Downtown Girl


A couple of years I got to spend a week in NYC completely unplugged. No business meetings, no family obligations.  Zero agenda. It was glorious. A week of roaming the island at leisure was one of my most memorable trips anywhere. I’d wake up and decide on an Uptown day for visiting Museum Mile and strolling through the posh neighborhoods. Central Park made a perfect muse for my photography.

On another day I’d hang out in Midtown to take in all the sights and sounds of the touristy Chrysler Building or Empire State Building. After grabbing a quick lunch I’d loiter around Saks Fifth Avenue near Rockefeller Center and work my way to Bergdorf, leaving a trail of destruction at shops in between.


But as much as I loved the serenity of the Upper East Side and the buzz from Midtown’s daily grind, it was not a complete NYC trip until I got in some Downtown time. Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Meatpacking District, Soho, Tribeca…all these neighborhoods–each with its own funky, hip vibe–were exactly what I loved most about this town.  If I were a New Yorker, I’d definitely be a downtown girl.


This time around, I take a day out of diaper duty and hop on the 1 train downtown from 96th to Houston. I pop out on the street and head for the shops…


I have to confess that I do think about trading my LA home for one of these while walking through soho:


I make a quick stop into Kidrobot; I know I am much too old to like toys but I have a thing for cool packaging, and if there’s a bird of some sort involved then I’m definitely in! So I make a small contribution to the economy:


The little birds stay on her hat from the magnet:


At Prada I meet a charming sales associate who offers to stash a couple of dresses for me till sale hits in a few weeks. At Chanel another nice person takes an hour to go through all the new buys with me. I know for a fact the economy is still a stinker from all this attention.  Is it wrong that I get the same high from shopping as from running a couple of miles? I tell myself again that I’m just helping the economy.

Sometimes the last thing you want to do is have a long, laborious lunch when you’re just hitting a stride somewhere.  So when in NY, I grab a fast lunch at a chain called Così (, and I believe I have been in all of  its locations. The bread is that good.  On this day I have the grilled salmon salad at the location near NYU:


On my way to work off lunch this is what I see…


But what stops me dead in my tracks is this Strand Bookstore–they’re not kidding about the 18 miles of books. You could just lock me up in the store and throw away the key:

Their art section is nothing short of amazing. I still can’t find the book on Francesco Clemente that I’ve been looking for but I make out like a bandit anyway. I’m not sure how far I can walk with a bunch of heavy books but I can’t help myself. Today I am a one-woman stimulus package!

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