Random New Yorker

Barry Harwood, Curator of Decorative Arts, The Brooklyn Museum

Tell me about your job.

I'm responsible for 25,000 objects that were made in the West, that is, European and American. The earliest objects we have are medieval ones from the 14th century and we go up until tomorrow, as I like to say; it's very much an ongoing collection. I'm responsible for interpreting the objects, doing research on them, and then to display the objects, working with a lot of different people in the museum: conservators, designers, all of the art handlers. You have to coordinate with a whole team of people in order to put objects on display. Even though we have so many, only about 15% [...]


Joel Berg, Executive Director, NYC Coalition Against Hunger

Tell me about your job. I'm executive director; June will mark my 10th anniversary here. I report to our board of directors, but basically I'm in charge of running the day-to-day operations of our organization. I manage our staff, I manage our Americorps programs—together with them we have a few dozen people. I'm the chief media person, the chief public spokesman. It's a lot of work but it's all worth it. The coalition has been around since 1983. Soup kitchens have existed in New York City for at least 100 to 150 years—they're also called missions. They deal mostly with skid row, stereotypical down-and-out and if I may [...]


Alice Wright: Webmistress and Coder Girl

Tell me about your job. As a web developer, I create and maintain databases. A database is where you put data, that's the idiot's version of it. Basically what I do is make the internet talk to a place where information of all types is stored. Databases can store sales leads, information for sites like Tumblr, they're used for everything. It's a good skill to have. I originally was a web designer and eventually I learned how to code. As the internet became more complex and more and more data was looking to be stored I started getting into that so I could progress with the internet and [...]


Suzie Townsend, Literary Agent

Tell me about your job. As a literary agent, authors query me and pitch me their projects and I then help them edit and revise and submit them to major publishing houses. When we sell the books I negotiate everything from the rights to the advance to the contract. After the work is sold I help them with publicity and guiding them with their career. If there are any kind of problems, which there always are, then I'm sort of the author advocate so the editor doesn't have to be the crazy person calling and saying 'I don't want to do that!' We get to keep the author nice [...]


XL: Designer, Inshallah Clothing Company

Tell me about your job. I just started an apparel company called Inshallah about 4 months ago. I created a line of clothing that I felt, me being Muslim, would bring unity through fashion. I say that because I am an American, I was born Christian, have a lot of Christian friends, I have a lot of Jewish friends, and I see so much going on in the media, and I wanted to create a brand that would speak positively about my religion, but also something that just represents me.


Jacqueline Goewey, Owner, Made Fresh Daily

Tell me about your job. I was a magazine editor for years and one of my beats at one point for InStyle was food. Every month we would do a story about a party you could host at home from a chef with celebrity clientele. I did a lot of that kind of thing at that job and plus I always loved to cook. It happened that my friend Lauren Bentley who was also in the magazine world and I were both thinking about maybe doing some kind of baking enterprise. She had a little cupcake and custom cake business and I thought maybe we could do something [...]


Sasha Weigel: Doula and Midwife in Training

Tell me about your job.

I was traveling in Thailand, working in a hospital about three years ago. I got to see the maternity ward there and some births and it basically changed the course of my life. When I came back I became an EMT and I started assisting births—not as an EMT, totally separate. Suddenly I was launched into the medical world and I became a Doula, which is a certified birth assistant, and now I am studying to become a midwife. To become a Doula you go through a six-month certification process and it's basically an emotional and psychological support system for the mother. It differs from [...]


Jason Janawsky, Co-Owner, Bronx Ale House

Tell me about your job. I spend the majority of my time here. I do a lot of front of the house managing work. I do all the scheduling and design the menus, basically the whole appearance of the place. The bar's been open since August 2009, I've been here since the beginning. It took us nine months to build the place, we bought in November of 2008. Before this I owned an irrigation business on Long Island. I decided to sell it; I didn't know what I wanted to do. I met my partner here, Drew, and got into the business with him. From there, I don't [...]


Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart, Nun

Tell me about yourself. I used to live in Manhattan, I studied art growing up. When I received my call I spoke to the vocation director about the contemplative life. I wasn't quite sure where God was calling me. I like children very much, at one point I was thinking of entering into an active order and working with children or orphans or doing missionary work. I prayed about it and after hearing about the contemplative life and coming here for the first time I walked in our chapel, and I knew in my heart that this was where God wanted me. A lot of the sisters and brothers [...]


Calvin Utter, Street Performer and Mime

Tell me about your job. I do stilt walking in various capacities. I have a series of different costumes, and I decide which one I want to do that day. One is a mime, juggling, interacting while silent, then one is like a mythical woodland spirit character. I basically put it on, with the makeup in my apartment in Flatbush, and I pack up the stilts and schlep into usually Central Park or Union Square. I've had some trouble in Times Square, but I like it there too. I have to sit on something kind of tall because the stilts are about three feet tall, and I strap in. [...]


Rosal Colon, Broadway Actress

Tell me about your job.

I come from a pretty interesting theater background—my parents started Pregones Theater which is one of the foremost Latino theater companies in New York. I was born into that, and so I became a very active member in it, we're now in our 30th year. I studied drama at a performing arts high school and after that decided to pursue the craft a little more seriously and went to SUNY Purchase for their acting conservatory. I got out and started auditioning, working a lot with Pregones, doing readings here and there. I eventually booked a great Broadway job with "A Free Man of Color" [...]


Jia-Yi He, Professional Harmonica Player

Tell me about the harmonica. In 1964 when I was 10 or 11, I started playing harmonica. I got a harmonica from my older sister, she had played for about two years. I found the sounds to be wonderful, and I loved it. After playing harmonica, I tried many other instruments. I played the Chinese fiddle, the violin, the cello, the piano, every instrument I wanted to try. But no matter what I always came back to the harmonica. I think the harmonica has a very special, unique sound. When playing the harmonica, I have a easier time controlling the music than with other instruments, it's just using [...]


Sheila McClear, 'New York Post' Features Writer

Tell me about your job. I write features which are anything that's not hard news—longer form articles that aren't attached to the news cycle. Things that might be more in the cultural ether, maybe profiles of people, or stuff like that. I did a couple fashion stories on the Golden Globes, what people wore, what people wore in the past, I interviewed a bunch of stylists, talked about what it all meant. I've done more interesting things than that, but that's the most recent one. I like writing features, you get the luxury of time, where it's more of a weekly deadline than a daily deadline. In the case [...]


Emil Hewitt, Musician

Tell me about your job. I made a record that I produced and wrote last year. I snuck it on the internet and it got some good press and reviews and I pressed a single in the United Kingdom and then I got an offer to come to New York to make music for Cantora Records. Originally it was a solo project, and now it's a five piece band called Emil and Friends, it's evolving at a very rapid rate, like an alien fetus. It's bizarre pop with a steady dance rhythm and all kinds of influences. It's got some flamenco, it's got some American folk, it's got [...]