I have a love affair and it is with the one and only , NEW YORK CITY, The Big Apple, The City, Manhattan, whatever you call it, I know, I fell in love with it instantly. From the moment I walked up the stairs and set my eyes on the city that stole my heart. I was barely 14 years old and took the train in from Princeton. We were visiting my mom and I’s best friends (Which were mother and daughter) Rebecca, my mom’s friend had a whole day and evening planned even a Broadway play and dinner at the Blue Ribbon Bakery ( AMAZING) . I walked up the steps out of the station and the hustle of the street and the smell of the cars engulfed me. We worked our way around the city weaving our way through the streets and taxis. The New York sidewalks are like freeways, no holding up traffic and no stopping unless VERY necessary. My little feet were moving as my chubby cheeks were sore from smiling. I could feel New York and that was the first time I ever felt a city, and it was electrifying. New York was the launching pad of my love affair with fashion.
At my ripe age of 14 my priorities and must see’s were very different but oh so important 😉 This was in 2000 and at that moment TRL was the rage for ALL teens. I was eager to see where the MTV filmed . I pictured this grand building, a moment…. and then there it was, a corner window with colored printer paper on the bottom that read “TRL” my brows dropped and my bubble of expectation popped. It was my first experience of TV in person. I laughed at myself for the idea I had and what it actually was. I walked toward Broadway with the group while constantly cranking my disposable camera to catch every bit of the city I could, which embarrassed my mom. lol
As the others were busy at the box office handling tickets for Kiss Me Kate, I had my eyes on a whole new world,street vendors!!! I saw beautiful purses, every design and color you could want and as I noticed the price tags of my favorites; I realized I wasn’t going to buy a $50 purse at 14. Then I saw a woman negotiating the price of the purse…She was straight haggling and my eyes got wide. I pulled my favorite purse down and asked how much, he said $50. I quickly offered him $20… yeah, I was bold for my first time. He laughed and responded with an absolutely not and how he could not do such a price. My smart Ass 14 year self decided that I needed to let him know he wasn’t my only option and proceeded to tell him I would go find the same purse from the next guy and I did’t need him. As I began to walk away, he hollers for me and shouts “fine,fine I’ll do $25, you take!” I was thrilled, I made my first deal on New York City streets. My mom wasn’t surprised by me and made the typical “you are just like your father” comment. I was gleaming with joy that I just snagged a look a like designer bag, that was the start of my love of purses and just street vendors in general. My mom had to take my wallet at times, so I would stop giving every homeless person money and trying to haggle any and every amazing new york item I could get my hands on.
Then I had very real moments as a teen, that was a true learning lesson. One of my early visits to New York was 2 months after 9/11. My mom’s best friend that I mentioned earlier was in the building and was able to make it out. I will never forget sitting in world history while living in Georgia and hearing the announcement. At that age, I didn’t understand the real implications, the meaning of the building or even who or why they were attacked. We went to pay our respects at Ground Zero, it had only been 2 months and all the rubble was still there, there was workers and chain link fences everywhere. It was unreal, how two building so massive that took over the skyline, was just rubble. As we walked through the pathways there was several American flags and banners with messages for the lives lost that day and the hero’s that helped. I couldn’t imagine what Rebecca was seeing or feeling, she was in it, she saw and heard the terror. That day will live with me forever, we visited ground zero every year after and watch it turn from rubble and a place of loss to now a beautiful place of remembrance and triumph.
New York was my playground,a discovery around every corner. At the time living in Georgia, and by no means was Georgia on the same fashion scale as NYC. scuffed baseball hats and Birkenstocks were the trend in GA ( shout out toe berks coming back) and there was no H&M in Georgia or even in California when I moved back my junior year of high school.
My discovery of SOHO was magical, the only time I saw famous people in NYC was in SOHO. They happened to be my all time favorites, Lauren Graham from my favorite show Gilmore Girls and my Marc Jacobs moments… as we crossed the street we caught eyes, he probably didn’t realize it, BUT I DID. He was handsome and only in true Marc Jacobs fashion, he was rocking a kilt and sneakers. I thought I was soo cool in my knock off oversize Chanel sunglasses, which I still I have to this day. Big sunnies were not popular and when I went back to school feeling glamorous, everyone else thought I looked like a bug. Little did they know, they all would be rocking large sunglasses,2 years later. One of the many times my New York hit, failed in my little town. As a teenager… well I still do, I saved all my money just so I could shop my way through New York. I remember searching for H&M stores and they were only in NYC and Europe, they didn’t even have an online shop. I still have my first H&M purchase, a soft black turtle neck sweater. 🙂
New York moments,like seeing Hair Spray, the year it won 8 Tonys‘. I felt jubilant during the performance, it was electrifying, it was much different from my first play, Kiss Me Kate. Just another reason to love New York.
Then the not so high brow events of being 18 and going to my first New York bar and feeling so cool that I was even drinking a beer… oh the highlights of life at that age. 🙂 My more High Brow moment was during the same trip, I had recently finished my first modern history course and I desperately wanted to go to the MoMA. My mom took any and all learning opportunities she could for me, so as admired the paintings, taken back that I was seeing the real deal, the paintings that I just learned about. I was just a few inched from the art work that is known around the world. The even better highlight…. I saw Jake Gyllenhaal with his mom… yep, we were both there with our moms, it like we were practically there together. hehe, or so I wished.
Some of my MOMA favorites:I don’t know if I was technically allowed to take these photos.
Rene Magritte’s “The False Mirror” Picasso’s “Guernica”
I began visiting New York because of a family friends but then, my dreams came true… well as close as I was going to get at 14.. My older brother, ten-year my senior, was moving to Manhattan!! I then spent every Christmas in Manhattan and felt like I was in the Christmas movies, that I still obsessively watch .Everything from the lights intrinsically strung around every tree that lined the streets, the snow flakes that dance to music on the Cartier building, the smell and oh the delicious taste of hot roasted nuts. The city captivates your every sense. I loved walking the Upper East side and admiring the architecture and the mysterious apartments behind all the little windows you see. As a teen, I felt so independent and free being able to walk to the store or catch the train, I admired and envied the other teens that grew up living the New York life. They just seemed so much cooler, more mature and for the most part way more fashionable….because they were and are. lol . My favorite Christmases were the ones in my brothers 1 bedroom new york apartment with his little tree and eating dinner at the coffee table all together. Those are the memories I will cherish forever.
After 12 years, my brother moved from the beautiful city of Manhattan to Florida, with a growing family they needed room and lot more sun. I protested, knowing it would slim my opportunities at visiting New York but thankfully a friend of mine and his babe are living in adorable Astoria and I seized the chance to visit….
NEW YORK II…. to be continued….