New York State of Mind

Well you didn’t think I could leave it there did you?

It turns out that blogging is quite addictive, and I’ve been feeling rather lost without it.  Of course, there’s not been that much to blog about since I’ve been home. Unless you care to hear about my household austerity measures, such as our week-long TV ban, and the resumption of our alcohol free weeknight policy?  I must say, I didn’t quite think through the combined effect of these two measures on my delicate, post holiday psyche.

toothless grinEverything went swimmingly on the home front while we were away wining, dining, shopping and exploring, which is testament to our fabulous parents.  The only obvious difference on our return was a much tidier, more orderly house than I have ever kept, and a few extra gaps in India’s mouth. Too easy.  When can we do it again?!

Yup, the magic of New York is fast disappearing in the rear vision mirror, and comedown was pretty rough at the one week mark. Long lunches and shopping in the West Village were but a fond memory, as I donned my apron for canteen duty at 9am Friday morning.

I’m serious –  I really am now a fully-fledged tuck-shop lady!  And when you add to the equation a long weekend spent looking after a very unwell and clingy little man, it’s been harsh on my buzz, to say the least.

crazy glasses

On the upside, of course, catching up on all the squeezes and snuggles was delightful.  Also, having several new wardrobe additions, including a lovely winter coat and new bag, are a great way to help buffer the reentry into a bleak Melbourne winter.  And when people ask me where they are from, I get to say ‘oh, um, I got this in New York last week’.  That’s pretty cool too.

So now, in a desperate bid to relive those magic few weeks, I thought I’d catalogue some of my packing hints, shopping highlights and favourite ‘investments’.  Humour me here, please – it’s my form of therapy.

Shoes

Shoes just about deserve an entry of their own (and did require an additional suitcase of their own, for the trip home).

Firstly, at least one pair of supportive, comfy, pre-broken-in shoes are essential.  My tan coloured Kumfs (don’t laugh!) lived up to their name as we walked our way from one side of Manhattan to another.

A few great purchases from Macy’s (above) were these Ecco gladiator style sandles, and a pair of platform wedged black sandles in a generic Macy’s brand.  Quality, comfortable and infinitely more affordable than in Australia.

Camper storeAgain on the quality front, one day we happened upon the Camper store (you can almost see the twinkle in Cam’s eyes here).  Just one example of our opportunistic shopping technique:

Me:  Oh, I don’t need any more shoes, but I did want to just check out the price of Campers over here {gravitates sheepishly toward door}

Cam:  I love this shop.  I’m getting at least two pairs.  I actually could do with three.  When was the last time I bought shoes at home?

Me:  Okay then we’re allowed two each.

Awesome.  I love it when Cam embraces his inner shopper!!

Hunter Original red pairSpring turned out to be rather psychotic on the weather front, meaning some very cold, wet days.  And as soon as the heavens opened, women all over town appeared wearing dressy gumboots – I was so tempted to join the locals and invest in a pair!  They looked super cute, parked outside their apartment doors.

In the end I think it was lucky I didn’t have the luggage space, as now that I’m back in Glen Iris, I just don’t think I could pull off wearing $100+ gumboots to school pickup.  Except maybe these red ones though…  Are they hot or not?

Heels

Now I would love to report that I cruised 5th Ave and bought a pair of Jimmy Choos, or at least peered into the Prada windows.  But alas!  It just wasn’t within my budget or time constraints in the end.  My last few purchases included these fantastic, slightly granny-esque heels, and some cute platform sandles.  Pity I’ll have to wait out winter before I can actually wear all my new sandles.

Hats

Cam's new hat!How fetching is Cam in this flat cap from somewhere in Soho?  A great holiday hat!  And we have discussed the idea that he needs to slowly incorporate it into his Melbourne life, so as to not appear too ‘I’ve been to New York and now I wear this hat everywhere’.

My little crochet’d beret came in handy on bad hair days – an excellent way to hide the fuzz factor in the drizzly, humid weather.  Another fave is this great – I think 1920’s-style – sunhat.  I was compelled to purchase it when Cam was selecting his, as I just couldn’t hang out in a hat-shop for that long and not buy something (you can also spy here the mustard-yellow Campers that have become a wardrobe staple back home).

hat on the highline

Frocks

Dresses made up the majority of my half-full suitcase on the way over.  I needed to look the part whilst exploring – I needed to integrate!  There was no room for Lululemon trackie dacks and flurescent trainers in my suitcase. Truth be told, I even purchased a few of these in the months leading up to our trip, for the reason that they would be perfect for New York. Dedicated, hey?

