Ever stumble into a café on a Tuesday morning with a dozen people plugging away on their laptops and wonder, “What are you all doing and working on?” If you said “yes,” you’re not alone. And right here in Greenpoint, you may be surprised to know that a podcast is being produced right across the table from you.
No matter what your interests or where you are in the world, the topic of love is universal. For many, it’s a question with an ongoing search for an answer—and a subject that rarely has a single point of view. Australian native Essie Zar explores perspectives on and experiences of love with those from all walks of life through her podcast Essie’s Hour of Love, produced and broadcasted right from her Greenpoint ‘shack d’amour’ a.k.a flat—a.k.a apartment—on Driggs Avenue. From other fellow podcasters, to childhood friends, to strangers along her path, Essie focuses on the identities of her subjects and their individualized, unique journeys in love and life. While her interviewees talk about things like fairytale endings, headstrong partnerships or the balance between the head and the heart, Essie’s intuition always leads her to capture their most vulnerable stories. We interviewed Essie and her team finding out how they got started, where they are now and how Greenpoint has played a part in not only the podcast’s production but also in their lives.
GP: So, what has been the response of the podcast?
Essie: We have 2,000 listeners on SoundCloud and a little over 300 on Instagram (and growing!) We’ve had several different perspectives from both our listeners and interviewees as it seems we’ve received contrasting point of views across gender.
GP: How do you find or choose your subjects?
Essie: [It’s] a feeling or connection when I either meet someone new, or have wanted to know more about someone I’m already close with. It’s more about gauging in the moment. When I know the person quite well, I already know the trigger questions I want to ask them, but I’ll keep it and wait until I’ve got them on the podcast.
While the podcast is predominantly geared towards the intimacy of others’ life, love and passions, you can catch a glimpse of roleplay from her podcastee (Thompson Waite) on Episode 10 where Essie reveals her idea of the most romantic moment. “They get you. They understand you. They’re connected to your brain and they care about how you react to a situation you care about,” she says.
Like Essie and her own subjects, I found myself wanting to know a little bit more about Essie. Prior to her Love Hour, Essie made her way from down under to the big city studying graphic design at FIT. The thought of a college radio station excited her as she was deprived of this experience in Australia.
Essie: Basically, I always had a dream that I’d have a late-night show on the radio. I said to myself, ‘if you go four years without even trying, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.’
It just so happened a good friend of hers took over the FIT radio station which gave Essie the opportunity she’d been waiting for. She’d began her radio debut interviewing her professors, finding out about their philosophies and why they like to teach. “You have a professor for 3 months and it would take about two months to respect them and I felt like, if I just had an hour to get to know them and understand them, I think I would have gotten on their bandwagon a lot faster,” she says. This ignited her newfound love for interviewing. “I based a lot of my work at school on podcasts and actually my thesis was on interviews. I just fell in love with it. So, while it was a radio show, it was also a secret love of podcasts at the same time,” Essie remarks.
Essie: Haha, YES! Well this popped into my head before I came to America so I had never actually heard of Delilah… but to be honest, while I never really loved “Sleepless in Seattle,” I bet that late-night radio show that she listens to probably sparked the idea (she laughs) and I’ve always loved the dramatic moments in a rom-com where the perfect song was played. So, I always wanted to have a radio show where we could play all the love songs and geek out about love stuff and I would joke with my friends and say, the show would be at midnight and it would be called, ‘Essie’s Hour of Love,’ and they would just cringe and tell me, ‘No. No one would listen…and you’re an idiot,’ but in a beautiful loving way.
Essie took up residence in Greenpoint in 2012 where she first lived on Jewel Street—which became quite the conversation piece back home in Australia where her friends and family would refer to the exceptional neighborhood and ask, “how’s the Jewel?”. As she frequented her favorite spots, and routinized her day-to-day, she felt “a piece of home in the madness of NYC. The things you miss from home started to happen for me in Greenpoint. I also feel comfortable asking people to come here for the podcast. It’s a nice place for people to visit, between the park and the walk… I’ve also become an incredibly good recycler since I’ve lived in GREENpoint.”
So, there you have it Greenpointers, it may be fair to say that what leads us on our journey is our connection with each other. Say hello to your truly lovely neighbors and stayed tuned for Essie’s next Hour of Love. You can access all the interviews from her site or on Soundcloud.