August 1, 2019

Brittany Brown at NYPL Bryant Park

Brittany at her favorite workweek lunch spot.

At DVDL DD, our work is grounded in research and forecasting, often in close collaboration with other experts in the field, but that doesn’t mean we are inside all day. For Ear to the Ground, we take our field work to the streets and conduct brief interviews with people on the street to learn more about how the public relates to institutions, and the ideas they hope to see implemented.

Dan Muro encountered local Brittany Brown  on a recent afternoon, sitting on the steps of the New York Public Library at Bryant Park.


DM: What brings you to the library today? Do you come here often?

BB: I’m on my lunch break. I do come often—it’s a really nice place to sunbathe, and I love the architecture of the building.

DM: Is this a place you come to be alone?

BB: I do occasionally get interrupted to take a picture here and there [laughs] but I haven’t really made any friends coming here.

DM: Are there any civic institutions in the city that you consider “personal landmarks,” or places that center in your daily life?

BB: As far as museums, of course the MoMA. I love going there, especially on Fridays when it’s free, and when they do disco parties, which are fun. I love checking out art exhibits, which may not be at landmarks, but sometimes [at galleries] in Chelsea. As far as main areas, I usually find myself around Union Square; it’s also close to where I live. I work near Bryant Park, so, for parks, this one.

DM: What comes to mind when you hear “civic institutions”? Does that phrase mean anything to you?

BB: Not really.

DM: Do you have any ideas or hopes for how civic institutions or cities can better serve people? What could we use more or less of?

BB: The most important thing [that] I don’t get out of this city is seeing more agriculture. If there were more communal gardens or something like that, I think we could benefit from more nature, instead of building up more and more spaces. More social areas with shelter from rain in parks could be nice, or even if the lobbies of museums were more comfortable places to spend time. It would be fun if other museums had parties, too.