The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The reunion, part siete
Chris is back to work, as is Stephen. Andy's gone back to his self-imposed exile. It's Dan, Ian, Sabrina and I, and we've decided to take the train into NY city. Our main problem is how to get to the train station using just my mother's small pickup truck. It becomes one of those logic puzzles where, using three buckets, you distribute water evenly.

I offer to be dropped off at the station first, and then Dan can get Ian and Sabrina. We'd just have to find a place to park the truck for the day. We sit there for 15 minutes, working out the logistics of transporting four people in a two person vehicle. My mother chimes in and offers to take Dan and me to the station after Ian and Sabrina are dropped off. I can squeeze in between Dan and my mother, in a pinch. It works. We're on the platform, waiting for the train to Grand Central Station! It's been years since I've been in New York and I can't wait to go back. Dan's never been, and neither has Sabrina. We're like little kids.

The train is comfortable for a commuter train. There are conductors, not electronic gates like there are in Sydney. It's packed, even for off-peak. I watch the conductor move up and down the aisles, clipping people's tickets. I feel as if I've moved back 40 years in time. I like this personal touch to travelling on the train. Eventually, we move closer to the driver's compartment, which is not blocked off from the rest of the train, as they are in Sydney. The USA gets a bad rep of being paranoid and overly security conscious. Those critics should travel on the New Haven line.

We disembark at Grand Central terminal. We step into the main concourse and immediatley, I am in heaven. It's like stepping into a movie. The station's been filmed so many times, it seems familiar, even though it's the first time I've been there. The whole place seems to have been built of Italian marble. I don't know if that's true, but that's my impression. The ceiling is painted blue and has the major constellations hand-painted on it - like a New World Sistine Chapel. I love whomever thought of putting so much loving detail into a municipal building.

Where to go from here? New York Fashion Week is on. We decide we want to go to Greenwich Village and check out the boutique shops. We want to eat in a little deli or do something else very Manhattanish. We quickly get directions and start walking down Lexington Ave. We check out our maps. It's only 35 blocks to Greenwich Village, but they're short blocks, right?

It takes us an hour and a half to walk down to Bleeker Street. On the way, we turn off onto 4th Ave and find the best shop ever: Halloween Adventure. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I'm disappointed that it hasn't caught on in Sydney as much as it has back home. I'm thrilled - I feel like we've stumbled onto Nirvana in New York! We spend nearly an hour in this store. It has everything in it. Costumes of all grades and sizes, decorations, props, gags, magic supplies, wigs, makeup, and a cross-dressing salesman. I loved it. I wanted to invite the salesguy to spend the day with us.

Dan and I pick out some wall decor, light enough that it can be rolled up and stashed in our suitcases. We take some photos, and reluctantly leave after about an hour of touching, talking, and viewing. The Halloween Adventure is more fun than a museum. Still - we have so much to see and only a day to do it in. We reluctantly leave and continue walking.

We keep walking and Sabrina spies Benetton. We go in. They have jackets for work that are cut for a woman's figure. I'm ecstatic! I try one on. I love it. The consensus is that I should buy one. I buy two of different colors. I know I won't find this back in Sydney because Australian sizing is very different to American sizing. It's great to find something that fits and flatters.

I urge Sabrina to find something. Sabrina has a worse time than I do. I have a proportionately large chest to my waist. Sabrina has it worse than I do. She can't find anything she likes that will also fit. Why don't designers design for real women?

We go into another shop. We find a shirt for Ian that is to die for. Dan and I buy it and give it to him as a gift. He loves it. So does Sabrina. But I want to buy something for Sabrina.

It's lunch time and we find a popular little deli near NYU. It's one of those places where you can buy food by the pound. We each grab a container and go down the buffet and help ourselves. I fill my container with macaroni and cheese (not seen anywhere in Sydney with the exception of the supermarket), salads, chicken, and fruit. Forget what you hear about New York being ridiculously expensive. Eat where the locals do. It cost me $6 for a filling, nutritious lunch. A bottle of water was a dollar. I'm used to Sydney prices. This place is fantastic!

We walk all the way down to Bleeker Street. We find a boutique mall that sells designer clothing by lesser-known designers. The designers man their own stalls and make their own sales. The clothes are fantastic. Just beautiful and funky. I see a coat I really want. It's designed by a Japanese designer who urges me to try it on. It makes me think of Sumurai meets Houndstooth check. It's a bit Tokyo Street Scene. But it's feminine and funky. I decline trying it on, because I know I would want to buy it and I have no good way of getting it back to Sydney - and I'd have to carry it around with me all day. I have regrets for not buying it - even with the $400 price tag.

Dan and Ian spy some designer T-shirts. They're hand-painted and appliquéed. Dan buys an orange one. Ian buys a red one. They look great, and they're fun. Now Dan wants orange sneakers to go with his orange T-shirt. Sabrina and I decide that we both have to find something now that they guys have original designer wear. I look at all of the dresses and shirts in the boutique. I can't find the dress that they've got for display in the window, and I'm hesitant to ask about it, since it's probably out of my price range.

We leave without the women purchasing something, but that's OK. We've just barely scratched the surface here.

(To be continued...)
posted by Melanie O. at 10:05 AM -
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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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