DUMBO — Fisher Stevens has a face that will make you do a double-take.
Since the mid-'80s he's been a fixture of film and television, after getting his first big break with “Short Circuit” in 1986. But these days the actor and DUMBO resident is making waves of a different kind in Hollywood. As a producer on the 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary “The Cove,” Stevens has been at the helm of a number of high-profile documentaries, including last year’s “Beware of Mr. Baker” and “Woody Allen: A Documentary.”
This coming Saturday, he’ll apply his discerning eye to judging Brooklyn’s first Tropfest, a short film competition at Prospect Park on June 22. In anticipation of the event, Stevens spoke with DNAinfo New York about the festival, Citi Bikes and his beloved hangout spots in his neighborhood.
Q: How long have you been in DUMBO?
A: I’ve been there for about seven years.
Q: How did you end up there?
A: I had a bunch of friends who lived in the building and I loved the building, and so I moved into that building.
Q: A little bit of a dorm atmosphere then?
A: Yeah. And I wanted to get out of the city. I wanted more space for less money. It was very open and looking at the river. It was just a different vibe.
Q: DUMBO’s been built up quite a bit in the past few years. Where do you go out to eat there?
A: Well, I live off Brooklyn Heights, I go to Brooklyn Heights too. The places I love are in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. I love a bar called Jack the Horse. That’s at kind of the beginning of Brooklyn Heights. I love a restaurant called Henry's End in Brooklyn Heights — classic, amazing food. I don’t eat much meat, but it’s wild game so the elk is spectacular. Even though you’re in Brooklyn, you feel like you’re in Jackson Hole. And then of course, I go to eat pizza at Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s — I kind of alternate now that there’s pizza wars in my neighborhood. I love them both.
And then the best sandwich in New York, I think is in DUMBO. It’s at a place called Almondine. It’s a French bakery and it was really wiped out — a lot of places were hit bad during Sandy, but now it’s coming back strong. It’s a vegetarian sandwich that’s just off the charts. It’s the bread that’s so good.
And then I love Vinegar Hill — I eat dinner there a lot.
Q: What do you think about how DUMBO has changed?
A; Well the parks changed it a lot — that park opening up. To be honest, some of it’s better and some of it’s worse. I love Citi Bikes, but they seem to be on every corner in DUMBO now and Bloomberg is kind of — he’s just made one of the main thoroughfares a two-way, so it’s opened up a lot of traffic. It’s packed. When I moved there, it was just beginning to get crowded, but now it’s pretty packed.
Q: How do you feel about the Citi Bikes program?
A: Well, I mean, it’s great. I’m all for biking. I used to be a bike messenger and I think it’s great. People have to be careful but, um, there’s just so many. I love the Vélib in Paris, but it’s not on every corner. It seems like it’s on every corner DUMBO.
Q: I understand that you're moving out of the neighborhood because you're about to become a dad. As you leave the DUMBO after seven years, what other ways have you found it changing?
A: There’s a lot more businesses. DUMBO is still not great, ultimately, with restaurants and food. It’s starting to become better. I think it’s changed in that it’s becoming very baby-stroller-heavy, which I didn’t want to add to, so I’m taking my stroller somewhere else.
Q: What will be your criteria for judging the short films at Tropfest?
A: Well, I think it’s going to be what’s entertaining and hopefully something touching or something I can learn from as a viewer and maybe funny, I don’t know. I hope they’re good. There’s nothing worse than sitting through bad movies. I’ve been in some of them.