Christine Quinn (2008)

People & Places

New Yorker since 1989

You live in Chelsea. Any favorite places around there?
Well, one of my favorite places is the Moonstruck Diner and then, of course, Billy's cupcakes and then the Empire Diner's great because you can take your dogs outside.

You have dogs?
I have two—Andy and Sadie.

Where do you like walking them?
My favorite place for walking them is—well there's two—the Hudson River Park and then also Washington Square Park dog run.

Describe your perfect New York day.
I guess it would start with taking the dogs in the morning. Before 9 a.m. you can go to Pier 62 on the Hudson River Park and you can have them off-leash. And then I guess I would probably walk down Hudson River Park and go to a place on Carmine Street called the Grey Dog, which is a great little café where they rotate art exhibits of various dog-related art. And then I would go to the Fort Tilden Beach in Queens, which is part of Gateway National Park. It's a good place if one is a bird-watcher—which I am not—to go bird-watching. And you can also take your dogs there if they are on the leash.

Bird safety.
Exactly. And there's good hiking there. And then I would come home and shower, and then I guess I would go to Melba's Restaurant in Harlem for dinner and then go to the Bronx and go to the Yankee game.

What kind of a restaurant is Melba's?
Melba's is updated soul food. I feel like the restaurant's a good-luck charm because I went there for New Year's Eve 2005, which has ended up being a good year for me.

If some tourist had one day in town, where would you send them?
Well, you would have to send them to the Empire State Building, and then I would tell them to make sure to take the ferry over to Staten Island. Then I would definitely want to send them to the American Indian Museum, which I don't think enough people go to. They would be tired by the end of this day, but they would definitely want to make sure they went to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and then, if they are energetic, they could zip over to the zoo. When they came back to Manhattan there's a really great little jewelry store on the Lower East Side called Doyle & Doyle and they could go there and then get a pastrami sandwich at Katz's and head back over to Brooklyn—take the train over the Manhattan Bridge so they could see the view of the Statue of Liberty. And then if they were still energetic and hardy, which I am sure they would be, they would definitely want to make sure they go to Queens to go to the Socrates or Noguchi garden.

What would your ideal city of the future look like?
Well, the city's pretty great, so I would want to keep it as diverse and vibrant as it is, but I would like to move us to a place where the days of opening up the paper and seeing a report of a hate crime or some type of discrimination would be gone, and it would be a place where we had a 110 percent embrace of the diversity of our city and had ended any form of discrimination. I would also like to make our city a more affordable place. You know I worry that the prices, in particular the housing prices, are such in the city that we're going to lose the ability for middle-class people and lower-middle-class people to stay and that we are becoming too much a city of the rich and the poor. So the best change I could see is New York being, 10 or 15 years from now, a more affordable place.

How would you like to accomplish that?
In the council right now we are having a series of working groups trying to come up with the best plans, which might include zoning, changes in the tax break program, and redistributing the resources of the capital budget, but we're working on coming up with as comprehensive a plan as we can, to really target both preservation and the creation of more affordable housing at a bunch of different levels. You know, we used to have a situation where we needed to focus on building housing just for low-income folks, but we now need to continue to do that but also figure out how to create housing for middle-class folks as well.

What would you say distinguishes this city?
Its diversity, its energy, and the unbelievable—which is great if you are an elected official—frankness of New Yorkers. They will tell you what they're thinking.

Do you have a personal memorable Big Apple moment?
One of my most memorable moments was when I got to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium.

If you could have dinner with any New York politician, living or dead, who would you choose?
Can I make it two? They were a couple. The Roosevelts, Eleanor and Franklin.

Where would you go for dinner?
To Roberto's on Arthur Avenue. I hear they were crazy for Italian food. Well, I have no idea, but if they were . . .

I could see them eating lasagna or something.
That's right, something hearty.


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