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Who's in the Video
Nathaniel Rich lives in New York City, where he is an editor at The Paris Review. He is the author of San Francisco Noir and The Mayor's Tongue is his[…]

A city kid.

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