George Hahn loves New York. But in 2016, the writer, actor and sartorial pragmatist wrote an essay about how the city — his home for 22 years — had become unsustainable for his creative lifestyle. He decided to move home, to Cleveland, Ohio, where he marveled at his 1,000-square-foot apartment (with in-suite washer/dryer). But he grew to miss New York terribly. So when a Manhattan dermatologist offered him a full-time job, he returned — in January 2020.
By that March, he had been furloughed.
Mr. Hahn spent his newfound free time on Instagram and Twitter (he used to be the social media director for Joan Rivers), where he mostly expressed his reignited passion for New York.
“It might be going down as one of the best loves of my life,” Mr. Hahn said of the city. “To spend my money somewhere else when business is needed here would feel disloyal. To be among the counted when so many left, among those who stuck it out, is a privilege.”
Last summer Mr. Hahn recorded a satirical video of New York as hellscape — “The streets are lined with people doing things like … getting ice cream … gay ice cream” — which went viral. “Then I started feeling the pressure: Is this my ‘Citizen Kane’? Or can there be more of this?”
He started recording his walks and his shaving sessions — where he’d discuss anything from his sober, vegetarian lifestyle to politics — and posting daily “Good Morning” images, often with a film noir bent and involving coffee.
Mr. Hahn now has over 128,000 followers on Twitter, including entertainers like Jane Lynch and Wanda Sykes. “This is all a total surprise to me,” he said.
But he still has his day job — as a patient concierge for a cosmetic dermatologist — which he returned to full-time last June. Mr. Hahn, 50, lives with his two dogs, Smokey and Lenore, in a 360-square-foot converted hotel room on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “It’s a very edited life,” he said.
GOOD MORNING My day starts with coffee. My coffee method is gloriously analog. I use a Chemex. There’s something great about making your coffee with something that is part of the permanent collection at MoMA. I take my coffee black, straight, like I took my vodka.
On Sundays I don’t set an alarm, nor do I shave. I’m very lucky to have two dogs that are not crack-of-dawn dogs. They are like teenagers. I have two cups of coffee. I read the Times on my iPad. The dogs wake up. We rally and head over to Central Park.
SHOE BOX CHIC My dogs eat this frozen raw food. I put the food in their bowls before the walk so it’s thawed out when we return. On Sundays, I try to do as much task-free and mask-free activity as possible. I wear a mask all week. So I spend time in this chic little shoe box. It’s the only place where I’m comfortable. I’ll pour another cup of coffee. I’ll read more. I try to put a dent in that growing pile of New Yorkers.
STROLL I might go to the Strand, formerly Book Culture. Most of the books I acquire are in digital form; the last physical book I bought was Jerry Seinfeld’s “Is This Anything?” I love the smell of bookstores, and it makes me feel smarter just to stand in one. I’ll also go to Zabar’s to pick up items like rugelach, bagels, their lifesaving cream cheese, French/Italian roast coffee and maybe one of their prepared foods for dinner that night.
RIDE I may go on a bike ride in Central Park or down the river, if it’s not too cold or raining; when it comes to temperature and precipitation I’m a baby. I deliberately chose a bicycle that is neutral in terms of its attire requirements. It’s like a Schwinn that someone would have had in the ’70s. Leather seat, upright. I went to a formal event in a tuxedo on it.
REST The dogs might be due for another walk. After that, I feel so free to take a nap, because I’m so old. I love them. I don’t know what I was fighting in my childhood. My apartment is a hotel room, so I’ve set it up like a hotel room lifestyle. I’ll get on the bed and nap as if I were napping in the hotel room. There’s the TV, a desk, a lounge chair.
LISTEN Because I’m a podcast fanatic, this might be the time slot for that. I like Pivot, with Scott Galloway and Kara Swisher. I like On the Media. The New Yorker Radio Hour. The New Abnormal. Here’s the Thing With Alec Baldwin. The War on Cars. Sway. I also listen to a lot of NPR.
APPOINTMENT WITH MOM After my nap, I always call my mother. She’s in Cleveland. We usually talk about what she had to eat, the weather, what she’s watching on Netflix. — if it’s got a British accent and a costume, or if there’s a murder, she’s a kid in a candy store. If she could live in the Agatha Christie universe she’d be very happy.
DINNER It bothers me that ordering apps take a large cut from restaurants. I’ll go to Viand or Motorino and get it and bring it home, so they’ll get all the money. It’s such a trick bag. Because the delivery workers need to work, too. But it’s my preference to pick it up and bring it home.
ON COOKING I have two burners and a convection microwave. It’s so limited. It’s like asking a flight attendant to make you lunch. Amy’s frozen burritos are actually really good. I never knew how much I enjoyed peanut butter and jelly.
ON CLOTHING My wardrobe is extremely edited. I have a standard closet with two rungs. My suits, my shirts that come from the cleaners, everything is on those two rungs. I have lighter-weather stuff on the other rung. I’ll swap out when the season comes. In the summer, my winter wear will go into a storage box under my bed. I have exactly five pairs of dress shoes. I use a cream called Saphir, it’s from France, to shine my shoes. I use an old T-shirt or an old pair of underwear if that’s not too gross. Then I use another T-shirt to buff them dry and a shoe brush. I’m very particular.
AT NIGHT I’ll often watch TV while I eat. The only surface in my apartment is my desk. I’ll move the laptop and eat there. Or I’ll eat in bed watching TV, like one would do in a hotel. There will be a last dog walk. A few laps around the neighborhood. They want to party after that last walk, so there’s an effort to dial down the mood. Smokey, who is little, sleeps with me, and Lenore sleeps on her bed or under my bed. We manage.
THE BEST MEDICINE As I’m doing my comedown ritual — I’ll get into my boxer shorts and T-shirt, wash my face, put on some night cream, brush my teeth — I love listening to stand-up: Jim Gaffigan, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and one of my all-time favorites, Maria Bamford. And Tig Notaro. I’ll set the sleep timer on my Sonos. I’ll drift off, listening to comedy. It’s weird, I know.
Joan Rivers said that laughter is like giving someone a vacation. This pandemic has been hell. It’s been extremely lonely. Listening to comedy before going to bed has been really comforting.
Sunday Routine readers can follow George Hahn on Twitter or Instagram @georgehahn, and on TikTok @georgehahnnyc.