Catching Up With: Erik Torkells

A reader’s comment made me realize I never posted an update on Erik’s latest venture: Siteline Santa Barbara. He’s up to his old tricks — hiking, swimming, keeping tabs on the neighborhood — only under much sunnier skies. The photo rubs it in a bit, but hey, if you’ve got it… He’s also got news: Harry and Meghan. So here is the founder of TC, on the other end of the Q&A:

Where and when did you live or work in Tribeca?
I moved to Tribeca in 2003, and I worked as a magazine editor in Midtown till 2008. Shortly after leaving that job/industry, I started Tribeca Citizen, having no idea it would turn into more than a hobby.

When did you leave and why?
I left New York at the end of 2018 because the city—the noise, the hassle, the weather—had worn me down. (Being a hyperlocal blogger has a lot of advantages, but having to walk the frigid, blustery streets of Tribeca is not one of them.) And many of the things I loved about the city in my 20s and 30s no longer existed, or if they did, I was less interested in them. I craved a better quality of life, to spend more time outdoors, to do something different.

What are you doing now?
We moved to Santa Barbara, California, which has been delightful. I promised myself I wouldn’t start another hyperlocal website, but the news sources here—while having various merits—weren’t doing it for me. I saw an opportunity for something like TC, but citywide, and instead of aiming for comprehensiveness, I only write about the things that I think are worth paying attention to. It’s called Siteline, and if anyone out there knows people in Santa Barbara, please recommend it!

Are you happy with the new gig?
Siteline feels like the early days of TC, with readership and advertising starting from zero. I got rather used to people actually reading what I was writing…. That said, in the past two months, traffic has grown fast, and if I learned one thing from TC, it’s that the longer you do a hyperlocal site, the easier it is.

What do you miss the most?
I miss all the walking. I miss the restaurants—not just the quality, but the variety. I had taken for granted being able to go somewhere new on any given night. And I miss the people of Tribeca. I met so many smart, fun, interesting, crazy, ridiculous, fabulous people because of Tribeca Citizen, and you all may think I’ve forgotten about you, but I haven’t.

What don’t you miss at all?
Swimming indoors.

When were you last here? And why?
I returned a few times after moving, most recently in December, mainly to see friends. But I haven’t been back since the pandemic. I’m not going to lie: I was relieved not to be living in New York these last few months. But it also felt strange not being there.

When do you think you’ll come back?
I’d love to come back—I’d love to go anywhere!—but I don’t think it’ll be until restaurants fully reopen. Or we sell our apartment and have to pack up.

What’s a single moment that you loved about working here?
A year or so into Tribeca Citizen, Adam and I were at the bar of a West Village restaurant, waiting for a friend who’s a bit of a snob—I got the sense he thought less of me after I left my magazine job. So you can imagine how I felt when, right as he walked in, a guy from inside the restaurant approached us, confirmed that I was indeed Tribeca Citizen, and asked me to come over and say hello to his girlfriend, who was a fan. The look on my friend’s face was priceless. The girlfriend was mortified, but that’s beside the point.



  1. Hi Erik! That was my boyfriend (now husband) at the West Village restaurant many years ago and I was your super fan! So glad to hear you are doing well in California. We loved TC then and still love it now. Thank you and Pam for caring so much about the neighborhood.

  2. Who’s this EriC? Why should I care about a guy reclining on his neighbor’s sofa in Santa Barbara when I am desperately trying to sell my apartment in Tribeca?

    • Sad. I know so many people selling now. No end in sight to the misery. Seems like back to the future 1970s style.

    • Not the nicest comment Jim Smithers. As you may have gathered, Erik was (still is) very well liked and respected in Tribeca. If you are so desperate to sell in a neighborhood of ours, what good can come of you bashing one of our own?

  3. So nice to get an update from Erik. He’s living my dream…

  4. Miss you at the pool. Actually, I miss the pools in general. They’re still closed. Happy to hear you’re spreading you insights in SB. Loved doing the fly next to you for all those years. Swim a bunch of laps for me.

  5. hi eric!
    pam is doing a terrific job, but i miss you- the person!
    so happy for you that you have transplanted your love and enthusiasm and that the transplant has taken root in Santa Barbara. it’s very weird here now…and more than a little depressing. i think worse than after 9/11. Never the less i plan to stick it out, bc this is my hometown.

  6. I was just thinking about Mr. Torkells. I thought that Erik must have been glad (and maybe laughing at us poor suckers who stayed and can’t get out) to have left Tribeca/NYC esp. with what’s going on now — the pandemic and its ramifications to the neighborhood, teh increase in crime, the lootings a few months back…. Wish I were in a sunnier climate and better disposition. IS Erik renting their apt. currently ? When does he think restaurants will open again? Will they fully re-open again? What does he think of the future of NYC will be like? So many questions.

  7. Thanks for the nice comments, everyone! Hope to see you in Tribeca soon.

  8. +6,431 confirmed cases today in CA? Yeah, we’re good, Erik. Stay where you are.

  9. Former Racked NY editor here – glad to see you’re doing well, Erik!

  10. Glad you are doing well on the other side, Erik… Thank you for the virtual community you created with Tribeca Citizen.

  11. Hi Erik!

    Thanks again for Pam; she’s doing a fabulous job! However, I do miss your often spot on albeit sometimes deservedly cranky reports from our CB1 meetings. Do come and visit when travel is less dangerous for all. My husband taught painting for a semester at UCSB and it’s a spectacular campus. Totally understand Santa Barbara’s appeal to you. Stay safe.