Born on Long Island in Wheatley Heights, Nicholas spent most of his childhood in Barrington, R.I. He received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Skidmore College, in upstate New York. Before coming to Juilliard, he worked as associate director of student accounts at the New School; in student financial services at LIM College (Laboratory Institute of Merchandising) in New York City; and in the financial aid department at Boston University.
How long have you worked at Juilliard, and what do you remember about your first day?
I began working at Juilliard in November 2007. I remember the warmth from all of my colleagues and thinking how confusing all of the alphabet stairwells are. I also specifically remember thinking, “Wow, this desk looks great clean. I’m really going to try and keep it this way.” This did not work.
What job at Juilliard would you like to try out for a day and why?
I am fascinated by production and specifically prop fabrication. The breadth of skills in those areas here is astounding. I’m always so impressed with the way that the stages are put together and the idea of controlling the audience’s perception and atmosphere with props and lighting. It’s like a giant puzzle, and puzzles are always fun.
What is the strangest or most memorable job you’ve ever had and what made it so?
One summer, at the end of my junior year in college, I drove from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to Portland, Ore., to live with a friend. The cross-country drive was an adventure. Once there, my friend introduced me to an old family friend of hers who was looking for a nanny for her two kids for the summer. And that was my summer job—driving two spoiled kids around Portland and its surroundings. I tried to make it interesting by teaching them how to use public transportation and how to use the library, and taking trips to the beach. When I wasn’t watching the kids, I was able to explore Portland on my bike and the surrounding areas in my car (including Mt. St. Helens and a little bit of Mt. Rainier).
If out of the blue your boss said to take the day off, what would you do with your free time?
I would love to head up to the Cloisters. I haven’t been there in quite some time and I always mean to get up there and refamiliarize myself and hang out, maybe have a picnic.
What other pursuits are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about my house, as we’ve just moved back in after a major addition/renovation. Outside of that project, I’m passionate about staying in touch with my family and friends, being a homebody, and helping the environment. I love recycling and I really enjoy reusing. I feel like repurposing something that would otherwise be discarded is an excellent way to reduce our impact on the environment.
What was the best vacation you’ve had and what made that trip so special?
Last summer, my wife and I traveled to South Africa. It was amazing! We flew to Cape Town first for four nights and toured the shore and some of the outlying villages, as well as a bunch of the vineyards. The city itself is awe-inspiring. Table Mountain, which appears to jut out from the center of the city, is a majestic sight both from the ground and from atop. The next four days of the trip were spent in the bush, on the Djuma game reserve, which is part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, just outside of Kruger National Park. We were able to see the “big five” as well as herds of kudu, tiny skittish warthogs, giraffe, and a solitary hippo (my favorite). It was unforgettable and I have a CD of a small sampling of the photos that we took (I think we took over 3,000!) in my office, for anyone who is interested in seeing them.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
In 2005 we adopted a 5-year-old silky terrier from a rescue shelter in southern New Jersey. He was badly abused and training him was really difficult for the first year, but he’s great and we’re happy we were able to save his life and make him part of our family. Also, this past April, I drove to Maine and back with a friend to pick up some furniture I had custom made for the “new” house. The furniture was made by inmates in the Maine State Prison System Industries Program.