Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New York One Last Time

Wednesday saw all my doctor stuff come out well--see you next year!!
Just at dusk, I ran into Lord and Taylor for a last minute Christmas present for Girl..and got this shot so typical of New York at Christmastime.

Wednesday night I ate at my favorite Madison Avenue restaurant --Salute!
I love this place because they make a woman dining alone feel so very welcome. No table scrunched in the corner, but a nice table with excellent attentive service. Never intrusive, but never neglectful, and great food and excellent wine by the glass. Who could ask for more?

I packed and got ready for the flight Thursday afternoon. I was way ahead of schedule but antsy to get to the airport because it was raining. I managed to get a cab first thing, and got to LaGuardia in time to try for standby on an earlier flight. It turned out to be a good thing, as my 3:30 flight was cancelled due to backups with the rainy weather. A flight and two-hour drive back to the Middle-of-Nowhere, and I was safe and sound in my "own widdle bed".
Thanks to Cynthia, Minnett, family and friends for such a memorable trip! Can't wait 'til next year!!!

I love New York--but I love being home even MORE!!

More NYC

Nothing more fun than having a whole day in NYC with nothing planned. I went shopping for Girl and Boy, hit Sephora for Boy's significant other, and went to Caswell Massey for Grumpy Guy's cologne (he's a traditionalist..C-M Number Six--the same stuff worn by George Washington).

Then in the evening it was off to the apartment of my oldest and dearest friend...he and I have known each other since I was born (he's 5 months older) and our moms are lifelong best friends. A trip to New York would not be complete without visiting him, his partner, and their three amazing kids! This is what awaited me when I opened the door:

Then I got to see gymnastics of all sorts from the girls:

And general silliness all around.

I love you guys!!!!

Monday, Monday...NYC Style

When I go on the annual Cynamin trip, I go up a few days before or stay a few days after to visit friends and have my annual mammography. Why, you ask, go to NYC for mammos?? Well, Grumpy Guy used to be an X-ray film salesman for DuPont, and his territory for four years was Manhattan's teaching hospitals (aka "Bedpan Alley"). One of his clients was Murray Hill Radiology, the head honcho of whom is Julie Mitnick, MD. Dr. Mitnick is considered by many to be the best breast radiologist on the East Coast, if not the entire U.S., so when it came time for me to start getting mammos, he scheduled the appointment personally. He won't let me go anywhere else. What a great guy...and what a great excuse to stay in NYC a few extra days!

I am also lucky to have a free place to stay. One of Grumpy Guy's business partners runs a company that has a corporate apartment in one of the nicest parts of the city--right across from the Morgan Library. It's a tiny pied-a-terre, but it convenient and, best of all, FREE!!!

So Monday morning, I hopped in a cab with my luggage and dropped it off, then walked the 15 or so blocks back to the hotel. Another gorgeous day! How did we get so lucky on the weather?

We headed downtown to the land of imitation ....Chinatown.
I wish I had pictures, but for reasons well known to policemen and street vendors, I can't divulge my sources. Let's just say that a minibus full of well-dressed ladies had no problem finding fake Gucci bags and Chanel sunglasses.
We also made a stop at Papyrus and Kate's Paperie which is right across from our lunch spot-
the ever-popular Balthazar.
Food so good, it makes me weak-in-the-knees. I had the warm goat cheese tart with caramelized onions as a starter, and it was so wonderful, I bought the Balthazar Cookbook.

A little more shopping, and it was time to tell everyone "bye" and hop the subway back to the apartment.

Late afternoon, I hooked up with my sister-in-law, who teaches at Hunter College, and we were picked up by her son-in-law, our favorite New York cop. The drive out to the suburbs was fast (thank you Palisades Parkway) where I had a fun visit with 'da niece, 'da cop, 'da teach and my two precious great nieces (I am too young to have great nieces......).

What a way to end the weekend!!!!

The One, The ONLY...Jane Marx

Sunday Mornings in Manhattan with the Cynamin group mean only one thing...the incomparable JANE MARX.

Jane is the owner of ProvocaTours and is known as the New York Tour Goddess. And a Goddess she is!! She's a dame with a capital "D", and is New York in human form. If I had more money than God (as the saying goes), I would spend weeks with Jane, just to begin to learn everything she knows about her beloved New York (She's forgotten more than most history experts will ever know). Intelligent, well-read, witty, funny--these words don't even scratch the surface of this lady-- the Times Square New Year's Eve crystal ball should be named in her honor!

In the past, Jane has taken us walking through the theatre district, Murray Hill, Greenwich Village, the meatpacking district, and the upper East side. We've seen famous hangouts, apartments, and buildings. We've learned history, gossip, and architecture. We've heard stories of New York pre-and post-9/11, and friendships formed and friends lost as a result. Because of Jane, our group is more "New York" than a lot of New Yorkers.

This year, Jane took us through Brooklyn Heights. We made a quick stop on the way to see City Hall

and meet this friendly and funny policeman.

Brooklyn Heights is a beautiful place.

From the water views near the Brooklyn Bridge, to the brownstones along Columbia Heights, to the Promenade, it was a gorgeous day, with a blue, BLUE sky and colorful leaves.

