Episode 0046 · May 25, 2023

The podcast about what to do next.

Best of Brooklyn

[Unedited Transcript]

Paul Ford: [00:00:00] Rich, how you doing?

Rich Ziade: I’m doing real good. How you doing? How you doing?

Paul Ford: I so thank you for that. The way you just pronounced. That is perfect for where I’m taking us.

Rich Ziade: where you taking it?

Paul Ford: I was walking in today. I took a picture. I shared it with you on WhatsApp and with your brother. Uh,

there was a, a fruit delivery truck by the bodega on the new Kirk Avenue stop when I was headed over here.

Rich Ziade: Okay, cool.

lots of food delivery trucks

Paul Ford: This was, this was the fruit company? Yeah. Okay. And it was, um, it just a big, I love the era we live in, in which people just are able to print four colored giant posters of everything. It’s like when you go by the bodega name of the picture of all the sandwiches.

Rich Ziade: there’s an excellent Twitter account. That’s just art from that

Paul Ford: I love it. I love it. I love the sign. If, if, if I really was given over to Fun and frolic, I would buy a sign store in Brooklyn and just go live out of it.

Rich Ziade: Oh, it’s just like, oh, where’s the roast beef? [00:01:00] It’s like literally flying sandwiches, ba slamming into each other and it just says, you know, 14th Street Deli.

Paul Ford: Oh yeah, the bodega. I’ve seen some good ones too. I, I, there was one store where for about a week it said you could get cigarettes and beagles. That was good. Uh, and the one near my house just pronounced, ha, they, they didn’t pronounce, they just spelled Hamburger Hamburg. So that, that’s good too. I love the misspellings, but.

The banana truck, the the fruit store

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: Big picture on the back of the truck, like the whole thing is taken over a picture of fruit and we’re right in very fancy type in memory of Johnny Bananas.

r i p r i p, Johnny Bananas. It’s

just a great moment and

Rich Ziade: that is an extremely Brooklyn, potentially Staten Island moment.

Paul Ford: just, yeah, exactly. It’s just, there’s just this, there’s something that happens only here where it’s actually both hilarious and touching. [00:02:00] And it really is. In memory of Johnny Bananas,

Rich Ziade: it really, you know, just let’s, can we take five seconds of silence for

you know what I love about Brooklyn?

Paul Ford: I love a lot about Brooklyn, frankly.

Rich Ziade: It’s anti assimilation.

Paul Ford: Yeah. It, it, it’s, it’s,

Rich Ziade: it’s just like you want to go to Pakistan, get in a cab for eight minutes.

Paul Ford: It’s true. I live, I live next to little Bangladesh.

Rich Ziade: It’s just this wild

Paul Ford: Haiti isn’t far away either.

Rich Ziade: Yeah, and look, there’s, there’s a bit of that in the other boroughs.

Let’s be honest, Queens’s, probably the MO like runs a close second. Maybe Bronx, [00:03:00] Manhattan is annoying. Manhattan is like, okay, I got my master’s degree and I’m coming back into the city to work for kpmg. Nothing against kpmg. We are, you know, they did

Paul Ford: we’d love the demo aboard to

Rich Ziade: We’d love to demo board to you, but look, it’s a little, it’s a little homogeneous and it’s, you know, it’s a lot of the, you know, where’d you go?

Oh, Michigan. Congrats.

Paul Ford: they, you get into those giant apartment buildings where everyone is exactly the

Rich Ziade: Yeah. and

you know, I am an immigrant. Uh, I came to

Paul Ford: You don’t say

Rich Ziade: I am, and, and, and the funny thing about, you know, Brooklyn is why do like people create these sort of concentrated pockets of different nationalities?

It’s because when they come here, they’re like, go there

Paul Ford: Yeah.

Rich Ziade: asap. Like, go there. You’re, you’re Arabic, go to Bay Ridge, you’re. Greek go to Astoria Queens, like they’re told to go where it is a little familiar to them.

Paul Ford: I can’t remember what it’s either little Pakistan or little Bangladesh, but in there is a na, the neighborhood I’m in.

