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Question: Who is Nathaniel Rich?

Nathaniel Rich: I’m from New York City, Manhattan, mid-town. I grew up near the United Nations. And how has it shaped me? I think it’s given me an urban sensibility, if you can say such a thing, which means that I feel really disoriented and uncomfortable in the countryside and much more comfortable in cities. And I would rather go to a second or third-tier New York City than wander out in the wilderness for a long time because then I would get scared.I’m one of those city people that is comforted by the sounds of the city, like ambulances and car alarms, people screaming- crazy people screaming in the middle of the night; and I- I do love- I- I actually do love going-- I spent a-- I went to sleep-away camp in Maine and I- that was really an idyllic time for me. So- but I tend to go back and forth between both extremes. Right now I’m in a city mode for the time being.Well, I think it makes me pretty scattered often when I’m in the city- when I- in- in New York, and when I- when I’m- I’m constantly moving around and- and doing things it’s a lot more difficult to find time to think and concentrate and have any kind of sustained thought. So ideally I guess I’d like to go live back in- live between the city and country, but I- I never have really done that. I- I sometimes went to friends’ country houses, but when I was growing up- but I never had one. But I guess it makes me pretty scared and have a bad memory and prone to speaking inarticulately- be the main contributions, I think- the city life.I love living in Brooklyn and most of my friends are there, and it- there’s a sense of neighborhood. I live in Cobble Hill and you see people on the street that you recognize and don’t talk to ‘cause that would be weird, but- that you recognize them. And it’s- it has a- I- I really like feeling- being part of a neighborhood with some history. And- and the part of New York where I’m from in mid-town has been totally torn up and- and- and mixed ab- around, and- and the people who live there are people who weren’t there when I was there-- when I grew up there, and the buildings have totally changed the level of magnitude. I- where- when I grew up there was a lot of buildings like- in the neighborhood I live in now- three, four-story buildings- and now there are 90-story residential apartment buildings. And it’s- it’s not a friendly place, and I feel like- much more comfortable in- in Brooklyn.


Recorded On: 3/17/08


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