Novelist and long-time New Yorker , 32, and her husband, Andrew, also 32, met and began dating ten years ago, when they were 22 years old and finishing up their studies. Now, Andrew, who is originally from London, works in finance and Nicole’s forthcoming debut historical novel, “The Debt of Tamar,” was released September 8th. The two live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with their three-year-old son, Jacob. Nicole answered the questions for the family.
How did you meet and come to live together?
Nicole: I met my husband at a friend’s party. We immediately hit it off and spent the next few hours chatting and getting to know one another. Unfortunately, timing was not on our side as he was heading back home the very next day for the upcoming summer break. We exchanged emails daily for the next few months until he returned to New York in September. We dated all that year and, rather than moving back to London after graduation in May, he settled down on the Upper East Side not far from where I was living with my family at the time. We married two years later, and have been together ever since.
How did you find your home?
The Upper East Side was always the obvious choice for us as we have siblings and parents all around us.
Who takes out the garbage?
How are household chores divided among you?
Dividing household chores happened quite naturally. We each simply gravitated towards the chores that were more important to us. For example, I can’t stand to see an unmade bed, and Andrew hates to see dishes in the sink. I like to shop for groceries and fresh foods at local markets. He likes to shop for paper goods, diapers and cleaning supplies on Amazon. Somehow, we both have a sense for what we are each responsible for.
Who makes breakfast?
I do! I can only remember my husband cooking once in the past ten years, and that was when we were dating and he was trying to impress me. He succeeded. It’s a very sweet memory.
Describe your typical week.
My day usually begins when our three year old climbs into our bed at around six. We enjoy some family time together while he romps around in the covers and we slowly wake up. After breakfast and preschool drop-off , I usually head to my local coffee shop where I spend a few hours working on my next novel and brainstorming with fellow writers. (Our coffee shop tends to attract all sorts of writers.) On the rare, but exciting occasion that my husband is free for lunch, I head to the flatiron district to meet him for a bite at one of our favorite spots, usually Eataly or Momoya sushi. If I’ve finished all my work by the afternoon, I’ll take an hour to practice yoga, then get started on dinner preparation, and if it’s warm, take my son to the park. We tend to be homebodies so dinner at home is usually our preference!
What do you love the most about the space you live in?
The view at night. There is a majestic gothic structure directly across the street from our apartment, one you might come across in a centuries-old piazza in Florence. At night, its arched, stained-glass windows are illuminated from the inside, creating a dazzling rainbow of light in the dark. It’s a truly breathtaking sight. When I look out the window, I sometimes forget I am in New York City.
Who is first to get up when a child started crying?
Andrew! Unfortunately for him, I am a very deep sleeper.
What would you serve at your ideal Sunday brunch?
Spinach and Goat cheese pizza drizzled with fig vinegar, French onion soup, vegetable quiche, avocado and hummus toast.
Who’s your favorite Jewish comedian?
That’s too easy. Jerry Seinfeld.
What is your favorite room in your home?
What is your favorite piece of art or photograph in your home?
We have two beautiful French impressionist etchings dating back to the turn of the century that were given to us as a wedding gift. I feel a sense of magic and wonder when I look at them.
What is your happiest memory in your home?
The day we brought our son home from the hospital after he was born.
Describe your home life in three words.
Warm. Bustling . Adventurous.
If you could change one thing about where you live, what would it be?
I’d love more space, and room just to store all the toys.
What’s one Jewish thing you do that defines your Jewish identity?
Personally, I love preparing for Friday night dinner. It’s such a staple of our family life. Knowing that we will be sitting down together with friends or relatives 52 times a year is such a grounding force, and a very strong part of my identity. No matter where the week takes us, I know that it will always end back at home with a warm delicious meal surrounded by people I love.
Does being Jewish distinguish you from others around you? If so, how?
Yes and No. We have a really diverse group of friends, co-workers and neighbors, a kind of mini United Nations where each one of us is distinguishable by his or her own unique background. So in a sense, we are both distinguishable and no more distinguishable than any one else. We embrace our faith and traditions, but also see things from a more generalized perspective. We love our families, our freedom, our children and our country. We also share 99.9 percent of our DNA with every other person on the planet.