TCQ&A: “The Cookies at Goodie Girl Cafe Are Crazy Good”

“We didn’t have any downtown friends or roots in the neighborhood,” says Tory Weil about moving from the Upper West Side in 2007. That changed when she was approached about joining the Friends of Bogardus Garden—and now she’s the president of the board. When the St. Louis native isn’t working on new initiatives such as the Bogardus Plaza, she sings professionally (she’s a mezzo-soprano who has performed at the Santa Fe Opera, among many other venues) and takes care of her two kids, Fiona (pictured) and Arlo. Right now, she’s particularly excited about two Bogardus Garden events. Sunday, Apr. 17, will bring Jazz and Poetry on the Plaza with the Alex Levin Trio and Emefe and an assist from Poets House; and Saturday, May 7, is May Day. “It’s our biggest event of the year,” says Weil. Bogardus Garden and Plaza will have live music and kids’ activities (including crafts with Playgarden and sugar-cookie decorating). “Now that we have the additional space provided by the plaza, it will be the best one yet!”

How long have you lived in the area?
I have lived in the area for nearly four years.

Which restaurants do you frequent most often?
I cook most of the time, which became extra fun once Whole Foods opened. As for eating out, we go through phases with the local restaurants. We have frequented Centrico, Marc Forgione (particulary great on a Sunday night for its amazing prix fixe), The Harrison, and, most recently, we’ve been hitting Tamarind (left).

Which restaurants do you tend to go to for a special occasion?
For special occasions we have gone to Bouley—one of the most stunning restaurants around. Megu is pricey but fun and delicious. My husband often retreats to Warren 77 to watch sports “with the guys” and swears by the bar food.

Where do you order in (or get take-out) from? Are there dishes you always order?
We order in from Muscle Maker Grill and just had our first delivery from Yorganic. It was fast, healthy, and yummy. For the never-ending “where can we get decent Chinese food delivered” dilemma, we have settled on Sammy’s. If you have any better ideas, do tell!

Which shops do you find it hard to resist popping into when you pass by?
I live around the corner from Petticoat Lane (right) and I love that it has a little bit of everything, from bathing suits to bras to jewelry. Jennifer, the owner, is an amazing saleswoman and can fit anybody! I also love to poke around Stella and pretend that one day I will properly set a table with a tablecloth and cloth place mats.

What was the last non-essential item you bought in Tribeca?
An itsy-bitsy-teeny-weenie white-and-black polka dot bikini from Petticoat Lane. I went in to buy a one-piece suit that would be appropriate for family swim at the Downtown Community Center. Oh, well….

Are there any services (salon, fitness, etc.) that you’re particularly glad are in the neighborhood?
I’m thankful for New York Sports Club on Reade Street. I’m there almost every day and although it’s not flashy or sexy, it has what I need and, unlike Equinox, you get to have your own TV on the cardio equipment and now you can plug your iPod/iPhone right into your personal screen to watch/listen to your downloaded shows and music.

What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
The area’s best-kept secret is Goodie Girl Cafe, in the lobby of JCP at 146 Duane. Shira Berk whips up fabulous vegetarian soups, sandwiches, and salads. She also makes delicious muffins, biscotti, and other treats. Her chocolate-chip cookies are crazy good and she just started to make a fabulous gluten-free version. Yum, yum, yum! And today I discovered the Poets House just across the highway. They have an amazing new facility, and tons of programming for both children and adults. They will be joining us on the plaza to celebrate National Poetry month and Jazz Appreciation Day. I can’t wait to take my kids!

Where do you always take out-of-towners?
We love to take out-of-towners on a walk through the Bogardus Plaza to Duane Park and then walk up Staple Street to the Harrison for dinner.

What’s your favorite part of the area (street, park, whatever)?
My favorite part of Tribeca is, of course, the Bogardus Garden and Plaza. When the weather is nice, it’s wonderful to see flowers and shrubs blooming in the garden and so many people sitting at the tables in the plaza. The plaza in particular brings New Yorkers together. It’s not uncommon to see students, mommies, nannies, construction workers, office workers, and tourists all enjoying a peaceful moment in the heart of Manhattan.

Which neighborhood building do you wish you lived in and/or owned?
I love the Gerken Building, where I live, but I occasionally pine for a quieter corner, especially now, during the Chambers Street reconstruction project. The building that I secretly covet is 166 Duane. It’s on Duane Park, it’s still close to transportation, and best of all, it has a doorman.

Your most memorable celebrity sighting?
It’s fun to tell friends that we often have dinner at the same time as Jon Stewart on Sunday nights. And I was once at a birthday party for Christy Turlington’s son. She is totally down to earth and normal, but I really wanted to look pretty for the party. Why I thought that I could look good at 40 weeks pregnant at a party hosted by a supermodel is a question that I still ask myself. Anyway, I blew out my hair and put on a cute maternity outfit and makeup. I showed up to find a room full of parents in jeans and “I just rolled out of bed” hair. I stuck out, to say the least. The most exciting moment was when Gwyneth Paltrow breezed in with her kids and my daughter ended up seated next to Apple and even fed her pizza.

Any questions you wish you’d been asked?
I wish that there were more restaurants that had big healthy delicious salads in a nice setting for lunch. I miss Josie’s from the Upper West Side. I also would love to see an upscale kitchen-supply store. I cook a lot and often wish that there was something in the ‘hood that was more unique than Bed Bath & Beyond. Oh well, you can’t have everything—and we sure come close.

Recent TCQ&As:
Deborah Lupard: “When I Moved to Tribeca, the Odeon was an Automat”
Alycea Ungaro: “I Want Bouley Bakery Back”
Marla Mase: “I Can Be Naughty at Times So Let’s Skip That Question”
Elisa Casas: “Jenny McCarthy Had Phone Sex in My Bed”



  1. Great interview! The Bogardus Plaza and Garden is such a gem in Tribeca.

  2. Tribeca, Bogardus, and the Gerken are all so lucky to benefit from Tory’s amazing contributions.