Karma came along and smacked me in the face yesterday for every time I’ve felt superior to, irked by, or just plain amused at the sight of all the European tourists who stumble cluelessly through my especially tricky corner of the West Village, maps and Time Out New York city guides in hand. Because I could not have more totally been one of them, right down to the Time Out city guide, and probably taking a lot more wrong turns.
Happily, Amsterdam isn’t a bad place to get lost. You can be perfectly content taking in both the beauty of the city itself as well as its inhabitants: the baseline level of attractiveness here is very high. As for all the famously large population of bicyclists: bikes are like cars here, and the people on them speed through the streets and you stay the hell out of their way. It makes me really fear for the possibility of bicycling catching on in New York, where the majority of people on bikes are less inclined to obey traffic laws or be polite, and far more inclined to deploy the moral high ground as a weapon. A toxic mix.
Anyhoo, although wandering took a backseat to shopping yesterday, I did manage to hit Sprmrkt, which is one of the city’s more avant stores, all muted colors and drapey, sometimes intentionally tattered pieces that wrap and hang in ways that make you wonder if you’re wearing them wrong. I kind of loved it. It’s located in a huge, warehouse-like space that could—if you took out all of the racks—double as the site where the party episode of Girls was filmed.
I’m never one to pass up a well-merchandized cosmetics store, and was therefore powerless against the pull of Skins when I saw it, beckoning in all its clean and well-lit glory. Inside there weren’t a whole lot of surprises—a bunch of boutique luxury brands we can get at home, but a carefully chosen assortment: Juliette Has A Gun candles, Dr. Brandt, Creed.
But I did find these amazing Fornasetti candles, which I have never seen anywhere. I’ve got a thing for black, white and yellow lately, and went nuts for this.
Here’s one that’s more textbook Fornasetti. I’m dying to get one, but they’re very expensive. For some reason, they don’t sell them on the Skins site (I hate when stores do that, and can’t tell you how many times lately it’s prevented me from showing you great stuff). I did find links for the two you see here, if you’re feeling flush.
Thanks for the various tips about places to visit, guys. I’m heading out soon. Time will tell if I can navigate my way to any of them.
*“Hello Amsterdam” is actually a song by the amusing, sad and caustic 90s indie-pop singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel. Spotify it some time if you’re in the mood.