At first glance, Matt Harvey might seem to operate on a whole different level from the people who cheer him on—he swaggers, dates models, buys designer clothes and has movie-star looks. And now that he's finally back from the Tommy John surgery that kept him out all of last season, fans—whose fervent embrace of the pitcher has turned his starts into the widely recognized baseball holiday "Harvey Day"—have pegged many of their expectations for the team's 2015 campaign on the hope that he'll pick right up where he left off as the ace of their team's young staff.
But for all that separates him from your average Joe, the 26-year-old has been a New Yorker every much as he's been a Met. He hasn't moved to a secluded suburb; he's chosen the East Village, whose foot traffic and abundance of street-level businesses agree with his constitution. It's safe to say he's living the kind of life a lot of 20-somethings would want if they had a 99-mile-per-hour fastball and a Manhattan apartment, so we were anxious for him to share his point of view on the City. Even in the midst of spring training (where, so far so good, his elbow has remained intact and he's been as tough on hitters as ever), he took the time to answer our questions. Here's what we learned:
1. The man likes fish.
"I'm a huge sushi eater," he says. Further expounding on his fondness for seafood, he says, "I'm a big fan of Lure, and stop in there for lunch whenever I have time." Keep an eye out for Harvey getting the lean protein he needs to keep the Mets in the wild card race.
Nothing beats walking through SoHo and checking out all the stores.
2. He prefers walking to taking the train.
"I have to be honest," says Harvey, in a moment of near blasphemy from the point of view of the Official Guide to New York City, "I am not a New York City subway guy."
But he does love exploring the City on two feet. "There is nothing like walking in NYC. You can take in all the sights, duck into shops and explore new places. It is my favorite thing to do when I have the time. Nothing beats walking through SoHo and checking out all the stores."
This is one reason he's chosen to live in the East Village. "The East Village just has a character about it that I was really drawn to," he says. "I like all the small restaurants that are on every street you turn down, and I like the community feel. It's a 'young' place to live, and I like that vibe."
3. He is not going to be the one to explain those mysterious Players' Tribune titles.
We asked Harvey how he got the title "New York City Bureau Chief," which accompanies the byline for his recent contribution to Derek Jeter's site. His response was enthusiastic, but did not reveal whether contributors—including others dubbed "Senior Editor" or "Editorial Director," for example—are essentially choosing their own titles. It's hard to imagine a busy major league pitcher actually coordinating all of the site's New York City coverage on top of his training regimen.
"Ha—NYC Bureau Chief," he says. "I live and breathe New York. Could you imagine a better person to have that title? I am having fun with that, and it has been great to be a part of the Tribune from the beginning. It was a big honor that Jeter asked me to be a part of it. The offices are not far from where I live, so it's cool that I get to swing by and chat with the team whenever I want."
4. He "gets" Mets fans, and relishes the pressure of New York.
Harvey grew up rooting for the Yankees, but has quickly cottoned to life as a Met. Not that this is surprising from a guy who's taken to the media spotlight, but the righty understands his relationship with New York City fans. "We get pressured by them when we are not doing well, and that's OK and expected," he says. "I'm a sports fan, and I do the same thing with teams I watch and follow. But when we are doing well…this is New York. These are Mets fans. I couldn't ask for anything better."
5. He's got fashion on his mind.
Harvey, a noted fashionista in the NYC sports world, had a wealth of recommendations for his fellow shoppers.
"During the winter, I was big into cool winter coats," he says. "There are a few Zegna coats I have been wearing, which are awesome. The store always has some great finds, and nothing beats a good overcoat. I have always been a fan of Moncler. Their coats are warm, and you need a warm coat if you are going to walk all over the City like I do."
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