TCQ&A: Author Sidney Karger

Tribecan Sid Karger has been writing comedy for a couple of decades — he was first hired by Comedy Central in the early 2000s and then started freelancing for the best in class, including SNL’s Weekend Update with Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers and comedian Billy Eichner’s show Billy on the Street. Now he’s a working screenwriter for film and TV, but simmering below all of it — since he was 11 — was that itch to write a novel.

“Do you remember those ‘choose your own adventure’ books when we were kids? I wrote one of those and knew then I wanted to write a book. When I figured out you could write movies, I did that. But the book was always in my mind. And then I thought, maybe I don’t have to wait until I’m 70 to do it.”

He sold “Best Men” on a partial manuscript in a bidding war and went with the two-book deal with Penguin. He’s working on the second now, which is good since the writers strike — “the irony of all ironies is my book came out the same day the strike started” — has shut down all his other work. “This was perfect timing to have this sort of side gig as an author.”

The rules of the TCQ&A: 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? 
My partner and I moved to Tribeca eight years ago from the Upper West Side. I had always wanted to live in Tribeca. Originally, I’m from the northern suburbs of Chicago.

2. Married? Partnered? 
My partner’s name is Jean-Michel Placent and spoiler alert: he’s French. He’s a private art dealer and he’s excited that Tribeca has become the latest burgeoning art gallery community.

3. Kids? Pets?
We have a cuddly Australian Labradoodle named Zelda. If you’re over 40, yes, we named her after Zelda Fitzgerald. If you’re under 40, yep, we named her after the video game, The Legend of Zelda. And if you’re just kinda weird, we for sure named her after Zelda Rubinstein, the actor who played the larger than life medium in the Poltergeist movies.

4. Where do you live?
We live on a nice street in the south part of Tribeca.

5. What do you do for a living? 
I’m an author and screenwriter. My debut novel “Best Men” was just published and my second novel will be published next year. [It’s about a couple that’s been together for a while and they are having some troubles so they go on a road trip right before they have a baby.] “Best Men” features lots of fun New York places and landmarks. There’s even a scene at the Odeon! I also have several feature film screenplays in development with various studios and production companies but those are on hold due to the current Writers Guild strike.

6. The best deal around: Large pepperoni pizza at Gigino’s.

7. Most-frequented restaurants:
The Odeon for Friday night date night where we’ve now met all the other couples on their Friday night date nights. The semi-new Smyth Tavern. Fonda or El Vez for Mexican. Rigor Hill Market for breakfast on the weekends.

8. For special occasions, I go to: Locanda Verde and sit outside when the weather’s warm. It’s one of our favorite Italian places for fun occasions, visitors and people watching. Oh, and the food is amazing.

9. Best sandwich: Smoked turkey with a side of gougére at Frenchette Bakery. The egg sandwich at Rigor Hill Market is a close second. Fine, they’re a tie.

10. Sweet-tooth satisfaction: Odeon has the best homemade chocolate and strawberry ice cream I’ve ever had. Their chocolate pudding is also amazing. The chocolate chip cookie at Bubby’s is one of the best in the city and now Chip City’s cookies are a runner-up. Billy’s Bakery’s chocolate cupcakes and banana pudding. Van Leeuwen peppermint stick ice cream during the holidays. Okay, basically all of the sweets.

11. Most delicious cocktail: Weather Up is great for any cocktail, especially something whiskey based.

12. I usually order in from Bubby’s and I always order the nachos and matzo ball soup. Yes, together.

13. I can’t resist popping into: Aztech. They have the most unique, colorful clothing and the owner [Tribecan Anthony Rutgers and his partner, David Roth] is the best.

14. The last non-essential item I bought: A shirt-jacket type thing (a shacket?) at Aztech. They have the most amazing clothes you didn’t know you didn’t need but definitely want. Does that make sense?

15. When I walk into my apartment, the first thing I see that I bought around here is: All of the books I need to read that I picked up from Barnes & Noble. My to-be-read list is getting longer by the day.

16. I’m so glad Balloon Saloon is in the neighborhood, because without it I wouldn’t know where to buy the best birthday decorations and vintage toys.

17. How I stay fit: Long walks or jogs with our dog up and down Hudson River Park and when I dare venture outside of the neighborhood, Chelsea Piers.

18. Where I get beautiful: Lance Lappin Salon or Tribeca Barber Spa for haircuts sometimes. The rest is all natural, baby.