CosmopolitanI have Modcloth to thank for these two lovely frocks:  I don’t have a full shot of the green peacock number above, but it was a great suitcase dress, needing no ironing, being soft and fully lined.  It went very well with my cosmopolitan, as you can see.

The blue check and chambray number below saw me walk the Brooklyn Bridge in style (except when I had to stop twice, to re-band-aid my poor feet).

Modcloth frock #2

My cheap, comfy, age-old LBD got quite a few work-outs.  Worn here with tied checked shirt in a faint nod to rockabilly (minus the fabulous, coiffed hair – who has time for that?).Union Square

And last but not least, my lovely green dress by Trashy Diva.  I shan’t bang on about it any further, except to say I was pretty happy to have an occasion to bust it out last weekend.

Green Dress

The bag and coat

I took two light jackets with me and had a good winter coat on my shopping list.

6CIt was a few days into the trip when we stumbled upon Century 21 in downtown Manhattan: A kind of cut-price department store / jumble sale with labels as far as the eye can see.   In the matter of thirty minutes, I snapped up my red riding hood coat (DKNY) and coordinating Cole Haan handbag.  My tip – go early, get in and get out!

Here I am pretending to open the door and be the owner of apartment 6C, in my jacket. Aren’t I lucky that I have a husband who likes to play along and be the paparazzi?The bag

Above is my new bag – actually an early birthday present from my lovely brother and partner.  An envelope of dead presidents with a ‘here – choose yourself something nice for your birthday in NYC’ note.  Love your work boys!

So there you have it, I think that’s just about a wrap.  

The final thought I’ll leave you with is the indulgent joy of picking up your freshly laundered clothes – all securely shrink-wrapped into a dense little bundle, when you’ve been out all day exploring.  I miss that, as I sit on my couch and stare at the heavily laden clothes horse in front of the heater…

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No. 64 Perry St

Aside

Our apartmentOn to stage two of our New York experience, and our residence is in the West Village, downtown, where streets are leafy and hipsters plentiful.

Unfortunately, Cam is lacking a Ned Kelly style beard and black rimmed spectacles, so that kind of gives us away as tourists.  But the good thing about the hipsters, is that wherever they go, proper coffee can be found.

We’re staying in a lovely, serene little apartment that looks out over a church roof and a leafy courtyard.  I am so envious of the owner of this apartment.  Who are these people who live here and go about their lives in this amazing city?  Anyway, for the next seven days, it’s ours.

Now, on to some random New York moments:

He’s when I purchased a gigantic pretzel (it was taunting me – I had to).

Yes, it's a big pretzelHere’s Cam’s ‘amazing!?!’ face, after he found this rare vinyl at a record shop in the Village.  Incredulous CamAnd here we both are at Murray’s Cheese Bar, partaking in some pre-dinner cheese and wine wanking.  Actually it was cheese and beer wanking for me.

Murray's Cheese Bar

No. 64 Perry St

A shopping afternoon in East Village with my friend Sally was pretty fun.  We lunched and we shopped and we walked until my feet nearly gave up on me.  Today I had to seek out some ‘flip flops’ uptown, to give my blisters a break (can I tell you how hard it is to find Havaianas in this city??).

I also have to disclose, at this stage, that I have taken a certain pilgrimage, as have thousands before me.  I googled it.  I sought it out.  I made Sally take a picture of me on Carrie’s stoop.  I know it’s silly for a grown woman to do, but I did it, and here it is (don’t judge me, okay?).

Joan Holloway

Joan Holloway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After our shopping expedition, where I acted as buyers’ advocate for Sally, assisting her in the purchase of a few new dresses and some awesome shoes, we happend upon Enz’s. This is where I found The Dress.  My New York Dress.  My favourite, special, I-can-be-Joan-Holloway-from-Madmen-if-I-close-my-eyes-and-wish dress.  When I have occasion to wear it, I will blog it, you can be certain.

For the time being, you can look at Joan here and imagine I am her.

Hello New York City.

Hello New York City. I love you, and a small, embarrassing part of me wants to buy a t-shirt expressing this love.

Times SquareMost of the time, it feels totally surreal that we’re here – in a large part due to our sudden childlessness and fairly brutal jetlag. But here I am, looking out my window as night creeps on, and listening to the sirens and incessant honking of horns from the streets below.

