Correspondent. Puck junkie. Oatmeal overlord. We hunt down the Jungles in Paris co-founder at his Carroll Gardens home.
“For a year, my brother and I lived on Canal Street, and it was depressing to go outside in the mornings for a bite, so I learned to make good oatmeal.”
The morning we find ourselves at Darrell Hartman’s airy Carroll Gardens apartment is the kind of morning you might wish for this time of year. It’s warm enough to open the windows – an ideal day for milling about, productively doing a whole bunch of nothing. Hartman answers his door with a pair of handshakes, a quick smile, and a promise of breakfast – “steel-cut Irish oats and Jamaican coffee.”
That Darrell would bother to mention the origins of his breakfast is no surprise to those who know him. His fascination with the world at-large led the Whitefield, Maine native, along with his brother (a filmmaker), to launch a digital storytelling platform focused on far flung locales – Jungles in Paris. Prior to Jungles, Darrell spent years in the magazine world, and still freelances often. You can often find him with a cocktail in one hand and a notepad in the other, covering the party circuit – from art openings and fashion get-togethers to uptown galas – for Style.com.
But back to breakfast. “For a year, my brother and I lived in a loft on Canal Street, and it was depressing to go outside in the mornings for a bite, so I learned to make oatmeal,” he says as he stirs the small pot of warm oats he had boiled the night before. He adds brown sugar, apples, raisins and almonds. He then prepares Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica in a French press – “I like this stuff, because it’s super low in acidity.” As he slowly pushes down the plunger and the coffee comes together, he smiles: “This is the satisfying part.”
Hartman eats his breakfast by a large window in the kitchen (“the ultimate urban luxury”) and reads a two-day-old New York Times Travel Section. (“Scanning jealously for bylines,” he kids). After eating and reading, he gets the music going (“A peppy little Sonata like Haydn or Mozart”) then makes the bed and checks his email. He purposely leaves his phone outside his room – “I struggle to wind down in the evenings, so I can’t have distractions like that around me.” Lately, he’s been re-watching the hockey playoffs from the night before on his laptop. “I’ll be alone in here, standing and screaming when the team I’m rooting for scores,” he admits.
Since moving to the neighborhood, Darrell has enjoyed spending his mornings at the apartment, whether to “hammer on a freelance piece” or just avoid the crowds milling towards Manhattan each day. “I typically go to my shared office on the Lower East Side anytime between nine and noon,” he says. “When possible, I love skipping rush hour.”
“I’ll be alone in this room, watching hockey, standing and yelling when my team scores.”
Darrell showers, and applies Geo F. Trumper deodorant and Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Erba. “I have kind of this old world thing happening with my toiletries,” he states, rather unsurprisingly. He dresses and tosses on a baseball cap. “My dad was always afraid of being late,” Darrell says as we hop down the steps and outside. “He always left room for what he called contingency time, which kind of hardwired me for the same.” He thinks for a moment. “But that isn’t to say I haven’t been embarrassingly late to things.” Luckily, no one is tardy today. We walk the quiet, little half-city-block to the subway, where Darrell cracks a joke about “going off to fight the day.” It isn’t until after he’s gone that we concur that he’s already beaten it.