Joel Levitt

Coney Island boardwalk

Joel Levitt

Joel Levitt Photograph by Jay Muhlin

"The beard is a unique cut because I did it myself. Only on one single occasion did I allow a barber to do a little trimming."

What are you up to? I'm taking my constitutional.

Are you a Herman Melville fan? No, haven't read him.

So what inspires your maritime getup? [Laughs] If I told you how little I paid for this coat, you wouldn't believe it. It's army surplus from the Sportsman's Guide website, my outfitter of choice.

May I ask how old you are? I can't tell you. It's the best-kept secret in the whole Israeli-folk-dance world.

Israeli folk dance? Yes—the best social activity in New York; one of the few where older men get to dance with attractive women—if they put in the effort to learn the dances.

What else do you do? I'm the director of the Anxiety and Hypoglycemia Relief Institute.

As in, panic attacks and sugar intake? Yes. They're closely related.

So my anxious feeling right now could be a result of the cotton candy I just ate, and not that crazy man yelling "Shoot the freak!" next to us? Maybe. Most people don't realize there's a connection—a lot of doctors don't even know.

Why is that? It's not profitable for pharmaceutical manufacturers to have people understand how they can get healthy by changing their diet. Tranquilizer sales are huge.

Have you got any advice for our anxious readers? High levels of vitamin C for anxiety, depression and fatigue. And visit

Speaking of needing tranquilizers, do you cavort with the characters along this boardwalk? I've lived in New York long enough not to pay attention to anybody as long as they're not doing anything violent. Though I was tempted to walk up to the girl on stilts and tell her I had a weakness for tall women.—Kate Lowenstein