New York State of Mind
We love last minute adventures as much as the next person and so, when our buddy Peter announced he was dashing from Glasgow to New York for a break in his hectic schedule, we decided to surprise him. Getting ourselves to The Big Apple was way easier than it was for Peter who had to fly from Glasgow to London before connecting onwards to JFK. We, on the other hand, simply walked from our condo to Billy Bishop and boarded a 95 minute Porter flight
direct to Newark. Island style, it should be reported, rocks; we experienced no delays and one of the friendliest on ground - and in air - services we care to remember. The facility is so good, in fact, that for a business trip next week to Boston, we’ve abandoned our Pearson plans and will once again summons Porter to kick start our next adventure. Check out www.porter.com for more info...
To make matters worse, Peter’s flight was a little late and, when he finally landed, he felt more than a little dishevelled. We, on the other hand, arrived refreshed and ready to party and travelled immediately onwards, via yellow cab, to Soho House (we’re on the countdown till the Toronto branch opens in September) where, via careful interplay with staff, we secreted ourselves in a darkened corner so we could jump out at precisely the moment Peter walked into the dining room. Let’s just say that the level of ear pitching shriek (from Peter, not us) was astonishing as he jumped, in acrobatic fashion, from his unsuspecting Scottish skin.
Nerves calmed and dinner devoured, we headed back to our respective outposts; Peter to Roosevelt Island where he’s staying with mutual fiend Bernard (one of New York’s premier Tiffany lamp merchants) and we to The Gansevoort Park Avenue. Being that we’d decreed this trip a ‘design voyage’ we selected the Gansevoort as a perfect - and wildly stylish - bridge between relaxation and all that New York has to offer. In our time, we’ve been fortunate enough to visit some of the worlds finest hotels, but the Gansevoort went that extra mile. Check out
www.GansevoortPark.com for more info.
Indeed from the moment we swooshed through the revolving doors, we knew we were on to a winner. A triptych of purple chandeliers dominates the vertical space, suspended high above a chevron motif floor, an asymmetrical slate fireplace and tall back hounds tooth chairs. In one corner, as we checked in, a gaggle of fashionistas crowded a low slung table, coups de Champagne disappearing slowly down swan like necks. Gripped by the glamorous moment, we couldn’t help but stare as the stylish coterie flirted with an equally cool set of lads at an adjacent table. Tapping their iPads and flicking copies of The Wall Street Journal, the male contingent seemed somehow oblivious to the admiration being lavished upon them. Our eyes darting between brogue footed, Armani suited lads and Louboutin shod, colour blocked girls, we felt immediately under dressed in combat pants and flip flops. But hey; in The Gansevoort, it seems, anything goes.
Our room, a wash of purest white accented with black furniture and shots of vivid pink drapery, was comfort personified. Leafing through a hundred and one shopping blogs, we quaffed a bottle of Argentinean red before drifting off to sleep, dreaming - if our memories serve us correctly - of the treasures we’d surely uncover the next day, when our marathon retail jaunt kicked off.
Bright eyed and expectant, we swam on the rooftop pool at 8am and then hit the hotel gym where we covered the best part of 10k, side by side, on matching state of the art treadmills. In hindsight, this wasn’t our best decision - we should have conserved energy for full scale retail warfare. But hey; what the hell. Showered, we grabbed a cab and made for Dean and Deluca (the Rockefeller Plaza branch is our fave) where we enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast. The healthy part? Fresh fruit salad and smoothies. The, ahem, not so healthy part? Hmm. Croissants, smothered in rich butter and luscious, viscous compotes. Hey; stylish soldiers march on full tummies, n‘est pas?
Suitably fuelled, we hit the stores. First up? Urban Archaeology (
www.urbanarchaeology.com) a company from which we recently ordered vintage door handles for a private client. Familiar with the website, we wanted to see the East 58th style den in the flesh and almost fell into a trance as we approached the massive portal. In the window, a nickel plated bateau bath occupied centre stage, floating on a beautiful wave of mosaic tiling. A mix of objet trouvee and recent manufacture, Urban Archaeology’s industrial chic, retro/modern inventory is nothing short of stunning and a credit to Gill Shapiro, the visionary who birthed the company back in 1978. Just remember to take your credit card; the beautiful soaker tub, we discovered, costs $18,500. Ouch.
Indulging ourselves with a short break from design shopping, we set our co ordinates to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (
www.metmuseum.org) Similarly preoccupied, you see, with sartorial mode as we are home fashion, we were keen to witness Impossible Conversations, a cleverly assembled film and clothing exhibition that examines the conversation that ‘might’ have taken place between Miuccia Prada, and 1920’s and 30’s couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, had decades not divided their lives.
A fascinating observation of women’s apparel across history (Prada is played by herself, and Schiaparelli by an actress) we highly recommend the show although, to be honest, we spent as long in the Met’ store as we did the exhibition, finally leaving with photography depicting Impossible Conversations imagery, several art books and a collection of bistro style crockery. The store, in fact, is wonderful; a carefully curated collection of goods straddles ornithological prints, reproduction Egyptian artefacts and Van Gogh ‘Irises’ flower vases. Definitely worth a visit.
Hauling ourselves from The Met’, we carved a path to Haus Interior (
http://hausinterior.com) a venue we were particularly keen to visit having spent time, recently, in the company’s LA branch. Wherever you shop in NYC, Haus is an absolute must; share your design concerns with the friendly staff and their solutions might just prove to be the remedy your house needs to recover from its decorative ills. Ok, so a trip to therapy might be less expensive but, let’s face it, it wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying as wandering the aisles in this uber chic boutique. Highlights include equine sculptures, hurricane lamps and multi faceted terrariums. Count us in… for everything.
Another Big Apple store from which you really should bite is A&G Merch,
a cute wee resource nestled in buzzing Brooklyn. Purveyors of everything decorative, A&G carry a great inventory of sectional sofas, white papier mache birds with heart shaped tails and a range of phrenology heads in various sizes. And did we mention their collection of wallpapers or their stellar range of lighting that includes huge carnival letters and a host of interesting table lamps? No? Well, it’s all there; beautifully arranged and ready for even the fussiest perusal.
The only downside to our New York adventure was its brevity; just 48 hours in, we were nearly out. Hell, we should have known better. One minute we were circling Manhattan like a pair of heat seeking missiles in sling backs, and the next we were squeezing into a yellow cab, making the journey to Newark and then onwards to Toronto. All good things come to an end (as the time worn maxim proclaims) although - due to the ease with which we can travel to NYC with Porter - we’re already planning our next design wake up call…in the city that never sleeps.