AVENUE’s back-page column asks New York notables our version of the questionnaire made famous by Marcel Proust
If you are Martin Scorsese and are shooting your latest movie in New York, who do you need to call in order to get permission to scale the Empire State Building? Julie Menin, the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (otherwise known as the Entertainment Czar), that’s who. No one could question Menin’s dedication to this town. She started as a lawyer, owned a restaurant and catering business, founded a nonprofit dedicated to helping small businesses get back on their feet after 9/11 and has been commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs for two years before assuming her current post. As the TV/film industry alone contributes $8.7 billion and more than 130,000 jobs to New York, she’s going to be busy. Oh, and did we mention that she also has three children, a husband, and a dog appropriately named Emmy.
What is your most memorable New York moment? My most memorable New York moment is teaching my three boys how to ride the Pier 26, which was rebuilt by the downtown community after 9/11.
Was there a career milestone or moment that changed everything for you? I was living and running my business near the World Trade Center on 9/11. My business was devastated and we were evacuated from our home. I still cannot imagine what it was like for people who lost loved ones. In early 2002, I started Wall Street Rising, which was a catalyst to helping rebuild Lower Manhattan.
If your apartment were on fire, which three things would you rescue? My kids and husband, which is four. But if you mean inanimate objects . . . my grandmother’s and mother’s photos (they survived the Holocaust), my sons’ favorite stuffed animals, poems and artwork.
What is your favorite movie theatre in New York? When I was pregnant I used to go to the Sunshine Cinema and afterward would have a pastrami sandwich at the iconic Katz’s deli on the Lower East Side.
How do you like to spend your mornings? I am an early riser and am up most mornings before 6 a.m. I like to take a run or bike and then make breakfast for my boys.
Where is paradise for you?
Watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee after a run in the park.
Best meal you’ve ever had in New York City? The Mother’s Day breakfast my boys make me.
Who is the most powerful New Yorker you know? Alexander Hamilton . . . he’s got the biggest hit on Broadway!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.
What is your favorite NYC cliché? It really doesn’t ever sleep!
What do you want to be when you grow up? I’m where I want to be: working for the people of NYC.