Jeralyn with her Navy Anthropologist case overlooking the waters outside New York City.
"Jeralyn and I go a bit back, as she has been so kind to feature SteamLine in her pages and attend our press events in New York. She and her partner Pavia are every bit as fiercely smart and fascinating as their co-creation Fathom, a labor of love sprung from their interest in traveling beautifully, authentically, and meaningfully—desires that are also dear to SteamLine. Kindred travel spirits we’ve called ourselves, and I couldn’t be prouder to keep company with someone as thoughtful and humane as Jeralyn. Please enjoy her responses to our questions—and by all means take her recommendations if you are passing through Brooklyn. She will never lead you astray!"
SteamLine Founder, Sara Banks
Who is Jeralyn Gerba?
New York native and travel editor, Jeralyn is Fathom's co-founder and editorial director and NYC's biggest fan. Originally from Whitestone, Queens, Jeralyn moved into Manhattan when she went to NYU and where she studied Rhetorical Criticism. After working as DailyCandy’s New York editor for six years with Pavia Rosati, the pair founded Fathom and the rest is...the future! As much as she loves the whole wide world, Jeralyn is clearly mad about her home base of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for its electricity and diversity that embodies New York’s best. Meet Jeralyn!
Jeralyn and kiddos, Gemma and Roman, about to be big sister and brother to a third Gerba gem.
Jeralyn’s Town: Brooklyn, NY
Population: 2.6 million
Our Q&A with Jeralyn
What made you choose to stay in Brooklyn?
My neighborhood, Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, is a historically Black district and long-time home to artists and bohemians—storytellers, filmmakers, rappers, photographers, actors, and writers. It's also a hub for the current BLM movement, and it has been a sheer pleasure to see the community come together to make their voices heard, make demands, and, on more than one occasion, dance in the streets. (Masked, and at a safe social distance, of course.) It feels like a very important time to show and teach our children about humanity.
Who is on your quaranteam?
Mainly myself, my husband, and my two kids, though we spent a lot of time with my parents for the first few bleak weeks.
How has your normal home-life changed?
Well, for starters, we're all home all the time, which is pretty rare considering I work in travel and my husband is a DJ who spends a lot of time on tour or at his venue Nowadays in Ridgewood, Queens. My kids are small—4 and 1, so they still need constant supervision, lest we find someone throwing themselves off a piece of furniture or flushing household objects down the toilet. With our businesses in flux and lockdown keeping us inside more than usual, we're pretty much hands-full from sun-up to sundown. At this point, we've thrown our regular schedule out the window and embraced our family squad, making mini-adventures out of mundane tasks, taking lots of walks, and going down music wormholes together.
Are you someone who has lived in a few or many places in life (for over six months)? Where?
I am a New Yorker: Always happy to get out, but always psyched to come back. I have studied and/or worked for a few months in Italy, South Africa, and Berlin, but my roots are in New York.
Gemma in Ischia, Italy, 2019
Favorite places in your neighborhood.
Habana Outpost, for the people-watching, vibes, and frozen margaritas. (Open seasonally, but not now.)
LaRina, for classic Italiano hospitality and homemade pasta.
Dosa Royale, for enormous dosas, lassis, and staff that happily entertains our children.
Bati, a groovy Ethiopian restaurant on a hopping stretch of Fulton Ave.
Chuko, next-level ramen that slays gray winter days.
Iced tea at Playground Coffee Shop, a radical non-profit that hosts community events and classes.
G&Ts at Dick and Jane's, a cozy little watering hole on a residential street.
Anything with shochu at Karasu, an elegant Japanese izakaya hidden behind Walter's bistro.
Negronis at Locanda Vini e Olii, an Italian joint in an old, vintage drugstore.
Craft beer at Mekelburg's, especially on trivia night.
Bartender's choice at Weather Up, the best cocktail bar in the area.
