There was NYC…as told by Huck who heard it from Oh (me)

December 27, 2010 § 16 Comments

So HM and Oh traveled to NYC (part of her Xmas present, whispered HM) but it was all a bit last minute nonetheless due to a call from Microsoft (they really seem to have a lot of power and resources…and chutzpah) and anyway, there were no complaints from either H or Oh.
They left Jack and I in the capable hands of Nor who looked after us. We adore her, really. How could you not? But I missed HM. He’s the leader of the household and “founder of the feast” as Dickens would say. (Yeah, I know my Dickens, having heard it read aloud for many of my 16 Christmases.)

Anyway, though both got zapped with head colds/sinus infections extraordinaire, they had one heck of a fine time by all reports and pictures.

HM worked hard all day. Oh hit the streets and stores and several fave places.
Bloomingdales was her first stop and she got there from their West St Marriott via subway. Which was a snap and brought back tons of memories from her days of commuting to work near Wall St and later to 8th and 36. (In fact, Oh was heard to say more than once while in the Manhattan that “it was great to be home.”)

Apparently, Bloomingdale’s “ladies lounge” ranks no. 1 on Oh’s list of best bathrooms…anywhere! High praise indeed!  It’s on the 4th floor back beyond lingerie and sleepwear and it an awesome art-deco-meets-modern huge lounge that really includes a lounge. Bloomies was awesome experience from start to finish and she spent 2.5 hours there wandering through the various departments after a major Xmas purchase for Nor.  The place is cunningly set up to demonstrate the best of the designers and the sales team was well trained and yet not in the face. There were “crews” at every escalator and intersection to help “direct” shoppers. There was a lovely curious energy everywhere.
After awhile, the colors are began to blend and Oh wondered why one might buy a red Lauren sweater over a Marc Jacobs one…and after taking in everything, realized the fun was completely in the looking. Like some kind of fashion museum.
Back on the first floor, where there was music, talking and lots of activity, it was like a Bloomie Boulevard with mini-boutiques set along the way touting “Nifty Gifties” and each numbered. There were 50 of them. Lots of fun, a cute idea. Engaging. But Oh was not to be persuaded with Burberry change  purses and fingerless mittens and little dishes (made in China) for holding Christmas candy. She did overhear a woman ask one of the “Crew” where tights and stockings were. How serendipitous! Oh needed something funky for Nor in that dept and so set out to follow the woman. They went upstairs, around corners, twisted and turned and finally came into a little room that was nothing but mannequin legs wearing all sorts of leg finery. Oh fell in love with several styles but true to NY, many were already gone and others just wouldn’t suit Nor. Until she came to Kate Spade. (which are available in STL, too, but there IS something about Bloomies.)
Purchase made, Oh hit the streets.
Yeah, it was cold. COLD!

Oh was using a point-and-shoot that she had borrowed from HM. Ugh, it was difficult to use. You wouldn’t want her to write a review of that camera. But you gotta know that she’s a Nikon geek and this camera was NOT a Nikon.
Anway, she snapped away but also used her cell phone and claims her best pictures are on the cell. Like the ones she took at night in Tribeca and in Times Square!

She took the “long blocks” from Bloomies over to Fifth Ave and her good ole’ fave FAO Schwarz. She was about to hit maximum load in street traffic. It was nearing 11 a.m. By noon, the City would be overtaken with shoppers and tourists, creating a hiarious holiday hum.

This guy (actually, there were two of them) attracted as much attention as the Guards in front of Buckingham Palace! (You can see who they work for, written on his hat!)

There was a break in the crowd that allowed snapping this of Vuitton’s creative minimalism.

But no break here where couples were posing in front of the store sign AND its wonderful windows!

And then Cartier whose Xmas decor is unchanging and just perfectly perfect…

And who could pass up seeing The Tree? and the many, mingling at Rockefeller Center?

