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I’ve been missing New York like crazy. So I went ahead and splurged on a little present for myself. I ordered the T-shirt pictured at the top. Now some of my cousins will think I should have gotten the shirt on the bottom, because Rhode Island is after all my home state. Of course Little Rhody, that dear old Ocean State, will always be home, and I get goose bumps just looking at its beautiful shape with all its little bays and inlets. But in my heart of hearts New York is my home. It’s home home, you know what I mean? It’s where I became a person. It’s where I spent my twenties, wistfully following the ghosts of Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan’s 1960s, kicking around Union Square and Washington Square Park like a folk singer or a Factory superstar depending on the day and the current obsession. And when that phase wore off I modeled myself after Bianca Jagger, pining for a Studio 54 of my own while drinking champagne to the beat of the Bee Gees. New York is where I became a career girl, fighting my way off the subway each morning in an A-line skirt and riding the escalator up to my office in Times Square like an East Coast Mary Tyler Moore. It’s where I nurtured my craft, interviewing jazz pianists and saxophonists in teeny apartments, out-of-the-way restaurants, and park benches. It’s where I pliéd and relevéd every Thursday night with an extraordinary group of 25 to 85-year-old women, bolstered by the energy emanating from the grand halls of Lincoln Center down the street. It’s where I spent lunch breaks volunteering at the library at PS3, my little sister’s elementary school. It’s where I walked by Tom Wolfe on an Upper East Side avenue and chatted with Hilary Swank in an elevator, and Monica Lewinsky in a different elevator. It’s where I drank draft beer in a Lower East Side honky tonk bar and danced to country music with the guy who would become my husband. There. So even though I only lived in New York for nine years, plus a couple summers during college, I think I’ve just offered up enough evidence to entitle me to wear the shirt at the top. Now if I can just figure out how to trade in that “California” driver’s license I carry around. Because try as I might, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to call this place home.

If you want a home T-shirt too you can order them here. Don’t feel guilty about dropping the 28 bucks because part of the proceeds go to multiple sclerosis research. Which state will you get?


If I can make it through the rest of my work and get our two carry-on bags packed with two weeks worth of clothes, I’ll be on a plane tomorrow morning to New York. Mmmm. Land of crisply scented air, chilled rosy noses, and shopping bag laden arms. Friday night, we’ll head directly from the airport to the Pamplemousse show, and then on Saturday I’ll head directly from my mom’s pull-out couch to the Brooklyn Winter Flea, and then Sunday we’ll head directly from Kennedy Airport to the Virgin Islands. Because these fabulous two days in New York are really just a quick stop-over en route to the real Christmas vacation destination: St. John! Caneel Bay to be precise, where they still lean over the boat rail and peer down at the sparkling Caribbean Sea below, just like they did in 1969. (I love those plaid shorts). Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

{Image: horemhab}

Merciel Bridal Shop

VeKa Bridal Shop

It’s been a year and a half since my wedding, but I still get a thrill every time I  see a gorgeous white gown in the window of some pretty bridal boutique. I got my tulle-covered Angel Sanchez number at a sample sale, but I did make it over to the wedding dress warehouse known as RK Bridal where I tried on some serious cream-puffs, and I also managed to slip into some of the exquisitely designed gowns of New York City’s small, independent bridal boutiques. There are many, but here are a few of my favorites.

Adriennes
156 Orchard Street

Blue
137 Avenue A

The Bridal Garden
54 West 21st Street

Merciel (Pictured Top)
224 East 10th Street

Junko Yoshioka
580 Broadway

Selia Yang
71 Franklin Street

VeKa (Pictured Bottom)
262 Mott Street

It’s no secret that my adoration for New York City has grown quiet. It’s been buried beneath a blanket of too much pushing on the subway, too much unnecessary horn honking, and not enough empty seats at my favorite restaurants.

But New York City is more than just Manhattan. It’s also the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and even Staten Island (which I have some really good things to say about, and promise to in a future post).

Right now, one of the most compelling regions of New York City’s outer boroughs, is Greenpoint. Yes, this charming Polish enclave has fallen under the spell of gentrification, but what a delightful gentrification it is. A host of lovely little shops have popped up among the kielbasa markets and pierogi restaurants. Here are a few my mom and I discovered one recent afternoon.

