TCQ&A: Melanie Dunea

Longtime Tribecan Melanie Dunea is an award-winning photographer known for the lauded book series My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals as well as her iconic portraits and bold photography style. I discovered her in The New York Times, but her work is also on the pages of Vogue, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, Town & Country, and albums, movie posters and, of course, social media. I recommend a follow on Instagram, and you can also shop a curated collection of her work from around the world at

The rules: Answer as many of the 50 questions as you like (but a minimum of 15, and you must answer #1–5).

1. How long have you lived in the area? Where did you move from? Where are you originally from?
I have been lucky enough to live in Tribeca since 1995. I had stops in Paris and Boston before I got to NYC. Originally I am from Chicago, and yes, it is windy. Very windy.

2. Married? Partnered? If so, what’s his/her name and occupation?
I am partnered with a lovely discreet man who will kill me if I discuss him or our fabulous relationship.

4. Where do you live? For the past seven years I have lived on Leonard Street. Before that I was on Laight Street. I guess I have a penchant for streets that start with an L.

5. What do you do for a living? I take photographs day, night, basically anytime.

© Melanie Dunea

6. The best deal around: It used to be the artist’s menu on Tuesday night at Edward’s. I am not sure if this menu still exists — I must go and ask.

7. Most-frequented restaurants: The Odeon, Frenchette, Takahachi

8. For special occasions, I go to: I think my number one special restaurant is Le Bernardin.

9. Best sandwich: My current crush is the Jambon Beurre from Frenchette Bakery.

11. Best cocktail: Smith & Mills has very delicious cocktails. I will not pick a favorite. ;-)

12. I usually order in from Takahachi and I always order the Tokyo forest salad .

13. I can’t resist popping into: Balloon Saloon for things I didn’t know I needed.

14. The last non-essential item I bought: Flowers for myself. On repeat.

15. When I walk into my apartment, the first thing I see that I bought around here is: Six purple geometric Kenneth Licht paintings from Patrick Parrish’s super cool gallery.

16. I’m so glad Rooq is in the neighborhood, because without it I’d have to travel to frame photographs.

17. How I stay fit: Tracy Anderson. Yes, I am a proud member of the cult.


18. Where I get beautiful: Still working on that.

19. What’s the area’s best-kept secret? Tribeca has many hidden alleys to explore, I love ambling through them.

20. A recent enthusiasm: The new restaurant Holywater — fun and yum.

21. A worthy splurge: The Shibui Spa at the Greenwich Hotel = Swoon.

22. A recent case of sticker shock: See above.

27. I’ve never been to The Mysterious Bookshop and I don’t know why.

30. I tend to take out-of-towners to: the piers on the Hudson with a quick drive by the Issey Miyake store to see the Frank Gehry installation on the ceiling

36. My most memorable celebrity sighting: It will be hard to forget getting a pedicure next to Harvey Keitel.

42. A business I miss: the clothing store OTTE and my favorite odd store, Prime Essentials

45. Someone who lives here whom I really think you should meet: If you haven’t met Marlan Franklyn, the neighborhood’s iconic UPS guy, then check out his YouTube channel.

50. I wish you had asked me about: The Bowery Mission and the great work they do. Remember them for clothing donations and it’s a great place to volunteer.

© Melanie Dunea

© Melanie Dunea