Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Discover This. (NYC: Part 1)

On Saturday, I discovered Columbus in the same way he "discovered" America. He didn't really deserve credit, nor do I. However, my personal discovery of New York's Upper West Side, particularly Columbus Avenue, was a victory in my novice explorer's mind. 

Whenever I visit New York, I hit many of the obvious shopping spots: SOHO, Nolita, 5th Ave, and the best-darn-Anthropologie-in-the-world at 30 Rock. 

 [ anthropologie on 50th. sigh. ]

While I have walked the entire of the length of Manhattan (multiple times) between the south end of the Park and Canal Street, I have missed some seriously great shopping just slightly farther North. 

My friend Tabor moved back to NYC, after a brief stint parading as a Canadian, and found a quaint little spot in the Upper West Side. Her 82nd street abode is delightfully close to Central Park, removed from the downtown bustle, and rich with boutique shopping.

This weekend, I paid her a whirlwind visit. Before heading to work on Saturday, Miss T. drew me a map to "the least incompetent Starbucks" where out of sheer desperation, I purchased a pathetic breakfast: a pre-packaged Egg Salad sandwich, which I ate standing up. I had planned to hop on the Metro to the MOMA, but became so distracted by the shops along Columbus that I ended up walking the full distance (a good 30 blocks, at least).

[not at all worth the 460 calories ] 

Dogs with owners in tow littered the sidewalks, and I made a mental note to expand my pet business into this very 'hood, should I have any Canadian success. I cooed over other people's pets, and may have come across as creepy. My stylist would say I'm a "Petifile", a term she invented for her own dog-stalking behaviour. Incidentally, my first stop was The Canine Ranch, a tiny pet shop/groomer. I spent far too long in the store for someone not holding a leash. I thought to myself, "I could do better" and it lifted my spirits, because this place was clearly not struggling.

[ harry barker, available at the canine ranch ]

Right next door was Mint, a great little apparel boutique carrying moderately priced frocks and accessories that are high on design. I tried on two pieces, both brand-spankin'-new for spring, and ended up picking up both. Blowing my whole shopping budget in the first half-hour  may have been a mistake. I picked up this military-inspired dress for $80:

...and, a great vibrant spring skirt for $45.

I was coveting the bauble belts, but mustered up enough will power to walk on.

Next I popped in and out of a few noteworthy shops, like Only Hearts and a fantastic little thrift shop that was refreshingly "curated" and less thrift than your average Goodwill. Housing Works has seven NYC locations. Had I been in the mood for some serious rummaging, I'm sure I would have found a gem. I was already coveting this pillow before I had even stepped through the door.

I then found heaven, or the interior designer's version of it, at least. I could have lived there. Really. Jonathan Adler's Columbus shop is a mecca for seriously cool housewares and decor splashed in racy jewel tones and bold patterns. 

A myriad of ecclectic and modern textures had me in sensory overload. In a good way. I was in love with too many out-of-price-range pillows, including this one:

This rug would have be a perfect fit in our newly painted living room, but alas, the $1050 price tag was a little less than perfect:

The shopkeeper, a man clearly fond of the tanning bed and hair gloss, managed to turn "Hi" into a four-syllable word. He asked how I was, but before waiting for an answer, also added "Love your look." and turned on his heel, strutting towards the back of the store. From such a ridiculous person, I'm not sure I should consider it compliment.

 [ "Hi-i-i-i! Love your look." ]

I couldn't resist swinging in to see Betsey Johnson. The sales girl was trying on one of the newest arrivals - an dress inspired by Betsey's 80's designs. She "couldn't resist" either.

[ ah, Betsey, is every day the prom for you? ]

Honourable Columbus Ave fashion mentions to: Wink, Olive and Bette's, and Teddy's

 [ Teddy's ]

I headed southeast through Columbus Circle  and down 6th ave ending up at my very favourite Anthropologie on 50th st. There, I elbowed my way through the coveted sale room, and tried on a number of beauties at a steal. I tried on these, and loved them, but resisted:



Trying to stay on (or close to) budget, I only came away with a few underthings, and possibly the best pillow I've ever seen.

 [ my purchases ]
 [ best...pillow...ever. Alex does not agree ]

Stay tuned for more NYC, including: Tim Burton at the MOMA, and Going Out!

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