Posts Tagged ‘the neighborhood’
It always does. Just a quick trip to the sunglass shop on Spring Street for a small repair, then straight back home to work. But then there was the Splendid store just steps away. And even though I have walked past the Splendid store dozens of times and never been the least bit tempted to go in, lately, and on more than one occasion, I’ve been surprised—because I always thought their stuff was kind of junior—to learn that a top I’ve admired is theirs. They’re not the cheapest t-shirts out there, but they’re also not crazy pricey, and I have a crazy pricey t-shirt habit I’m trying to break. A visit felt like the fiscally responsible thing to do.
I wasn’t in the door a minute before I fell for this vintage circle whisper tee: the shape—blousy in both the front and back—is A-1 perfect junk-camouflage material, and looks like it could have come from Helmut Lang or somewhere else where it would have cost a good 30 percent more. In general I’m a fan of all of the tees in Splendid’s Vintage Whisper line: most really soft t-shirts these days turn out to have some sort of synthetic in them, but these are 100% cotton, super-thin, and so nice next to your skin.
Right next store stood Sam Edelman. Much like Splendid, a store that has tempted me never. But they actually make some pretty cute shoes at really good prices, and recently I’ve been curious to see if the quality is there and they might be worth covering. If I can rationalize anything in the name of this blog, it’s pretty much a go, so I popped in. It was summer sandal central inside, and I was drawn to these cork flip flops, dead ringers for this pair from French brand K-Jacques but way, way, way cheaper. I had actually coveted the K-Jacques versions, but had wondered if a flip flop wouldn’t be horribly uncomfortable when executed on a big old cork heel. Happily, I discovered, it is not. They’re cheap enough to buy in multiple shades—and come in quite a few—but I stuck with just the gold.
And now it really was time to get on home. Just a quick little foray to Saturdays Surf for my first iced cappuccino of the season and out. But in order to get there, I had to pass Madewell on Broome Street and Broadway, and even though I don’t inevitably buy something every time I visit Madewell, I can always find something to want. I gave myself a pass and went in. By now I knew I was getting a post out of this, and editorially speaking, three is always better than two.
Madewell’s got a partnership going with Austin retailer JM Drygoods; they sell the best Mexican embroidered clothes, and have a—and I hate using this word, but it really applies here—small and quite thoughtfully curated selection of other items, from chairs to soaps to candles, and you kind of want one of everything. At Madewell they’ve focused mostly on Mexican tops and dresses, and after a good deal of obsessing, I finally settled on this Oxaca Caftan. I am quite sure it shall get stained—dramatically and soon, and likely by my own hand. But for now it is perfect. As was that iced cappuccino.
I did a some quick math between stuffing boxes over the weekend and realized that the apartment I’m moving into today will be my tenth residence since moving to the city in 1988. I never planned to be the type of person who didn’t settle anywhere for too long—the lengthiest I’ve ever lived anywhere here is six years—but that has been my reality. And it mildly troubled me until an astrologer told me that Pisces are nomads, and then—even though I don’t much believe in astrology—I decided to feel OK about it, and even look forward being the type of person who keeps moving on.
This time is tougher than most, though. Three years ago, I closed on my big, beautiful West Village apartment in a perfect prewar building just weeks before I got fired from my fancy job, so I knew from the moment I moved in that I wouldn’t be staying long. That I got to be here so long has felt like a gift. And now, rather than remain in this deadly pricy neighborhood in a place that can’t hold a candle to the one I’m leaving, I’m moving way farther downtown and east, to a place that I loved the moment I walked in. It’s modern, and all windows and light and the bathrooms and kitchen sparkle with new fixtures—a sharp contrast to the places I’ve favored in the past, and one I surprised myself by being attracted to. And it’s right across the street from a park and a community garden I discovered last spring and fell in love with. I’m ready for a new set of streets and fresh inspiration, but I am feeling awfully sentimental about the neighborhood I will always think is the most beautiful in the city. So it seemed like a good moment to share my favorite spots with you.
Chocolate Bar: The treats are great and you just might die for the chocolate-covered Oreos, but this place also serves coffee and has tables, and has served, since I started writing again, as my official office away from home. If I could adopt every single member of the young staff here I would, because they’re all so affable and smart and fun, and I’ve made some of my more enduring neighborhood friendships—and met my wonderful dog walker Ryan—hanging out at its little tables.
Le Bonbonniere Way back when I first lived in the West Village some 25 years ago, this no-frills diner was run by a bunch of old French guys, smelled vaguely and permanently of a grease fire, and was always my first stop for a cheap and satisfying hangover breakfast. All these years later, the French guys are gone, the air’s cleared a bit and it can be maddeningly difficult to get a table on the weekends, but otherwise it’s changed hardly at all—unlike just about everything around it. Also, they serve the best turkey BLT in town.