Jeralyn’s shot of an eerily vacant street outside of BAM, one of the world’s great theatre and performing arts venues, dark like Broadway these many months.
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), a perennial favorite for avant-garde theater, cool music performances, and other staged delights.
Greenlight Bookstore, beloved indie shop with a crazy impressive line-up of author nights. The owner opened the adorable and very niche Yours Truly, Brooklyn next door for all of your correspondence needs.
HealHaus, a holistic, inclusive, community-oriented health and wellness space.
Pratt Library, a supremely chill student library. (If you live in the area, you can become a "Friend of Pratt" and get a library card!)
Walk: around Fort Greene Park.
Run: the Prospect Park loop.
Bike: the entire Brooklyn Waterfront.
Saffron, a dope under-the-radar flower shop with unusual blooms and a Japanese aesthetic.
Jill Lindsey, champion of local causes, stocking locally made beauty and fashion items, home goods, and a teeny-tiny beverage bar in the back (I like ordering the sunshine tea).
The Mixtape Shop, a minimalist coffee bar and record shop with a pristine collection.
21Tara, a beautifully decorated boutique run by a first-generation Tibetan family curating fair-trade products from artisans in India and Nepal.
Feliz, a Scandi-inspired gift shop that sadly closed its brick-and-mortar location during Covid and is now operating online.
Best kept secret
Chilling out on the Pratt Institute's campus—a sculpture garden dotted with 19th-century buildings and artsy undergrads with their large portfolios. Throw down a blanket near an installation that speaks to you and take in the serene scene.
Jeralyn’s beloved (and bereft) Pratt Campus, Summer 2020
Stay away from...
...the chain-store action that has popped up around Flatbush because of the Barclay's Center. If you take an extra five minutes to walk, you will find a million cool mom-and-pops that welcome your dollars.
Place not yet open you can't wait for
I heard the folks from Saraghina in Bed Stuy were taking over the old Madiba (RIP!) space to make a much-needed marketplace/bakery. But, at this point, who knows what and when and if and how.
When do you hope to travel again? On a road trip? On a plane?
It'll certainly be a road trip rather than a plane in the near future. The original summer plan (pre Covid) was to cover solid ground driving around the U.S. doing research for a book I am writing with my Fathom co-founder, a sequel of sorts to Travel Anywhere (and Avoid Being a Tourist). Once it's safer to move around, I just want to get into the wild outdoors—desert, mountains, coastlines, you name it.
What remains on your bucket list for this unique time?
This list is so long and so varied, it's almost impossible to decide where to start. The Atacama Desert for a monster lunar eclipse. Ethiopia for explorations in food and music. Reindeer-herding in Mongolia. Gorilla spotting in Uganda and Rwanda. South Pacific for scuba diving. The Himalayas for epic treks and fresh air. And somewhere, somehow, I would love to spend an extended period of time caring for elephants.
Where will you travel first when possible?
There are so many friends who I love in California—I need to see their faces in person. Recently, my husband and I have been reminiscing about our short stint living and working in Berlin a decade ago, and how reconnecting with all of our favorite people there feels really important. At the same time, I wouldn't mind some jaw-dropping, gobsmacking natural phenomena, courtesy of our national parks. Little things mean a lot right now, and I'll take what I can get.
A jaw-dropping natural phenomenon in Kauai, Hawaii, 2019.
How do you currently feel this time will most alter the next chapter of your life?
In some ways, the important things in life have become much more clear, and that clarity has radically changed my idea of what the possible and necessary next steps are. During the pandemic and protests I've also been pregnant—a third kid will most certainly alter the way we travel, especially if we want to travel in a responsible, sustainable, low-impact way, which matters to me. This strange time has given us a chance to slow down, recalibrate, break habits, and hopefully change for the better. I'm looking forward to my next chapter as being one of progress.
Outside Jeralyn’s husband’s entertainment venue, Nowadays, in Ridgewood, Queens.
Learn more about Jeralyn in her Fathom Questionnaire.