Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Heart NY

I'm back from a fantastic mini-break in New York City. There's really something about that place. Just saying the words "39th and Lexington" makes my heart skip a beat. Walking the aisles of Saks 5th Avenue causes my breath to shorten and my vision to blur. Brunch on the Lower East Side, dinner in midtown, drinks in the Meatpacking District. Every moment is magical as if plucked from the movies.

In an effort to be fiscally responsible, Jeff and I drove while our friends flew. Engine lights and snow squalls notwithstanding, the journey was good. I didn't even fall asleep! I stood by my man, the only one in this marriage with a valid drivers' license, and kept the music and audiobooks flowing. I organized the strangely embossed coins for the various tolls and had our passports at-the-ready. I, for one, enjoy a road-trip. Staying on the ground gives you a real perspective, unlike flying or getting on a subway. Watching the GPS system weave and dip through upstate New York, a corner of Pennsylvania, and a hint of New Jersey creates anticipation. Eight hours worth of it.

After checking-in at the lovely W Tuscany, our first stop was a taping of David Letterman. The guest: Kate Winslet. OMG. The whole experience was odd, to say the least. A bit of the television magic goes away when you see everything happening there before you. And the only thing I could think was: "How offensive that this woman holds the ill-begotten title of World's Fattest Hollywood Actress." She is this big. Teensy tiny. Petite and fine-featured, whispy, even. How very dare we, as a people, pin this to her! Outrageous! Anyway, the whole thing was clearly business, a real lack of connection between the two when cameras were off, all PR and contractual obligation. At the end of the interview, Letterman said his charming good byes, kissed a hand, threw to commercial, then turned away from her to flip through some papers as she scurried off stage alone. It just seemed so icy. I guess I was naive to think it was anything else.

Another spectacular outing was a performance of Spring Awakening. Closing on January 18th, Hunter Parish (from Weeds) took over the lead role a few months back. He's magnificent. Not pretty-good-for-a-TV-actor good, but legitimately, impressively good. I've known the music for quite some time, but was surprised by a lot of plot points avoided on the cast recording. It was moving and hilarious and exquisitely performed. The touring production opens here in March - get tickets, you won't be disappointed.

Really putting things over the top, a disaster turned into magic. On Friday afternoon we heard a strange dripping sort of noise from our hotel washroom. The ceiling was leaking, more rapidly by the second. The manager of the hotel moved us to a suite (700 square feet, a living room, spacious closets! A dream!) across the hall. What luck that the woman upstairs had let her bathtub run over!

I'll resist a weekend play-by-play, but do want to leave a few strong recommendations. We did more shopping than we'd planned. It seems Canadian retailers are clinical hoarders - we don't want to let anything go. But America knows how to mark shit down. They want it gone so slash the prices by (sometimes) 75%. I bought the ties pictured below for $8 each at a New Jersey J.C. Penneys. Doin' it right, indeed.

The Stanton Social
99 Stanton Street 212.995.0099
A cool lounge with great tapas and cocktails. Make a reservation. Open late.

The Smith
55 3rd Avenue
A relaxed, trendy eatery. We had Sunday brunch. Fast, excellent service. Make a reservation.

85 10th Avenue 212.400.6699
I missed this meal due to an under-the-weather situation, but the five others we traveled with agreed it was the "best meal they'd ever had". Tom Collichio (of Top Chef) offers impeccable service, great atmosphere, and brilliant steak.

Spice Market
403 W. 10th Street
A really cool place - huge! - with great food. Our group did the 6 course tasting menu, which was incredible. At only $48 per person, a ridiculous deal too. The beef skewers were worth that much on their own.


89 Spring Street

I got the shoes pictured below at this little shop. Because I'm deeply in love with the shoes, I must recommend the store. You might find your own sole-mates there. The 50% off sale didn't hurt and these teal-leather-lined beauties were a steal.

Ben Sherman in Soho

96 Spring Street

If you like Ben Sherman, you must go to this location. The staff is amazing and the sales are better. Jeff replaced his wardrobe for next to nothing.

34th and Broadway
This tacky store offers some great deals if you feel like searching. I got two pairs of adorable PF Flyers for almost nothing.

The best and cheapest time to go to New York is now - Not only are hotel rates rock-bottom, but the post-holiday sales are crazy. Sure, it's cold, but you hardly notice when every moment feels like b-roll footage from the Sex and the City Movie.


  1. Thank you for the detailed rundown of your excursion to New York. I read in earnest the details of the Letterman taping and am a little disappointed to hear the host is less than engaging when the cameras aren't rolling. Not that he needs to bend over backwards, the Late Show (et al) needs guests to keep its viewers and the guests need the Late Show to promote their latest projects. It's all executed to the letter and everyone wins, albeit in an impersonal contractually obligated way...

    I'm sure Kate Winslet was stunning, that picture of her on the cover of Vogue was so unlike anything she has ever done. I'm looking forward to Revolutionary Road. They taped some of the scenes in Beacon Falls, a town near and dear to my heart, and I can of course empathize with the plight of the Connecticut suburbanite.

    Those shoes are gorgeous. Every cloud should have a teal lining.

  2. Nicely done. Great summary of the trip! The teal pair were a beauty. How much did it cost you, given the discount?

  3. I had this totally goofy grin on my face while reading this. Like, "OMG!...NYC and Jason actually existed before I knew them together and he DID stuff here! WOW! Look at him go!" (Though I totally would have skipped The Smith on that list of yours!)

    I don't know why this is blowing my mind so much. HA!