How the ‘Mayor of University Place’ Spends His Sundays

Marco Vacchi, a fine art and portrait photographer, is also the unofficial mayor of University Place in Greenwich Village, presiding over three properties — Madman Bakery, Madman Espresso and Sorsó, a wine bar — between Ninth and 10th Streets.

“I want to preserve the authenticity of a small local coffee shop,” said Mr. Vacchi, a native of Ravenna, Italy, who has lived in New York since 2011. “I grew up in cafes, and I wanted that feeling here.”

Every weekday, the handlebar-mustachioed 42-year-old proprietor darts among his shops, chatting with his devoted group of locals, including the actor Alec Baldwin and Alex Chantecaille, a skin care entrepreneur, who are partners in the wine bar. But on Sundays, Sorsó is closed, and the coffee shops — he also runs the Madman locations on Bleecker Street and Astor Place — close in the early evening. “It’s a day where I try to keep it really simple,” Mr. Vacchi said.

A quick stop at one of his storefronts often stretches past an hour.Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

When he’s not in Greenwich Village, Mr. Vacchi works in his Chelsea studio, where he’s finishing a photography book and preparing for an upcoming gallery show. He lives in Chelsea with his wife, Mariola Vacchi, 32, a former model and partner in his bakery; their 4-month-old daughter, Mia; and their dog, a Parson Russell terrier called De Niro.

AUTOMATIC CLOCK I usually wake up a minute before my alarm, at 6:45 a.m. I’ve become like an automatic clock, and wake up to check everything. You never know if there’s an emergency at one of the shops: they didn’t deliver the coffee, the milk, the pastries. It’s every day.

First things first: I go to the bedroom to check on the baby. Then I make coffee with my Bialetti Express moka. I always have three or four bags of coffee beans at home for an emergency. Italians can be very argumentative in the morning without coffee.

Saying good morning to baby Mia.Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

OUT WITH DE NIRO I bring the dog downstairs, and it’s my solo time for 30 or 40 minutes. We call him De Niro because he has a natural mohawk, like Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver.” He’s a rescue from Ruff House Rescue, which saves dogs from Texas. We go to the dog park in Chelsea Waterside Park on 11th Avenue and 22nd Street. On the way home, I pick up bagels at Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys.

Taking De Niro, a rescue terrier, on his first outing of the day.Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

BREAKFAST, AND ANOTHER WALK If she’s in a good mood, maybe Mariola has made eggs, avocado toast or pancakes. Sundays are the days I eat breakfast at home. I usually just have coffee and a few cookies for breakfast during the week. After breakfast, Mariola has fed the baby and we go downstairs for a quick walk. Mia is sleeping in the stroller. By 9:30 a.m., we’re back upstairs.

Breakfast at home is slower on Sundays.Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

DOWNTOWN REGULARS I check on the coffee shops on University Place and on Bleecker, and I’ll have a coffee and a laugh with my regulars. I try not to stay too long, but it’s at least an hour.

URGENT STUDIO TIME Then I go to my studio to start the second part of my day, the creative part. At the moment, I’m selecting and retouching the work for my new photography book, “Statuesque.” It’s a collection of my portraits of models in classical poses, but with a pop twist. During the week, my work is overwhelming, so I have a sense of urgency to spend hours in my studio, to accomplish things. Nobody helps you if you don’t do it yourself.

Mr. Vacchi in the studio editing portraits for his forthcoming photography book.Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

If I’m not in the mood to work on my book, I’m painting. I work on large canvas, 4 by 5 feet. I used to do oil, but the smell, the time to dry and the flammability drove me to work in acrylic.

I listen to music from my computer. It can be classical — Beethoven, Mozart, Prokofiev — or more modern, anything from Django Reinhardt or Led Zeppelin to Arctic Monkeys.

LUNCH BREAK I go back to the apartment at 2:30 p.m., and we have a quick plate of pasta. Mariola makes ragù and then freezes it, so we’ll have penne and some of the ragù. We sit all three together, but sometimes we do it in shifts because Mia’s so small that she might start crying. So we’ll read to her, give her a pacifier, maybe play her some Mozart. We read that it makes kids smarter.

AND WE’RE OFF We prepare our backpack with anything you can imagine — a blanket, water, fruit, crackers, a dog bowl, dog treats — and we go to Central Park. I drive our S.U.V. We just got it for the baby, because we can’t drive her in my Fiat 500. Our S.U.V. has airbags and safety features that a car from the 1970s doesn’t have. You have to cross yourself to Jesus Christ when you drive the 500.

We’ll set up around 84th Street on the West Side or maybe go to the Lake. We like to change our locations in the park. Then we’ll spend some time at one of the museums. The Guggenheim, the Met and the MoMA our are favorites.

BACK TO CHELSEA After the park, we come home. We put Mia in her stroller and go for a walk with De Niro to Pier 63 on Hudson River Park. It’s beautiful, and no cars.

We’ll have dinner at Zou Zou’s, which is just two blocks from where we live. It’s fantastic. They have a beautiful dips plate with pita and veggies. There’s a very nice filet mignon kebab that comes with a big swordlike skewer. You feel like a pirate from the Caribbean, eating like a cave man. Mia just started falling asleep when we go, so it’s very nice and quiet. Sometimes we book something farther, but then we have to take a taxi, and of course I’m Italian so I’m going to be late; it’s a whole tragedy.

BUONA NOTTE After dinner, Mariola feeds the baby and then we put her to sleep. Then Mariola and I sit on the couch and watch a movie. Maybe we’ll watch one we’ve already seen and really enjoyed, like “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” or anything by Fellini or with Marcello Mastroianni, or even “Die Hard,” which is not a Christmas movie. I’ll watch anything that’s well shot. By 10:30, I’m asleep.

When he’s not in the mood to work on his photography, he’s painting.Credit…Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Sunday Routine readers can follow Marco Vacchi on Instagram at @marcovacchi.

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