Jonathan was interviewed by the SoHo Broadway Initiative for the Hey Neighbor series.
What brought you to SoHo Broadway? What do you do here today?
In December it will be 2.5 years since I was assigned to this location (594 Broadway) by Excel Securities. I work here as a security guard and have worked at a variety of locations around the City.
What do you like about SoHo Broadway?
I have a background in art, so I really enjoy the artistic history of the neighborhood. My grandfather, Leo Fried, used to own a building at 118 Spring Street which housed Fried’s Luncheonette. The luncheonette was a place where food was exchanged for art and vice versa.
What is your favorite memory or experience?
My favorite experience is coming to work and talking to people about the art that I am creating in my spare time. I am fluent in oil paint, watercolor, and black and white photography, but I am most known for my ink sketches.
If you had 20 minutes to hang out, what would you do?
If I was leaving from 594 Broadway I would walk along Houston Street to Katz’ Deli and grab a pastrami sandwich or I might head over to Yonah Schimmel and purchase their sweet potato Knish. After that I might pop in for a drink at Botanica Bar and research my next travel destination.
What should we know about you outside of working here? What are you looking forward to?
Three words can be used to describe what I enjoy outside of work: jazz, theater, and art. Many people see me as a concierge more than a security guard because I am very knowledgeable on these subjects.
My ink sketches are created while watching live jazz shows. I focused on jazz because the music is wonderful, the musicians are intelligent and accessible to meet. I would say my top two places to draw are at Jazz Gallery and Jazz Standard. Zinc Bar also has a drawing friendly environment.
Over the last few years I have produced around 400 sketches from live jazz shows. I have started creating an interactive book full of art and music that will be filled with about 250 of those ink sketches. My hope is that the book will be ready sometime next year.
The Hey Neighbor series features people who live and work on SoHo Broadway. Send suggestions to email@example.com.