All people who appear in "How's the Universe Today?" live or work in my
community, the downtown area of New York City. Each has, at one time or
another, stopped me in the street, having recognized me from various television
appearances, to ask a question about the universe that they'd been harboring.
They are not actors. They are real people with a real hunger for cosmic
knowledge. Here they are in the order they appear.—Neil deGrasse
Chambers Street Wines
140 Chambers Street
I walk past the Chambers Street wine shop each day after I deliver my kids to
school. The store was built on the lower floors of a converted fire station and
features a broad and occasionally eclectic collection of hand-picked wines.
When he is not advising on a wine purchase, David is an avid reader
of popular-level books on astrophysics.
Paul works across the street from where I live and tends to ask questions of a
more philosophical nature when I pass his shop. He has never shed his childlike
energy and enthusiasm for the cosmos.
Vice President, Personal Banking
Hugh was not at his office when filmed. Instead he was seated on a bench in
City Hall Park when he posed his question about the moon. Hugh is a big fan of
questions that connect events in the universe to life on Earth.
Parking lot attendant
69 Warren Street
A native of Grenada, Eddie works a corner parking lot on a busy street, which
means he sees everybody coming and going. After recognizing me from my PBS TV
appearances, he is never now without questions about the cosmos, in particular
questions about our place within it.
UPS delivery guy
Mike is our regular UPS delivery person. For every delivery of packages to our
home, if I am the one to answer the door, he is sure to ask at least a
half-dozen cosmic questions, as though he had been saving them up since his
last visit and would bust open if he didn't ask them immediately. His interests
in the universe are broad, ranging from Pluto to the big bang.
Fountain Pen Hospital
10 Warren Street
Due to scaffolding, we could not film in front of this well-known pen shop,
which I frequent. I own a modest collection of fountain pens, most of which are
"special edition" pens designed around cosmic themes. Marc, who is French,
works to keep me aware of all such pens that might pique my interest. He is a
big fan of the Hubble Space Telescope and of cosmic discovery in general,
Lewis Gross, DDS
17 Park Place
Lewis is not my actual dentist, so the scene with him was the only one that was
not a recreation of an actual conversation from the past. He is, however, my
upstairs neighbor and walks to his offices a block away.