Has little, [00:04:00] lots of little

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: One of them is simply because there was a dam that was built.

Rich Ziade: Okay. And

Paul Ford: And it it wrecked a lot of communities. And so the people who whose lives were disrupted by the dam were brought, came over.

Rich Ziade: I see.

Paul Ford: And they all settled in this one neighborhood. And

Rich Ziade: and they tend to stick together. Like

Paul Ford: And you can get an amazing like curried goat dish to this day.

Rich Ziade: Right, exactly. And, and, and I think what happens is when people find that sort of pocket of culture, they can sort of slip right into, cuz it’s familiar to them. They don’t shed it,

they shed it when they move, like, I got a job in, in, in Charleston, then they start to shed it and it gets weird.

Paul Ford: Then the kids are named James.

Rich Ziade: Yeah. And look, that’s all fine. That’s not a bad thing, but GR Brooklyn is, you ever see those like little pads you put out for like bugs? It’s very sticky. Yeah. Like if you get it on your hand by mistake, you gotta have to like war Rin, like you have to run warm water.[00:05:00]

Paul Ford: You know what’s funny that we should, we should be clear. Like I went, I went by, there was this huge street fair. And it was not for the white people, it was for the mostly Pakistani community. But everybody was there. Right. And I, and I got, I bought some samosas and like hung out for a while. Like it’s not, when you say non assimilationist, and I think when people think about New York City, they’re gonna think about like a Spike Lee film.


Rich Ziade: yeah.

Paul Ford: reality is like you’re just kind of riding your bike or walking around and you’re like, oh cool, you guys are having a good

Rich Ziade: I might be using the word wrong. What I mean by assimilate is like shedding some of your past

Paul Ford: No, no, I think you’re totally right.

Rich Ziade: It kind of can’t be, we’re too jammed together.

Seeing an old Polish couple walk around Williamsburg. Confused is still a funny thing to this day.

Paul Ford: what is this?

Why are they selling a mink ottoman with coffee? Like, I don’t

I wanted Pirogi

Rich Ziade: and, and I think that’s what it’s beautiful [00:06:00] about Brooklyn. Uh, you can’t, I mean, look, there are all kinds of Brooklyn, uh, in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is a

Paul Ford: Well, and, and the Brooklyn that is now the global brand of Brooklyn Yeah. Is. Actually a very large city unto itself, but a very small part of Brooklyn.

Rich Ziade: That’s a, I live in the global brand of Brooklyn. I live in a neighborhood called Park Slope in Brooklyn, uh, which is connected to Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, which are these really, really sort of, I, I’ll say the word gentrified, gentrified pockets within Brooklyn. That changed a lot. Like Smith Street in Brooklyn used to be a

Paul Ford: This is like, you’re on like four layers of, of gentrification over

Rich Ziade: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But there are po

Paul Ford: like you’re at a point now where when you move in, you’re kicking out lawyers.

Rich Ziade: Yes,

Yes, yes, Which, you know, people are, some are in favor of, um, but you still have, you know, neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, which were, is where I grew up, which is still extremely Italian and extremely cannoli like

Paul Ford: like [00:07:00] it is. It is Bay Ridge oi. Can you get a good Greek meal? Oh my, oh my

Rich Ziade: beautiful restaurants there, but it’s truly, it really has not changed that much. It

hasn’t changed.

Paul Ford: Cops and firemen still live there

Rich Ziade: And, and you like, to your point, you know, along the Coney Island Avenue corridor, it hasn’t changed that

Paul Ford: I always, I always felt that there, well, Coney Island Avenue is Mi miraculous street. If you’re ever in New York City and you want a real New York City and not even little like, hey, the insiders New York City, but the one that no one will show you.

Yeah. Go to Coney Island Avenue

Rich Ziade: the one the New Yorkers don’t want to take you

Paul Ford: Yeah, just walk down Coney Island Avenue as long as you can. Yeah. And it is like, Oh, I’m in Aer Baja. Oh, I’m at a tire store. Like I’m, I’m in the, the cultural shifts that happened on that block. I absolutely love that block. So, or that, that street, um, I always felt that there should be a neighborhood because, you know, as my career was moving along, I’d go meet people at places like Conde Nast and they’d be like, Oh, you live in Brooklyn and they might know like one or two neighborhoods.

