National News

How Corey Johnson, City Council Speaker, Spends His Sundays

Posted June 16, 2018 12:44 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK — The Queens Pride parade and the Celebrate Israel parade fell on the same Sunday this month. What’s an ambitious New York politician — the first openly gay male, HIV-positive City Council speaker — to do?

“I alternate,” Corey Johnson said. “Last year I did Queens Pride and skipped Israel. This year I did Israel.”

Since January, when Johnson went from representing Manhattan’s West Side to the entire city, the 36-year-old has sacrificed the traditional day of rest to an endless stream of public events, which he attends with “a wonderful group of rotating detectives,” he said. When not dancing in front of a parade float, he lives in a Chelsea studio with a cat named Mousse — because he’s “fat and sweet.”

Snooze: I’m kind of a night owl, so I don’t get as much sleep as I should during the week. So on Sundays I try to sleep in.

Singing in Sweatpants: I get up around 10. I turn on some music. Music wakes me up. I’m a big pop fanatic, so I love Lady Gaga, Rihanna, anything that’s on the radio. I’m usually singing and hanging out with my cat. Throw on a pair of sweatpants and a baseball cap, unless I have to go right to an event.

Chill: I live on iced coffee 12 months of the year. I drink iced coffee when there’s a blizzard outside. So I usually go to L & M Deli on my corner. It’s been there for almost 40 years. That’s how I get my day going, with the largest iced coffee you’ve ever seen.

Calendar: I’ll come back home and see what the big events of the day are. In summer there’s usually a lot of parades, especially on Sunday. I read the papers, and then I’m usually scrolling through Twitter.

Meal Plan: I’ve been sober for almost nine years, so I don’t really go to bars that much, so my social life revolves around meals, whether it be brunches, lunches, dinner, house parties. One thing about this new job is that it’s harder for me to squeeze in time with my friends.

Public Life: Then I spend the day going to local events. At the parades my favorite thing to do is dance. Some people march in parades. Some people walk in parades. I dance in parades. The City Council usually has a nice soundtrack on the truck in front of us. I literally dance the entire way.

Diva Fix: The playlist has always been good, but I asked recently if they could put on some Rihanna and Gaga and Beyoncé and some of my favorite divas — Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Tina Turner — on the soundtrack for the different Pride parades. I’m addicted to Donna Summer.

Seamless and Chill: Typically I’ll get home at night and have food delivered. I don’t sound healthy, but I usually order either pizza or Chinese food.

Girl Crush: Usually I watch “60 Minutes.” Even though I am a gay man, I have a huge crush on Lesley Stahl.

Binge: And then I’ll usually catch up with other stuff I recorded during the week. Right now I’m on a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” marathon. It’s a guilty pleasure. Then I binge on Netflix.

Unwind: I try to have a quiet night at home. It used to be a big night out for me before I got sober. I used to always go out dancing on Sunday nights, but then I’d pay for it during the week. So I’ve had to readjust my life in sobriety.

What Quiet Means: I usually have the TV on, I’ll have music going on a low hum, I’m on Twitter, and a lot of times I’m on the phone. I try to check in with my mom on Sunday nights. My mom and I are very close. She lives in Boston. I used to speak with her almost every day, but it’s changed with the crazy schedule I have now.

Mr. Sand Cat: I don’t fall asleep easily. My mind’s typically racing about what’s going on that week. I go to bed sometime between midnight and 1:30 in the morning. The cat sleeps with me. He’s the best.