The TCQ&A: “I Wish I Could Renovate Pier A into a Waterfront Home”

pam-chmiel-by-tribeca-citizenA former film editor and owner of Klatch café (on Maiden Lane from 2003 to 2009), Pam Chmiel is now focused full-time on teaching teenagers business skills—from coming up with an idea to implementing it—with her not-for-profit Teen Entrepreneur Boot Camp. During the two-week program, the kids might open a pop-up café or help launch a handbag line, with guidance from businesspeople. In 2009, there were four boot camps; this year, there will be eight, and Chmiel is developing a classroom version—most likely on microfinancing and social entrepreneurship—that can be used year-round. For the next bootcamp, which starts March 29, she’s offering a full scholarship to one lucky student.  Anyone interested should contact her at (Act fast!)

How long have you lived in Tribeca?
My husband and I moved to the neighborhood 15 years ago from Chelsea, and we’ve raised three children here.

Which restaurants do you frequent most often?
When the kids were younger we would frequent Walker’s and Petite Abeille because of their children’s menu. Sitting outdoors at Edward’s on Halloween became a tradition because it’s a great way to be in the middle of all the festivities—we were able to enjoy a great dinner and chat with neighbors, and our kids got freedom to trick-or-treat while we sat nearby. One of our new favorites is Cowgirl Sea-Horse down at the Seaport. Good food, good fun, reasonable prices.

Which restaurants do you tend to go to for special occasions?
I have spent more than one birthday celebration at the Odeon. I love their tuna burgers and filet mignon.

Where do you order in (or get take-out) from? Are there dishes you always order?
Pan Latin is my favorite gourmet take-out. I have cravings for the fish tacos and glazed salmon. Many times I have stopped by to pick up a few orders of chicken, rice, and black beans for the kids when they had after-school sports games and there was no time to prepare dinner. Once we grabbed take-out to sit in Hudson River Park for a screening of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Which shops do you find it hard to resist popping into when you pass by?
I was happy when Housing Works came to the neighborhood. I make an effort to support mom-and-pop businesses but I do like to shop at Century 21 for end of the season sales.


Tribeca Hardware

Are there any services (salon, fitness, etc.) that you’re particularly glad are in the neighborhood?
Sweet Lily nail salon is a treat because they use natural products and their shabby-chic décor makes you feel like you’re in someone’s country cottage. They sell unique and local products: I bought mascara that creates a cylinder around your eyelashes and just slips off when you wash with water—no more eye pad removers! Also, anyone can slap oatmeal paste on your face and call it a facial but the owner of Euphoria Spa is a licensed aesthetician. You feel like they know what they’re talking about.

Where do you always take out-of-towners?
We like to take walks over the Brooklyn Bridge to show off the spectacular view of New York Harbor. Once I took my niece to see a group of actors perform a Shakespeare play outdoors near Castle Clinton. It was cool because each scene changed locations around the park.

Pier A

Pier A

Which neighborhood building do you wish you lived in and/or owned?
I wish I could renovate Pier A into a waterfront home.

What’s your favorite part of Tribeca (street, park, whatever)?
I love City Hall Park and its beautiful water fountain—I walk through there everyday. Unfortunately, it’s not around anymore, but I loved Pier 25 because it was such a fun, quirky spot with its volleyball nets, miniature golf, drop-in art, sculpture garden, and snack shack. Hudson River Park‘s waterfront is beautiful to walk along, and my kids used to participate in a lot of the programs—like the gardening club, chess, art in the park, basketball, and board games—when they were younger.

Your most memorable Tribeca celebrity sighting?
I saw David Bowie sing near Castle Clinton after 9/11 and Debbie Harry perform in City Hall Park.

If you could change one thing about the neighborhood, what would it be?
I’d absolutely stop the overdevelopment in Battery Park City. It’s starting to look like LeFrak City.

What’s changed in Tribeca that you like? That you don’t?
Even though Whole Foods and Barnes & Noble are convenient to have in the neighborhood, I’m so sad to see the mom-and-pops disappearing. We’re losing our charm. It was all downhill when we lost Pier 25. I like all the new shops and restaurants on Front Street at the Seaport, although I hear they’re struggling to survive.

Why Tribeca?
It’s a history-rich area with a great mix of neighborhoods and style.

Previous TCQ&As:
Jeff Tabak: “I’d Put the Sawdust Back on the Floor of Morgan’s”
Kimberly Reed: “My Puppy Would Not Stop Sniffing Ed Burns”
• Hanne Larsen and Melanie Zrihen: “We Wrote Our Business Plan at Kaffe 1668”
• Christy Frank: “I Wish Tribeca Had a Really Great Cheese Shop”
• Carrie Loewenthal: “I Order the Kid-Size Pastas at Max”
Cate Bruce-Low: “I Grilled Liev Schrieber”


Comments are closed.