03.19.2011 by Andrea
The anthem that shook the nation last summer, “Empire State of Mind,” sung by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys plays in my head the same way “Miami” by Will Smith is the driving beat whenever I land in said city. A few weeks ago, right about the time of the Westminster Dog Show and the kickoff of Fashion Week, a couple of girlfriends and I descended about the city that never sleeps to play – all night and all day. There was an agenda: say yes to the dress. If you have ever seen a show of the same title on TLC, then you know what I am talking about. My friend K, is, let me correct myself, was, on the hunt for THE dress before her big day. She had tried on dresses from San Diego, to Portland, and was fairly ascertain to the style that she wanted, but needed to make a final stop [or two] before she could nod her head and say “YES!,” emphatically. K invited 3 other gals [sadly one wasn’t able to join us], including myself to visit the storied bridal boutique Kleinfeld. Who wants to turn down an opportunity to see a girl play pretty pretty princess, in the premier bridal store in all of America? Not this girl! So with just a few hours from touchdown to wheels up we hit the ground running. We stayed in Midtown, and had a ball! Within 2 hours of arrival we had already eaten tons of delicious Italian food. I couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant until I called the hotel to track it down, La Giara, but what I did remember was the superb waitstaff, the tasty beverages, and the fun filled conversation we had.
We weren’t just in town to shop for THE dress, we also had a birthday to celebrate – the bride to be. Let me tell you about this spunky girl, in the midst of another bachelorette party last year, she decided that as much fun that we all have going upscale and uptown, she was going to take her bachelorette party to the opposite end of the spectrum and thus coined her bachelorette weekend “Hill Billy Deluxe,” or “HBD” as those of us who have embraced the term affectionately refer to it. This is a weekend that will be resplendent with cute wife beaters, PBR, and maybe an RV that we take road trippin’ prior to floating down a river. K, is a girl right up my alley so we knew that we would have to celebrate her birthday with NY class, but also a bit of Seattle honky tonk. We wrapped up dinner, and immediately ducked into the next pub that was within walking distance. All of us enthusiastically looking forward to a round of jukebox tunes and Touchdowns. Ahem, excuse me, Skittle Bombs. Not a huge difference, both require energy drinks and an either an orange flavored vodka or liquer. But it was duly noted, that Manhattan prefers to reference them after a tasty candy that requires you to “taste the rainbow.” Fair enough. We were on the prowl, swung through, Coyote Ugly, and then hit the town with a fervor. My pal, JP, moved to NY to attend NYU and so I knew he would have a handful of trendy hotspots to mix and mingle. Have no fear, he came through with an utterly spot on recommendation. Beauty and Essex. I have not quit raving this place. I seem to have recently acquired a taste for the speakeasy style of restaurants. Tavern Law and Knee High Stocking Company in Seattle have really whetted my interest of late. The exterior of B & E fronts as a pawn shop, the interior, breathtaking. Two levels, swanky, hip, cool. Everything that embodies NY to me in my mind. The bathroom alone, is so trendy that you wouldn’t mind have a beverage in there while freshening up. We imbibed on a few cocktails and then went to dance in our high heels. Knowing that we had a big day ahead of us, we paced ourselves for the next day. Of course, not before we stopped by the neighborhood pizzeria to have some late night munchies.
The next morning our friend K-Dub swore that Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is the bomb.dot.com. so we ducked through there enroute to brunch. I don’t drink coffee so I can’t contribute to the aggregate data of whether or not this is a true statement, but it made her happy. We swung through a little cafe to have brunch [eggs benedict and mimosas] and then headed to K’s Kleinfeld appointment. Speaking for myself, it was everything a girl could dream of and more. First and foremost, while they are featured on a TV, what I loved about the boutique was that they weren’t pretentious, they hadn’t fancified the boutique so that the ordinary girl off the street felt overwhelmed and intimidated. Rather, the staff was gracious, friendly, welcoming, and authentic. I would recommend every girl go here. K, tried on several dresses, and ultimately tried on THE dress that will be worn on her big day! And it is gorgeous! I love people watching whenever I can, let me tell you, people watching in a bridal boutique is a whole ‘nother level. It was a ball. We talked with Randy, who was as charming and cute as ever, and watched another gal start the filming process. All in all a fulfilling day.
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, I am sure that you can predict the next step. A quick stop through Anthropologie, umm hello it is the flagship store [K and I initially bonded over a common love for their clothing lines]. Plus, shortly after they were debuting their wedding line, Bhldn. And then we did what we do best, eat. We decided to go touristy, hit up Times Square and eat something that would hold our bellies over until dinner. We chose Carnegie Deli. I don’t think anyone would argue that this a landmark diner. Carmelo Anthony already has a sandwich named after him, and he was in the city less hours than we were before they coined a tasty concoction on his behalf. I would have to say, what I would normally consider a tourist trap, has such generous portions that even I was hard put to finish my meal. It was delicious. Take a peek. We coined our sandwiches, Meatwads, ala Adult Swim. They were huge!!!
We even got coerced into trying the world famous cheesecake, by the gentleman who was not our server, but managed to simultaneously take a break, point out that he was featured in the advertising paraphernalia [strategically running TV ads in the restaurant], and convince us that this cheesecake was THE best cheesecake in all of NY. I held out, and he didn’t appreciate it, but the other gals caved and then did agree that it hit the spot, in all the right ways.
You might think that this would be a wrap on our trip. But wait, there was more. We still hit Koi, for K’s birthday dinner. To be perfectly honest, I have no pictures or reviews due to the fact that we were all underwhelmed by the service. The food was tasty, and perhaps due to Fashion Week, and that we all look fairly young, they might have perceived that we weren’t going to go big that evening. Wrong. We had a birthday dinner to celebrate and thus ordered everything that sounded remotely appealing. But lackluster service definitely made it a mediocre experience at best. Have no fears, we knew that one meal wasn’t going to derail our fun. JP and his comrades were headed out for a casual Thursday night and we met up with them at Butterfield 8. We attempted another round of Touchdowns/Skittle Bombs here as well, only to be told that they didn’t encourage patrons dropping shot glasses into pints, and thus pre-mixed our beverage for us.
We felt like it was coming home. Fun, casual, good people, and it’s always good to see familiar faces.
As a group we decided to avoid jet lag, and stay up all night. We did what girls do best, we hit the dance floor. We danced our pants off, had a blast, grabbed pizza one more time, gathered our items, and then headed home on an early flight. It was a blast, an honor to be a part of the wedding dress selection party, and a sweet treat. I have always dreamt of living in NY, and little intoxicating visits like this only drive my fervor. The countdown is on until we have our HBD bachelorette party, and the big day when J & K exchange vows and say “I Do.” Until, then we will let the concrete jungles of NY remain the place where dreams are made.