For those following this blog you'd know that i'm now an official "Madam" as opposed to a "Miss" - this is how the Singapore government acknowledges ones newly married status.
Had to get this final NY post out of the way before making way for the rest. And trust me, there's a lot of backlog in there - there will be more posts coming up!
Day 10 - Sunday 5 February
Today is horrible – I am very ill. I know this because I don’t have the slightest desire to watch TV, appealing as it is. All I want to do is sleep. I must have caught another chill from walking about in the rain yesterday at Woodbury.
Today is also Peter Luger day – reservations have been made way in advance, and it is a day that Kisu has been anticipating for a VERY long time. I get dressed feeling extremely lethargic - we walk towards the Fulton St station – the plan is to meet YJ, Sae Eun & her boyfriend at Union Sq and then make our way to Brooklyn. I make it through Fulton Station – we have to walk a little bit before hitting the 4,5 line that brings us uptown. Finally I decide I can’t do it – I feel like keeling over any minute, so Kisu drops me back at the hotel before he heads out again. Nothing will stop him from a meal at Peter Luger!
I spend the rest of the day sleeping – finally waking around 5pm or so. YJ and Kisu return bearing delicious morsels from Chinatown – my favourite stuff – century egg porridge, veggies and char siew! I really don’t have an appetite, and there’s so much food. Kisu and YJ are still full from their steak lunch so they can't help with the food. I pick at the food, but feel better after I eat – in the end manage to finish a good half of each dish! It’s Superbowl Sunday, so we watch TV and wait for the game to begin. I have no idea what this game is about, but figure it must be worth a watch since it’s the largest Sporting event in America. Besides, who knows, there could be another Wardrobe Malfunction! This time, it’s not as exciting as Janet & Justin though – it is the Rolling Stones that perform at halftime.
Late into the game, Kisu & YJ decide that they want pizza – YJ manages to find a Domino’s that delivers on Superbowl night. It arrives, sans coke (they forgot the drink order) and it turns out that the pizza crust is really soggy – the two are disappointed with the food and hankering for a cold Coke. Out of desperation, Kisu considers paying US$4 for a can of coke from the mini-bar but can’t bring himself to do it. In the end, YJ, who’s the only one appropriately dressed for the weather outside (Kisu is in shorts & Tshirt, and me in my fleecy PJs) decides to go down to the nearby convenience store to pick up the drinks. She assigns us the job of getting ice while she’s gone.
The ice machine is 1 floor above us (I know this because I had to get ice for Kisu when he couldn’t keep any liquid down after our wild night out on the town) – the 2 of us sneak out of the room in our grubby attire and make our way upstairs hoping no one sees us – well I guess it’s OK since we’re guests, but it’s also kind of embarrassing to be wandering around in sleepwear. Thankfully we make it up and back down unseen – YJ returns with a 1.5l bottle of coke chortling at how it’s a fraction of the mini-bar price.
So that was my Superbowl experience - it was quite funny actually because I remember these players getting interviewed on TV and saying it was an honour to play at the greatest Sporting event in the World (or something to that effect) and I was thinking - this is American football we're talking about here!
Day 11 - Monday 6 February
Another day of me being sick and staying in. I’m a little better so I stay up and watch a bit of TV. More Cold Case Files on A&E and stuff like that. It’s a really windy day so I don’t feel like I’m missing much by staying in. Kisu comes back to the hotel to have lunch (so I don’t have to brave the wind to meet him) – we dine at the Italian restaurant in the hotel. From the ads hanging around the hotel, it claims to be the restaurant that “real New Yorkers dine in”. Ha! Yun-jo gets of work early and comes over to hang out before we meet Kisu for dinner. She drags me to Century 21, which is so near the hotel to look at the designer shoes. My 2nd time at the store, I realize that I missed the entire designer shoe section which is ½ a floor below the original section that I had visited! It’s such a pain taking off boots and socks to try shoes. I also feel intermittently hot and cold, so I’m not sure if I should continue wearing my coat & perspire, or take it off and freeze (not to mention have extra baggage to carry around while shopping).
I pick up a pair of pointy matte gold leather and suede slingbacks – perfect colour to go with the wedding cheongsam (which has gold silk). It’s kind of pricey, but they have my size!!! OK and I’m desperate.
