Roamer. Rap aficionado. Magic Mug Man. We become “Future Friends” with the Dutch-American multitasker.
“Most days, breakfast is baked eggs made in a little cast iron skillet.”
Wesley Verhoeve has no body. At least from where I stand. His head and neck are hovering above us, leaning outward from inside an old steel window. We’re standing at the front door to his industrial apartment building in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood on a crisp, clear morning. The first Monday of 2016. Re-entry. “It’s the square-shaped one!” Wesley’s head says. He dangles a set of keys from his fingertips and drops them into my palm.
Verhoeve does in fact have a body. We learn this when we climb indoors. He answers the door to his loft in plaid pajamas. His friendly, lanky frame doles out handshakes as obscure early 2000s hip-hop plays from speakers in his living room (Verhoeve is a self-proclaimed rap nerd.) He moved from the Netherlands to New York in 2003 for an internship at Universal Music and now splits time between Brooklyn and San Francisco living one of those multi-disciplinary media existences that Mother Internet made possible – he documents creative individuals, does commissioned photography work. He writes. He co-founds.
He also cooks. “Most days, breakfast is baked eggs made in a little cast iron skillet,” Wesley says as he digs around the refrigerator. “The only thing that changes are the vegetables and meat I add to it.” Today he unearths some leftover pork dumpling filling, which he sautés, adding olive oil, feta and tomatoes. He drinks “fancy schmancy” loose leaf that he buys at McNulty’s—a hundred-year-old coffee and tea institution in the West Village—but his mug steals the show: a keepsake from Point Sur Lighthouse on the Northern California Coast that changes color as Wesley pours hot tea into its recesses. (We are easily wowed at this hour.)
While the eggs cook, Wesley meditates in his light-filled bedroom. He uses the app Headspace—hosted by the no-nonsense Andy Puddicombe—a very direct approach to the ancient practice of inner peace that any Dutchman could appreciate. “I like the idea of just sitting here with my eyes closed, nothing crazy” he says. “Many of my friends are more advanced [at meditation] and they’d invite me to join them and I’d sit there with one eye open just kind of staring at everyone.” He laughs and makes a few jots in his journal until his stomach speaks to him. It’s time for those eggs.
After breakfast, Wesley gets dressed in a denim work shirt and chinos and flips some Mr. Natty Paste through his brown hair. He tells us that one of the perks of moving into a large space was the discovery he enjoyed hosting. “I throw these little dinner parties called Future Friends,” he says. “I have a co-conspirator and they’ll invite a few people they don’t know very well and I’ll do the same. And we’ll cook together.” He laughs. “Food is the best connector.”
“My roommates and I encourage people to take some books as they’re leaving.”
Wesley keeps a desk at Friends Work Here, a co-working creative space on Bergen Street in Boerum Hill, so he’ll commute there most mornings. On the way out the door, we notice a small “library” on the windowsill in the hallway. “My roommates and I encourage people to take some books as they’re leaving,” Wesley says. We hover over back issues of Monocle and settle on a paperback edition of The Great Gatsby. Not a bad parting gift.
This being a warehouse building with a working and studio past, Wesley has inherited a rather famous neighbor, avant-garde pioneer Jonas Mekas. “I didn’t know about Jonas,” Wesley says. “But when I found out his story, I mean, how could I not be inspired? How could I not want to work a little harder?” He says this as he disappears down the stairs ahead of us. Only a sliver of his frame is visible as he walks into the bright winter sun.