This much I know

  • Going to New York with teenagers is infinitely more fun than going by yourself.New York blog - 02
  • Even if you end up going on the Staten Island Ferry by mistake (because you got Staten Island and Ellis Island confused, you tourist-woman), it’s still a wonderful journey, even in the rain.SDC10950
  • Ground Zero may be a building site, but the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site up the road on Vesey Street is well worth a visit. And surprisingly low-key and dignified after the whole Iraq thing.NY blog 2 - 02
  • If a designer-guru who has worked with Hussein Chalayan and Matthew Williamson recommends places to go and be inspired in SoHo, GO THERE. Pearl River is the most perfect place to go for Chinese clothing and imaginative stocking fillers. And De Vera has, without any shadow of a doubt, THE BEST EARRINGS IN THE WORLD. I dream about those earrings. Ruby droplets. Slivers of diamonds. Pearl and Sardinian coral (that’s probably very bad for the environment, but boy were they pretty). And most of them cheaper than a Marc Jacobs pret-a-porter dress. Some of them, anyway. But you don’t need to buy them. You can just look at them and dream.
  • If you can possibly spend a whole week in SoHo, among the boutiquey shops and little cafes and trees and incognito famous people, do. But an afternoon is better than nothing.New York blog - 04
  • Everyone who works for Scholastic is adorable. They obviously have an ‘only adorable people’ recruitment policy. And when your editor is wearing Louboutins in your honour, and has arranged fizz and cupcakes, you know you’re in for a good time.
  • Boy can it rain a lot in New York when it wants to.NY blog 2 - 03
  • There’s a reason for that queue outside Abercrombie & Fitch on Fifth Avenue. It’s so you feel you’ve just got into the VIP section of a nightclub and you are therefore cool and amazing and worth spending a lot of money on. It works.New York blog - 32
  • Some of the rooms at the Waldorf Astoria (cheap deal, long story) have BOUDOIRS. Actual BOUDOIRS – like a room with mirrors that’s bigger than your bathroom and where you can pose about and put stuff that won’t fit in your bedroom. They are, as it turns out, essential. Every hotel room should have one.New York blog - 05
  • Starbucks chocolate and banana smoothie has to be tasted to be believed.
  • There’s a reason for that queue outside the Empire State Building. Too many people want to visit it. Go early. Or just admire it wistfully from Bryant Park, like we did. But going early is probably better.New York blog - 18
  • The best and biggest Zara is on 34th Street, near Macy’s, and is a reasonable way of cheering yourself up after you flunked the queue for the Empire State Building.
  • Never try and catch a cab from Fifth Avenue to Times Square in the rain. Unless you want to see a lot of New York cab drivers laughing.
  • Bear in mind that a rainy day (or two – did I mention it rained?) may alter Oliver Stone’s filming schedule. Which will naturally mean that the rising star you were hoping to see is stuck in the Adirondacks when she should be having coffee with you in SoHo. But you knew this. You were prepared. And there’s always email.Zi6_0635
  • Before you go to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum (which by the way holds over 45,000 costumes including Chanel’s Little Black Dress), check that there IS a Costume Institute that week. There wasn’t when we went. No exhibition. No permanent display. Zip. Niente. Nada. How can they DO that? I’m a big big fan of the Met, as are the other 4 million people who visit each year, but somebody needs to start a petition. The V&A can manage it. Good grief.NY blog 2 - 08
  • FAO Schwarz is as good as they say. Lots of toys. Lots of space for wandering around and admiring toys (not as crowded as Hamleys). How we got out with only some Lego and a stuffed Elmer the Elephant, I’ll never know. (Note – this polar bear was more photogenic than Elmer. And reminded us of the real thing over the road in Central Park. Yes, really. They have polar bears in Central Park. That global warming …)NY blog 2 - 04
  • Burger Heaven does what it says on the tin.
  • MoMa is divine. Especially with teenagers soaking up all the 20th century American art like a sponge. And no finer moment can any stepmother have than when her 13 year-old stepdaughter casually recognises a Cy Twombly from across the room (thank you, Tate Modern last year). And the courtyard, with the pink and orange sculptures and the Picasso goat, is the nicest possible place to go and take the weight off your feet after too much window shopping along Fifth Avenue.New York New York - 44
  • A visit to Tiffany can be pretty much ruined by a grumpy man in the lift: ‘5th floor? There is no 5th floor’ – meaning ‘there is one, I can see the button for it too, but the likes of you are not allowed to go there. You meant the 4th floor, you tourist-woman’. Even if you weren’t going to buy anything anyway. I bet they never did that to Audrey Hepburn.
  • But even rain and grumpy lift attendants can’t stop New York from being one of my favourite destinations. Oh, and when the sun finally comes out on your last day and the blue sky goes ta-DAH between the buildings, the city is GORGEOUS.

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  • The Chinese food at JFK departures is yummy.

4 thoughts on “This much I know

  1. Yes, it’s a good idea to see whether there is a Costume Institute exhibition on at the Met, if that’s what you are devoted to. It’s the only department without a permanent installation (I do hope you found SOMETHING else to look at?), in part at least because of the sensitivity and fragility of the materials. In the meantime, there’s an audio tour called “The Art of Dress” (narrated by Sara Jessica Parker) focusing on historical costume as represented around the Museum, and a guided tour every day on this subject. For the next CI show, come back in May; we’re going to have a big show with American material from the great Brooklyn Museum costume collection, which has come to the Met.

    • Thank you so much for this info. I’d have loved to have done the audio tour. Please can the lovely info desk people and ticket checking people be primed to help costume junkies like me, when we ask plaintively what’s on display? And if even twenty outfits could be out – in a rotating display or something – it would be a start. Your collection is SO AMAZING, and is about to be even more so with the Brooklyn Museum collection. I’m sure you’re itching to show it off. I’ll be the first in line! (And I’ll start saving up for May …)

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