, and to find out how he thinks the neighborhood will continue to change in the coming years.
read the interview here
May 13, 2016

Spotlight: BioBus’ Sarah Weisberg Helps NYC Students Find Their Inner Scientist

An early appreciation for science can lead to a lifelong passion for the subject, but it can be a challenge to get elementary, middle and high school students excited about the sciences from inside the classroom, which is where the BioBus comes in. The mobile science lab was founded in 2008 by Ben Dubin-Thaler, who has a PhD in Biology from Columbia University. The bus began “as an experiment to test his hypothesis that, given the opportunity to use research-microscopes to perform live experiments, anyone would be excited about science.” To test his hypothesis, he purchased a bus on Craigslist and transformed it into a mobile laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art microscopes that could travel to students. The bus now serves thousands of New York City students and has a sister in the BioBase, located at the Lower East Side Girls Club, a hub created so that bus's lessons can be expanded upon through additional programming. BioBus’s Chief Scientist Sarah Weisberg is a great example of what's possible with careers in science. While she originally envisioned working in academia as a researcher, she found her passion for science programming and advocacy through BioBus. She is now hard at work growing the organization and its mission of presenting science in a fun, accessible way to children. 6sqft recently spoke with Sarah to learn more about the BioBus and how it's helping young New Yorkers discover their inner scientists.
Read the interview with Sarah here
May 6, 2016

Spotlight: Alex Gregg Is the Upper East Side’s Go-To Comic Book and Sports Card Guy

At a time when Batman and Captain America are all over the big screens and sports culture is becoming increasingly digital, one might think superheroes' and athletes' presence on paper is waning. But collecting cards and comics is alive and well in Yorkville, where Alex's MVP Cards and Comics has everything an X-Men-, Archie-, or sport-loving aficionado could want. Alex Gregg first opened a store on the Upper East Side 27 years ago. The business grew out of his own personal collection and interest and is now the place to locate that latest rookie card, newest comic, or buy a piece of memorabilia. Alex certainly knows a great deal about history - particularly New York history - having worked for 22 years as a bartender at the famed (and now closed) establishment Elaine’s. 6sqft recently spoke with Alex about how cards and comics have both changed and remained the same and about his days at Elaine’s.
Read the interview with Alex
April 22, 2016

Spotlight: The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay Talks Sports and Rules for Life in NYC

New Yorkers tend to have go-to writers who they read day in and day out -- with their morning coffee, on the subway, or winding down after a long day. For many, Jason Gay is on this team of journalists. As a sports columnist for The Wall Street Journal, he regularly provides sports coverage, insights, and opinions for the paper's readership. He writes extensively about specific players and teams, but also pens features that touch upon the human aspects and humor that can be found on and off the court. Jason has become known for his funny rule-centric columns, including the very popular "The 32 Rules of Thanksgiving Touch Football" and "The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym." This passion for rules took shape as a book, "Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living," which takes seemingly banal topics -- parenthood, exercise, office life, travel, and the holidays -- and celebrates how the smallest accomplishments in life are often the most meaningful. 6sqft recently spoke to Jason about sports, writing for the Journal, and how "Yankees World Championships are like real estate closings."
Read the interview with Jason
April 15, 2016

Spotlight: The Gefilteria’s Liz Alpern Is Making Gefilte Fish a Modern Passover Staple

As the co-founder and co-owner of The Gefilteria, a Brooklyn-based gefilte fish manufacturing business, Liz Alpern is hard at work making sure there's plenty of her product for her customers to serve at their Passover seders in just a week. Gefilte fish is a dish surrounded by lots of opinions; at seders, it's just as common for someone to ask for seconds as it is for others to kindly offer the dish to their neighbor. Liz understands this range of feelings, as she's found herself on both sides of it. When she was younger, she didn't partake in the course, but in adulthood, she was introduced to homemade gefilte fish-- instead of the pre-made variety found on store shelves--and a love affair began that developed into The Gefilteria, which she co-founded with Jeffrey Yoskowitz in 2012. 6sqft recently spoke with Liz to discuss the founding and evolution of The Gefilteria, how they're casting the Passover staple in a new light, and what it means to be part of her customers’ seders.
Read the full interview here
April 8, 2016

