The TCQ&A: “The Number of Nail Salons Baffles Me”

donna-marotta2-by-tribeca-citizenDonna Marotta is the former owner of Butterflies and Zebras and Moonbeams, a boutique that was on Reade Street from 2006 to 2009. Now she has a new venture, The Perfect Closet, with business partner Melanie Lawley (blogger of Everyday Chic NY). “We do closet organization, wardrobe styling, and personal shopping,” says Marotta. They also created Tribecans for the Fight Against Myeloma, a charity benefiting Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, which you may have read about here.

How long have you lived in Tribeca?
I’ve been living in Tribeca for over almost eight years.

le-pain-q-by-tribeca-citizenWhich restaurants do you frequent most often?
I love the restaurants in Tribeca. I’m often at the Odeon [above], Edward’s, Bouley Upstairs, Kitchenette, and Flor de Sol. I like Le Pain Quotidien [left] for lunch especially now that Bouley Bakery is closed.

Which restaurants do you tend to go to for special occasions?
The Harrison is hands down my favorite restaurant in the entire city. I love the atmosphere, and the food and service are great.

Where do you order in (or get take-out) from? Are there dishes you always order?
Roc is my go to for take out. I usually get the spinach ravioli with mushrooms. I also like the pizza from Gigino.

otte-by-tribeca-citizenWhich shops do you find it hard to resist popping into when you pass by?
Otte on N. Moore Street [right]. They have great contemporary clothes. I’m also addicted to Bed Bath & Beyond. I have to be organized and they have all the great little gadgets to help.

What was the last non-essential item you bought in Tribeca?
I ordered dessert at Bouley Upstairs, specifically the pistachio and raspberry pastry. It is so good but clearly not essential!

Are there any services (salon, fitness, etc.) that you’re particularly glad are in the neighborhood?
The Perfect Closet, of course!

What’s Tribeca’s best-kept secret?
I don’t know…but I hope somebody tells me!

Where do you always take out-of-towners?
I usually recommend dinner at the Odeon. It’s such a Tribeca mainstay you have to take out-of-towners there to experience the real Tribeca.

Which neighborhood building do you wish you lived in and/or owned?
I actually think I already live in the best rental building in Tribeca. But, I wouldn’t mind trading in my studio for a spacious, quintessential Tribeca loft.

franklin-and-west-broadway-by-tribeca-citizenWhat’s your favorite part of Tribeca (street, park, whatever)?
I love where West Broadway crosses with Franklin Street [right]. It’s so quaint. I also love being able to walk in Hudson River Park.

Your most memorable Tribeca celebrity sighting?
I’ve had so many—Demi Moore, Edie Falco, James Gandolfini, Josh Hartnett, and Gwenyth Paltrow. But I think the most memorable happened a few years ago at the now defunct Le Zinc. David Bowie, Iman, and Lou Reed came in with their entourage to celebrate Lou Reed’s birthday. I was shocked to see how small David Bowie is in person. I had always imagined him to be larger than life. Quite honestly, if he wasn’t with Iman I might not have even noticed him! It’s certainly fun to see famous people but to me there is a difference between a celebrity sighting and crossing paths with rock n’ roll legends.

If you could change one thing about the neighborhood, what would it be?
I would love to see more independently owned boutiques and shops. So much was lost in the last year and I would really like to see that come back.

What’s changed in Tribeca that you like? That you don’t?
I have to admit I like the addition of Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond. But I hope it ends there with big business coming into this neighborhood. I don’t like the new high-rise buildings going up on the other side of West Street. They are ruining the downtown landscape. The number of nail salons in the neighborhood also baffles me. I like a manicure and pedicure as much as the next girl, but seriously, how many can one neighborhood have?

Why Tribeca?
I do feel Tribeca is a close-knit community. I like walking around the neighborhood and seeing familiar faces. It’s what makes New York livable.

Any questions you wish you’d been asked?
No, I’m afraid I’ve already said too much!

Previous TCQ&As:
Susan Bernfield: “I Almost Invited Jon Stewart Over on Passover”
Paulette Goto: “I Buy ‘Play-Date Punch’ at Chambers Street Wines”
Wendy Gardner: “I Bought a Stuffed Wombat at Moomah”
Dan Rubenstein: Kitchenette’s Turkey Meatloaf Is My Favorite
• Pam Chmiel: “I Wish I Could Renovate Pier A into a Waterfront Home”



  1. As a huge fan of the Ex- Butterflies and Zebras and Moonbeams boutique, I’m very excited to hear about The Perfect Closet!

  2. I totally agree with the comment about nail salons. I find it bewildering that there are so many here now and hope that no more open!

  3. Rumor has it that David Bouley is opening a nail salon in his former bakery spot. I sure hope he moves the outside planters, so there is room to park the baby strollers. Switching gears…we need a PETCO in Tribeca.

  4. Donna, great Q&A! I’m with you on the nail salons, but you do have a pretty nice manicure in that photo….

  5. Thanks Rachel! A close up of my mani would have revealed all of the chips! I’m due for a new one. Where should I go..hmmm!

  6. Donna, You look beautiful! There are people out there who don’t even know how much they need “The Perfect Closet”! You are great and you’ll be great at what ever you do. Good Luck to you and Melanie. ( I think we should hit the Harrison for your Birthday!)

