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.
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?
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.)
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.