I’m extremely excited to interview author Amy Thomas, author of Paris, My Sweet (Sourcebooks, 2012) and now a new memoir, Brooklyn in Love: A Delicious Memoir of Food, Family, and Finding Yourself (Sourcebooks, 2018). We not only have the same publisher, but are also returned expats and love Brooklyn for the same reasons. I really enjoyed her book and having this opportunity to ask her about it and if there’s a reason to go back to Manhattan much after moving to Brooklyn.
Susan Blumberg-Kason: I loved your book and could resonate on so many levels. I also repatriated after living in an exciting city abroad. My oldest son lives in the East Village and my brother is in Brooklyn (Little Caribbean), so I enjoyed reading about both places in your book. I also love how you weave your relationship story into your discovery of Brooklyn and Manhattan eateries (not just restaurants, but pie places, ice cream shops, chocolatiers, etc.) Did you get to know the owners of these places before you got the idea to write Brooklyn in Love, or did you meet most of them after you knew you were going to write the book?
Amy Thomas: It was a mixture of both. Most of the places, we just stumbled into and/or fell in love with either while we were dating and going out a lot or looking for an apartment and religiously trekking through Brooklyn. And then when it was time to write the book, it was a matter of reflecting on some of the pivotal moments of our relationship and aligning them to the restaurants, bars, and bakeries where they took place.
SBK: Have you been back to Paris since your solo trip when you were pregnant? Do you have any plans to take your family there and do you still feel a strong connection to Paris?
AT: Paris will always be one of the great loves of my life! When I first moved back to New York after living in Paris for two years, I’d return once or twice a year to stay connected with friends and the city itself. But now, with so much time that’s passed and a husband and child, it requires a little more planning and compromise to pull off. I was last in Paris in the fall of 2016. It was a solo visit, and it was awesome. I’m hoping all three of us can get over together later this year.
SBK: What’s the best thing about being a parent in Brooklyn that you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere?
AT: There are so many other middle-aged parents with young kids here in Brooklyn. A lot of us still enjoy going out to restaurants and bars, so you see a lot of that: couples with their young ones in tow at the local bar or restaurant. I love that.
SBK: Before my son started at NYU (and I love your shout-outs to NYU students in Brooklyn in Love!), I would go to New York and never set foot in Manhattan. Brooklyn had it all. So now that you’ve been in Brooklyn for a while, do you find yourself going back to Manhattan as much as you expected?
AT: I wish I had more time to walk around Manhattan the way I used to. Once in a while, I’ll meet a friend for dinner there and have the luxury of walking there and/or taking a taxi home. It always makes me so nostalgic to be out in the city streets. I have so many great memories, and there’s such great energy. I’m so content in Brooklyn, but Manhattan still holds a very dear place in my heart.
SBK: What’s the next hot neighborhood in Brooklyn?
AT: Greenpoint is definitely on the rise.
SBK: Can you recommend a restaurant or cafe in Brooklyn that came into being after you finished your book?
AT: There was a wonderful restaurant called 606 R&D that Andrew and I loved – we had dinner there on the night before my c-section. It sadly closed that winter, but we get to the restaurant that took its space pretty often: Faun. It has a small menu of pastas and meats, plus great cocktails.
SBK: Are you working on another book?
AT: I’m not at the moment. I have lots of ideas, but between my day job (in advertising) and being a new wife and mother (at least it still feels new!), I don’t have the bandwidth to take anything too ambitious on. Someday though!
Thank you so much, Amy, for taking the time to answer my questions. I’m going to be in Brooklyn (and Manhattan) next week for a quick trip and will try to check out as many places in your book as I can!