New York Top 10

10. Dean and DeLuca – I eat reasonably well except when I am on vacation…then all hell breaks loose. This trip I tried to invent new mealtimes just so that I could go to Dean & DeLuca. My new addictions are coconut cupcakes and dulce de leche cookies. Thankfully they are both so sweet that one of each during a 6 month period will suffice. However, if you get a chance to sample one of the cookies…or should I say two thin cookies, with a caramel filling, rolled in coconut…do so.

9. Marc by Marc Jacobs on Bleecker Street – I knew I was close when I saw a guy running down the street wearing Cons, tan cords, a pink/orange striped sweater and “hipster hair”. Sure enough, he went into the store just ahead of us. There isn’t a lot of space; it was pretty full when we were there so we all had to move in unison…like the shopping equivalent of synchronized swimming.

Having said that, there were loads of fun things for very little cash…animal shaped pencil sharpeners were $1 each, “Fashion Week” bags for $12, and glittery hair baubles for $28. Funnily enough, I’d noticed the “Fashion Week” bags in the window of the Marc Jacobs store earlier in the week but had taken the “Free with purchase of expensive handbag” which was printed on the back too literally and assumed they weren’t for sale…silly me.

8. The Conran Shop on East 59th – though it is noticeably smaller than the Brompton Cross store in London and whoever told me it was under a bridge wasn’t lying...The Conran Shop was definitely worth a visit. Even I (the woman who once carried a carpet on a plane, then lugged it across Paris on the Metro, and finally carried it up 3 flights of stairs) couldn’t rationalize trying to get housewares home on the train…so I made a list for next time.

7. Paul Smith on Greene Street – I love the whimsy in Paul Smith’s clothing although I’m not keen on the prices with the exchange rate the way it is right now. Once again though I was lucky and the final markdowns were in place. There was an absolutely beautiful thin, grey sweater with a large jeweled bow on the front that I drooled over but (oddly for me) I realized that I would probably snag it or lose a jewel after one wearing so I resisted the temptation. I did buy this skirt though which is an interesting juxtaposition of staid, furnishing-style fabric and crazy, almost architectural, shape.

6. MOMA on West 53rd – I'd wanted to see Doug Aitken's "sleepwalkers" projected onto the side of the MOMA building but the timing just didn't work out. Thankfully I can view the trailer on their website and carry the bag from the artistic take on the classic tourist souvenir.

5. Nicole Farhi on East 60th – this store is housed in the former Copacabana nightclub which made it a worthwhile place to visit even if I didn’t like the clothes, which of course wasn't the case. I found a couple of beautiful pieces but they were heavily marked down (there’s nothing like shopping at the end of the sales). A blue tweed and velvet three-quarter sleeve, slightly voluminous jacket and a crewel work skirt that reminded me of a Jacobean tapestry at the V&A…both for less than the original price of the jacket alone.

4. Chumleys on Bedford Street – you’ve heard the term “off the beaten track”? Well, Chumley’s bar is off the map. The scaffolding, for sale sign, and general air of desolation make you think that you’re in the wrong place. Inside it smells like rot. BUT, if you’re a bibliophile it is a worthwhile pitstop. Sure, the back of the bar looks suspiciously like a urinal but the overall atmosphere is incredible and I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s one piece of history that won’t be around too much longer. F. Scott and Zelda got intimate in one of the wooden booths, the walls are lined with literary memorabilia, and the afternoon we visited we were the only people there (literally, we didn't even see a bartender)…what more could a girl ask for?

3. The Guggenheim on 5th Avenue & 89th – if you get a chance, I’d strongly suggest visiting the El Greco to Picasso exhibition. A picture is worth a thousand words so here is Saint Francis of Assisi in his Tomb by Francisco de Zurbaran.

2. APC on Mercer Street – okay, I realize that when I got the Spring/Summer catalog I said I was disappointed…but I was unable to be objective as it seems like most of the best pieces didn’t make it in there…but they did make it into the store. After walking up and down in on the sidewalk out front for an eternity (ok, not that long but 11am is a bit late in the day to open) I was like a kid in a candy store. A fitted, red, three-quarter sleeve jacket will be a new staple in my closet…the bronze trim on the low-key striped shirt adds just a hint of “summer in Capri”…the rattan bag is the perfect low-key summer bag…and the set of buttons is just plain cool. My only piece of redemption is that part of this motherload was a belated Christmas gift.

1. New York - yes, it sounds corny, but the sheer energy of the city was worth the visit in itself. I'm a city girl and the more people and more activity there is makes me happy.


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