TCQ&A: Leah Singer

leah singer4The rules: Answer as many of the 47 questions as you like (but a minimum of 15, and you must answer #1–4). Please limit most answers to the general geographic area.

1. How long have you lived in the area? Where did you move from? Where are you originally from? I’ve lived in Tribeca since 1995. I am originally from Winnipeg, Canada. Before moving to New York City in 1988 I was living in Tokyo via Montreal. My first neighborhood was the East Village and then the Seaport before settling in Tribeca.

2. Married? Partnered? If so, what’s his/her name and occupation? I’m married to Lee Ranaldo who is a musician and artist.

3. Kids? Pets? We have two sons, 11 and 13, and two cats.

4. Where do you live? Near City Hall.

photo by ITEM5. What do you do for a living? I am an artist and writer. I work frequently with video in installation and performance settings. I have an ongoing performance piece with Lee that incorporates multiple video projections and live music. I also have a partnership with my friend and neighbor Julie Trotta called ITEM where we isolate, explore, and obsess about objects. Our aim is to uncover the stories behind the objects we encounter everyday and then activate our research through exhibitions, sales, events, etc. We started a year ago, singling out the candle and are currently obsessing about candy, going as far as making our own graphic-inspired lollipops. [Photo by ITEM.]

10. Sweet-tooth satisfaction: I love the macarons at Takahachi Bakery on Murray. Apart from the usual flavors, you can also get black sesame or green tea. All the sweets have a Japanese twist and that’s what makes it a special place.

13. I can’t resist popping into: R 20th Century gallery on Franklin Street. Zesty Meyers and Evan Snyderman recognize the best in design and seek out artists who are working with materials in new ways. They focus our attention on details we probably would have missed. (ITEM has been invited to exhibit here in the past.) Mondo Cane on Duane exhibits artists up front and the rest of the space is full of cool design objects, furnishings, art, etc. Owner Patrick Parrish also has the best design blog. Can’t be on Duane Street and not get a coffee at Laughing Man. I enjoy the fashion hunt at Century 21 but I liked it more before it got fancy.

18. Where I get beautiful: Lance Lappin is a fantastic technical hair cutter. His salon on W. Broadway is a neighborhood fixture. Everyone on staff does a great job.

19. What’s the area’s best-kept secret? You can see the remains of the old City Hall subway station if you stay on the downtown 6 train at Brooklyn Bridge and ride it around to the other side.

20. A recent enthusiasm: I love that Trinity Church has been doing live organ accompaniment to silent films at Halloween. They didn’t do it this year but I am looking forward to next year.

23. When my kids are older, they’ll always remember: Learning how to ride a tricycle in City Hall Park, playing soccer with their neighborhood buddies at the Battery Park fields, the kindness and generosity of the neighbors in our building.

Suellen-Epstein2-by-Wickham-Boyle26. Kids’ classes you’d recommend: I recommend Suellen Epstein’s Children’s Tumbling classes on Murray Street [left; photo by Wickham Boyle]. Suellen offers kids a chance to be creative with simple materials and guides them through physical activities that empower them. Judy Stevens runs a very small playgroup for two year-olds in her loft on Franklin Street. I thank my neighbors for telling me about Judy’s Playgroup when my first son was born. There is no better introduction to the social world than classes in her loft. She is a practicing artist who really understands that age group and makes the day so much fun that you want to stick around with your child and play. Wet Paint! Art Studio on Chambers is run by Leticia Ortega and her husband, Dionisio Cortes. Classes are small and the atmosphere is serene. Students are taught traditional techniques in all mediums. It’s a place to learn and experiment and relax.

27. I’ve never been to the Imperial Coffee House on the corner of Chambers and Church and I don’t know why because I love old school luncheonette counters.

insurance building by Tribeca Citizen30. I tend to take out-of-towners to: I like to give my version of a neighborhood walking tour. It always ends with a good meal. So depending on which direction the restaurant is it could include things like the midcentury New York State Insurance Fund Building (which has a great wall relief on the Duane side [right] and groovy terrazzo floor at the entrance on Church). Or it could be Sunken Garden by Isamu Noguchi in the Chase Manhattan Plaza off Pine Street, between Nassau and William.

32. My very favorite spot: To sit under the grand magnolia tree in City Hall Park when it’s in full bloom.

38. The most romantic spot around: La Monte Young’s Dream House on Church Street.

Recent TCQ&As:
Doug Tedeschi
Kalyn Johnson Chandler
Claire Hollander
Karen Sachs
Marco Pasanella

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