Yeah, and I’ve always lived further out [00:08:00] and I just came up with the idea of way Falbo, which is my neighborhood, which is way the fuck out in Brooklyn. Just easier for people to understand.

Rich Ziade: I mean, that is still relevant today.

Paul Ford: Yeah, they know where you are. They know the slope. They know the heights. They know Cobble Hill and Carol Gardens.

Anywhere that like Maggie Gillen Hall might be found, they tend to be aware

Rich Ziade: I think it’s Gillen Hall

Paul Ford: Is it Or a scars guard? They like a good scars guard.


Rich Ziade: think it’s scars. Gerd, no, I don’t know about, I don’t know the right answer for either

Paul Ford: But I live in way falbo.

I go to Coney Island or to the Rockaways on the weekends. I don’t go into the city.

Rich Ziade: Right. You go the other way. Yeah, and I know Mill Basin and Keni, I lived there for a bit too. These are like,

Paul Ford: are not good. Mill Basin is if you want to be, if you want a guy in a forerunner to get out and punch you in the face, that’s Mill Basin.

Paul Ford: So look, what are some of the best things in Brooklyn, Richard? What are what? Let’s, let’s each name like three or four things we


Rich Ziade: minute per,[00:09:00]

Paul Ford: And I’ll tell you while we did this, the funniest thing happened is we were just gonna do this as regular old content. And this is where it gets marketing ready for some marketing.

Rich Ziade: Yeah, go ahead.

Paul Ford: and I have a product that we are co-founders of. We’ve been building for a while.

Rich Ziade: Yes. It’s called a A board.

Paul Ford: Very good. Thank you for getting there. I almost forgot. And, uh, a board lets you organize your passions, lets you put stuff together into cards and you stack them up and now you can share them with anybody. Yes. So while we were talking and I was saying like, well, here’s some content we could create.

You looked at me and you went and we could use our own product here to organize the things that we like about Brooklyn. Totally. And so, Five minutes before we did this podcast, which let, let me be clear. Usually we prepare for days, but today it just happened to be five minutes. Yes. Just a, just a coincidence.

Um, I made a board and we started to go through and add a few things to him. We haven’t added many things to it, but I’m gonna look, we’re each gonna say things we love about Brooklyn, some [00:10:00] history, some food, and just a generic place. We’ll do one of


Rich Ziade: Yeah. And look, we’re not Brooklyn experts. If you are in Brooklyn and you have things to add to, uh, our space, uh, let us know. Email us at hello@zitiford.com and we’ll invite you in.

Paul Ford: in. Okay? Yeah, that’s right because anyone can be part of this board. Yeah. So, alright. I’m gonna start with, I’m gonna, I’m gonna actually knock out you,

Rich Ziade: a minute. I’m gonna make my We can talk one per minute and we’re gonna share five of the cards on the board. And there it may have a lot more by the time you see it.

Paul Ford: Okay, I’m gonna start with a downer, but it’s not really a downer. Greenwood Cemetery. You ever been there?

Rich Ziade: That sounds like a blast.

Paul Ford: Greenwood Cemetery is this deeply historic and it’s about 150 plus years old. It’s founded in 1838,

Rich Ziade: Okay.

Paul Ford: it is one of my favorite places in Brooklyn. It is the size of Prospect Park,

Rich Ziade: Is that right?

Paul Ford: close.

Yeah, it’s not quite as big, but it is big. Okay. It is the [00:11:00] site of a Revolutionary War battle.

Rich Ziade: Oh boy.

Paul Ford: has the highest point in Brooklyn, and it is historically important, filled with Wild Mausoleum, some of which were designed by Tiffany,

Rich Ziade: Whoa.