And the tree “guards”…

And the windows at Lord & Taylor…

 It was grand to be outdoors and in the City and in the midst of things. It’s been ages since there were such walls encircling; and yet there were few places that compelled Oh to enter. She did dash into H&M (nostalgia – Nor and she go there when  traveling together) and it was boomin’ rockin’ crazy Christmas crowded…and fun! And then she bopped back out again. And she went into St. Thomas’ church. Partly because it was there. And it was so cold. (She took no pictures there. Always feel it’s infringing. But they were decorating for a service and the light poured through a western, blue stained glass glass window and the subway could be heard hurtling just below and the sound of a bell ringer-singer came in every time someone opened the cathedral door. And yet is was so peaceful and so beautiful and she watched a staff member put huge candles at the entrace of every third pew, back to front. Such a lovely ritual and he would stand back and make sure it was straight and then go on to the next one.

And then (and actually before the Lord&Taylor windows, above) Oh stopped at the New York Public Library for more than an hour. Why a library? Well, it’s Oh, for one thing. (she also went into B&N, forgetting that it would be nothing more than its usual “box” self. But she had to see.) Anway, there was the Library and the fact that some of Sex and the City (the failed wedding) was filmed there but moreover because she and HM used to go there and also because it’s a “book thing.” And there are tours. And it was Xmas-decorated. And it’s a beautiful place with reading rooms and now Internet rooms and the use is free. Free, mind you. Flash photos were not allowed but Oh stumbled along with her little borrowed camera and got something of it…

(the Bill Blass catalog room…really? Bill Blass? very cool)
This WOULD be a beautiful place to have a wedding…wonder if they’ve had even more requests since the first SATC movie…)

There were more adventures on Fifth, but after so many hours out and about in and out of the cold, it was time for a coffee. A New York coffee. Finding it served in one of those neo-traditional Greek coffee cups would be extraordinary, but that was not to be the case. Oh was having thoughts of hunkering down with her journal. Truly, this is a City of writers. She wanted nothing more than a cafe and a blank page.
She spoke with the Information ladies at the Library. They suggested hunting along 42nd street.
But Oh was of a mind to stay on Fifth, maybe get to 20th (another 22 short blocks or so) to reach Caswell Massey who makes a fine old fashioned cologne, the likes of which HM wears.

And suddenly, there was a Starbucks. How trite. How delightful. She went in, along with dozens of others. There was a line. This was the NY she knew. She had a book and read in line. She got her special latte (her meal of the day so far!) and shared a table with a  couple – she was drinking a soy coffee and had requestedextra foam. He just wanted to talk. They were intent on shopping but already tired.
 The cafe walls were nothing but windows to the streets. Oh read, sipped, listened,eyed the cross street and decided she would in fact take a taxi back to her hotel neighborhood when she was done.
Right near Ground Zero.
Right near where she used to work.
Right near Trinity Church where she and HM spent time in the old days.
Also the Church that shows up in the first “National Treasure” movie. (or, was it the second Nat’l Treasure movie? Arti would know.)

More walking about. A stop in a wonderful cafe deli to take food back to the room for HM. The neighborhood was hopping, surprisingly since Wall St area used to be so quiet after 5 pm. But there’s Battery City and renovations and dog walkers and people playing basketball on carved-out half courts EVEN IN THE BELOW FREEZING WEATHER!!
and yet it was all understandable. Everyone seemed to want to be outside, soaking it all in, whatever “it” was…the Xmas spirit?

And then Oh became entranced with the lobby in the hotel and sat there scribbling and observing and listening to an Air France crew and found her French still served her well.
And again she thought how good it was to be “home” and in the thick of things. 
When HM’s meetings were over by 7 pm,  they all went to dinner in Tribeca at Capsouto Freres. For four hours. Yum. A lively group of geeks, presidents and movers and shakers, indulging in the famous terrine provencal and the souffles (for dessert) that were off the charts in fun, good taste and “different!” (Again, great phone pictures. Must download them.) Then piled into a van (one of the business folk was a resident Manhattanite WITH a Honda van) and toured the city lights before turning in for the evening (now morning.)