Jane had to leave us before lunch to make a speech for the Alzheimer's Association (she has poignantly shared her story of her mother's debilitation from the disease), leaving us to fend the trendy crowds at Stanton Social.

This fun and different restaurant serves small portions meant to be shared..except for the sliders, which are miniature versions of burgers and sandwiches--check out the kobe burger (use the fork for scale....it's about 3 inches in diameter!).

We were to have seen the matinee "Curtains", but the stagehand's strike did us in. Some shopped- we relaxed! And I'm glad we did, because dinner that night was at one of the trendiest and most popular restaurants in the city, TAO.

All I can say is "wow"! The food was fabulous, the atmosphere pulsating, and the waitstaff amazing. We had a birthday at the table,

and when our waiter found out, he went over the top to make for a fabulous dining experience.

Back to the Kimberly to pack up--it was time for the Shreveport crowd to leave on Monday, and for me to move to my "other location" for a few days!!

But I think this pic sums up the day:

Monday, November 19, 2007

New York Saturday

Saturday is Cynamin's "Shop 'Til You Drop" day- the whole day free to do as you wish--museums, shopping, sightseeing, etc. For our gang, Saturday is the traditional pilgrimmage to the Carlisle Collection outlet on West 55th. After that, it's lunch and more midtown shopping before the traditional Saturday night penthouse cocktail party.

We hit Carlisle and I found a few deeply discounted things...especially a pretty jacket the normally cost $425 for $39.99!! Then we went to our hands-down favorite lunch place, JoJo.

Then it was back to the Kimberly, so I could watch the Georgia-Auburn game.
The seniors asked Coach Richt for a "blackout" and he said ok- so fans dressed in black and the players wore their seldom seen black jerseys.

Fit right in in Manhattan. Great game-great win-and a chance to relax before cocktails!! LSU also won handily, so that set the group in a merry mood.

Our cocktail party is always fun, and a chance to get group pictures...

Then it was onto DeGrezia for dinner. We had not been there in several years and the management has changed. The food wasn't as good as in the past-how can an Italian restaurant get away with NO simple plain veal scallopini--and the service was definitely not the same. We used to be coddled and catered to, as a group of 30 women in various tables of 6 or 8...but the now waiters seemed to be more interested in talking amongst themselves rather than fetching yet another bottle of $40 wine. Too bad--it used to feel like home.

But home, for more laughs and looking forward Sunday and our favorite New Yorker, Jane Marx.

New York, Day 2

Friday morning dawned beautifully in New York, a perfect day to play downtown! We hopped on our minibus with Tommy at 8:40- no sleeping late for THIS bunch- to visit that landmark of bargains, Century 21.
Then it was on to Dean and Deluca
and ABC Carpet and Home . After all that window shopping (ok, and a few purchases), it was lunch at The Water Club .
Nothing like a 2-bottle-of-wine lunch for four!!
Then it was uptown for more Fifth Avenue shopping. Saks, Lord and Taylor, Henri Bendel--the standard New York haunts. Just a mere rest before getting dressed to see one of the best musicals I've seen in years--"Legally Blonde"!!!
To paraphrase the opening number "Oh my God- Oh my God, you guys!" Really the best thing I have seen in musical theatre in years! No, it's not "Rent", or "The Color Purple"--it's light and fluffy and hip and hyper and just plain FUN.

After something that delicious, there was nothing to do but put on my fresh-from-Century 21- jammies and stay up laughing with the girls, nibbling on some Dean and Deluca takeaway.

No dishes to do, no dinner to make, no laundry, no mess, someone to clean up after me...HEAVEN!

New York New York

Those of you who are faithful readers must be wondering what happened to me over the past ten days. Well, I am happy to say that I survived yet ANOTHER annual trip with "the gang" to New York City.

This annual get-away started nine years ago, when my mom asked if I wanted to go to NYC with her and a group of ladies from Shreveport, LA (where I was born and raised). Of course, I jumped at the chance, and a tradition was born. We had an amazing time, all organized by two of my favorite ladies in the world, Cynthia and Minnett, who formed a company, Cynamin, just to organize this yearly production. The next year, my sisters-in-law joined the gang, making for even more mirth and merriment. After THAT, more of my mom's friends started taking their daughters and daughters-in-law, and now we have a merry band of 30 ladies who assault NYC every November for 5 days of musicals, museums, shopping, eating and drinking.

We arrive with tons of luggage, as all well-dressed gangs are wont to do.

We have a minibus owned by our favorite driver, Tommy. (Does someone have a picture of Tommy?? I need one!)

We stay at this place .

Always. It's wonderful to have a "home" in NYC, and the Kimberly is just that. The doormen remember us from year to year (ok, honestly, who could forget a group of well-heeled Southern ladies travelling in a pack?).

More to follow, but I will say that we made it through almost the whole trip before the stagehand's strike began. We only missed seeing David Hyde Pierce in Curtains .
We caught a snack before hitting the streets Thursday afternoon at Ferro's, the restaurant in the Kimberly.

Thursday night, we went to dinner here and it was fabulous. Then we saw "Grease"

which was okay, but I didn't like the way they re-wrote the musical to include the four songs that were written for the movie. I like the pre-movie musical version better. I didn't realize until we got there that the leads won their roles via a reality-tv based competition.
More on New York tomorrow!!