By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
Your couches look like two bananas. Well, the same color. And they're leather. Neither of you is from Bay Ridge. How did you end up here?[Michael] I grew up in the Rockaways, Belle Harbor. Before this, I was in Howard Beach, in a relationship. I bought a condo. We were in Howard Beach because it was close to my parents. I ended the relationship. I don't know where she is and I don't want to know anything about her and I've had relationships after that! You can put that in! Then I was stuck in a family neighborhood. I was living in a bubble and I woke up one day and said, "I'm 27 years old. What am I doing here?" I made a great profit on the condo in '98 and came to Bay Ridge right after. I was teaching in Rockaway then, but I also knew I'd be working in Manhattan someday. I also thought Bay Ridge was the place to be. As a teenager, we'd come to Bay Ridge to hang out, it was fantastic. Now I work in Manhattan, at the high school across the street from ground zero. Living in Bay Ridge, I'm 25 minutes, tops, from work, on the R line. Glenn and I met through a friend, hanging out in Manhattan. [Glenn] I came to Bay Ridge to save enough to pursue my acting and singing career. I save $1200 a month. I'm from Massachusetts, went to school in Rhode Island. I came to work for a national ad firm in New York in 1997. I moved in with my girlfriend initially, at Bleecker and Sixth, back of the building$1600 for an 11-by-30- foot studio. Here my studio could fit into the living room. We're all really close in the building. Every night, we knock on each other's door. "How ya doing?" We check on Pat a lot next door. [Michael] She's a legal secretary in midtown. She's also an actor. She and Glenn get along very well. [Glenn] She's very maternal. She's writing a play. I'm going to be in it.
[We visit Pat's apartment next door. The color scheme is rose.] So anything else happening in the building?[Glenn] We got a new furnace. [Michael] Once I got stuck in the elevator. I had to go to the bathroom. I was in there for 40 minutes. Parking here is a bitch. On Sunday night, it took an hour to come home from my parents and one and a half hours to find a space. Once, I found a spot, but it was so far away, I had to take a bus home. A lot of restaurants here have valet parking. You might as well sleep in your car.
Until today, all I knew about Bay Ridge wasSaturday Night Feverand Bay Ridge Toyota, where I was always going years ago when I lived in Williamsburg because every other day someone would punch my trunk or mutilate the car in some way, and I'd never go to movies or anything, just Bay Ridge Toyota. Anyway, it's so global in Bay Ridge. On Third Avenue there's a Norwegian store withsmorbukk,hellnott, andfiskesuppe, and Fuel restaurant, where these beefy guys were shoveling in ostrich and bison burgers. Then King Falafel, which this limousine driver said has "exquisite food." He said he's a Christian Copt and lives on Staten Island but his church, St. George Coptic Orthodox Church, is here. I also met these two womenI'm pretty sure they were Italianwho've lived here since the early '60s. They were having a yard sale outside their house. I bought some '50s clip earrings. I wanted to get these books, but they were getting wet in the rainThe Last Mafioso and another on Sam Giancana.[Michael] At one time, it was all Italian and Irish here. Now there's a mixfamilies, single young professionals. A few blocks away is Shore Road, along the water, with million-dollar homes. The Pearl Room on Third is one of my favorite restaurants. We go to the Crimson Lounge for different kinds of martinis. There's the Salty Dog, with cops, firemen.
If someone wanted to meet one, when would be a good time to go?[Michael] Friday night. There's dancing.