Spotlight: Stepping Behind the Camera with FOX5 and Hot 97’s Lisa Evers

When it comes to reporting news in New York, Lisa Evers does not shy away from hard topics. As a reporter for FOX5, Lisa regularly covers breaking news, community issues, crime, and counter-terrorism. She also serves as the go-to interviewer for the likes of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. In addition to her work on television, Lisa is widely known for hosting radio station Hot 97’s popular news and community affairs program Street Soldiers. On the show, she addresses topics ranging from hip hop lyrics to gender to drug use, with a guest panel of music artists and community leaders. Earlier this year, FOX5 brought Street Soldiers to television, where viewers can now tune in to Lisa and her guests in the studio on Saturday nights. 6sqft recently spoke with Lisa to find out how she approaches her work, the experience of bringing Street Soldiers to FOX, and what she's learned about the city through her reporting.
The full interview ahead
April 1, 2016

Spotlight: Gotham Greens Talks Rooftop Farming Against the New York Skyline

If you walk through the produce section at Whole Foods or scroll through Fresh Direct’s website, you likely have come across Gotham Greens’ Blooming Brooklyn Iceberg Lettuce or Queens Crisp. What make these lettuces different from others is that they’re local, urban greens, which are grown on rooftop greenhouses in Brooklyn and Queens with views of Gotham not too far in the distance. Gotham Greens was founded in 2009 with the goal of revolutionizing urban farming and providing a model for the future when cities are expected to be even more densely populated. One of the visionaries behind the company is co-founder and CEO Viraj Puri. Viraj and his partners started with one greenhouse in Greenpoint and now have four greenhouses between New York and Chicago that cover over 170,000 square feet and produce 20 million heads of lettuce every year. 6sqft recently asked Viraj some questions about what’s growing in Gotham.
read 6sqft's interview with Viraj
March 25, 2016

Spotlight: Mike Gansmoe Puts Macy’s in Bloom at the Annual Flower Show

In America, seasonal change is ushered in by Macy's and its productions, from the holiday season with the Thanksgiving Day Parade to summer with fireworks for America’s birthday. When it comes to welcoming spring, the department store puts on its annual Flower Show, a longstanding tradition that began 65 year ago and is now marking its 42nd year at the company's Herald Square location. This year’s show, America the Beautiful, celebrates the wonders of the nation's natural world at five stores around the country (NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco). For New Yorkers who visit the show, it’s a chance to step out of the hustle and bustle and immerse themselves in gardens representing various regions of the United States. The executive producer behind the show is Mike Gansmoe, who is responsible for overseeing everything from conception to putting that last flower in place during overnight setups. 6sqft recently spoke with Mike to find out what's blooming at this year's show.
Read the full interview here
March 18, 2016

Spotlight: Beekeeper Andrew Coté Gives Us the Buzz on Raising Honeybees in the City

On rooftops throughout the city, there's a great deal of activity taking place. This hustle and bustle isn't coming from the construction of new skyscrapers, but instead from beehives across the city where honeybees are hard at work. The keeper for many of these bees is Andrew Coté, who at the height of spring and summer works at least 14 hours a day, seven days a week tending to them. Andrew traces his family’s beekeeping roots to the 1800s in Quebec, Canada. In the 1970s, his father carried this tradition to Connecticut by starting a farm and selling honey, and a decade ago, Andrew brought beekeeping to the city. As a New York City beekeeper, his work focuses on overseeing clients’ hives on business and hotel roofs as well his own hives in neighborhoods ranging from Prospect Heights to the Upper East Side. Andrew harvests the honey from his hives, bottles, and then sells it at Union Square Market for his company, Andrew’s Honey. Depending on what jar customers pick up, they might be purchasing Forest Hills, Central Park or Harlem honey. With spring starting this Sunday, we recently spoke with Andrew to find out what all the buzz is about.
read our interview with andrew here
March 11, 2016

Spotlight: The Word on Whiskey From Kings County Distillery’s Colin Spoelman

Colin Spoelman moved to New York for post-grad job opportunities, but it was his home state of Kentucky that ended up giving him direction. On trips back home, he developed a deep appreciation for moonshine and distilling, and now his interest has gone from hobby to profession. Six years ago, Colin combined his Kentucky roots, his life in Brooklyn, and his love of distilling whiskey through Kings County Distillery, where he is one of the founders (along with David Haskell) and the head distiller. Founded in 2010, Kings County Distillery is making a name for itself with the whiskey and bourbon it distills at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, making it New York City's oldest operating whiskey distillery, the first since prohibition. The company started with eight five-gallon stills, and were at the time the smallest commercial distillery in America. But they now have a 250-gallon and a 180-gallon still and are beginning to distribute out west and internationally. With St. Patrick's Day coming up and lots of whiskey drinking to be had, 6sqft spoke with Colin to find out what's distilling in Brooklyn and why it makes perfect sense to make whiskey in this borough.
The full interview, this way