Jay's Louisville (6.14.22)
You know those “______’s Louisville” banners on the sides of buildings throughout the city? Ali and Jennifer Lawrence and Diane Sawyer and more “notable” names. We think the blank should be for all of us. (Who do you think Louisville Magazine should interview about our city? You can tell us here.)
Here are Jay Gulick’s answers. Published Tuesday, June 14, 2022.
Since March 2020, what’s something you’ve lost?
“The illusion that many people have any concept of what ‘the greater good’ means.”
What should people visit in your neighborhood?
“The Crescent Hill Reservoir. I run there three or four times a week. The Gatehouse is a spectacular building that always reminds me of strolling somewhere in Europe.”
What Louisvillian has died who you really miss, and why?
“David Hawpe, the former Courier-Journal editor who died in 2021.”
Where are you a regular?
“Blue Dog Bakery and Cafe. Egg in a basket with bacon or a loaf of pugliese.
“And I’d love to plug Happy Belly Bistro, owned by Ashlee Northington, a former Sous Chef at the Mayan Cafe. Puts out some of the best food in town in rotating gigs at Gravely and TEN20 breweries.”
What closed Louisville business do you miss most?
“The Sugar Doe Cafe in Butchertown was the best breakfast spot in town in the late 1990s, as well as a great indie music venue.”
What should be Louisville’s theme song?
“‘Ohio River Boat Song,’ by Will Oldham, because it’s lovely and evocative of this place.”
Favorite Louisville building?
“Too many to name but I’m quite fond of the Hilltop Theater building in Clifton, in which I’m fortunate to work every day.”
Favorite Louisville street?
“I love the winding drive out Southern Parkway that ends at Iroquois Park.”
Most memorable show/concert you’ve been to in Louisville?
“TIE: Beastie Boys at Louisville Gardens. This was right after Licensed to Ill came out in 1986. As an Atherton High School freshman, that record blew my mind.
“Soul Asylum/Matthew Sweet/the Jayhawks/Victoria Williams at Louisville Gardens in 1995. Incredible show and my friend Mike Mays (of Heine Bros.’ Coffee) introduced me to the woman who would become my wife, Mary Oliver, who was passing out condoms in the hallway as part of her job with Planned Parenthood.”
One thing Louisville is missing?
“Well-designed and -built affordable housing.”
What does Louisville have that it should be known for but isn’t?
“A fully developed Olmsted Park System comprised of 17 parks and six parkways — only Boston and Buffalo have comparable systems designed by the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York’s Central Park and the Capitol Grounds in Washington, D.C.”
What’s something from Louisville’s past that you wish people today could experience?
“The Freedom Hall of the 1980s when the Louisville Cardinals of my youth were the preeminent college basketball program in the country. Nothing will ever compare to the smell of caramel corn, stale cigarette smoke, Bud Light and the hatred of Memphis State that wafted through the concourses hugging the outer rim of the arena.”
Fill in the blank: “_______’s Louisville” should be the next banner on the side of a building.
“Sadiqa’s. For many reasons, but I witnessed firsthand how Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, led the charge to build the $53-million Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center in west Louisville, $43 million of which was raised privately. I can’t tell you how many people expressed skepticism that it could be done.”
In one word, what’s your biggest hope for Louisville?
“That it will be a more just, diverse, creative, inclusive, safe and vibrant community that my kids will want to live in when they’re older.”
In one word, what’s your biggest fear for Louisville?
“That our leaders lack the will and courage to make this a more just, diverse, creative, inclusive, safe and vibrant community.”
In one sentence, how do you spend the majority of your weekdays?
“Counseling real estate clients and the team of 85 real estate agents that I work with as managing broker at Kentucky Select Properties.”
Besides whatever it is you’re currently doing: What’s the best job you’ve ever had? Why?
“When I was a senior at the University of Arizona, I taught a freshman course on creativity.”
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
“No longer a go-to, but I cleared the room at Akiko’s at my wife’s 40th birthday party when I warbled the nine-minute ‘Bat Out of Hell,’ by Meat Loaf.”
What would you name a Derby horse?
Who would you shadow for a day?
“Conor O’Driscoll, master distiller at Heaven Hill. He’s funny, spins a good yarn and makes damn fine whiskey.”
Favorite thing hanging on the walls at home?
“Tour posters for the band Calexico, a large Gaela Erwin pastel painting and black-and-white photos of my boys when they were little.”
What book have you given away the most?
“A Soldier of the Great War, by Mark Helprin. It’s a beautiful, fictional reflection on the triumphs and tragedies of a life well-lived as seen through the eyes of an elderly Italian man who served in World War I.”
What’s your secret talent?
“I make a mean margarita with Cointreau and fresh lime.”
What three people (living or dead) would be on the guest list to your ideal dinner party?
“Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams and Kris Kristofferson.”
If you could write it yourself, what would your headstone say?
“He led with his heart.”