Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Start spreading the news....

(This post will be in installments -- it turns out I have so much to say about New York. Who knew?!)

I WISH I was leaving today. I want to be a part of it....New York, New York! Susan over at One Woman Show has been writing about her recent trip to New York and it has made me think about my trips to the Big Apple (I wonder if New Yorkers hate that as much as Atlantans hate Hotlanta? I doubt it.)


When we lived in Savannah I worked for a gourmet cookie company in their wholesale division -- one of the leaders in the gourmet food industry, in fact -- and got to travel quite a bit. New York 2-3 times a year, Chicago once a year, West Palm or Miami every now and then. Ahhh, the good old days. This was before I had children and still had money. And my figure.


My first trip to NY I was so excited and nervous. It was in July of 2001. I was in the best shape of my life. I had been doing kick boxing 3-4 times a week and hip-hop cardio every monday night (I must admit, I can shake my groove thing. Or get jiggy with it. Whatever the terminology is these days. Hey, I can dance, but I never said I was cool). One of my goals in life was to meet with the gourmet food buyer from Saks 5th Avenue, Charles Goldfine. My company had private labeled for Saks for a while, but they had phased us out their gourmet program and I was bound and determined to get us back in there. I am nothing if not determined. Nervous as hell about meeting Mr. Goldfine -- I mean, he was the main gourmet buyer for Saks after all AND a New Yorker -- but determined.


Before I left I went out and bought a killer black suit. It was only from The Limited, but I was a size 6 at the time and it looked awesome on me, if I do say so myself. I bought some killer shoes and headed off to NY.

And if any of you know ANYTHING about New York it is that killer shoes and NY do not mix. By the time I walked all over the city all I had at the end of my feet were two bloody stumps. AND no meeting with Charles Goldfine. "He's not available" his snooty receptionist told us, even though I had expressly called and told him when I'd be coming.

And that was just day one of my trip. I still had 5 more days to go and a whole trade show to do. OY! Let's just say I learned a valuable lesson that day. And went out and bought some Keds.

BUT, I still had a great time in NY and a great time every time I went back. We often would go up a day early so that we could do "demos" for some of our customers. We would stand around in a store, offering free samples to customers to encourage them to purchase the cookies from our customer. I did a demo once at Grace's Marketplace (Grace Doria was a Balducci. Her son, Joe, who was my contact, used to scare the pee out of me when I would call him. He was so brusque! So business-like! And not AT all charmed by my southern accent as many of my northern clients were!) I also did a demo once at Henri Bendels and got a makeover that cost the same as my car payment, but that's a story for another time!

New York is a walking town (hence the importance of good, comfortable shoes) and I loved to walk in it. You can take cabs, but in the summer it is so much better to walk. That's the best way to get a real feel for the city. I can remember the exact instant when I was walking through one of the small neighborhoods and thought "I could live here. I can see myself here." And that was very surprising to me, a girl from a very small town. New York had always seemed so huge, so foreign, so other.

I've done all the things in NY that you're supposed to do. I went to the Rainbow Room. I went to Times Square. I ate at Famous Ray's pizza. I had a very expensive, very delicious watermelon martini atop the Marriott in Times Square. I bought a bag (okay, a teensy, tinsy makeup bag, ON SALE) from Kate Spade. I shopped at Century 21 (pre-September 11th -- I was, frankly, disappointed. I hear, though, that they've re-done the store after 9/11). I walked all around the financial district a mere month before 9/11. I only went back once after 9/11 and did manage to go to ground zero. I almost felt that it would be dishonorable to be in NY and not go. I tried to go to the Statue of Liberty after it re-opened. I even bought a ticket, but when I got there and found out the wait was five hours just to get on the ferry, I decided to skip it. I've done the open air bus tour. And I would kill to go back and do it all again.

(Okay, I just looked at this list and saw all the "things you're supposed to do" do not include any museums or concerts or anything cultural. BUT in my defense, I was always working, usually from 9-6 for 5 or 6 days in a row, on my feet all day, and exhausted by the time the day was over. I promise that the next time I go I'll do something cultural. Pinky swear. Tomorrow's installment -- My day with Henri Bendel. Or as I like to call it "Who needs to make a car payment when cosmetics are involved?)

8 comments:

Lulu said...

Oh - you make me want to go to NY! I want to live in a city so bad I can taste it. But not for long. Only a year or so. Then I must move back to the country. Because as much as I love the city, I guess that I'm a country girl deep down somewhere.

I can't WAIT to hear your next installment about the Cookie Monster!

Lauren said...

I have never been to New York...but Ive always wanted to visit. A lot of my friends from high school ended up there for a year or two and had the time of their lives...

Im looking forward to the next installment:)

Susan said...

Madame, thanks for the plug! I'm sure you looked FAB, even while you limped along. I did wear practical, if un-stylish, shoes during the daytime which saved me. I love to walk, and I did tons of walking, but by Sunday I thought I'd collapse in the airport my legs/feet were so sore.

I mentioned this in a response to your response on MY blog, but I'll say here, too...I admit I have not been to Ground Zero -- not because I don't want to go but the fact my few trips to NY typically have been so short. That being said, it may also be because I'd like to remember my days at the WTC in a better light -- as a commuter, a young 20-something eating on the plaza, a teenager visiting the observation deck with family and friends.

My former sister in law was on the 54th (?) floor that morning. She got out. (She was also on the PATH platform when the roof started coming down during the '91 bombing.) She works in midtown now on the 4th floor. That's what I like to remember.

But I do need to go. Maybe one of these days we can grab Lulu, Lauren (non pregnant, it will be more fun!) and we can all wear sensible shoes and do some sightseeing!

Lulu said...

I agree with Susan - a trip to NY would be fab!

Now, I must clarify the last comment that I left regarding the Cookie Monster. I was confused. I was thinking that Henri Bendels was the cookie gourmet guy, hence the Cookie Monster reference. I didn't know that Henri Bendels is an upscale specialty store in NY.

I'll just go back to the country now...

Susan said...

sorry, '93 WTC bombing not '91.

but again, on a happier note, wouldn't it be fun to take a trip back one of these days??

Madame Queen said...

Susan, if I had happy memories of the financial district and the WTC I would want to remember them as they were, too. No doubt.

I think a NY trip is a fabulous idea, but we've had a hard enough time pulling off a local trip!

Esme said...

I grew up near NYC, and now, so many years later, I wish I had explored the city more often! The Met is one of my favorite museums ever. A couple of years ago, we took the kids there -- Five wasn't born yet and Four was just a tiny baby -- and the big kids loved examining the pyramid and all of the Egyptian artifacts...

1blueshi1 said...

ahhhh, life before kids, sweet memories!