“There’s a huge hunger among people to connect in real time and to look in people’s eyes,” said Susan MacTavish Best, the founder of Posthoc, a salon series with notable speakers, home-cooked meals and music presented in the SoHo loft where she also lives. “The city can be lonely,” she said. “There’s such a sense of community and warmth here. I want people to feel that.”
Past guest lecturers have included the film producer Barbara De Fina, the evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano and the writer Michael Pollan. Ms. MacTavish Best, 45, who worked for 20 years in public relations before starting her salons, is also an avid long-distance runner.
NATURAL RISE Waking up to an alarm makes me feel nauseous and reminds me of being in boarding school and waking up at 3 in the morning to study for a test. Sleep is super-important to me. I didn’t sleep much in my 20 and 30s. I wake up around 6 or 7 a.m. and have learned not to make any important decisions unless I’ve had a good night sleep.
VISUALIZATION I think about my run up the West Side Highway. I appreciate being outdoors surrounded by nature and using my body. I couldn’t do that for a while. In 2010 I was relighting a fire in my home and it backlit. I had second- and third-degree burns over 25 percent of my body, mostly on my chest and legs, which required skin grafts. I was in the hospital for six to eight weeks.
I was depressed for a couple of years, and I had to pull myself out of it. You can’t run a business and be depressed. I’ve learned to be my own cheerleader and spend a lot of time in nature. It makes you appreciate being alive. That’s probably why I run outside. It reminds you that you’re just one small being in the world.
SOHO TO HARLEM I like to run on the High Line before people are on it. I treat it like it’s my personal garden. At 125th Street I stop at Fairway and get an ice cream, anything with chocolate on the outside, and a coffee with heavy cream. By this point it’s about 10 a.m. I’ve run nine or 10 miles and listened to a mix of different podcasts, dance music from Spain or the U.K., or if I’m preparing for a salon, I’ll listen to something on that topic.
HARLEM TO INWOOD Things are getting busy. New York is waking up. After my first stop I go through Harlem, through the part right before the George Washington Bridge where there’s this path and stone status. I love that there are parts of Manhattan where you can see something that’s not man-made. I go by the Cloisters. At Fort Tryon Park I peel off the bike path and get another coffee because I’ve run 14 miles.
COOL DOWN I take the A express home. I get off at Canal Street and buy The Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and a few foreign magazines at SoHo News and come home by noon. I shower, read and listen to more podcasts.
PICKLED I’ll fry eggs or eat yogurt. I don’t cook for myself, but love to cook for others. I might pop over to the Japanese supermarket on Broome Street and buy the kimchi. It’s salty and really good and I can’t stop eating it. Everyone is into pickled foods for gut health.
PROJECT For the past nine months my friend Doug has come over at 3 and we work on a fictionalized show we’re writing about my experience in Silicon Valley. He’s got the TV and film experience; I’ve got the stories. He leaves by 5.
INVENTORY If I’m hosting a salon that week I do all the cooking, so I’ll get a huge delivery from FreshDirect because I’m feeding over 70 people. Fresh Direct offers farm boxes with random vegetables, so you don’t know what’s in it, which could mean I have an excess of something I don’t know what to do with and I’ll have to make up recipes on the spot.
NEIGHBOR HANG I’ll take some of the food and at 6 make a chicken and salad for my neighbors. It’s not a sit-down, but that’s the joy of a big kitchen. It’s super-informal. People are really busy; some have new babies, some were away for the weekend. They come and go.
PATCHWORK OF BOOKS I hop into bed at 11 and read again. Piles of books are everywhere. I don’t believe you have to read one book at a time. I can be reading eight or 10 at once. What you want to read in the morning is not what you want to read at night. Currently I’m reading “How to Be a Friend,” by Marcus Tullius Cicero; a dictionary from my childhood to look up words; “The Remains of the Day,” by Kazuo Ishiguro; and a first edition of “Trust Me” by John Updike, whom I’ve never read. I’ll read for 11 minutes and pass out.
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