We stayed in a gorgeous loft in Brooklyn with a view overlooking the bridges and the glistening, (albeit, likely dirty), waters separating Manhattan from BK.
Being well-nourished foodies, we got smoothies at Refresh, brunch at Egg, and lunch at Taco Chulo in, all before 3pm. Not to mention, a nap on the lush grass of McCarren Park in Greenpoint.
We caught the tail-end of KRS-ONE's positively preachy free outdoor performance at Prospect Park as part of 'Celebrate Brooklyn'. He closed the set with an emphatic, "Five minutes before you fall asleep at night, I want you to SEE YOUR FUTURE! SEE YOUR FUTURE!" It sounded like a StarTrek prophecy. What future, Mr.KRS? So confusing.
For the next couple of days, we all did serious damage to our credit cards with shopping. While New York is an inspiring place for 'window shopping', it's even more fun when you walk away with the very item you fell in love with.
I got a pair of Mociun shorts from new charming women's wear boutique, Honey in the Rough. The designer behind the print-based clothing line, Caitlin Mociun, attributes the illustrations of outsider artist Henry Darger as one of the main inspirations behind her wild and bizarre prints. Think tribal lines on comfy fabrics. The print that appears on this Mociun dress is the same one as on my new Mociun shorts.
Next stop: one of my favorite new shops in the Lower East Side, Dear:55, run by Japanese expat, Moon Rhee, who sold me a unique copper ring with a dagger in the centre.
Moon assured me that the quality of the ring was supreme, and that the design was one-of-a-kind exclusive, made by someone with whom he works closely. While I believe the latter of the two points, I'm afraid the quality left much to be desired. For the price tag, (which I ashamedly, shan't repeat!), a ring should not make your finger 'go green.' Nonetheless, I do love the design.
At Dear:55, I also found a DADA bracelet that I'm still pining for (hint hint to friends in nyc), and a pair of Japanese designer, Miharaya Sohiro, shoes that I love.
Sadly, they were three sizes too big. Moon assured me that all the cool kids in Japan are buying their shoes oversized, but c'mon, I looked like a stylin' clown in these metallic beauties. Besides, I was done taking purchase advice from Moon: fool me once shame on you, fool me twice...
After a day of flexing some purchase power, we lunched, standing up and cramped elbow-to-elbow, in what I consider to be the best Indian "restaurant" in NYC. They offer straight-up Punjabi cuisine, where you can eat heartily for $4. The food's delicious but don't expect 'ambiance.' The four of us didn't say a word until we consumed the last of our saag paneer and thanked the friendly staff twenty minutes later. They're located at Houston and 1st.
After a bootless attempt to see Blonde Redhead for free in the park, we went to our generation's cool-kid haven, Enid's. I've never seen so many disgruntled hipsters in such volume. (Pic of the establishment during a quieter time, below, from NYT)
Speaking of Blonde Redhead, I'm told that leadsinger Kazu Makino, gets some of her dresses custom-made at Lyell. I fell in love with two dresses in particular at Lyell.
I couldn't decide which one to purchase, so I got both! My best friend bought one of them for me, and its featured above. The other one (no photo) is ruby red; a real apple pie gem that fits as if it were custom cut for my body. I absolutely love both of them. Shopkeeper, Sasha, was super sweet and very helpful. I made a pact with myself that there will be no more new dresses for the rest of the year. What can I say? I fell in love. Can't deny a girl a little love.
For dinner, we went to my mate, Rhea's, new pad in Carrol Gardens where we met her lovely friends. We eventually made it out to the Brooklyn Social where Rhea's buddy, Joaquin - an extraordinary bartender in his own right - broke down the serious science of a properly mixed drink.
Back to fashion business...
The proliferation of the high-end men's sneaker boutique in New York is a bit tired now. I get the formula now, place shoes behind streakless glass, spotlight them as though they were a piece of art or jewelry, and have a bouncer buzz customers into a dark wood room. The first time, it's clever merchandising. But after experiencing the schtick five times, it's just unnecessary posturing.
We were on a mission to find a pair of dope (but not ostentatiously nu-rave colored), sneakers for J which, ultimately we did find, two pairs in fact, at ClassicKicks. The staff there were the most friendly and helpful out of all the high-end sneaker shops. After walking out of the store with a new pair of sneaks on his feet, J dropped his old RUN-DMC Adidas off outside the shop.
While we weren't really scurrying to fit in too many gallery exhibitions this visit, we were all keen on going to PS1 which was unfortunately closed when we visited on a Tuesday afternoon. argh!
We wandered around around Five Points, a 'legal' graffiti site in Long Island City.
We thought it would be hilarious to make like the German tourists and go on a Hip Hop Tour of Brooklyn, hosted by 'Hush Tours,' (you *must* check out their website), but at $55 a ticket, this hip hop knowledge seemed just way out of our league.
No trip for an indie fashionista on the loose in NYC is complete without a visit to the store Opening Ceremony where the current merchandise theme is, fittingly, "USA vs. Sweden"- a clever venture given the extreme trendiness of Swedish design right now.
J bought a simple, 2-button, midnight black blazer from brand new Scandinavian clothing line, Pour. Pudel offer creative non-gendered garments. I got the black Pudel cardigan featured below.
My cardigan has neat detailing which would make my mother pause and remark, "Your sweater's ripped! What - you paid for a sweater with a hole in it??"
I also found a pair of simple, old-man-looking, navy blue flats from Hope Clothing. I didn't buy them. I should have. I have since dreamt up numerous scenarios in which, I imagine, those shoes would be particularly happy holding up my tired ankles. alas...
And randomly, since my appreciation for trouser socks is never waning, I bought a pair of oddball socks.
Our last day was spent stumbling dumbstruck through the Botox-ville quarters of Manhattan, but quickly found refuge and solace beneath one of the world's most generous trees. We let its branches weigh heavy just above our bodies, as we lounged, gratefully, in its shade.
For the pond alone, I don't think I'll ever tire of Central Park.
Seeing the Broadway version of the atrocious eighties box office crash, Xanadu, at the Helen Hayes Theater, will remain not only a highlight of the trip, but also, of my life.
After the thee-ahtah, we ate dinner at the swanky restaurant, Stanton Social, which, was deeelish!
Joaquin hosted us at his bar, Death & Co., a probition-era-inspired speakeasy. We woke the next morning to brave the storm that struck NYC at 7am while we sat aboard our plane waiting for it to pass.
For our whirlwind time in NY, I'm sorry that I didn't have a chance to cross paths with several of my mates who currently reside there, but I should be back for New York fashion week next month.
p.s. Paddy, Jazzy Jasmine and the wonderful Jarrett Martineau in particular, made this trip really fun, and fantastic. Je vous aime beaucoup!
bisous, comme toujours. . .