“I’ve really been privy to some of the neighborhood’s major changes,” says amNewYork‘s style editor, Perrie Samotin, about growing up in Independence Plaza (which her parents still call home). “While I do have strong feelings about these changes, I realize that by choosing to stay, it’s important to support what’s new.” Samotin and her fiancé currently live on Greenwich Street.
How long have you lived in the area?
I’ve lived in Tribeca since I was born. In fact, the only time I haven’t here was when I was at college in Pennsylvania.
Which restaurants do you frequent most often?
Probably Walker’s…. I’ve been going there forever. My family is good pals with the staff and we all love the casual pub vibe and menu. I love going to Edward’s and Reade Street Pub for burgers. We’ve also just discovered Tiny’s (left)—I’ve only been there once for dinner but totally dug it and foresee it being a regular stop, especially on weekend nights when you might want to go out and have some fun but still stay close to home.
Which restaurants do you tend to go to for special occasions?
I’ve been to Il Giglio twice, both for occasions, and was pleasantly surprised. I’d always been intrigued by that place, since the gate’s so often down and they never seem to post their hours anywhere, but the Italian food is so good! We also went to Scalini Fedeli to celebrate our engagement with a swanky dinner, which was pretty cool.
Where do you order in (or get take-out) from?
We always feel like we’re in a takeout rut, and we’d love some new, low-fuss options. Right now, my favorite things to order are sushi from Tokyo Bay, Greek salad and grilled chicken from Tribeca Pizzeria (love their food). I also like the square garlic pizza from Dean’s and everything from Pakistan Tea House.
Which shops do you find it hard to resist popping into when you pass by?
I always go into Housing Works (right), every time I walk by. I recently got a vintage Guy Laroche silky cropped jacket and matching sash in the coolest pineapple print for $30, and a very ‘70s glass coffee table for $40. My fiancé, Adam, likes the selection and the staff at Chambers Street Wines and checking out J. Crew’s Liquor Store outpost.
What was the last non-essential item you bought in Tribeca?
A stunning secondhand Morgane Le Fay white sheath dress and slip at the JCP Downtown sample sale on North Moore a few weeks ago. It was $25! I got so excited that I immediately tried it on with bright red lipstick (a fellow shopper told me to!) and, naturally, got a vulgar smear on the front of the dress.
What’s your favorite part of the area?
Apart from Northern Tribeca, I love the pocket, as I call it, from around Ericsson Place to Franklin Street—the sort of cul-de-sac area that houses Cercle Rouge, the Bubble Lounge, Pécan. It’s has an almost provincial, charming feel and I always feel calm walking through it.
Your most memorable celebrity sighting?
Truthfully, I don’t really notice celebs very often (I have terrible eyesight), but I did see Amy Poehler in Jin Market—excuse me, Picnic Basket—buying flowers with a friend. That was a good one. The Olsen gals are always around, too.
If you could change one thing about the neighborhood, what would it be?
Obviously, I wish it was more affordable. I’d also love to see, in addition to the gazillion kid stores, other types of independent retailers set up shop. Otherwise, I think it’s a spectacular place to live and apart from the occasional gripe, I’ve embraced the newness. It comes with the territory when you choose to reside in a city. Changes are unavoidable and greater than you, so you might as well accept them. Especially if they include a Weather Up and a Whole Foods!
What’s your best Tribeca story?
I have two, one serious, one light.
My serious story would be the day I came home from college for October break after 9/11. I was in a cab, coming from the Port Authority, and there was a police checkpoint along Varick. I had to show ID to get back in the nabe, and the site of Greenwich Street without the Towers looming is something I’ll never forget.
My lighter story: When I was a kid I went to summer camp upstate and most of my fellow campers hailed from the suburbs (mainly Long Island). Some, in particular, weren’t most well-informed group and probably thought “the city” consisted only of the Upper East Side. When I told a specific few that I lived in Tribeca, they would say, “What is that?” I would say it’s near Canal Street and they would look at me like I had nine heads. Now, it seems, that crowd is all desperate to move down here from Midtown East and claim they had “no idea” I grew up in Tribeca. Ha!
Any questions you wished you’d been asked?
If I could bring back some old-time Tribeca retailers, I’d probably pick Dorothini’s, the pizza place that’s now where Ivy’s is. They made a great slice and had cool graffiti on the side of the building. Also, maybe Ruby’s, the discount bookseller on Chambers. As a bookworm, I used to love roaming around the rickety store and buying cheap paperbacks. But if I could bring back just one Tribeca spot, it would definitely be the Riverrun—the all-time best neighborhood restaurant that my family and I miss every day. It was on Franklin Street where the Gary Graham store is now.
• Patrick Parrish: “You Heard About the Pedicab With the Stripper Pole, Right?”
• Michelle and Daniel Lehmann: “We Could Buy the Whole Steven Alan Store”
• Carol Adams: “Tribeca Is Like Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”
• Tory Weil: “The Cookies at Goodie Girl Café Are Crazy Good”
• Deborah Lupard: “When I Moved to Tribeca, the Odeon Was an Automat”