19. What’s the area’s best-kept secret? Au Cheval. I know it’s always crowded but I feel like not enough people I know talk about it. They have the best burgers and rock music around.

20. A recent enthusiasm: Della’s Wine Bar. We love Liz and her great team and have been going to her Frankly Wines shop for a while.

21. A worthy splurge: Atera Restaurant. They have an amazing tasting menu with a team of serious chefs preparing in front of you. It’s the most delicious theater. We also love Nobu.

22. A recent case of sticker shock: Pretty much any trip to Whole Foods. It’s crazy that apples are now a hundred dollars each.

24. Rainy-day activity: Movie at Regal Cinemas and wandering around Brookfield Place mall.

27. I’ve never been to American Cut Steakhouse and I don’t know why. But if you’re listening, American Cut, I’d love to go.

28. I’m sorry, the original Bouley Restaurant, but I won’t be coming back because now you’re a Citibank.

30. I tend to take out-of-towners to: Odeon. Always Odeon. It’s our go-to place with so much history where we’ve become tour guides. “Ever read Bright Lights, Big City?” “Did you know SNL used to have their after-parties here?” “One time we saw Nancy Pelosi in that booth!”

31. I wish I lived in… Maybe having a home in the south of France or Hawaii would be nice.

32. My very favorite spot: The little garden path on Pier 26. Our dog likes to stand there and contemplate life.

33. Pet peeve: Those weird dark colored splotches that appear sporadically on the sidewalk that only wash away when it rains. What are those? Oil? Coffee? Something else I’d rather not know about? Let’s figure these out.

34. If money were no object, I’d give more away (my extremely kind partner told me to say this).

35. A doctor I’d recommend: Our vet, Tribeca Veterinary Wellness. We miss Dr. Jennifer Berg.

36. My most memorable celebrity sighting: It was fun seeing Hugh Jackman at Laughing Man once since we go there all the time and he’s the owner. He ordered his signature beverage and mine, a flat white. It was like watching a chicken eat chicken.

37. A local celebrity I’d like to run into: Taylor Swift, obviously. I love her last few albums. Although, when she’s in town, it’s more fun to watch the crowds form around her house, trying to catch a glimpse of her. And by crowds, I mean me.

38. The most romantic spot around: Duane Park at dusk. Or Staple Street when the light is just right. Or you know what? Probably just at home.

39. Tribeca could use more independent gourmet grocery stores and fewer outdoor sheds.

40. If I could change one thing about the neighborhood: I’d plant more trees. And give us more green parks, please.

41. A business I’d like to have here: A chocolate and cheese shop. One side is all chocolate. The other side is all cheese. I’ve had this idea since I was a kid. Let’s do this.

42. A business I miss: We adopted our dog Zelda a few months before the pet shop Dudley’s Paw closed. Yvonne, the owner was the nicest person ever and we love running into her on the street. Also, RIP Nobu Next Door.

43. My best Tribeca story: When a woman walking her labradoodle stopped us on the street while walking our labradoodle to ask where we get our dog’s haircut. When we started chatting, we realized our dogs are sisters!

44. The best Tribeca story I won’t tell: Somehow our dog always poops on the same curb near a famous person’s residence which we immediately always pick up of course.

45. Someone who lives here whom I really think you should meet: Zesty Meyers and Maureen Cahill. Super nice couple. Zesty owns R & Company [the longtime art gallery] in the neighborhood and Maureen is a part-time beekeeper who makes and sells her own delicious honey.

46. Proof that change is good: When we were part of the “Pause the Saws” movement trying to stop bulldozing part of Rockefeller Park. It felt good to make the city rethink their plans and preserve our limited, beautiful park space.

47: A new building I admire: the Jenga Building. A new building I don’t: it’s not a building but all of the scaffolding around every other building.

48. Best reason to go AboCa (above Canal): I can’t think of a single one! Just kidding. I’ll try to think of one and get back to you. I’m back. Broadway theater.

49. If I couldn’t live here, I’d live in… Probably LA since a lot of my work is there.

50. I wish you had asked me about: Why, yes, our dog Zelda IS very social and has many friends in the area. Thank you for asking. Her best friends are Lily, Ziggy, Fenway, Gigi, Zelda 2 and these two giant poodles who look exactly like their owner.


1 Comment

  1. I love everything about this TCQ&A. I’m going to have to stalk Sid until we become friends.