Back in the Borough: Go Shopping in NYC

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Well here we are friends — at my final entry in this ‘In NYC’ series. Chris and I officially leave the apartment on Saturday, and we fly out to South America on Sunday to start our new journey.

Gulp.

But we won’t go into that just now. For now, let’s talk about something fun … like shopping in New York! There’s no better place to do it, friends. Here are a few of my favorite haunts.

Where to Go Shopping In NYC

1. Chelsea Market [for any and everything]: Especially around the holidays, Chelsea Market is one of my all-time favorite places to shop (and even just hang out) in NYC. They have some seriously delicious eats, dozens of retail stores and, as an added bonus, it’s close enough to the High Line to hit up both in the same day. That would be one of my ideal ways to spend a shopping day in Manhattan.

2. Union Square Farmer’s Market [for produce]: Check out amazing produce from local farmers every Monday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Union Square at the Greenmarket. In peak season there are around 140 regional farmers, fishermen and bakers, selling their goods smack dab in the middle of the city. It’s a pretty fun experience.

3. The West Village [for a picturesque stroll]: With its cobblestone streets and nooks and crannies, nothing says old-timey New York quite like the West Village. Go for a stroll here and you’ll happen upon tons of boutiques, cafes and other gems. (Or get a feel for the lay of the land ahead of time with this guide on the best places to shop in the West Village.)

4. Century 21 [for discount clothing]: For great clothes at knock-out prices, my husband swears by Century 21. You’ll have to do a little digging here (and have a lot of patience), but if you can handle the crowds, you’re bound to score some pretty awesome finds.

5. The Strand [for books]: If you’re a book lover, plan to spend hours in this literary Mecca. Chris and I just hit up The Strand a few days ago to sell back some of my old books that we won’t be taking to Denver (hello $30!), and I was reminded of how awesome this place is. Their tagline is ’18 miles of new, used and rare books’ … don’t you want to see that?

6. Grand Central Market [for treats]: I’ve mentioned the Grand Central Market before on this blog (most recently regarding the awesome cheese options they have there), but it’s worth mentioning in the shopping section, too, because it’s just that awesome. With about a dozen individual sellers, anything your little heart desires, you can find it here. Candy. Breads. Cheese. Fruit. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. While it’s relatively small in size, the Grand Central Market is a treat-lovers haven.

7. Gotham West Market [for a smorgasbord]: If you’re with a group of people who just can’t agree on what to eat, Gotham West Market is the place to go. I’ve talked about this place before here, but with their eight artisanal food options, there’s something for everyone. It’s also close walk to the Hudson River Park, so you can eat a little, take a little walk, then eat a little more. My favorite things in life.

And that concludes my ‘In NYC’ series, friends. I hope you found something that piques your interest, or that inspires you to add to your ‘must see’ list the next time you’re in town. I know these places will always be on my list when Chris and I make our way back to the city to visit (which we plan to do a lot). 

Bis bald, friends. I hope everyone’s having a great week.

Back in the Borough: Yayoi Kasuma at David Zwirner Gallery

Wow — that’s a lotta hard words in the title of this post, huh?

Well friends — in life, you win some and you some lose some. I’m going to call my little adventure to the David Zwirner gallery to see Yayoi Kasuma’s “I Who Have Arrived In Heaven” exhibit (and more specifically the infamous “infinity room“) both a win and a loss, making it what? A draw?

It was a lot more than a draw, though, I’ll tell you that much.

Let me start from the beginning. When you spend weeks reading about an exhibit in The New York Times, Time Out New York, Smithsonian Mag and New York Magazine, you know two things immediately:

  1. I must go to that.
  2. I am an idiot if I try to go to that.

Yesterday, I chose to be an idiot. Because let me tell you friends, if there’s anything I’ve learned in my almost seven years living in this wonderful city, it’s that New Yorkers will line up for hours for something they deem worthy. Worthy things include:

I can tell you this much — I wasn’t waiting that long in a line, in frigid temps, no less, simply for a selfie. (Which, if the last article link is to be believed, is why most people are doing it.) I was doing it because I’ve read the reviews, and based on what people say immediately coming out … well, I guess I just will repeat myself here … I really wanted to go to that.

I showed up around 10:20 a.m. (the gallery opens at 10), hoping that the randomness of it being a Wednesday might play to my favor.

Not so much. I was pretty much immediately approached by someone who worked at the gallery who told me that I probably had about a five hour wait based on where I was in line, and might not even make it in at all before they closed that day.

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Massive bummer. Besides the fact that it took me about 45 minutes to get there in the first place, I was not properly prepared for the cold weather (yes, Chris, I know you told me to dress more warmly before I left), and my throat was already hurting me.

What’s a girl to do?

I tried waiting it out, friends, I really and truly did. I stood in line for a little over an hour before I decided that I treasure my fingers and toes too much to lose them while standing in line to view some art exhibit. For 45 seconds. (Oh yeah, that’s the other thing. You only get 45 whole seconds in the infinity room. But come on! If people are willing to stand in a FIVE HOUR line in the FREEZING COLD to spend 45 SECONDS in a room!!! You just know you want to see that!)

Anyway, needless to say, I did not see that. I gave up and decided to check out Yayoi’s painting exhibit, which was completely line-free:

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How gorgeous are those colors? Her work is so interesting and full of life — I really enjoyed it. (The heat of the gallery made it infinitely more enjoyable, I’m not going to lie. At that point in the morning they could have literally been showing me photos of poop, and as long as I was warm I would have swooned.)

On my way out I noticed another, smaller line at a third entrance to the gallery. I had read about these, for lack of a better word, “tentacles” that were a separate part of Yayoi’s exhibit, and I was wondering where those were, but my brain was too frozen to ask. Luckily, this was the magic door that let me to that exhibit. So I braved another 10 minutes outside (teeth chattering the entire time), and was ushered into the “tentacle” exhibit. You have to take your shoes off to enter, and you get one whole minute in there.

Totally worth it.

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photo 7^^ This is Yayoi herself. In a room adjacent to the tentacle room, there was a video
playing on loop of the artist reciting a poem, followed by a brief glimpse
of the infinity room.

photo 8^^ So beyond cool. 

photo 9] photo 10^^ This is the poem that is being read aloud by Yayoi in the tentacle room.
It’s hard to read, so I’ll pull out my favorite line here:
“Was the beauty of the end of one’s life nothing more than an illusion?
Would you give me an answer to this?
Devoting all my heart to you, I have lived through to this day
Hoping to leave beautiful footprints at the end of my life …”

All-in-all, I’d give the exhibit as many stars as one possibly can. Unfortunately the exhibit ends this weekend. I was contemplating heading back really early Friday to see if I can make it inside the infinity room, but I’ll have to play that by ear.

(P.S. I could go into detail on the exhibits, but explanations of how Yayoi put together her work are much more beautifully explained in the articles I link out to above. For more info on how she made everything, I’d recommend checking those out.)

On the way home I took the opportunity to stroll through the Chelsea Market, one of my favorite places in New York, and finish up some Christmas shopping. (Do I say that too much? I can’t help it! I really do love everything that much!) You could spend hours here and not see everything there is to see.

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photo 22^^ Can I get this beautiful book display in my apartment? Too much?

Alright friends — that’s my Wednesday story for ya. If I ever do make it back to the gallery and actually make it into the infinity room, I’ll be sure to grab at least one selfie I can share here, since apparently that’s the thing to do. (I wouldn’t hold your breathe, though.)

Bis bald, friends!