31 January 2009

Debit Card Ready and Nothing To Buy

This must be something of a record: I've been in Manhattan for 36 hours and haven't yet bought any clothing, despite having visited several J. Crews and a range of other shops. They all seem to have their summer season clothes and funnily enough, I don't usually feel like buying bikinis, flip flops and short shorts when it's 25 F outside--is it really any wonder that the retail industry is in such a state given that shops insist on offering for sale items that will only be worn in about five or six months?

In any case, fun was had. After the early morning run, I grabbed a bagel at Ess-a-Bagel, conveniently just around the block from the hotel. I then had to attend a group photo session in Central Park (playing the role of photographer, of course), which involved commandeering a whole path ("The Mall") for about 30 minutes to take photos of the whole team in a V shape with various combinations of people standing, leaping and posing at the front. It was very much like herding cats so Maman and I took off as soon as we could. We got the subway up to Harlem and then walked back down through Riverside Park, past a huge church and went into St John the Divine Cathedral before breaking for lunch at a great French bistro called Le Monde.

We then walked further downtown to my comfort zone but after an afternoon of shopping in Midtown, all I had to show for myself was a variety of houseware goods from Crate & Barrell--they were all brightly coloured and/or frivolous but even so, what is the world coming to if I go to New York and all I buy is a load of effing kitchen goods?

I made it back to the hotel slightly later than planned, just after six. Still, that morning the plan had been to go for cocktails with the group at six-thirty so I wasn't really late. I hurried upstairs to change and came back down ten minutes later to met Maman; the others had left soon after I went to the room so we were very surprised to be the first to arrive at the designated bar, Tao, even though they left ten minutes before us! Honestly, it's a miracle they get anything done. Tao is (strangely enough) an Asian-themed bar (although it made me think of A.A. Milne and wonder whether there was a sister bar called Te next door; actually it first made me think of Dawson's Creek). We didn't see Tom Cruise, Madonna or Beyonce (who often go there, according to the website), which was probably good news--the bar was quite funky inside and the cocktails were really good--I had a lychee martini (which came with a whole lychee inside) and a Taojito (Mojito with some kind of lemony liqueur), which were strong enough to mean I was somewhat tipsy throughout Revolutionary Road, which Maman and I went to see afterwards. Not exactly light-hearted Friday night viewing but it was interesting and faithful to the book; I don't think it should win the best film Oscar though.

We finished the night at P.J. Clarke's with a cheeseburger and plenty of Merlot. The restaurant is open until 3 a.m. and the bar was heaving when we arrived and when we left. So much so that it took most of the length of the meal to play my request on the jukebox (Thunder Road), although the rest of the choons that were pumped out were also pretty acceptable.

This morning is the coldest yet but it is gorgeously sunny and we are leading a group walk over Brooklyn Bridge and into SoHo. This will involve getting 10 people on the subway so fingers crossed.

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