Real Estate

SOMA People That You Meet — Deborah Engel

People That You Meet” is a series of interviews conducted and posted by the Vanessa Pollock Team/Keller Williams, highlighting newcomers to the South Orange-Maplewood community and their diverse and interesting lives.

This installment is an interview with Deborah Engel, owner of Work and Play in South Orange.

What town do you live in?


Where did you live before that?

Long Island City, before that Brooklyn, before that Los Angeles.

What brought you to SOMA?

In 2009, we were looking to buy in Long Island City and everything was so small and so expensive. My parents had just moved to Warren (20 mins west of here) and my husband had cousins in Maplewood, so we decided to look around and see what our money could get us in the suburbs. We fell in love with the small, quaint village and mom and pop shops and decided to move here instead of buying in the city.

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? 

I own Work and Play in South Orange! Work and Play is a co-working space with onsite childcare. Freelancers, small business owners, telecommuters and some stay at home parents work in our communal space, and if they need childcare, they can enroll their kids in our program, which allows for flexible and part time schedules. We also run birthday parties on the weekends, have a variety of classes for adults and kids (our pop up Science Experiments class is next Wednesday at 4 for kids 4-6), and run special events, such as our popular Eat and Play, a tasting menu brunch upstairs for adults, with drop off programming for kids downstairs.

What’s your favorite feature of your home? 

Our wide open kitchen! Plenty of space to move around to cook, and an open floor plan so we can see straight through to the family room.

Where do you love to go on a date night? 

Dinner and a movie. We like trying out new farm-to-table restaurants, and also love the Dine In Theaters like Essex Green. We also love playing darts at Ricalton’s The Snug, and Coda is our old stand-by for dinner!

If you could have a super-power, what would it be? 

Make time stand still.

What music/album are you really into these days?

Ruth B., “Running Radio” on Pandora

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? 

The Omnivore’s Dilemma (I probably read that more than 5 years ago, I’m going to say it anyway!)

What’s something that amazes you?

My kids!

How do you live out “Care Serve Give”?  

My former nanny now works as a social worker in Newark, and I’ve just started organizing drives to help her clients, pregnant women and moms with kids ages 2 and under. This past week, we were able to secure an infant car seat, pack and play, bouncer, clothes and more for a mom who literally had nothing when she was being release from the hospital with her new baby girl. I loved being able to show my kids a photo of this baby in their old bouncer, and hope to instill in them the importance of giving back to our community.

People That You Meet:

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