Back at the hotel, we decide to do Yama again – Kisu can’t get enough of the big sushi, so we head to the restaurant (another branch from the one we went to earlier) – I have the tonjiru - nice pork and miso soup, very hot, yummy and very comforting! The only problem with the outlet is that it smells of deep fried stuff – tempura and whatnot – so my sweater, coat, everything stinks. Yucks.
Apparently all that sushi is not enough to satisfy Kisu’s appetite – Yun-jo recommends CrifDogs Hotdogs near her place. They have cute stuff there, like the Chihuahua which is a hotdog wrapped in bacon. It reminds me of Paris Hilton, somehow.
i love the "eat me" sign! it reminds me of miranda and the sandwich guy in sex & the city.
Here’s Kisu enjoying not just one, but two dogs!
As a bonus, we get to watch the hilarious Family Guy on TVs in the store as he chomped down on his snack.
Day 12 - Tuesday 7 February
A very exciting day! Pat has been raving about shopping in New Jersey, where it’s tax free. So today I meet her at Port Authority at mid day – she’s taken a half day off work to go shopping with me – we have lunch and then proceed to take the bus to Garden City Mall in Jersey. At $6 roundtrip, it is a much cheaper option than Woodbury Common. It’s great because all the shopping is within a huge mall – with indoor shopping, I don’t have to worry about getting cold. The trip is slightly different from the ride to Woodbury Common, because the bus does not go via the highway, but rather meanders through the lazy suburbs of Jersey. It’s a great day, the sky is clear and blue, and I get a good look at suburban America! Pat, who has been on this trip several times before is not as amused as I am!
We get there in an hour and hit the big stores – my first buy (I think best of the trip) are these gorgeous grey-blue Valentino peep-toe pumps with diamante detail on the front. It is the last pair of that design off the bargain rack - surprisingly they are in perfect condition (usually the last of the bargains are mangled after all that man-handling), and get this, only US$178! And don’t forget, no tax! We find out that all shoes and clothes, regardless of price are tax free – we initially thought that there was a $110 cap on the tax-free items.
Also managed to find my wedding gown shoes! Finally! I couldn’t be more relieved. They’re dOr’says in fabric, kind of a light grey with silver threads shot through the fabric. The front has two criss-crossing panels held together with a small diamante circle. I love them so much I buy another pair in black satin! I’m on a roll here!
Pat brings me to the Limited, where she says is good for workclothes. They are having like a crazy sale, and I manage to nab a spaghetti strap white silk top for US$25 – whoo hoo! Score!
It’s been quite a fruitful day – I’m just so glad I got my shoes for the wedding! We take the same bus back into the city and go to K-town for one of my favourite Korean dishes, SoonDubu. It’s a thick, spicy stew with mashed up tofu bits, flavoured with pork and a raw egg that you mix into the stew. We go to a place called Seoul Garden, but it’s definitely not related to the horrid BBQ place in Singapore. The soondubu is really good - thick, spicy and with lots of pork bits! Just the way I like it. I have yet to find good soondubu in Singapore yet, which is strange – you can get pretty decent kimchi jigae, which is sort of similar in terms of the base for the stock, but all the soondubu I’ve tried at home is no good. Very disappointing. The best one of course, is in LA!
Day 13 - Wednesday 8 February
I decide that I should venture a final look for fabrics before I head home – so after lunch at Bobby Vans steak house in the Financial district with Kisu (I have a giant steak sandwich), I head off to Chinatown (Canal Street). Apparently there are also quite a few fabric stores here which stock much cheaper fabric than those in the Garment District. There isn’t a fixed area, just sort of walk up and down along Canal and there are some shops here and there which sell notions as well as fabric. They are MUCH cheaper, but unfortunately the fabric quality isn’t that good either. But I would definitely buy ribbons and stuff here instead of in the Garment District, because the quality is decent and the prices are like, less than half. I have more fun at the notions and patterns shops than at the fabric stores. Notions include all sorts of sewing related paraphernalia, e.g. thread, zippers, laces, ribbons, rulers, needles, thimbles etc.
After that, I hit the Garment District again, this time, unencumbered with any huge bags of fabric. I wander into Steinlauf & Stoller, Inc and I stumble upon the ultimate find! A French curve!!!! What’s the big deal about a French curve, anyway? And what on earth is a French curve, in the first place? Well, a French curve is a type ruler that we use in garment drafting, and it’s used for the curved bits of a garment such as the sleeve cap, necklines and armholes. We were all assigned a French curve on our first day of school, and we got one that looked more like this (this is not an exact replica - ours looked like a cross of A & D)
Whereas the preferred one (which had run out of stock) – which is preferred as it makes drawing armholes a whole lot easier – should look more like a huge comma.