Casa Magazines Walk in the door of this justifiably popular newsstand, and you’d never guess that the magazine industry is in crisis: they’ve got everything, with a special emphasis on rare and fabulous fashion glossies. And this is a place where you are seriously only a stranger once—the guys who work here not only remember their customers, they remember which titles they buy, and if you’re having a hard time locating it in their jam-packed store, they’re likely to come to your aid before you even have a chance to ask.
Beasty Feast My floor is permanently littered with dog toys—undercutting my best attempts at creating any striking home decor moments—because of Beastie Feast. It’s another place in the neighborhood that’s truly neighborhood and since they stock the only food my finicky Sammy loves, and deliver all over the city, I don’t plan on totally saying goodbye to them.
Frankies Most of the restaurants in my neighborhood are either not especially notable or impossible to get into without reservations, so I was thrilled when this sibling of the popular Brooklyn Italian spot opened up on Hudson street. It’s pretty big, so it’s usually not too tough to get a table, but it’s nicely lit and somehow feels like a more intimate spot when you’re seated with your party. Everything is good, but the meatballs are especially fantastic, as is the cavatelli with sausage. And the gnocchi. And sometimes in the summer, they make a linguine with crab and that is crazy good too. Losing Frankies hurts.
Castor & Pollux Right off of the mini-mall that Bleecker Street has become is one of the city’s best indie boutiques, which I have praised lavishly on more than one occasion. Castor & Pollux surprises me every time I go there, and is one of the main reasons I know I’ll be back west for a visit from time to time.
Manhattan Fruit Exchange You have to fight swarms of slow-moving tourists dragging their way through Chelsea Market to get to it, but this greengrocer has some of the best and most varied produce in town. If you’re looking for exotic ingredients, or a decent tomato in December, these are your guys. And because they wholesale to half the restaurants in the city, the prices are amazing.
C.O. Bigelow Apothecary Only the best pharmacy/beauty emporium a girl could ever live within walking distance of. Bigelow, I think I will miss you most of all.
Images via Time Out, The Beautiful Streets, NY Mag, Trip Advisor, Shopikon
I loathe the observance of Halloween by adults—except those adults accompanied by children*—and you might too if you lived in downtown New York. For it is here that the annual opening of the Hellmouth that is the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade happens, and its aftermath is the kind of a glittery, boozy, loud-ass touristy rout that could drive a girl straight uptown to spend the night with her parents—and frequently does. But this year I’m sticking around: I do like seeing the kiddies in their costumes, and any excuse to purchase a large bag of mini-Butterfingers is a good one. I’ll be serving them on this spidery-fun plate (melamine, and amazingly solid) from John Derian, which has been lying in wait for just such an occasion as this.
*Or dogs (see above).
Farewell to the New Yorkiest of New York rockers, and rest in peace. I’ll miss knowing I walk the streets of the same city as you.
This nifty weekender is from the Kate Spade Saturday line, which I checked out yesterday on my afternoon dog walk.* As an inveterate collector of travel pieces (have I ever discussed my menagerie of rolling suitcases with you guys?) it is the last thing on earth I need. And yet: I need.
*And from which I was not expecting much, as it is supposed to be the little sister collection of Kate Spade—a line that itself already feels too young for me at this stage in the game. But it was actually kind of fun; the tableware in particular is worth a look (I liked these); as are accessories (this crossbody iPad case seemed nifty); and I liked the mix of cute sunglasses that look more expensive than they really are too. The clothes, while cute, really are for the target demo.
Friday afternoon I was walking up Bleecker Street, feeling all cute and stylish and tall in my new wedge clogs—yes, these—when I tripped out of the right one and toppled—ass over teakettle, as the Brits like to say—on to the sidewalk. This was not the first time I have taken a tumble on account of my footwear, not by a long shot: there was an incident involving the first day of high school and a new pair of Candies; another, quite a few years later, involving the steps up to the New York Public Library, formal dress, and the CDFA Awards. And there were many, many incidents in between. But I had, for the most part, always managed to remain vertical. And the damage to my person was never much more than a particularly impressive bruise.
This time was different. This time my foot hurt, and it hurt a lot. When I got up to walk, it was not with great ease.
Did I proceed immediately home? I’d like to say yes. But just minutes before, I’d run into my friend Caitlin, who is one of the very charming ladies behind the counter at my neighborhood office cafe, and she carried with her a shopping bag and an urgent look. She’d just visited the Fresh store, and learned that their Supernova Mascara, which is what she swears by, what her mother swears by, is the best mascara ever, is to be discontinued. She’d gotten herself what looked like a year’s supply, and I—despite both my strong belief that one needs never buy anything other than drugstore mascara, and now throbbing right foot—was intrigued. And guys, this is some really good mascara. Thick and glossy and un-clumpy and eyelash-curly too. I’ve had lots of fun applying it as I idle on the sofa, foot on ice, leg elevated.