27 September 2009

Manhattan Planning

Within hours of complaining about the lack of New York in my life on Monday night--literally within two hours--a trip to Manhattan did indeed materialise in a most magical manner, almost as though I have some kind of intertubes-based fairy godmother. Unfortunately, the news came slightly too late to stop me doing the first bit of clothes shopping in several months while in French Connection earlier in the day, although I did at least think out both purchases very carefully over the course of four days.

I was last in the Big Apple at the end of January--a very fun trip, although one that was crammed with so many activities and late-night drinking sessions, courtesy of Papa's company getaway, that I didn't actually get as much time as I would have liked to do what I enjoy most when in New York: wandering, hanging out and people-watching. Nor did I get to do what I enjoy second most: shopping (although this wasn't through want of trying; late January is not the best time to go shopping in New York, it seems, when it's freezing outside and the shops are all displaying their awesome new summer shorts and bikinis).

This trip was completely unexpected and I now have only four weeks to plan. I'll only be there for three-and-a-half days and so preparation will be essential. On my last trip, I didn't bother with a guidebook and just took my self-written Moleskine City Guide, which proved sufficient. Now, though, I have to catch up on eight months worth of blog posts, mainly at Gridskipper and Time Out, about cool bars, shops and restaurants to check out, most of which I dumped into my New York Google spreadsheet for future reference and which aren't organised in any logical or useful way. Some probably aren't worth a second glance. For example, I was very interested to see TONY's self-guided Mad Men walking tour but most of the sights are either too costly (being expensive restaurants) or are places I've already been (like PJ Clarke's).

Still, I should be able to find a wide assortment of new places worth going to add to my repertoire of places I already like. And then there are certain things that must be done--not all shopping related:

1. One run in Central Park and one over Brooklyn Bridge--Marathon Day is probably not the best day for these.

2. An artesanal skinny cappuccino, a peruse of the NYT and plenty of eavesdropping/people-watching of all the starving artists at Joe (Waverly Place branch, probably, although I'm excited to see that a new shop has opened on the Upper West Side). It's important that even during scheduled down time, I accomplish something...

3. An afternoon in SoHo, breezing about Dean and Deluca and imagining how cool it would be for this to be my local grocery store (even if my bank manager begged to differ), browsing at the Housing Works bookstore (I might even resort to actually buying some books for a change), emptying the contents of J. Crew and giggling at how much more everything costs in Top Shop compared to in England.

4. Trip to Lululemon to stock up on attractive if overpriced sportswear, each item of which lists the top five reasons why it is so awesome and well designed. OK, so we have Sweaty Betty in England but a) it's more expensive and b) it's not as good. (This also includes other stocking up on products that are much cheaper in the States than in the motherland--Philosophy skincare items, mainly, as well as Crate and Barrel goodies (much as I like Habitat, I still prefer C&B.)

5. Trip to Williamsburg to stock up on gorgeous, hand-made jewellery (probably from Catbird or one of the other similar boutiques), coffee at a café named after a part of speech (Verb) and that hipster vibe.

6. A delicious cocktail courtesy of Employees Only (or similar, depending on my circumstances and whereabouts).

As for the rest of my time, I have no worries that it will be filled with great ease, even if I don't end up going to many of the new places I'd like to try because I enjoy revisiting old friends so much...

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