And that was Day One.
View from hotel window.

The Staten Island Ferry is just chugging out of the picture  (mid-top-right).
So, people ask Oh, did you see any shows? Yes, she answers: Rockefeller Center and the Salvation Army bell ringer who was so entertaining that Oh and hundreds of others were sitting on benches in Angel Row to listen to him and contributed to his ‘drive’ to earn $1K in one hour! and other “shows” included the shoppers at Bloomies, the people in the subway, including the subway workers who were kind and hilarious as Oh fumbled at the token vending machine! and the kids at FAO and the bookaholics in B&N and one other fab little independent bookstore at Rockefeller Ctr – forgot the name. geez.
Since all 3 evenings were booked with grandiose biz dinners, Oh skipped anything fancy and stuck with street pizza (divine!) and coffee. And water. In restrospect, it was a pilgrimage of sorts. With ideas coming faster than the taxis on Fifth and the urge to write so overwhelming, there was no choice but to spend 2 hrs in the hotel lobby, accommodatingly furnished with huge couches and deep wide chairs and filled with the background sounds of the French crew, the staff, the guests, those headed to happy hour, others to a party in one of the hotel’s first floor private rooms and not far from the stairway to the second floor and biz center which had brewed coffee non-stop! (not to mention the Starbucks in the back of the building. No one knows better how to tuck things here there and everywhere than NYC.) 

Oh knew already that she would spend Day Two in and near The Village.


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§ 16 Responses to There was NYC…as told by Huck who heard it from Oh (me)

  • Oh fun! This post makes me miss NY so much… I have only been twice but fell hard for the city. One of my good friends lives on the UES and I stayed w/ her about 2 years ago and fell in love w/ her area.

    Love that you went into the library where the SATC wedding-that-never-was was filmed! Too cool. Sounds like a whirlwind trip! You’ll have to tell me more about it when I meet you in like a month!!!!! 🙂

    • oh says:

      Yes! yes, you can look at the pictures (requires patience and a certain tolerance) and we can talk about Paris!!!! OMG, you were so smart to plan that trip for post-Christmas.
      We’re watching Julie and Julia and it just showed Shakespeare & Co bookstore.
      ok, more later…

  • litlove says:

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time – once I’d figured out whose perspective this post was written from (I was momentarily confused!!), I enjoyed it very much. I’ve only been once to New York, for a wedding which also took place in a library with a black-and-white-tiled floor, but we can’t remember what it was called! (it was 15 years ago…). But I do remember FAO Schwartz where I bought toys for my baby, who was just learning how to walk back then, and the windows of Tiffany’s, although I didn’t dare enter. I’d love to visit again, as clearly it’s still a gorgeous city.

  • anno says:

    it all looks so alive, so lovely, and it sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Maybe Huck was a little bit jealous to have missed it all? I know I am… wishing you a very happy New Year!

    • oh says:

      Dear LL – I wonder what library you were in for the wedding…funny that you remember the filed floor! Actually, that would be enough to go if I really knew my stuff AND if they haven’t redecorated since! I love how so many of us have been places that others have been. It lessens the “degrees of separation” in a global world.
      And toys for your baby from FAO! how cool. (My vocab today is somewhat clicheed/idiomatice, sorry.
      Thanks for saying NYC is gorgeous; it is, it is gorgeous with life and I guess I’d have to say that’s true of so many cities…of every city in its way, eh?

      Anno! It was a grand trip; I keep thinking about it cuz it was different than the usual museum/show tour. And here’ something corny but true: everyone was so darn nice. Without exaggeration.

  • Arti says:

    Who wouldn’t wish for NYC as Christmas gift… this is a wonderful post, oh! Guess you’ve escaped the major snow storm that’s raging now. I’ve enjoyed all your pics, esp. the library, and Trinity Church. Yes, you’re right, it’s the first National Treasure that the church plays a major role. And to be honest, I haven’t seen the movie, but just dug up a bit of trivia for you at IMDb 😉

    I’m also interested in your Tribeca dinner… lovely menus. The Tribeca film festival is what I’d wish to attend. I’ve been to NYC twice, the last time was years ago when I watched Beauty and the Beast on Broadway with my then 5 year-old son. A revisit must have to be at Christmas time… thanks to Huck’s faithful reporting!

