Baristanet Profile: Leslie Kunkin

Name: Leslie Kunkin

Where do you live? Montclair, near Applegate Farm. Yes, it is awesome to have homemade ice cream across the street!

When did you move there? September 2000

Where did you grow up? Brooklyn, in what was known then as “Flatbush” or “Kensington.” Now, people refer to it as “Ditmas Park.”

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion? 

I am one of the founding partners of West of Hudson Real Estate, something of which I am hugely proud and very passionate. I’ve been a Realtor for about 12 years, and I really enjoy it. I love where I live, and I really enjoy working with people and helping where I can. I am fortunate enough to have a job that combines both of these things – I spend a lot of time introducing people to this uniquely vibrant area and helping people through important moments in their lives, from finding their first home to moving on from the one in which they’ve created years of memories. My partners and I started West of Hudson two years ago and are so grateful for the smart, strong women and men that have joined us and the success we’ve had – it’s been a lot of fun! 

Coffee, tea or … ? Coffee, coffee, coffee.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? 

Sleeping in a bit but, getting downstairs before the family and spending a quiet hour with the NY Times (actual paper, not online) and a cup of coffee. Planning the day with the kids and my husband over breakfast (in this fantasy, everyone gets along and agrees on the plan). Spending the day with my family – somewhere in there is a hike in the Mills or walk around Brookdale Park, a house full of my kids and their friends, dinner out in town at a favorite restaurant, and binge watching whatever my husband and I are up to, after the kids are in bed.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Depends on the meal, the weather and what I’m in the mood for – Egan’s, Turtle and Wolf, Faubourg, Samba, Aki… I could go on.

What’s on your nightstand? 

My iPad, a stack of books I plan to get to and never seem to, plus a few I’m in the middle of – right now, Inheritance by Dani Shapiro and Petty by Warren Zanes (thank you Montclair Literary Festival) and The World According to Mister Rogers.

What are you listening to? In the car, NPR. At home, anything from James Taylor to Indigo Girls to Lizzo.

What are your current indulgences? The NY Times in the morning and a bowl of ice cream at night (always two flavors).

What talent you would most like to have?

Music. I would love to be able to play guitar and sing.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair?

The worst-kept secret is the NYC energy of Montclair, that we’re 12 miles from Manhattan and have 5 “downtowns”. People know about the restaurants and shops on Church Street and Walnut Street and in Upper Montclair Village, the concerts at the Wellmont, the Film Festival, etc..  

The best kept secret, though, is the nature and wildlife. People often do not know about the view of the entire valley if you hike to the top of the Mills Reservation, the quiet of the Bonsal Nature Preserve (many can’t even find the entrance – took me years), the tucked away pond in Yantecaw Brook Park, the unbelievable NYC skyline views from the top of Eagle Rock Reservation. It’s the best of all worlds.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? She was a good person, made a difference in people’s lives, and lived to be crazy old!

 

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