Tuesday 15th August
Since the Fashion District is relatively close by our hotel, we made it our first stop and dropped by Mood and B&J Fabric. Nothing much - prices seemed to have gone up from what I remembered, so I didn't get anything. Not that much caught my eye. Well, there was lovely chantilly lace at B&J but it cost a bomb.
It started raining - worse than a drizzle but not like the tropical thunderstorms we are used to here. Still, we were forced to go to a Duane Reed to buy ratty umbrellas at unbelievable US dollar prices. Tried to hide out at Macy's at Herald Square which is a stone's throw away from where we were, but it was so boring there that Kisu suggested that we go to his favourite store in NYC, the giant discount store Century 21. He has scored quite a few good buys there (shoes in particular) and I know they usually have discounted Kate Spade bags so we went with much anticipation. Shopping karma was not on our side though, and we ended up empty handed!
Kisu insisted on Katz Deli for lunch, which is where YJ brought him to the last time he was in NY. I wasn't too interested in the food, more with the fact that this is the deli where Meg Ryan pulls that famous "When Harry met Sally" scene.
Kisu has a matzo ball soup & pastrami and corned beef sandwich and I have a chicken noodle soup)
Kisu happy with his matzo ball (which I found to be quite yucky - not to my taste at all!)
Me with the Giant sandwich
Post lunch, I dragged him to Soho where we spent the entire afternoon poking around the little shops. One of my favourite shopping areas in NY, there are loads of interesting shops both of established brands and independent designers. I loved the decor of Fresh, and went to some other shops like Anna Sui, Helen Yang, Anthropologie, and most memorably, the boudoir-ish Kiki de Montparnasse (or what Kisu refers to as "Kinky Le Pew") Also dropped by Zachary's Smile, a store selling vintage and reconstrructed vintage clothing.
Meet YJ for a BBQ dinner at Virgil's and then back to our hotel. I got to watch a rerun of last week's episode of Project Runway!
Wednesday 16th August
It's Peter Luger day - Kisu's favourite steak place and he's been looking forward to this all this trip (actually since his last visit to NY in June) YJ is on half day's leave and the plan is to meet up with her around her apartment and take a cab into Brooklyn.
We wander around her place and find ourselves in this funky weird 2nd hand DVD/CD and book store called MondoKims. I buy BUST magazine - this is a women's craft magazine started by Debbie Stoller of Stitch & Bitch fame, and another indie fashion mag. My issue of BUST features the supertalented Yana of Supayana fame - I always look at her stuff but can't afford it!
Here we are wandering around the streets in the East Village - I took this picture because - check out the size of that can! (It's about the size of 2 coke cans, one atop the other)
Peter Luger is really VERY good - I get the prime rib while Kisu & YJ share a steak for two. Dessert is apple strudel with their homemade shlag - it's sweetened heavy cream. I'm so full, but it's so good I can't stop!
You can get a slab of bacon as a side dish! Which of course, we both did :)
Outside after lunch
Back in Manhatten, we drop Kisu off at the hotel for his beauty sleep - YJ and I press on to a sample sale by Lauren Merkin. Sae-Eun (YJ's younger sis) joins us midway. Sample sales give great discounts (clutches that were $210 marked down to $80) and include stuff that was made as samples but did not end up in the store (thus the name, I suppose)
YJ takes me shopping along 9th Street (somewhere around 1st Ave vicinity) - I requested to see little boutiques, which I always find more interesting to browse than large departmental stores. The shops are quaint and full of character and usually the owner or designer mans the counter, so you get to chat a little with them as well. I actually see a dress by Kara Janx (PR season 2) at one of the stores!
Dinner is at Yama - we always seem to have to eat here when we are in town...and then I score big time at Barnes & Noble where we drop by post dinner. There are so many fun craft and fashion design books to buy! I throw caution to the wind (ignoring any possible excess luggage charges) and end up with 4 heavy books...and we make it back to the hotel just in time to catch the latest episode of Project Runway!
Thursday 17th August
We walk along 5th Ave while waiting for lunch hour to roll by. We're meeting YJ, Pat & Amol & Amol's wife MJ near the office for lunch before we fly off tonight.
The pizza we share is this giant oval thing!
Decide that I should drop by the Fashion District again - just because I didn't buy anything the first time. Thought it would be a waste and wanted to see if I could get anything 2nd time round (turned out I didn't) On our way to afternoon coffee with Pat, we wandered into yet another bookshop called Coliseum books opposite the NY Public Library. Interesting place, lots of design books - I'll definitely drop by again if I visit NY.
We meet Pat for coffee at her office building along Park Avenue - there's a Starbucks on the 2nd floor, how convenient! Pat then left and YJ came down to meet us for an early dinner before we headed off. (For those of you who are confused, Pat & YJ are both my ex colleagues and work in the same building - thus the convenience of it all)
We decided on burgers for dinner and YJ brought us to the Burger Joint - weirdly enough, it's a little hole in the wall no frills place in the fancy Le Parker Meridien hotel. It was packed though! We had to wait for a seat but the burgers were t-a-s-t-y!
Dinner was over fast enough, so we had time to drop by the Time Warner Bldg which overlooks Columbus Circle. We didn't really shop - it was more to kill time before we could head back to the hotel.
All too soon, we were back at the hotel collecting our luggage and riding in a Korean cab (cheaper than the yellow cabs!) to Newark for our direct flight back. My first time on the direct flight - plus, it was premium economy - which meant more legroom (bliss!) and larger TV screens.
After our 33 hour journey there on the horrid Lufthansa (no leg room, no TV and cardboard food) and United (no food!) the 18 hour direct flight back on SQ seemed like a dream.