Christopher Kompanek, NY

Critically Acclaimed Writer

A native New Yorker with a love of theater and the arts in general, Chris has reviewed plays for Village Voice and Time Out New York and written profiles on a wide range of people for The Washington Post and Financial Times among other publications. Some of his favorite interviews have been with Levon Helm, Daniel Libeskind, Scarlett Johansson, and Dr. Helene Gayle. He believes that everyone has a story to tell — the trick is to know where to begin the conversation.

As a Story Terrace writer, Christopher interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know him better by reading his autobiographical anecdote below.

Simple Pleasures

When I was in pre-school, we had a class picnic on the lawn in Battery Park. This was long before the area became residential and the park became known as the Battery with trendy locavore-friendly eateries. It was before my mother insisted on only buying organic food.

In fact, I had one of my first birthday parties at a McDonald’s in Chelsea — the attached playground was ideal for our soda-fuelled adventures. High-fructose corn syrup had yet to become dirty words.

On this summer evening, my mom was laying out a blanket for us and pulling out Tupperware (of whose contents I have since completely forgot). Then in the distance I see a familiar shadow walking towards us. It’s not long before I realize it’s my dad. He was supposed to be working so my still-new-to-the-world brain was trying to comprehend how this could be possible. The confusion gave way to an ecstatic amount of joy.

To this day when I think back on that moment, I can feel the giddy rush of emotion. He brought a bucket of KFC (this is back when they were still legally allowed to call it Kentucky Fried Chicken), which rendered all of the other food bland by comparison. These days, I’m much more likely to get excited by the crispy perfection of Korean Fried Chicken or the Chicken and Waffles with maple butter at the Clinton Street Baking Company, but I can’t remember ever feeling as thrilled to eat a meal with my family.

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