Q&A: Anna & Tess Knoebel



EM: Occupation and Position
Anna: Anna Knoebel, Co-Founder, Editor, Abe’s Penny

Tess:  Tess Knoebel, Co-Founder, Editor, Abe’s Penny

EM: What neighborhood do you closely identify with?  What makes your community so unique?
Tess: I live in downtown Brooklyn. It’s a great neighborhood because it has resisted complete gentrification.  It’s situated between all mass transportation, bordered by Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill, and is home to government agencies and gigantic brownstones, with a complete range of shops from Steven Alan to Islamic Prayer Outposts.

Anna: I lived in Boerum Hill for the past three years and just moved to the UWS. So far, I like the 24-hr grocery store, and just being some place different. The block I live on has everything, but I guess most people in NY could say that about their blocks—all walks of life all over. Since I went to college up here, it’s also nice for nostalgia’s sake.

EM: What’s the greatest item that you found at your local garage/estate sale?
Anna: This is a good one for you.

Tess:  A vintage sewing basket full of threads, needles, and notions from a yard sale in New Paltz.  My boyfriend and I had been driving around to yard sales all day, dud after dud. I was tired and didn’t want to go to this last one because it meant driving down a long, creepy, winding road into the woods.  I mustered up the courage and we found a treasure trove of early fifties electronics. I picked out everything I could carry, the best being this working sewing basket, filled with notions from the Sixties and Seventies.

Anna:  Oh yeah, I remember not being there when that happened. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything at a garage sale. I remember going to a garage sale near Bill Cosby’s house in LA. Was I with you?

Tess:? It must have been someone else, cause it wasn’t me.

Anna:  Well, I didn’t buy anything. We grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, and whenever our Aunts would visit, they spent Saturdays driving around to yard sales. Tess always went. I always stayed home!

EM: If you could interview one unsung hero, who would it be? Why?
Tess:  The train operators on the subway.  Especially the ones who drive fast and/or deliver interesting and unknown facts. Or the weather.  Or just a friendly, “Good morning.”

Anna:  Yeah, and IT guys. Information technology. Super-heroism for the working man.

EM: What’s your favorite youtube video.
Anna: I made this video to submit for Pangea Day. They asked for submissions without language so that anyone anywhere in the world could understand. Those are two of our friends in front of me . . . a bunch of our other friends were too chicken to ride!

Tess:  I love the literal version of ‘Take On Me.’ I’ve watched it over and over and it keeps getting better. My favorite line is “I’m handsome either way…” (watch and you will see it’s true).

EM: Where are your favorite local spots to eat?
Tess: Dumont in Williamsburg for Macaroni and Cheese.

Anna:  I like El Nuevo Amanecer, this divey Latin American restaurant on the LES, for quesadillas and frozen margaritas. They have a great jukebox, too, that they play super loud so it feels like a party just walking in, which is also how I feel whenever I walk into Abercrombie and Fitch. (Did you know that Abercrombie manages its scent ambience?)

Tess:  For California Mexican, Lupes in SoHo and for authentic tacos, Tacos Matamoros in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I also like Boca Lupa, a small plates restaurant in Brooklyn Heights for a proper martini, bruschetta, and the lamb lollipops.

EM: What songs are at the top of your playlist at this very moment?Anna: Mine are all from my exercise playlist. Lady Gaga. “Let Go” (feat. Rea) by Paul van Dyk. When I got laid off, my theme song was Pink’s “So What”. My music taste has been described as “every guilty pleasure song”, but I don’t feel guilty. Which reminds me of one time at this party when I was dancing around the living room and some kid said to Tess, “That girl dances to her own beat.”

Tess: You were doing your version of modern dancing to OutKast!  I like Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Dr. John and Tom Waits.  Oh, and I just discovered Tegan and Sarah.

EM: What is your current bedside read?
Tess:  The most current issue of the New Yorker and The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.

Anna: The New York Stories of Edith Wharton and the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

abes_121EM: What is your favorite city to visit when you travel abroad? And why?
Anna: We both loved Marrakech. I loved it because it was like no place I’d ever been. I also loved the fresh orange juice carts in one of the major squares, Jemaa el Fna.

Tess:  I love a vacation but the planning and the pressure of having a good time make me want to stay at home and read.

Anna:  Your favorite city has always been New York.

EM: What new projects are you building on right now?
Anna:  We are building on Abe’s Penny.

Tess:  We are concentrating on keeping the project on time and relevant.

For more on Abe’s Penny, visit: http://www.abespenny.com/

via EM Staff, 14 April 2009 9:45am |