TCQ&A: Jon Pepper

The Battery Park City resident just released his second corporate satire, “Heirs on Fire,” which is set in Lower Manhattan. Company HQ is on Broad Street, around where the movies “Sabrina” and “Executive Suite” were set and the Beekman Hotel and Bubby’s make appearances. Find references in “A Turn in Fortune” for the Seaport, New Street, Harry’s and Cipriani Wall Street.

The rules of the TCQ&A: Answer as many of the 48 questions as you like (but a minimum of 15, and you must answer #1–4).

1. How long have you lived in the area? Where did you move from? We moved here from our native Michigan in 2007 when the wheels started to fall off the Motor City economy. I got a job in Midtown and we bought a place in a BPC building that was under construction. We looked over floor plans while drinking mojitos at North Cove and watching the sunset over the Hudson and decided (A) we should do this, and (B) another round.

2. Married? Partnered? If so, what’s his/her name and occupation? Diane is my wife. She’s a talented graphic artist who designed the covers of my books. My first designs on her were 39 years ago.

3. Kids? Pets? Three adult kids, all of whom live in New York. They’re the closest we’ve ever come to pets, and I’m pleased to say they are all reasonably well house-trained.

4. Where do you live? We overlook the playground in Rockefeller Park. On a clear day, you can’t see forever, but you get a pretty good look at Jersey, if that’s your thing.

5. What do you do for a living? Or, what’s your non-day job that is relevant to readers? I get up early in the morning to write books before I go to work at the communications firm, Indelable, that I started six years ago on Broad Street. I can now say “books” in the plural because I just released my second novel. I’m not saying there’s a TV series in the works, but I’m not saying there’s not.

7. Most-frequented restaurants: Before the latest lockdown? Tribeca Grill because the hostess, Natalie, is the nicest person on earth. Mr. Chow, because it’s the only restaurant in America where they should actually slow the service a little bit. PJ Clarke’s because the urinal is the size of the Washington Square Arch. It truly is “can’t miss,” but some men still manage to.

8. For special occasions, I go to: Manhatta. They can’t spell, obviously, but they know how to run a restaurant. Spectacular views, excellent food, great service. I liked to eat at the counter overlooking the kitchen. Hard to go there now unless you break in and cook things yourself.

10. Sweet-tooth satisfaction: A box of Dots from the Rite-Aid in Brookfield Place. If you eat at least one of every color, you get all five of your daily servings of fruit.

11. Most delicious cocktail: Nolet’s gin martini up, with a sprig of rosemary and a raspberry. That sounds like some froo-froo drink that the ladies in “Sex and the City” might slurp up, and it made one waiter ask about my pronouns, but it’s actually quite good.

12. I usually order in from… V Café  and I always order the… They have a nice assortment of noodle bowls. And my wife loves their shrimp chips, which look like packing material, but they’re really okay.

13. I can’t resist popping into: Kaffe 1668. The people who work behind the counter look like they’re heading to Bolivia when their shift ends to join a band of jungle revolutionaries. It was the inspiration for Café Che in my books, affectionately known as Commie Coffee.

17. How I stay fit: Swimming laps at Asphalt Green, which is actually better in the age of COVID. You make a reservation for your time and your lane. At minimum, everyone keeps their distance. The more cootie-conscious dress like Navy Seals. And, since former TC editor Erik Torkells left town, the water is much calmer, too. He made more waves splashing around than a Hudson River water taxi.

18. Where I get beautiful: Clearly, I don’t.

19. What’s the area’s best-kept secret? How would I know? Nobody tells me anything.

21. A worthy splurge: When things open up again, I look forward to Chef Nico’s tasting menu at L’Appart. If you avoid the caviar course, you can usually leave with your credit score intact.

23. When my kids are older, they’ll always remember… How Diane and I announced as the twins were graduating from high school that their parents were selling their beloved childhood home in suburban Detroit and moving to New York City. I’m sure it felt like we were disappearing into the Witness Protection Program. We did send them a forwarding address, eventually.

25. Advice for other parents: If you can’t keep your kids from running around my table at the restaurant, I will run around yours. It might rattle the dishes.

27. I’ve never been to… Alphabet City and I don’t know why, but it may have to do with my pour speling.

30. I tend to take out-of-towners to: You can have the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center. I take visitors to Smith & Mills to see the bathroom sink — an amazing contraption sure to elicit oohs and ahhs.

33. Pet peeve: Literally, a pet peeve for me: the people who have trained their dogs to pee on the flowers right next to the “No Dogs” signs in Hudson River Park. You can’t shame these people with a dirty look. They look around and shrug. “Sign? My dog can’t read, man…”

36. My most memorable celebrity sighting: Lady Gaga showing up at the old Duane Park Café late one night and bringing the house down by singing “Someone to Watch Over Me.” I encountered her on the stairs afterward and said, “Gaga (we were on a first-adjective basis) you were fantastic.” She teetered on her enormous platform heels as she reached over to pat my cheek and nearly tumbled down the stairs. Worse, she wasn’t wearing her usual enormous wig to cushion a fall. The headlines would not have been kind.

37. A local celebrity I’d like to run into: Taylor Swift. Maybe she’d like me for a minute, then hate me, then write a nasty song about me and I’d make boldface on Page Six.

38. The most romantic spot around: The Irish Hunger Memorial, a wonderful place for people to remember why they love potatoes.

40. If I could change one thing about the neighborhood: A regulation that says no stroller should be larger than a snowplow. Otherwise, it has to be pushed in the street, maybe in its own dedicated lane.

42. A business I miss: The Harrison. Replacing one of the great neighborhood restaurants with a cheesy (okay, fromage-y) bakery chain was the worst real estate move since they tore down the old Penn Station.

49. If I couldn’t live here, I’d live in… Gramercy Park. A place that requires a key to get into the neighborhood park suggests a level of snootiness that makes our neighborhoods seem almost humble.

50. I wish you had asked me about: What I want to be when I grow up.