Due Diligence

Filmmaker Roger Sherman on his camera-ready apartment, international food crawls, and why he's never leaving New York City

Photo shoot for the cookbook, V Is For Vegetables, by Michael Anthony, executive chef of Gramercy Tavern and Untitled at the Whitney, at Sherman's home. (L-R: Kathy Brennan, recipe editor; Dorothy Kalins, producer, apartment owner, Sherman's wife; Sue Li, sous chef; Maura McEvoy, photographer; Michael Anthony, chef/author). Inset: Roger Sherman

Roger Sherman

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Roger Sherman is a documentary filmmaker and founder of Florentine Films, whose work has won an Emmy, a Peabody, a James Beard Award, and two Academy Award nominations. His newest film, In Search of Israeli Cuisine, a portrait of the Israeli people told through food, opens at Lincoln Plaza and the Angelika on Friday, March 24th. It has already garnered accolades in film festivals around the country.

Sherman lives in  the east 50s ("I like to call it the Middle East," he says) with his wife, Dorothy Kalins, founding editor-in-chief of two magazines, Metropolitan Home and Saveur.

We talked to Sherman about his apartment being a cookbook author favorite, why he's never leaving New York, and more latest round of Due Diligence:

1.  What neighborhood do you live in?

Midtown East. I've lived here for 27 years, and my wife has lived here longer.

2. Is this your dream neighborhood or is there someplace else in NYC you’d prefer to settle in?

Yes, and no. I think there are a lot of dream neighborhoods. We're a few blocks from Central Park, where my dog takes me for a run every morning. But I wish the food was better, and I wish it was closer to the Union Square Greenmarket. We do have [a market] near the U.N. that is small but pretty fabulous.

3. Do you own or rent?

Own.

4. How’d you find it?

I found Dorothy first.

5. What’s the one thing you love the most about it?

It's an ideal place. It's New York, so there's never enough space, even though it's pretty big. The kitchen and living room are probably my favorite. Dorothy knows a lot about architecture and design and redid the kitchen while she was at Metropolitan Home. Many stories and books have been shot in our kitchen. Michael Anthony's V is for Vegetables was photographed here. The doughnut recipes for Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook's book, Federal Donuts, were tested in our kitchen and I got to taste them.

6. If there’s one thing you could change about your apartment, what would it be?

Like every New Yorker, I'd like it to be bigger.

7. In three words, describe the first apartment you've ever lived in.

Copenhagen, fabulous, near the king's castle (okay, note exactly three words).

8. Do you dream of old New York or prefer the 2017 version?

I would have liked to have been here when oysters were so plentiful, you could get them for 2 cents each on every street corner (16th, 17th, 18th century). But I think living here back then would have been very difficult, so I'm pretty happy where I am.

9. Tell us about the favorite apartment you’ve ever had.

My favorite one is this one. I lived in western Massachusetts for years but this is my favorite.

10. And the worst?

A drafty cabin in Belchertown, Massachussets, when I was going to Hampshire College. The pipes froze and the septic backed up into our room. We were out the next day, and actually moved into the cabin next door.

11. Name one NYC service you couldn’t live without.

Food delivery.

12. What's your favorite spot in the city?

I can't name one, I have to name two: Central Park and the Union Square Greenmarket.

13. Which would you rather: Brooklyn brownstone or a penthouse in a shiny, new condo?

Brooklyn brownstone.

14. If you could live elsewhere, where would it be?

Near the Greenmarket. I'm not leaving New York. It's the best place to work, and to retire. We have elevators, doctors, hospitals and home delivery. People say, "Oh, I'm moving to North Carolina, or Arizona" and I ask, do you know anybody there? It's cheaper, sure, but I have my friends and this incredible culture here. Just walking down the street is a wonderful cultural experience. We have all these museum memberships. I wouldn't trade New York for anything.

15. Any advice for a recent New York transplant?

Walk, walk, walk. And ask for directions, because New Yorkers are the nicest people. 

Visit as many neighborhood as you can. Make discovering New York an adventure. Every 20 blocks is a different neighborhood with a different feel. Eat in restaurants that are foreign to you—you will be surprised and delighted.

 

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