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New York City is one of my favorite destinations for wandering around the neighborhoods. On a recent visit my wandering took me shopping downtown. If you have not yet ventured to Ninth Avenue and little West 12th street, the Meatpacking district, you should, but keep in mind no one gets out of bed there until about noon, so most of the shops do not open before that. To get a head start on the day have breakfast at Pastis and then go shopping!

The Alexander Mc Queen boutique is my favorite for the best fitting black pants. They are the perfect underpinning for everything else in the shop and on the street. I couldn’t resist a monochromatic grey 4-ply cashmere dress that defines every muscle in my body. At The Jean Shop you will find classic and relaxed style jeans that are made of Japanese selvage denim, a finer quality denim. They will customize the jeans to the color of your liking and add any embellishments you desire, prices start at $240. The Catherine Malandrino store has many one of a kind designs, a French cotton blouse with hand-embroidered

lace for $650 would go perfect with the Mc Queen black pants. The Charles Nolan boutique resembles your super stylish girlfriend’s apartment; the cashmere cardigans in an array of pale colors are a bargain at $220. Carlos Miele, the Brazilian designer, has beautiful evening wear done in bright colors and unusual materials. Try on a dress and walk on the illuminated floor for your own red carpet moment. Christian Louboutin has a tiny boutique filled with the famous red soled shoe. La Perla has joined the party at the Meatpacking district--after all naked in the era of embellishments means lace and satin. Jeffrey is perfect for the edited version of downtown fashion. Other stores to visit include Stella Mc Cartney, and Calypso, where you will find unique Caribbean colored coats. As long as you are already downtown, SoHo is right next-door and still buzzing with activity. My favorite stop was at the MarieBelle store for a European style hot chocolate; this was a more intense energy charge than anything I ever had at Starbucks. There is a well stocked Sergio Rossi store where I spotted some R&B glam girls buying up the highest heeled party shoes, while the bodyguards waited patiently outside in illegally parked Range Rovers. A must stop for me is Agent Provocateur for some silk p.j.’s and Anna Sui for her signature t- shirts.

A New Year’s resolution to edit my life made me exert some control when choosing what to add to my wardrobe. I was in the market to add some zest to the remaining months of winter fashion and to choose items that would go well beyond one season. The exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, WILD: Fashion Untamed, so inspired me that I was on the hunt for a lippi cat (a small Russian leopard) coat by Charles Chang Lima. This will keep the chill out for the rest of the winter. A lippi cat is a short haired and lightweight fur, so it can easily be worn through early spring. I felt really lucky on my editing expedition, when I found a lobster print blouse, a la Elsa Schiaparelli, I knew those Mc Queen black pants were a good investment. A pair of white iridescent leather pumps with illuminating heels by Alexander Mc Queen was just to good to resist. And finally to keep me feeling feminine, a pink satin bra with black lace trim by Eres and a new scent by Guerlain, L’Instant. Now I can handle what is left of the winter season feeling “lifted” with just a few, but special wardrobe essentials.


Other highlights that should not be overlooked include a visit to the newly expanded MOMA, for both the art and the café, later this month Danny Meyer’s, The Modern, will open for dinner. The WILD: Fashion Untamed exhibit at the MET was one of my favorites, featuring beautiful animal fur and prints in fashion collections that span a couple of centuries. Some new and noteworthy restaurants to try: Café Gray, Chef Gary Kunz, formerly of Lespinasse, has come to the Time Warner building with a great menu and a beautiful mirrored room that sets the kitchen as the stage with the backdrop a wall of windows looking out onto Central Park. BLT on East 57 th Street is the new province of Chef Laurent Tourondel and if you are willing to indulge in all that tastes good, steak, gruyere popovers, pommes frites, etc, it is a great choice for a delicious dinner on a winter night. For an exotic fare and atmosphere, I recommend The Spice Market, Jean Georges Vongerichten’s take on Asian street food.

By far my best NYC experience this trip was the Jazz at Lincoln Center at Dizzy’s Club. This is a real NY experience-- jazz at its best in an intimate and modern wood paneled room with the back of the stage a wall of windows looking out at Central Park. The club has two seatings for featured artist sets and after hours sets. They serve dinner and/or drinks. The price of admission is the best bargain in NYC at $30 per person.

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