Paul Pikulin, 25
86th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues
Thu Jan 4 2007
Photograph by Jay Muhlin
"This suit is from a boutique in Queens. I can't remember its name. Some girl took me there because it was supposed to be cheap...and it was. This getup is just for work. Otherwise, it's a hoodie, a hat...you know, hip-hop style."
What are you up to? I'm on my lunch break.
Where are you from? Russia. But I live on Staten Island.
Ah, the forgotten borough. Yeah, I don't mind. I'm originally from Brooklyn, anyway—well, after Russia—so I don't really associate myself with Staten Island.
Where in Russia are you from? Belarus, actually—Minsk. You know, like from Seinfeld [Laughs]—they're always talking about that movie..."a girl's long journey from Milan to Minsk."
Is that what people say when you tell them where you're from? Enh, no. Most people still haven't heard of Belarus. And if it weren't for Seinfeld, no one would have heard of Minsk, either.
What do you do when you're not on your lunch break? I work as a personal banker at Citibank so I can afford to go out.
And where do you do that? Mostly lounges in Chelsea, like Home and other places around there. You have to have a good girl-to-guy ratio to get in. Or know somebody, or buy bottles...which is expensive.
How long have you been smoking? Eight years or so.
Trying to quit? Not trying, but thinking about trying.
NYC's trying to make you quit? No, the laws actually make it more pleasurable to smoke. It forces everyone to go outside the club for a cigarette, which is where you end up meeting a lot of people, since you can actually hear them out there.
So are you the type of guy who hits the dance floor or are you more likely to sit in a corner and drink? First the drinking, then the dancing. And really, when it's hip-hop music playing, it's not really dancing. It's more just grinding.
More just copping a feel on the dance floor. [Laughs] Yeah. The real dancing I don't know how to do.—Kate Lowenstein