An absolutely pleasant non-dramatic day in NYC

Posted on
Dec 2, 2010

Some days in New York do not come together well. I may get lost. I’ll take the wrong subway, or I won’t be able to get a cab. I’ll arrive at my destination late, hungry, and angry.

And some days, things just fall into place. Not perfectly, mind you. I might end up slightly late to lunch (sorry, Jorie and Rand) and I might not get special admission in to the exhibit I wanted to see (you’re on notice, Met), but other than that? Everything turns out wonderfully.

Days like that one very seldom make it into the blog. It seems that they escape from memory, because there was no Dick Move! or ridiculous catastrophe to make the day stand out. I often share the bad and the miserable, the days that don’t come together. Rarely do I tell you about days like this one I had in October.

Rand had a meeting, so I wandered to Rockefeller Center, and wandered around. I do this every single time I am in New York, because I am firm in the belief that one day I will bump into Tina Fey and we will instantly become besties. Also, there is an Anthropologie there (the clearance rack there is sadly pricier than the one at home. But that’s New York for you).

I like it here. I don't care if it's touristy.

Plus there are ice skaters! I love watching people do the things I cannot (also in this category: throwing footballs, being maternal, and making custard-based pies).

Curiously, no one is on their ass.

I’ve found there’s usually something insane going on in this part of town. Some big promotion or event that seems to be the definition of excess, but is no less fascinating. In this case, it was a ridiculously expensive cranberry-oriented display put on by the folks at Ocean Spray. I would condemn it more, but I got free Craisins out of the deal (and also free juice, which the folks at The Met made me throw out – THEY REALLY ARE ON NOTICE).

Yes, they built a bog. In the middle of Rockerfeller Center. I KNOW.

It was massive and odd.

From here I was promptly late to lunch with Jorie and Rand at the Harvard Club, of which I sadly have zero photos (I also JUST realized right this minute that I failed to send her a thank-you card. MUST DO THAT). Jorie is one of those delightful people whose awesomeness hits you just as they’re about to relocate out of your life. In our case, she was moving to NYC from Seattle, and we decided that wasn’t a good enough reason to let her go, so we force her to spend time with us when we’re in town. It’s always delightful.

Oh, and the Harvard Club was somewhat fascinating. It’s on the same street as the Yale Club, and full of old white men and dark wooden furniture. We were by far the youngest cats in there, and our table had the highest concentration of women in the joint.

From there I headed up to The Met, to check out Big Bambu: You Can’t, You Won’t, and You Don’t Stop exhibit on the rooftop deck. The reviews were stellar, and I refuse to miss an installation that takes it’s name from The Beastie Boys. The artists behind it – brothers Doug and Mike Starn – have created several sprawling bamboo structures in the past. This one, on the roof of The Met, was an ever-evolving piece, as the artists themselves (along with a team of rock climbers) continually added more and more to the structure. When I got there, it looked like this:

Cool, right?

Self portrait with bamboo.

I had read that a few tickets were available every day for folks to get a guided tour up into the structure. I had hoped to be on time for the afternoon tour, but the tickets had all been snatched up that morning. I watched the people climbing above, and had a brief Pretty In Pink moment (“I bet they don’t think it’s half as pretty as I do.”)

So I had to content myself with the view from where I was, which was pretty fantastic on that crisp fall day:

Though nothing, I’m sure, compared to what these guys could see …

These guys are actually working on the structure; this isn't part of the special tour, obviously.

There was more fabulousness inside The Met. I made the mistake of roaming through the permanent collections inside first, which is a risky move, as the rooftop deck closed before the rest of the museum. But this day, remember, was uneventful, so got to see everything I wanted. In the future, though, special exhibits first, permanent collection later. Take a note.

Of course, I'm breaking my no-photos-in-museums rule, but THIS IS FOR THE SAKE OF JOURNALISM.

I love that the Chuck Close piece still looks fantastic from this far away.

I walked out of the museum just at closing, and sat on the front steps with countless other museum-goers. I thought about how well the day had went. Nothing had gone wrong. Everything had fallen into place. Really, there was only one thing that could make the day better …


A cupcake cart. Stationed right outside The Met. I asked the girl if they were always there, and she kindly told me that yes, the cart was stationary. I had never heard of Cake & Shake before, but the premise (cupcakes! shakes!) resonated well with me, and I’ve never been able to walk away from a cake. Plus, BLAH BLAH BLAH JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY.

The cake? Pretty damn fantastic. I opted for a plain vanilla on vanilla, because I always think the best articulation of bakery is how well they do the simple stuff (though they had plenty of esoteric options on the menu). The frosting have developed a nice crust (which I love) and the cake was dense but not too heavy. I demolished the thing.

I wish I was eating it right now.

I proceeded to roam down Madison avenue in a sugar-induced haze. There’s fantastic shopping, if you are financially blessed. I drooled at several of the items in the window display at E.A.T. Gifts between 80th and 81st.

It might have been leftover drool from the cupcake, though.

More drooling transpired at the Gagosian Gallery shop nearby …

And that was it. I met up with Rand, later, and a friend who we didn’t realize was in NYC. We had a brilliant dinner (I’ll tell you more about all of that next week). But all in all? Pleasant. Fun. Uneventful. The sort thing you rarely hear about on my blog.

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