Shops

jan & äya
99 Franklin Street
Adorable handmade objects for home and play.
www.janandaya.com

Word
126 Franklin Street
All types of books, plus pretty stationary, note cards and journals.
wordbrooklyn.wordpress.com

Dalaga
150 Franklin Street
Gorgeous fashions by some of the hottest independent designers around.
www.dalaganyc.com

Chopin Chemists
911 Manhattan Avenue
Offering the best in skin care, bath products, and vitamins since 1995.
www.chopinchemists.com

Restaurants & Bars

Thai Cafe
925 Manhattan Avenue
Really good Thai basics. We go here for dinner a lot and I used to get take-out for lunch sometimes.

Divine Follie
929 Manhattan Avenue
Yummy pizzas, especially the one with rosemary and zucchini.

Happy End
924 Manhattan Avenue
Authentic Polish, family-run restaurant.

Paloma
60 Greenpoint Avenue
My mom went here once for her birthday and said it was good. Their menu looks scrumptuous.
www.palomanyc.com

The Pencil Factory
142 Franklin Street
Across the street from an old pencil factory, this is an intimate corner bar with lots of dark wood.

finger_puppets

A whimsical spring luncheon follows a traditional ceremony at a historic New York City synagogue.

Who: Amanda Monaco and Andrey Henkin

When: April 3, 2005

Where: Congregation B’Nai Jeshurun, a historic 1919 synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, which was modelled after an Egyptian temple at Aswan. Synagogue

Bride Wore: A floor-length, champagne silk shirtdress with three-quarter length sleeves and a crinoline.

Bridesmaids: Amanda had one bridesmaid, her sister, who had just had a baby six weeks before the wedding. She wore a long silk skirt with a striped silk shawl.

Flowers: Both the bride and her bridesmaid carried bouquets of tulips. Amanda’s were white, while her sister’s were peach-hued.

The Ceremony: Amanda and Andrey had a traditional Jewish wedding, but instead of the bride circling the groom seven times under the chuppah, as is custom, “we had a more egalitarian twist,” explained Amanda. “The bride circled the groom three times, the groom circled the bride three times, and then we completed a circle together.”

Music and Dancing: Before lunch, the bride, groom, and their friends and family formed a ring and danced the hora. Afterwards, a seven-piece soul group played for another half hour of merriment.

Favors: The bride and groom placed finger puppets representing different animals at each place setting.

Read a feature on Amanda and Andrey’s wedding in the “Weddings & Celebrations” section of the New York Times.

My friend Meredith is taking a trip to New York next weekend and she asked me for some recommendations for fun bars. Here’s a list of my favorite Manhattan spots.

Lucky Strike
Speakers blast Brazilian tunes in a cozy, wood-paneled front bar.
59 Grand Street Between Wooster Street and West Broadway (Soho)

Xicala
The best sangria, and tapas too, try to snag a table by the open doors in summer.
151-B Elizabeth Street between Broome and Kenmare (SoHo)

The Room
Low key candlelit spot with a copper bar. Lots of good bottled beers.
144 Sullivan Street/Prince Street (SoHo)

Pravda
Stylish, subterranean atmosphere with a Russian influence. Excellent vodka cocktails.
281 Lafayette Street/Houston (SoHo)

Corner Bistro
A typical, dark wood corner bar scene with the best burgers in town.
331 West 4th Street (West Village)

White Horse Tavern
Storied watering hole of Dylan Thomas.
567 Hudson Street/11th Street (West Village)

APT
Good DJs in a mellow, clubby atmosphere with striped wallpaper.
419 West 13th Street (Meatpacking District)

Grand Central Oyster Bar
A historic, train station ambience beneath vaulted brick ceilings.
Grand Central Station, 42nd Street and Park Avenue (Midtown East)

Hotel Grace Bar (Formerly Hotel QT)
Futuristic design, behind a hotel lobby with a swimming pool.
125 West 45th Street (Midtown)

Elaine’s
Famous literary haunt full of grown-up class.
1703 2nd Avenue/88th Street (Upper East Side)

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