Actress Greta Gerwig likens Abingdon Square Park in the West Village to Brigadoon
. "You know, it's that musical about that town that disappears for a hundred years?" she asks, laughing. The star of Noah Baumbach's new dramedy Frances Ha
first discovered the spot while a student at Columbia University's Barnard College. "I learned New York City the way I think that most people do--I just got lost all the time. Every time I'd find the park I would be so excited and then it would go away--I'd never know where it was because I was always without map!" These days Gerwig has no trouble finding her favorite Sunday hangout--she lives a couple of blocks away, and has a well-practiced routine in place: picking up flowers from Abingdon Market or flower shop The Meadow
, coffee from local diner La Bonbonniere
, and the latest issues of Vogue
and The Paris Review
from Casa Magazines. "It feels like New York in a movie," she says. "And living here doesn't diminish that feeling. It still feels like the most magical place on earth." We asked Gerwig to give us a local's perspective on her refuge of choice.
New York has so many amazing parks--what makes this one your favorite?
It's an irregular shape, which, for some reason, I find very comforting. It's not a square, it's a triangle. I love Washington Square Park and all of that, but I feel very at ease in a park that is irregular. I've always had this fantasy about living in an attic--that idea of a fourth floor--it just feels more cozy.
What's on your park itinerary?
A lot of times I just stare at people! I like people that seem really committed to their routine: It's so New York, like they've got exactly 10 minutes to sit on this bench before they have to go do something else. Right now the weather's nice, so I'll sit out there and read my book, which is currently Nabokov's Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
. It took me a second to get into it but it's pretty amazing.
What do you bring along with you?
I always have a National narrow-ruled eye-ease paper notebook
with me, just in case I get an idea [for a screenplay]. I like it because it has really small lines: it's even smaller than college-ruled, which I feel really good about. And I love my pen--it's from this store across the street from me called Typewriters and Things, but as far as I can tell they don't have any typewriters in there. It's this Japanese pen called Uni-ball Style Fit
, it's 0.28-width, and it fits perfectly in my spiral binding of my notebook, which is a total nerd victory for me.
Photographs: Andrew Arthur