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 A bunch of that turns up on my instagram, or my more boozy instagram, and like everyone else I have a badly, horribly outdated food blog.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 Wines (the Spanish section ROCKS), 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; transport yourself to Mexico City via Cosme or their more casual, crazy good spot ATLA; get fish (and bone marrow pasta) at Marea; indulge at Le Coucou; 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 as a kid (sorry for all the wasted film!). 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 travel and nature stuff is on my photo site at smugmug. I'm just a hobbyist for sure, but I've shot a lot of photos in some really nice places. Shockingly to me, some of them have turned out well enough that the occasional person even buys a print.

Conservation. I used to devote all of my "free professional time," to developing software to support animal conservation efforts. I have 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 along with some occasional advice-giving and meeting attendance. I hope to one day return to that world more deeply and be rewarded with a trip to Namibia to play with model populations of cheetahs.

Copyright JP Pollak, all rights reserved. Please contact jppollak on gmail for more information.