Tracy Dockray

Sixth Avenue and 12th Street

Tracy Dockray

Tracy Dockray Photograph by Donald Bowers

How old are you? I' I 44 now? I think I'm 44.

I detect a drawl. Where are you from? I'm from Lubbock, Texas. It's funny, I've been in New York for 20 years but I still consider myself a Texan. I was just there visiting my folks. Missed the county fair by three days...

Too bad! Y'know, to New Yorkers, Texas seems like a different country. Oh my god, yes. Where I'm from, it's so flat they say you can see for four miles, and if you stand on a tuna can you can see for eight.

And the culture is pretty different too, huh? Oh yeah. When I was just there, G. Gordon Liddy was going on and on about immigration...and these people actually believe it! And they actually support George Bush! And you can't say anything 'cause they're just like, "Well you're from Liberalville." But sometimes Liberalville might have a point!

What do you do? I write and illustrate children's books. I just finished reillustrating the Ramona series. I just love Beverly Cleary.  When I went out to California to meet her, she asked, "Have you come to show me sketches?" And I was like, "No! I'm here to worship at your feet!"

Do you have any kids to use as guinea pigs for your work? [Laughs] Yes, I have a four-year-old and a five-year-old. I did a lot of books before having them and then when they came along, I was like, "Oh, I get it! They like this and that, and cynicism goes right over their heads." They really soften you up.

So you're the expert now. Well, thinking of myself as a parent is a riot, 'cause I always told my mom I was gonna have kittens. That way you only have to be pregnant for three months and then after about six weeks you can give 'em away.

But then you gave in to human offspring! I gave in and I'm just thrilled. They're so much fun.

"I love this hat. I got it on the street somewhere two years or so ago. My husband went out and bought me a Coach hat, and I don't like it nearly as much as this little plaid street hat."

No love from the street vendors? Try The Hat Shop (120 Thompson St, 212-219-1445), where bucket hats start at $68.—Kate Lowenstein