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English Muse: My NYC Moleskine

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My NYC Moleskine





I like to take a Moleskine city book with me everywhere I travel. This is my NYC book, which has made several trips with me to Manhattan.  I love staying at the Bryant Park Hotel (when I can afford it). There's a carousel in the park across the street that is magical. And the outdoor library cafe is heaven on a sunny spring day. A few doors up, there's a fantastic store packed with magazines from around the world. And down the street, there's a FedEX store to ship them home (along with all the laundry.)

I'm always searching for great thrift stores and flea markets. Chelsea has the best. Housing Works is beyond wonderful (and proceeds go to assisting people with AIDS.) I bought a gorgeous pair of Prada platform ankle boots there for a song.

I can never go to NYC without stopping in Barneys (and then walking a couple blocks up the street to Nello cafe). Then I catch a cab to Henri Bendel. I usually buy a Bendel doll to bring home to my daughter.  Pressed into my Moleskine is NYT writer Alex Kuczynski's Critical Shopper column on Henri Bendel's remake.  (I adore everything Alex writes.) She quotes Emile Zola's "Ladies' Paradise," which is like mind candy.  "At the far end of the hall, around one of the small cast-iron columns which supported the glass roof, material was streaming down like a bubbling sheet of water. Women pale with desire were leaning over as if to look at themselves. Faced with this wild cataract, they all remained standing there, filled with the secret fear of being caught in the overflow of all this luxury and with an irresistible desire to throw themselves in and be lost." Ah. Bliss. (By the way, the top photo of the NYC girl with the red bag is from The Sartorialist. I love all her contrasting patterns, plus the faux fur.)

I keep a card for the East Village Korean restaurant, Dok Suni on 1st Ave. in the back pocket of the book. The food is so delicious. And I have sentimental reasons for liking this restaurant: It's where I interviewed the sweet, amazing author Josh Swiller.

I also keep a little essay by David Hellerstein on the elegant way New Yorkers walk:  "New Yorkers walk sleekly, rapidly as surgeons on rounds. They dodge and shift, adjusting shoulders and briefcases to allow one another to pass with a minute precision...Each person is on an urgent mission, each must take the shortest path to their train or office or shrink; they cannot yield, but none collide. It is the essence of New York's grace." 


PS:  Hellerstein's essay is from "City Secrets: New York City."

What's your favorite place in NYC?



Anonymous Miranda said...

Can I borrow your notebook the next time I go to New York. Can't wait to see your moleskin guide to Paris. . .hint, hint.

February 11, 2009 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Walking the city from top to bottom, bottom to top is the single thing that I miss the most about living in NY. After that, the Met, the Natural History Museum, and the window displays at ABC Carpet & Home.

February 11, 2009 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger liza said...

I love this. I LOVE Henri Bendel. The walk is so true... I visited NY after having moved away a few years earlier. I kept getting in the way, definitely not sleek, missing the timing of street crossings. I was getting annoyed looks! Though not in the eye, mind you. My collar bone or stomach or feet got the looks. I was so deflated! I'd lost the walk!

February 11, 2009 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger P said...

Isn't Bendel's wonderful? It's such a jewelbox. I like to go there when I need something small and exquisite, like a beautiful hair ornament or a jeweled broach for my lapel.

Found you through Lolita and am enjoying your blog immensely.

February 11, 2009 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Hayley Egan said...

What a gorgeous little book, and such an interesting blog..
X Hayley

February 12, 2009 at 6:37 AM  
Anonymous automatism said...

Lovely idea — and love the look as well as the content of your book, too!


February 12, 2009 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Lynne said...

I LOVE Housing Works - especially the one in Chelsea, I think it's 15th Street, and the one in Gramercy. Oh, and have you ever been to Pippin Home - it is my favourite vintage store ever - and very affordable. I keep buying pictures there. If you haven't been there, I think you would like the Pippin Jewellery store next door - all vintage hats, scarves and tons of jewellery.

February 12, 2009 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

Hello loves,
Thank you for visiting and commenting on my book.. I can't wait to go to Pippin Home next time I'm in NYC!

February 12, 2009 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger John said...

Did you ever read "Here is New York," by E.B. White?
I love this passage:

"There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something ….Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion."

Also, as a former New Yorker, and one adept at shifting and turning as I walk through crowds with no perceivable change in forward speed, I like the Hellerstein quote.

February 13, 2009 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

Hello John,
Thank you for visiting my blog!
E.B. White was not only the soul of the New Yorker, he understood New York's soul.

February 13, 2009 at 11:01 AM  
OpenID thesixkents said...

LOVE this idea. LOVE moleskine. And I'm sure one day soon I'll also LOVE NYC! I'm bookmarking this page for future ref.
Do you have a book on Paris?!
Beautiful site - thanks!

February 14, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

Thank you!!! I do have a Paris moleskine! I will post it next, if you want..

February 14, 2009 at 10:01 AM  
Anonymous puglyfeet said...

I love your Moleskin. Mine looks pretty crappy.

February 15, 2009 at 12:03 AM  
Anonymous louise de Lima said...

I really like your Moleskine. I always wanted to be able to make a little scrapbook kind of thing. We make lovely hand stitched covers for Moleskines. Maybe you'd like them. Please take a look at them. I'd love to know what you think.

June 22, 2009 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Black Moses said...

fav places in nyc are the the pizza place with the best sicilian slice ever across from queens college, a nameless street in the bronx at night where when you walk by you can hear an amazing salsa band is rehearsing in the basement of an ordinary building unaware of any listeners, and this old coffee shop somewhere in the east village where they make traditional Italian coffee and hot chocolate, and this tiny cuban restaurant in Soho where i had one of my fav meals ever, KGB Bar, The Pink Tea Cup, and the hidden burger joint in the lobby of the Parker Meridien. I need to go back!

November 24, 2009 at 6:49 AM  

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