The West Village is as lovely a neighborhood as one could hope to inhabit, and I never stop feeling grateful to live here. And yet, any part of town can become tedious if one spends enough time there, and this turns out to be particularly true for those of us whose commute is precisely as long as it takes to locate where we last put the laptop. So occasionally a person just has to get out of Dodge—no matter how charming and livable Dodge may be. Today, the temperature was on the verge of breaking 50, and the sun wasn’t not out, so I slid on my most walkable boots, put the dog on his leash and hit the sidewalk.
Bleecker Street stretches from Bank Street (practically my doorstep) all the way to the Bowery, and for this reason functions somewhat as my personal I-95 for walkabouts—winding as it does south and east through several downtown neighborhoods, with opportunities to exit at many alluring shopping destinations along the way. From Bank until West 10th on Bleecker it’s wall-to-wall big-name stores—Maje and Diptyque and Coach and Fresh and about eleventy million more. But cross that border and you start hitting a few neighborhood stalwarts—places that have been around since the street was lined with dusty and expensive antique stores (which feels like a lifetime ago but was actually—amazingly—only about ten years). The fantastic floral studio Ovando is one of those places, and I popped in to pick something out for a very dear friend who’s recuperating from surgery.
I got her a little something like this. It felt like the kind of arrangement that would go a long way toward brightening up a drab hospital room.
But I was not un-tempted to get her one of these orchid-in-a-box numbers, which are what Ovando’s more well-known for. People in the media send each other flowers reflexively and for the most un-sentimental reasons. As a magazine editor, you learn early on that the beautiful arrangement the mailroom guy just placed on your desk is nine times out of ten going to be from an acne cream publicist looking for coverage, and not your future boyfriend—or even new best friend. After a while it kind of dulled the gesture of its romance. I always swooned, though, when the flowers were from Ovando.
It was raining when I walked out of the store. Because it’s spring, and New York, and of course. So I popped into the first shoe repair I saw and bought a nice basic black Totes—something I mention only because it occurs to me that those of you who visit from out of town should always know to look for the nearest shoe repair store if you get caught in a downpour. They’re everywhere, and they all sell decent umbrellas, not the cheapo $5 ones you get on the street that will not last the day.
I wanted to check out some home stores—my hunt for the perfect side table marches on—and popped in to Matter, where I wish to spend a great deal of money just as soon as I come into a sizable fortune. This blown glass side table is so transcendent I think I could get all trance-y just staring at it.
And this steel and rawhide console makes no sense at all, but I need it.
I am dying for one of these excellently weird-ass trays. And am also beginning to realize I’m a tray-hoarder, which seems like an odd choice.
Would this domino set not make a lovely gift? With those those excellent stars?
After Matter, I popped briefly into Clic Bookstore and Gallery, the most recent venture by Christianne Celle, who created a mini lifestyle-and-fashion rich hippie revolution when she founded Calypso—and went on to make a crazy fortune when she sold it a few years back. The space itself is an funny boutique/gallery/bookstore hybrid—there are ongoing art exhibits, and an assortment of appealing tribal/hipster jewelry and clothing lines. But books really are at the heart of what this place is about.
There are lots of rare editions by the kind of photographers that fashion people like to get inspired by, like William Eggleston and Nan Goldin. And lots of titles that people like me can look at and then kick ourselves for letting slip through our hands—like that first edition Annie Leibovitz book with Meryl Streep on the cover, which I gave away, having decided it wasn’t sufficiently punk rock or something. And which is now selling for $320.