The corner of Howard and Broadway in Soho
I'm in New York for a break to visit friends and catch up on fashion and retail developments at my leisure, rather than in the rush of a here-on-business schedule. In all the years I have been coming here (since 1998) I have never done proper touristy things, just hung out and had fun with my many friends who live and work here.
We're staying with my ex-girlfriend Sonja Nuttall who is the creative director of the Urban Zen Foundation
. Sonja works closely with Donna Karan, and has just returned from Haiti with DK where she oversaw delivery of 70,000 tents and equipment to help rehouse the many homeless on Haiti. In the last year she and Donna have raised $1.3 million to help Haiti. Hearing her stories are humbling. I love the way she took her successful career as a fashion designer into an area of social responsibility.
Sonja & Donna
WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO:
First impressions of New York is that the fire is not in the belly of this city like it used to be. It feels like the buzz has moved off the island to Brooklyn. All the major stores on Manhattan are just as you would expect: glossy, grand and, ultimately full of very safe stock. It is very conservative here. It is also verrry expensive. I paid £150 for a brunch for four people and nearly fell off my chair with shock when the bill came. In previous years the same price in $$ would have been £90; still expensive for what we bought.
Stores like Scoop sell designer versions of casual, everyday clothes I would pick up in COS, or TopShop. The service is in another league, as one would expect in NYC. Unlike at home in UK where most shop staff feel like they are employed as glorified shelf fillers, and act as such, here shop staff seem genuinely happy to serve and help.
We've been here a since Sunday, so far we have...
1. Had an amazing but pricy brunch at Pastis
2. Eaten a Japanese feast at Omen
3. Had the best slap-up lunch ever at ABC Kitchen.
3. Walked and walked and walked....and looked and looked around at this sort of stuff
NYC street art
The corridor window outside the store Kiosk that we stumbled on in Spring Street, Soho
The doorway and sidewalk sign pointing the way to Kiosk
4. Visited Opening Ceremony - the only store I have visited so far (and I've done all of Soho, and Fifth Avenue departments stores Bergdof, Saks, Bendels) that had truly original product on offer. Will be doing a more detailed post in couple of days on my store experience there.
5. Discovered Kiosk (see shots above), what feels like a guerilla store, but one that is somewhat established. Every item is displayed museum style with a card describing it's origin and the story of the curators introduction to it. Extremely creative & unique concept, and going there is a thrilling experience ticking all the unexpected discovery boxes you hope for if you're me.
6. Went to the top of the Rockerfeller Centre. Brilliant views of Central Park, Empire State Building and all Manhattan
Today was windless, warm and sunny. We saw a wasp up there! Incredible view of Empire State Building looking south
Looking north to Central Park from the top of 30 Rock
7. Taken a round trip on the Staten Island Ferry to appreciate the views of the Statue of Liberty and Battery Park and the downtown skyline from the water.
Back view of the Staten Island Ferry terminal at Battery Park
Later: High Line, Boom Boom Room, Brooklyn
Photos: Fashion Editor at Large