When it comes to celebrities, there’s famous and then there’s “New York” famous. Those local celebrities are close to the hearts of New Yorkers but unknown if brought up outside city limits.
This classification of stars is the focus of the new book, “Meet the Regulars,” a compilation of interviews by Brooklynite Joshua D. Fischer, the man behind the series of the same name on New York magazine’s Bedford + Bowery.
The Greenpoint resident, 39, chats with comedians, TV and radio personalities, photographers and more in the bars, stores and local haunts close to their hearts.
Readers will learn of Pat Kiernan’s favorite food spot (Williamsburg’s Meatball Shop outpost) and where comedian Sasheer Zamata loves to hang (Enid’s in Greenpoint).
He chats with actress Jessica Pimentel at East Williamsburg’s Anchored Inn and shoots the breeze with Lola Star at Coney Island’s Freak Bar.
Interviews and anecdotes are accompanied by essays from Fischer which ponder issues like gentrification — something that he says he’s experienced both sides of. “That’s the ironic thing that I admit to, is that I am a gentrifier,” the author told amNewYork.
Originally from the Detroit area, Fischer has been living in the same Greenpoint apartment for the past 13 years. In that time, he’s experienced the socioeconomic turbulence in Brooklyn first hand, while admittedly reaping the benefits that come with gentrification too.
“The most significant changes I’ve seen are the condos,” he said. “They’re not out of place anymore.”
While the book’s original focus was not about gentrification, the topic came up in a majority of his interviews with the regulars.
As a result, the book became a voice of those who may be struggling to stay in touch with a place that is losing its identity, but aren’t exactly complaining about changes either. “I wanted to highlight the voices of Brooklyn and what they said about how gentrification is affecting them for better and for worse,” Fischer explained, “because there isn’t a single tirade against gentrification.”
At its heart, Fischer hopes readers feel they are in on the conversations in the book. “I intentionally wrote this book so that it could be as accessible as possible,” Fischer said. “I hope that this is a book people can truly feel as much as consume.”