So guess what, I find this ideal comma like French curve in Steinlauf & Stoller! I am so tempted to buy all 4 hanging on the wall, but I duely restrain myself and get only one. It is really fun in there as there are so many different notions and also such a wide variety of interfacing (stiffeners used to stiffen collars, cuffs, etc)! It is a bustle of activity and I notice some Parson’s students (how do I know this? The shop asks if you’re buying for business or for school at the counter and they give some discount, I think if you are). There is also a really cute old lady who had dragged (on a trolley) her sewing machine to the shop for repair. It is such a crazy feeling to be in a place where everyone around you in so into sewing and design, etc. There were also definitely designer types in the fabric stores that I popped into.
I feel like I have covered the Fabric District to a respectable degree, so I go back to the hotel before going out again to meet Yun-jo and Pat at 4th Avenue. It’s really cold out tonight! I have my cap on and I look dumb but I don’t care because it is freezing out there!!! The idea is to have dessert while waiting for Kisu to finish work and then all proceed to dinner. The dessert place, ChikaLicious offers dessert in 3 (miniscule) courses. The desserts have been described as something which you could snort right up your nose (yes they are that small). We did not think it was something that Kisu would miss, therefore us girls decided it was OK for us to leave him out of the Chika experience. The place, like its desserts, is tiny. It is owned by a tiny Japanese American lady and her husband. Since we are early, we have no problem getting a seat, but it slowly fills up – and we notice that there is only one male customer in the shop, obviously brought there by his female dining companion.
So here are the desserts…..
Us outside ChikaLicious
Kisu finishes work earlier than expected, so he comes over to join us, upping the total male count in the shop to two. We decide to go for Korean Chinese food in K-town. So, let me explain what Korean Chinese food is. It’s definitely not Korean fare, and neither is it actually Chinese, which people usually imagine it to be. It’s a particular blend of the two cultures and the stuff they serve is very different from what you’d get in a Korean restaurant. Kisu’s favourite Korean Chinese dish is zha jiang mian – but it’s nothing at all like the Chinese version. This has black sauce and chopped up seafood bits and you eat it with lots of onion, vinegar and pickles. There’s also tang su yuk – which is their version of sweet and sour pork which we order, together with the chicken version. And we also get dumplings – gun man doo. I get my usual dish, cham pong which is a spicy soup with noodles and seafood. It’s a lot of food, I’m actually surprised we manage to finish.
A last stop at Veneiro’s which is the other Italian dessert place that Yun-jo says Kisu must try given his love of Ferrara’s. All of us are too full from dinner and pre-dinner dessert though (rather decadent to have two rounds of dessert, no?), so we all just get drinks. I get a hot lemon tea because my throat is starting to feel a little scratchy again.
Day 14 - Thursday 9 February
It’s my last day in the Big Apple!
I drop off at Grand Central and walk a couple blocks to meet Yun-jo and Pat at their office along Park Avenue. We have a quick lunch at a Japanese restaurant and shop a little at the nearby Coach and NineWest stores. After they return to the office, I take a long path through an underpass to get to the Grand Central train station. I’m warned by YJ that it’s a pretty long stretch, but I’m not prepared for how quiet it is (I only see one other guy throughout the entire walk) and although it’s very brightly lit, my paranoid mind can’t help but dredge up images of me being mugged or killed. (New York! Very dangerous!!!) I’m also not really sure if I’m even walking in the right direction. But finally, thankfully, the bowels of cavernous Grand Central open up to me, and I find myself on the trains headed back towards Union Square. I pack in some last minute shopping at Forever 21, DSW and the Virgin Megastore before going back to the hotel to catch our ride to the airport. Oh and as usual, I get slightly lost back in the Financial district – you'd figure that I’d know my way around by now. But Fulton Station has a gazillion exits and I take one that isn’t very familiar. (Fine, so that’s not really an excuse) Given my poor sense of direction and the darkened evening sky, I am literally walking in circles around the area. I imagine Kisu back at the hotel panicking about where I am – luckily I make it back in time, and Ho! he wasn’t even back yet (he was late from work). I even manage to settle down on one of the plush couches, and enjoy a chocolate cookie and apple cider in the lobby.
After that, we’re off to the airport and homebound!!!