Public eye: Fabrizio Fiumicelli, 46
New York street interviews: Stories from the sidewalk as told by real New Yorkers about their lives in the city that never sleeps.
Tue Jan 15 2013
Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein
Bedford Ave at South 3rd St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Keeping warm? More or less! This is my hurricane outfit. When I left my apartment in Battery Park, I thought it was just for the night, but now it’s very cold; I had to borrow this jacket and scarf from my friends.
Oh, man. Are you back home yet? Yes, recently. We’re still getting power from a generator. My friend who lives nearby has three months until he can move back.
Jeez. I don’t suppose you’ll get even one of those $10 billion, huh? [Laughs] I don’t think so. But really, I’ve been lucky compared with other people.
Where did you grow up? In Pisa—between Florence and the sea.
Did you watch that tower lean more over the years? I could see it from my window. But the lean was only increasing by about one centimeter per ten years or something like that. Not too long ago they tried to do something about it.
I remember that. Kind of a fiasco, right? Yes, the first day they attached the tower to the roofs of the surrounding buildings with a big wire cable. [Laughs] Then they made holes all around it filled with water and froze it. But they forgot that ice expands when it freezes.
Geniuses. Yes, that almost detached it from the base. So then they started with a simpler project: They just made a hole on the opposite side from where it was leaning, to make it lean back a little in the other direction. That worked.
Did you ever get tired of the tourists? Uh, yes. But growing up there, the whole square, which is magnificent, used to be open at night. In the spring and summer we used to go there and all the students played guitar and drums and smoked joints; it was really alive. Now they close the square with gates at 9pm because they’re afraid of terrorist attacks.
That would be an easy building to take down. [Laughs] Right! They had some warning from terrorist groups. They also just want to preserve it.
America must seem so young to you. Most of our cities in Italy are old, but America has lots of beautiful places too. They’re both beautiful, in different ways.
More from Fabrizio
“I own a hair salon in Soho called Laicale.”