Paul Ford: Tiffany Glass, and it’s one of the actually most beautiful settings and environments in the fibers,

Rich Ziade: but it has a lot of deceased people

Paul Ford: yeah, but I’ll tell you what,

that’s Oh, okay. What’s, do you got one or you want me to keep going?

Rich Ziade: I’ve got one full disclosure. Uh, it is a landmarked location. Uh, well, full disclosure. Well, I’ll do the full disclosure

Paul Ford: Yeah. You,

Rich Ziade: It’s in Brooklyn Heights, which is one of the most expensive, exclusive, fancy neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Uh, and they make a good sandwich. And there’s a really salty proprietor named Frank who runs it, who just yells at actually some of the most important and influential people in New York City because they want more mayonnaise on their sandwich.

He just yells at everyone, [00:12:00] and it’s actually pretty hilarious. It’s called Brooklyn Heights Deli.

Paul Ford: Mm-hmm.

Rich Ziade: Full disclosure, um, Frank is my uncle. I’ve known him my entire life. He’s actually a big teddy bear, which is why I think most people love him, uh, even though he yells at everyone, like it’s on the same physical block as the, uh, The education commissioner’s home.

Sure. When you become Commissioner of Education in New York City, you, you live in like a mansion, like a mayor’s mansion and they, I guess they probably have this for other. And so there’s all these prominent figures come in the place often gets shut down to film, uh, TV shows and movies cuz it’s like this beautiful idyllic little shop.

But he is a salty, angry Lebanese guy who makes a preposterously large roast beef sandwich.

Paul Ford: Little story about that place, even though we’re gonna run outta time, but it’s a good story. Um, my twins were born at Long Island College Hospital. Right around the corner, From the Brooklyn Heights

Rich Ziade: That’s right.

Paul Ford: So when you have kids, you, [00:13:00] it’s not like they’re gonna cater, you don’t get hospital food. Like you don’t, they don’t bring you anything.

Rich Ziade: Go to Brooklyn Heights Deli.

Paul Ford: I went, that was my first sandwich after I got my, the twins were born. I went and got a sandwich and uh, I told the guys like, yeah, I just had kids at the hospital.

And he was like, oh hey, congratulations. And I gave him a good tip, but I don’t think it was Frank, but

Rich Ziade: probably wasn’t Frank. He wouldn’t have said congratulations. He was like, welcome to hell buddy.

All right. You’re up.

Paul Ford: Um, well, you know, I’m gonna keep it real with sandwiches. This is a place you don’t know this place.

Rich Ziade: I don’t.

Paul Ford: Red hook, red hook down, down

Rich Ziade: Red Hook is,

Paul Ford: Yeah, you keep going, you keep going until you get to the water off.

You start at the Brooklyn Heights Deli and you actually just keep walking down Court Street.

Rich Ziade: What’s it called?

Paul Ford: it called? Devonte’s. It’s a sandwich shop.

Rich Ziade: Okay.

Paul Ford: And it’s just, there is a, a good Brooklyn sandwich is a is a hell of a thing.

Rich Ziade: It’s a, it’s a thing.

Paul Ford: The deli sandwich is one thing. And Frank [00:14:00] Frank’s place makes amazing deli sandwiches.

Yeah. These are kind of the next level full on chicken parm, like everything’s hot, the meatball sub, that kind of thing. Sandwich

Rich Ziade: you It’s hard to finish it. It’s so freaking

Paul Ford: It’s a medically difficult sandwich. Since I went on Manjaro, I don’t actually want to go there very much. Um, it’s

Rich Ziade: an experience. Red hook’s a weird part of Brooklyn. So if you’re coming into Brooklyn, check out Red Hook.

Paul Ford: Correct. All right, rich, back to you.

Rich Ziade: All right. Um, alright, well we’re on restaurants. I’ll do one more restaurant and then you do one more and we’ll call it a day here.

Paul Ford: Well wait. That was 1, 2, 3. Okay. Yeah. Four, five.

There we go.

Rich Ziade: There we go. Um, so I grew up in Bay Ridge for many of my years, uh, and there is an Italian restaurant there called Ponte Vecchio that is named after Ponte Vecchio probably, which is I think a bridge.

