March Madness is coming. To prepare, Val Ackerman, the commissioner of the Big East Conference, has been traveling to college basketball games nonstop. She takes Amtrak to three schools: Villanova, Georgetown and Providence. And while she flies often to the Midwest, she can catch a break with the local universities, Seton Hall and St. John’s. Soon all of Ms. Ackerman’s teams, however, will visit her turf for the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden, March 7 to 10. March 11 is Selection Sunday, when the 68 teams competing in the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament will be announced. “I think we will have schools making deep runs,” she predicted. When Ms. Ackerman, 58, is not involved in the madness, she enjoys walking around TriBeCa, where she lives with her husband, Charlie Rappaport, 67, a retired lawyer, and their cat, Sam.
CUSTOMER LOYALTY I get up around 8. I may go out to breakfast and take the paper with me. My favorite place is Bubby’s. I’ll drink my first cup of coffee there. I’ll get the griddle special: two eggs and a pancake. I moved to TriBeCa in 1987 when my husband and I got married. The space was a sandwich shop. And then it was Bubby’s pie shop. Then they turned it into a restaurant. I’ve been going there in one form or another for 20 years.
PIONEERS TriBeCa had very few residents at first. Charlie bought the loft we lived in so he could walk to work. We raised our children there. We lived through 9/11. It was a terrible time but it brought the neighborhood together. We have watched the resurgence of the World Trade Center district. We had friends who perished. The neighborhood was a frozen zone for several months after. We couldn’t use our car, we needed an ID to get in and out. I think about 9/11 every single day. I’ll walk downtown, to ground zero. To go inside the Oculus is just stunning.
WORKOUT I’ll go to Hudson River Park. Sometimes it will be the bike. I’ll ride to the George Washington Bridge, 22 miles round trip. I’ve biked there when the cruise ships are unloading. It gets jumpy. You have to be careful in the 30s and 40s. But when you get up past the 70s it opens up. Then it really opens up past the 90s and the water treatment plant. Or I’ll go to Equinox.
SHOP I’ll go to Whole Foods and probably pick up something for dinner. We like their turkey meatballs. My husband also does a shrimp that he sautées in bread crumbs, garlic and olive oil. We also go to this place Nish Nush that has amazing hummus. It’s whipped, and they put spices in it. We’ll pick up some of that to go.
WANDERINGS I come home and it’s usually a walk. I know pretty much every street in SoHo. I might do some shopping there. In terms of clothes I like A.P.C., Theory, maybe Uniqlo. If I walk I’ll go as high as Union Square. I might end up on the Lower East Side. Sometimes we’ll end up having dinner at Russ & Daughters. That neighborhood has also changed dramatically. I used to shop when I first moved to New York on Orchard Street because it was all discount shopping — now it’s all high-end stores and boutiques.
MAINTENANCE I will often go for a haircut on Sunday. I go to Lance Lappín, it’s on West Broadway. And occasionally we go to this Chinese massage guy on Grand Street. His name is Yang. He works out of a place called Rio Grande at the end of a dark hallway. You pay by 15-minute increments. No appointments, you just walk in. He’s a magician.