Just a few of the things I'm interested in these days...

Sports. I was a two sport athlete in college (track and soccer) so sports in one way or another will always be quite important to me. At one time I competed at close to the highest level in each of my sports, but now I am firmly planted in the ex-athlete category. In grad school, I helped coach long jumpers and triple jumpers at Cornell, who were among the best in the nation (check them out). When I lived in San Diego I played tennis probably 350 days a year, but sadly life in NYC is not supportive of that pass time. And since watching the Yankees and NY Giants doesn't burn any calories, now I run, run, run to justify what I talk about next...

Food & Drink. If I'm not working or sleeping, I'm probably cooking, eating, or thinking about cooking or eating. A bunch of that turns up on my instagram, and of course I have a badly outdated, but more informative food blog. For me, enjoyment comes from finding the best raw materials (ingredients, beer, wine, restaurants, coffee, whatever) and enjoying them in the best possible light with minimal fuss. I could go on (and on, and on), but instead I'll leave you with some quick recs for NYC because it's my most FAQ:

In NYC, get your coffee at Gimme, Grumpy, or Third Rail; your pizza at Rubirosa; your ramen at Ippudo, Hide-Chan, Ivan, or Totto (in that order!); your burgers and dogs at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park (unless less it's a lamb burger- you get those at The Breslin); your Chinese(ish) at Mission Chinese; and your ice cream at Big Gay Ice Cream. Go drink whisky at the Brandy Library. Buy fantastic natural wines from all over the world at Chambers Street (the Spanish section rocks at the moment), Champagne (and more) at Vintry, and spirits (and yet more wine) at Astor. For brunch, go to Locanda Verde. For dinner, start with Marc Forgione; go to a place run by AC, Luke, and Josh; get fish at Marea; and pull out all the stops at Eleven Madison Park.

Photography. I've enjoyed photography since first picking up my mom's old Nikon F-series SLR. My level of seriousness depends mostly on how much free time I have... which these days isn't a lot, unfortunately. Most recent, mostly casual stuff (including food and cat photos!) is on my instagram and a lot more, mostly up to date stuff is on my photo site at smugmug. I'm far from professional, but I shoot a lot of photos (used to), and occasionally one turns turn out well and people buy it.

Conservation. I used to devote all of my "free professional time," to developing software to support animal conservation efforts. I worked with amazing folks like Bob Lacy, Phil Miller, and Philip Nyhus developing software models to help researchers stave off the decline of populations of countless threatened and endangered species. Today, it's just a cause near and dear, but I hope to one day return to that world and be rewarded with a trip to Namibia to play with model populations of cheetahs.

Copyright JP Pollak, all rights reserved. Please contact jppollak at gmail dot com for more information.