We took several walks, in Manhattan. The first night, we walked back to the Crosby Hotel from Momofuku Noodle Bar.* I kept getting turned around, which required consulting my iPhone GPS and muttering. Finally my daughter thoughtfully, um, “released” the phone from my grasp and ran off on a scouting expedition. We found our way.
The second day, we walked through the Museum of Modern Art, often known as MOMA. If you walk through the 5th floor, at the end of the 19th century, and then on down to the 4th floor, through to 1970, you will see the entire sorry and hopeful process of mankind attempting to figure out what fine art is – besides beautiful – in the face of hard science, technology, and psychology. To say nothing of remembering why Starry Night became a postcard in the first place. Although my real favorite is this.
Looks as though Matisse is scraping off a layer of burnt red to find his room. Like the paint comes first.
But our real walk, the long walk, the grinning walk, was on the first morning, from 59th and 5th down to 29th and back and forth between Madison, 5th, and Avenue of the Americas. Usually known as 6th. Good thing I wore my terribly glamorous Aerosoles.
Don’t get me wrong. Nobody slows down in the sun. They just hurry more happily. Past some of the greatest architecture of the Western world.
On East 59th and 5th, kitty-corner to Central Park, Mr. Jobs has constructed an outrageous retail experience. He plonked down a glass cube on a plaza, thereby referring inevitably to I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid at the Louvre, all the while selling gizmos and gadgets to the entire world. Hats off, Steve, hats off to you.
It’s not a luxe look, these days, not confrontative. It’s about texture. Color. Patterns. People are wearing layers, clothes with little details, tone on tone color. That’s important. This is not the wornout “pop” of color we’ve heard so much about. It’s waves, maybe washes, of color. In terms of actual garments, we’re talking lots of jackets, skinny jeans, and flats. Everyone in scarves. Even me, by the end of the day. I bought a scarf from a street vendor for $10, and wore it with my cropped military jacket. High WASPs don’t need to be fashion-forward but we must, above all, feel appropriate. In tune with the social context.
I was wearing black, so there was no tone-on-tone way to join the throngs in floral joy. Gray with lettuce ruffles and lace was as decorative as I could get. But, I am blond, with blue eyes, and fairly pink of skin, so I brought some of my own pigment to the picture. And the trees were so green, the sky so blue, I believed there was enough color to go around. I only needed some flutter. And I got it.
If I were going again tomorrow, I’d find myself a shirt like this.
The woman below exemplified much about the style I saw.
- An ornamented hat.
- Flat sandals, tough but not too tough.
- Jeans so skinny that they were leggings.
- The trench with a fancy buckle.
- A floral patterned bag.
- And a patterned, colored, non-empire-waisted blouse in shades similar to the trench. The blouse is not visible here, due to my inability to buttonhole strangers and convince them to let me take their picture.
I’m working on that last part. I think.
It’s possible to feel drunk, just walking. Although this woman appeared to have no trouble keeping to her straight line.
We got tired. Tired but happy. Ready to close up the perceptual shop. And in Manhattan, there are cabs everywhere. Maybe not when the shows let out, maybe not when you leave work in the rain, but on a Friday afternoon around 2pm, plenty.
The next day, after the MOMA, we had pizza at John’s in the West Village. Squint your eyes. Doesn’t this kind of look like Starry Night, in red? All that circular motion? No? I told you I was a little distracted. A crowd of celebrants took over several tables and persisted in saying the word, “Martini!” over and over again, loudly, even though it was lunchtime. New York will do that to you.
Here’s our food from John’s. If you can resist calling this a Tower of Pizza you’re infinitely more dignified than I. The same would be true if you could resist asking for a box, stuffing it with leftovers and having your son carry it to the subway, like a tomato-based badge of Manhattan honor. Even though he’s walking.
*I recommend the tamales.
**Where my father bought me pearls for my 25th birthday. Someday I’m going back in.