    • oh says:

      Arti – You’re wonderful! thanks for checking on the Natl Treasure thing!
      And you saw B&theB on Bway! Grand.
      And yes, yes, though NYC shows off splendidly in the spring, I think Xmas might be called “perfect” “romantic” and “holiday-ish.”

  • Nora says:

    Love that you bought me a present from Bloomies! And love that I can wear it all year long since it’s a combo pack 🙂 The view from the hotel is just gorgeous. Knight & I are hoping to make it to NYC next holiday season, in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, to enjoy the Big Apple at Christmas time after hearing all about yours! Let’s see if it happens 🙂

  • Ruth says:

    This is quite a heavenly Christmas in the city, especially the journaling part, after all those hours out doing what you love. Christmas is about nostalgia, and it’s so great that you got some going back home to NYC. I now have the Public Library on my list to do next time, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, since I have admired it in films.

    I loved all the details you shared, and the Starbucks windows being windows to view the street for someone with a journal. We’re heading to Chicago today for a couple of days, and it will be something like this, going home (college years), and now you’re really whetted my appetite for city streets!

    Happy New Year!

    • oh says:

      Dear Nor – ah, so glad you love your Bloomies! I’ll check in 2011 and see if they have those actual little “bloomies” we love.
      And I’m thinking the whole family – all of us – will do NYC for Xmas. ANd then in London.

      Yay, Ruth! thanks for stopping by and for mentioning the journaling part cuz I know you get that. Totally. Enjoy Chicago – of course you will! And I’ll bet some poetry will ensue? Hugs and happy HOlidays!

  • shoreacres says:

    Your experience of New York is so vastly, vastly different than mine ever was, even though I spent weeks at a time in Manhattan. “Bloomie’s”? I’d never, ever find a word like that escaping my lips – I know it exists, but it’s outside my orbit. Sometimes hearing people like you and Ruth and others talk about the fancy/fashion side of life helps me to understand how the Liberian villagers I met must have felt listening to me! 😉

    But this is a wonderful entry, with echoes of “my” New York woven through. I especially remember my astonishment when I attended worship at St. Thomas and was invited to join in the congregation’s “sherry hour”. And the library – I spent many hours there, wandering and soaking it all in. I do have a wonderful skirt and blazer I bought at Lord & Taylors, just to have “shopped” in New York. This year’s resolution is to lose enough weight to fit back into it!

    It was such a blessing to have friends and relatives living there – made long visits possible and a delight.
    I’m looking forward to the Village entry. My Aunt T, the jeweled elephant-giver, lived on West 16th, and what a neighborhood that was!

  • mandy says:

    Ah! NYC at Christmas time, is there anything better? My small town self fell in love with the big city life after a whirlwind December trip to NYC when I was 14 years old. I’ve been back at different times of the year but nothing compares to NYC at Christmas. How perfectly lovely your trip sounds. I’m so glad that you were able to visit. Sometimes I day dream about what it might be like to live there. I’d love to hear more about your experience!

  • jeanie says:

    Oh, my! FAO Schwartz, a Bill Blass catalogue room and Caswell Massey? You know you’re in a grand hotel when those are the soaps! All that walking about, feeling so holly jolly and seeing windows that can’t quit? And my beloved Trinity where we enjoyed an astounding Sunday service on a spring day, walked a few blocks away — the towers in site, and ate our bagels on a bench by an astounding sculptor of a fellow working with a calculator — we saw a photo of it after the rubble was cleared, but I wonder if it is still there. What a trip to remember — indeed — every moment a “show!”

  • Kathleen says:

    I loved this posting! You are making me want to go to NYC very soon!

  • Jimmy says:

    nice pics..what camera you using

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