Twenty four hours ago we arrived, and showered off the disgustingness of aeroplanes and aeroplane food. We headed straight out, and found a cute Italian bistro around the corner for dinner. Friendly waiters, a suitable non-glutenous option, and a nice bottle of wine – tick.

Cam in Times SquareI was all for slinking back to our room to sleep after that, but Cam was like a man possessed. He led me on a rambling tour of mid-town to introduce us to our temporary neighborhood and to reset his inner compass. I am utterley lacking in the inner compass department, so I gratefully stumbled around after him, through Grand Central Station and past the New York Public Library. There was a lot of gawping.  But where was this gritty, frenetic New York I was expecting?   Evidently it is not found in Mid-town on a Thursday night.

After waking up this morning at 4am, we we’re showered, dressed and starving by 7am. So, feeling like dorky, eager-beaver tourists, we threw ourselves into navigating the subway for the first time, and with the help of Cam’s inner compass, found our way downtown to the East Village.

Katz's Deli

Breakfast was at Katz’s: an old school Jewish deli which we discovered is where the infamous ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ scene, in When Harry Met Sally was filmed (the table just to the right of me, in fact).

After a bit of awkward to and fro about where to order the blintz, and where to pick up the fries, we were into the groove of it.  A Cheese blintz (oh dear Lord, they are GF!) and a pastrami omelette later, we were on Katz's exteriorour way.  Maybe we surreptitiously high-fived each other for our general excellentness, once safely outside the building.

Now, after a day of shopping and lots more gawping, I have a nasty blister, and my first New York pair of shoes (the blister preceded the new shoes, which are very comfortable).

Cam has lived up to his shopping pledges, and is the proud owner of two new bottoms and two tops. It really is amazing what you can achieve, with no children in tow, and no plans for the day – especially when you can revive yourself with an early afternoon glass of wine, and then a three hour siesta.

So far, New York, you are everything we expected and more.  And on that warm and floaty note, I am signing off to enjoy my Corona, and the view from our rooftop bar.

Escape To New York

So in just under a weeks’ time, my husband and I will be saying good-bye to our beautiful progeny, and our white station wagon, and embarking one of those enormous jets bound for New York City.  I can’t quite believe we’ve pulled it off, to be frank.  How did we manage to talk our parents into this? They live-in at our house in order to feed, bathe, ferry around and clean up after our monsters, while we skive off to distant lands, where we can entertain grand delusions that we’re young and unencumbered.  Sheer brilliance, is what it is!

It will be spring in New York City, and it will be the first time in ten years that I’ve left Australia.  It’s intoxicating (lordy – imagine the freedom), weird (and again – how on earth did we get away with this?), and somewhat stressful (sheesh – only fourteen days to catch up seven years of spontaneity, adventure and sleep-ins).

And my plan is even more fabulous than at first glance.  In a combination of happenstance (and, let’s be honest here, a little scheming), it happens we will be in Manhattan at the same time as a pair of our dearest friends.  That’s you Sally and Jon.  Imagine the opportunities that await us;  The shopping-running-into-long-luncheon type opportunities.  The stopping-for-a-wine-at-three-pm-just-because-we-can type opportunities.   The.. The.. Oh it’s all too much!

It seems it’s also all a little cliché, being a ‘significant’ birthday for me this year. I actually think I may have borrowed the idea of this trip from a school-mum friend, who is also staring down the barrel of the forty.  But once the seed was planted, it kind of took on a life of it’s own.

And yes – okay – it’s also possible that I’ve watched a little too much Sex And The City in my time.  I’ll own up to that.  So how best to document this trip, than to dive head-first (or more accurately – stumble blindfolded) into the blogosphere?

I’m hoping it will help alleviate my compulsion to bombard Facebook friends with CONSTANT updates about me being fabulous in New York.  Because we all know how irritating it is to be notified that ‘Marnie checked in at Magnolia Bakery’ again.  Just like she has EVERY OTHER DAY FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS that COW!  (And in that photo, is it the lighting, or do you think she’s porked up a bit after all those lavender donuts?….)

Anyway.  If you’d like to stop by in the coming weeks, I imagine that this space will entertain:

  1. Gratuitous images of my fashion forward moments in NYC
  2. Much crapping on about food – gluten free and otherwise
  3. Rather too many shots of me with wine-in-hand and rosy cheeks
  4. More wine!
  5. And so as not to come across as shallow, I’d better add that we plan to fit in a bit of culture around the necessary shopping and face-stuffing.

Right then.  I best get packing…