Friday, April 27, 2012

In the New YORK #5: 1% Wonder


I told a small handful of New Yorker friends that I had never done this week's thing, and the common response was a wide-eyed "really?!" followed by a casual shrug. Because other New Yorkers understand that one can't do everything here, and everyone has that one Thing Other People Do All The Time that they happen to have never done. Today I went to Saks Fifth Avenue, where I tried on something silly. This store is beyond intimidating, even for someone who's used to other people's attempts to impress them with displays of expensive sophistication ("Now I have Tory Burch flats in six colors," announced a coworker in the elevator the other day). Well-lit, tall and fragrant, Saks is the epitome of luxury. Really Important Brands leap out from every corner, and presentation of the merchandise goes far beyond Stuff on a Rack. There are legions of svelte mannequins in hip poses lounging in every aisle, draped in of-the-minute finery, their motionless mouths seeming to whisper, if you have to ask, you can't afford it. I slipped into a dressing room anyway, with an Alice + Olivia outfit made for someone far more trendy than I and worth nearly $600.
Behold:

 The top. Not too bad. At a different price point, I would totally wear it.

 
The pants. Oh good gravy the pants. Too bad I'm not 6'4" with
$400 to spend on 90210-inspired modifed Hammer pants.

Friday, April 20, 2012

In the New YORK! #4: Sunrise, Sunset

Despite a slight geographical fudge, I still consider this a "New York" thing, since almost everybody involved, including the two key players, are all from New York. I went to my first totally traditional Jewish wedding. Aside from a neighbor's Bar Mitzvah in 1988 and a production of "Fiddler on the Roof" I was in two years ago, my first-hand experiences with Jewish tradition have been embarrassingly limited. I also credit this couple, Sean and Robin, with a New Thing I didn't blog about last summer, when I watched them get engaged at Belvedere Castle in Central Park. It was very elaborate, yet still incredibly sweet, and I knew then that their wedding would be the same. And I should definitely mention that my first Jewish wedding was also my first "started with the wedding scene from The Muppets Take Manhattan" wedding. A talented handful of performers from the Magnet performed the entire sequence, and Robin walked down the aisle to the "She Makes Him Happy" part, preceded by flower girls carrying a Kermit and a Piggy. After that, it was straight-up traditional, with the veiled bride, a beautiful chuppah, presentation of the ketubah, breaking of the glass, and raising of the bride and groom on chairs. L'Chaim!
 Chuppah bound! Photo by Gayle Agate Escobar

Friday, April 13, 2012

In the New YORK! #3: Carrying On

I've been a big fan of TV's Project Runway almost since it's inception; it's one of the only reality shows I've ever been able to stomach, due mostly to its focus on a talent rather than on a drama. As someone with an interest in but no demonstrated aptitude for fashion design, I find the process fascinating. This week, as a nod to the show but also for a practical errand, I shopped at Mood. For those not in the PR loop, Mood is a three-story fabric mecca on the west side of Manhattan where the show's designers run amok for several minutes each episode while they choose fabrics. And good gravy, there is a lot to choose from. I headed straight for the velvet section of the upholstery floor to locate a match for a clarinet case that husband is refinishing, but after that I kind of took my time to look around. It's a very inspiring place, full of creative types, fashion professionals and amateurs like myself who just needed one thing, but figured that this was the place to find it. I even ran into Swatch, the Mood mascot dog on the stairs. He seemed a bit aloof, but it might have been that he was just thinking really hard about chintz. 
Thank you, Mood.

Friday, April 6, 2012

In the New YORK #2: Flower Power

It's Spring! In Brazil! During Carnival! And I'm there! That's all true except for the last part. Today I went to the Macy's Flower Show, though, and thanks to the artfully executed ambiance, I did indeed feel like I was in Brazil during Carnival. Sort of. I guess. I'm not sure what that feels like, except I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been wearing a coat, and I would have had something far more flavorful in my hand than my cell phone. In ten years in New York, I really haven't spent a ton of time in Macy's until recently, and certainly not during high-volume event times like Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Biggest One Day Sale of the Year (which seems to happen 3 or 4 times annually) or this Flower Show. It apparently used to be in the store, with a different theme every year that was woven into the handsome architecture of the store's first floor. But now that the store is undergoing a massive renovation, the show has been relocated to a tent outside, which makes the whole "transport you to Brazil" thing so much more believable. Again, I can't say for sure. But I have an imagination and my senses are gullible, so I'm pretty sure that aside from the 45 degree temps outside the tent, it was pretty spot-on in terms of music, vegetation, giant toucans, babbling fountains, minimalist mountain murals and tourists from Ohio. Rather than try to describe the impressive lushness, I'll just give you a photographic taste of what Carnival is apparently like:
 Photo by Lolita Beckwith
 Photo by Lolita Beckwith
photo by Lolita Beckwith