Paul Ford: It’s a famous bridge in Venice, or one of those things. Yeah.

Rich Ziade: Anyway, if you want an absolutely authentic, un ironic, just. [00:15:00] An excellent Italian dinner with like a real, like deep in Brooklyn vibe. You kind of can’t beat Ponte Vecchio. I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, I’m gonna imitate one of the waiters, greeting someone that walked in with one word and you will get

Paul Ford: okay. Ready? I’m ready.

Rich Ziade: So the guy walks in, the waiter sees him from across the restaurant and he goes, Jimmy, And that was it. And then you’re like, okay, let’s, let’s have some linguini and white clam. All right, so Paul, you’ve got number five,

Paul Ford: Jimmy. Uh, it’s real. It’s, it’s, um, uh, number five is,

Not exactly one place, but it is this, it’s, you go, you can ride your bike down the beautiful and well maintained bike path on Bedford Avenue

Rich Ziade: Uh huh

Paul Ford: And you can, you get to, um, you can either keep going to sheep’s head Bay, but you can actually use this and you can. Kind of go down, go to Chief Tab Bay, take a [00:16:00] left. There’s more and more bike paths until you get to the Rockaways. And the Rockaways is one of the best beaches in the world. I, I will argue for that.

It is an open public beach.

It’s vast, and it is filled with humans. I mean, if you’re looking for, like, I’m gonna walk quietly on the beach in a linen sweater, and, you know,

Rich Ziade: this might not be for you.

Paul Ford: rich people, thoughts, that’s, that’s not this beach. But this is like, I want to see everyone in humanity, everyone.

Rich Ziade: Everyone’s coming

Paul Ford: and I kind of want to go swimming and it should be pretty like, like nice to go swimming.

Rich Ziade: Yeah. It’s wor it works

Paul Ford: there’s a toilet like that. That’s the Rockaways. Rockaways are great. So that there, there’s just good public infrastructure to get you out to the beach and everybody’s going. So that’s, it’s summer’s coming.

Uh, do it.

Rich Ziade: I’m gonna throw a bonus one out there and only take 20 seconds for

Paul Ford: Okay. I’m ready.


Rich Ziade: a ridiculous, uh, fast food place that you would think had hundreds of locations, but I think has one.

Paul Ford: Oh, it’s not too fast though.

Rich Ziade: It’s not too fast. It’s called Roland Roaster. [00:17:00] in sheep’s head bay. I kid you not, if you turn the lights out and look at the sandwich, and if you got the roast beef with cheese, the cheese glows so brightly that it could light the room you’re in.

Paul Ford: I think everyone who can tolerate roast beef should go to roll and roast, right? It is truly one of the most fantastic experiences in Brooklyn. Look up the commercial online.

yeah, it, it hasn’t changed. So let me ask you something. Did our product help us get this podcast together?

Rich Ziade: It did. It did it. It it, it’s funny we went into product mode. We were like, oh, it didn’t parse correctly, but yes it did. And I think what’s interesting about it is, um, the idea of letting others sort of share their insights. Cuz Brooklyn is 5 million people

Paul Ford: Yeah.

Rich Ziade: and there is probably something I should know about in some corner because someone else who knows it and it’s near where they live or they grew up there can share it out.

So, A, a board is very much about letting others fold in. Um, and we’re still figuring that out, but it is, it is a [00:18:00] place to, to sort of share things that you, you have knowledge about with others and, and, uh, ultimately you hope that it’s a useful tool that others can use.

Paul Ford: I will say that objectively the way we did this, now we are users, number one and two of this tool made it easier for us to get a podcast done.

Rich Ziade: Absolutely. So

check it out aboard.com.

Paul Ford: All right, so if you are already checking out a board.com, but you need more websites to check out, check out z ford.com. Check out at z Ford on Twitter. Uh, give us five stars. Do all the regular things. Send us email and give us, uh, some thoughts and feelings, criticism questions, things you want us to cover.

We are here to help. Have

Rich Ziade: have a lovely week.

Paul Ford: Bye.

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