NOT to nitpick, but somebody who worked for Ralph Nader in his Nader's Raiders consumer advocate heyday and votes for him whenever he runs for president better be making a legitimate segue back to the New York City rental scene. Henriette Mantel, who has been in Hollywood the past 13 years and is about to release An Unreasonable Man, an Oscar-short-listed documentary about Mr. Nader and his devastating feud with the Democratic Party, swears that she is. Nothing under the table for her.
Welcome to my legal sublet, she says, opening the door to the dim, ground-level apartment on one of Chelsea's brick-lined streets where she lives with her two cats, Betty and Katrina, the latter rescued from New Orleans. Ms. Mantel is a bit of a cat whisperer; her previous cat, Buck, was toilet-trained, jumped through hoops and fetched like a dog.
Legal sublet, she repeats, and admits to being the source of the egg-yolk yellow paint on the living room walls. Strange palette selection for a woman who grew up despising the chickens she fed on her family's farm in Newfane, Vt. She remembers the day her father displayed the sprinting abilities of a chicken with its head cut off as if it were yesterday. It was hideous.