  7. Donna, Best of Luck to you and your partner with “The Perfect Closet”. I’m sure it will be a huge success with all the people out there that need help.

  8. Please stop confusing the “comments” section as Donna’s Facebook page. Why are there so many complaints about nail salons? There are plenty of vacant stores around Tribeca that can house whatever it is that is missing from the neighborhood. Stop slamming nail salons….please. Donna, you should have one nail done at each nail salon around the neighborhood. Make an afternoon of it! Or have Eleanor break out her wallet for once and treat you to a mani & pedi.

  9. @Jim: Please don’t discourage people from commenting! Some days it’s the only thing that keeps me going

  10. donna i loved the article about tribeca . i remember a few restaurants i’ve gone to with you & look beautiful just like a star…i know the perfect closet is going to be a success!!!love you…………..

  11. Thank you for your response to that Erik!

  12. Please don’t discourage Jim from commenting! Some days his comments are the only thing that keeps me laughing.

  13. Am I allowed to complain about the number of dental spas? ;o)))

  14. Oh, Erik.

  15. I appreciate Jim’s comments. The city is chock full of nail salons, not just tribeca. And they exist in those baffling numbers because there is a demand for them. Frankly, I believe we should teach our children that painting your own nails is more economical and does not encourage the sweat shop conditions of most nail salons. What is more baffling to me than the number of salons, is the fact that the terrible working conditions for these women has been fairly well publicized and still, well educated, do-gooder, well -to-do individuals continue to patronize them. Now that is baffling.

  16. Donna, you look wonderful and I will for sure be a faithful customer of your new business. I really miss Butterflies… I dont think I ever left empty handed from your store…
    I agree with the nail salon comment.
    Good to see that good ol’ Jim never runs out of things to say… about everything

  17. Oh, Paulette….we’ve all moved on…so should you.

  18. Erik, can you please do a TCQ&A with a local nail salon owner? PLEASE!

  19. “The number of closet organizers in Tribeca baffles me….” (
    Donna – are you really complaining about the number of NAIL SALONS???? How many closet organizers do we really need?
    Liat – couldn’t you just check the Tarot cards so you wouldn’t be so bewildered about the nail salons?
    Rachel – well…. you can say whatever you want because your cupcakes TOTALLY rock!!!!
    Paulette – shocking that you agree… because what we really need are more sugar lovin fashionistas…. not hard working business owners (i.e. nail salons) that actually contribute to the local economy. I’m sure your friends at iPlaza (see your TCQ&A) really appreciate the slam on nail salons. Also, I find it interesting you consider yourself a celebrity (again, see your TCQ&A). REALLY, Paulette? I mean, REALLY????
    WoW! I feel so much better now. NOW let’s all move on.

  20. Big Sigh…..I’m really surprised that the only thing everyone commented on was the one flip comment I made about the number of nail salons which if read correctly, clearly states that I love getting my nails done (they are currently a beautiful shade of red..thank you Yuya)
    The entire point of doing the Q&A is because I WAS and STILL AM a HARDWORKING business owner in Tribeca. I had a lovely store on Reade Street which did contribute to the economy but was lost due to the recession. It has been a heartbreak that I’m not sure I will ever get over. I did the article to let my loyal customers like Paulette know that I am still around and ready to help them with their wardrobe but just in a different way this time.
    The idea behind The Perfect Closet was to help people shop from their own closets and not spend foolishly on items they don’t really need. I’m sorry the point was lost on some people and now I’m baffled by why some choose to be so negative and nasty to someone just trying to land back on on her feet after what has been the most difficult year ever. I said so many positive things about Tribeca because I do love it. It is where I live and where I work. Please ask yourselves how YOU contribute to what happens in this neighborhood before you comment on what other people are trying to do. And if you come up with NOTHING, then STFU!!!!! Ahhh, now I feel better!!!! NOW we can move on.

  21. Ohhhhhhhh, Donna was just being “flip.” I baffled by what “STFU” stands for….maybe she is just being “flip” again. BTW, The number of wine stores in Tribeca baffles me. The number of Bouley restaurants in Tribeca baffles me. The number of planters outside Bouley restaurants in Tribeca baffles me. The number of bars in Tribeca baffles me. The number of art galleries in Tribeca baffles me. The number of vacant stores in Tribeca baffles me. Relax, I am just being “flip.” OMG. LOL. MSNBC. TGIF.

  22. @ Jim, I feel like you are taking all this extremely personal?? I mean my goodness! Its a TCQ&A about Donna and the Perfect Closet. Since you have so much to say perhaps you should ask Erik to do a TCQ&A on you?

  23. @ Nicole – You go, girl! Great idea! However, I will require my own hair & make-up person….and a latte (hot). Here’s hoping i can keep to my talking points: nail salons, Bouley, baby strollers.

  24. @Jim: anytime, though you didn’t say it had to be a *good* hair/makeup person…

  25. Hey Beautiful!

    You look fantastic! I am excited to hear about your new venture.
    I wish you love and great success. I was wondering if you could travel to do my closets in Florida? The article was funny, interesting and smart. I hope the p.r. continues and you many disorganized people find your help! I am applying for your Fan Club President, not sure if I will pass the interview.
    Let me know.

    Your Offical Fan Club Organizer,