Bowery Mural

New York - Saturday, shopping day

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A sneaky peak of the Empire State Building walking back to my hotel at night
Saturday had always been marked in my diary as shopping day. I woke early, around 6.30am, still buzzing from the night before. I lay for a little while and watched a bit of 24 on the iPad (free uninterrupted wifi in the Refinery i hasten to add!).  After an hour i decided to get up and have a shower then FaceTime the parents. They didn't answer. I FaceTime'd my sister and the boys and gave them a tour around my hotel room as well as the view. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY for allowing me to do this!

I managed to get through to Mum who had actually learned how to answer Dad's iPod touch. She's a total technophobe. We chatted for a little while and she got the room tour too. Come on, don't say you never do that?!

I went for my shower, washed my hair and got dressed. The shower was great. You could fit 4 people in there. Not that i would but for size comparison all I'm saying is you could. After dressing i headed down to the restaurant that is part of the hotel too, Parker and Quinn. It was quiet, but it was only about 8.30am. I had orange juice, tea and a breakfast sandwich. A short while later it was delivered to my table. YUM. The breakfast sandwich was a brioche bread, scrambled egg, ham and runny melty cheese. With a side serving of fried potatoes. The sandwich was really amazing. Especially as this was my first hot meal since the plane for the previous day. The plane food was really good by the way, did i mention that?

After a leisurely breakfast in lovely surroundings I headed back to my room to get ready for my assault on the shops of NYC. I sorted my money out and checked the various locations and opening times on Google maps on the iPad. I was trying not to use too much data whilst away from the hotel since O2 had sent me a text as soon as I'd landed to say they'd be charging me £40. Was this £40 in total or was this starting at £40?! I didn't know and their website is very unclear. Sort that out O2.

Anyway, I was soon out of the hotel by about 10am and headed around Bryant Park and the New York Public Library and onto Fifth Avenue.

Zara. Should I go onto Zara? I went in. But then I thought what is the point of going all that way to buy something I could buy in town at home. I didn't buy. I wandered further up and came to another Sephora. There were a few things i still wanted to buy but didn't the night before. I bought them here. Another Tarte blush, nail polish and more perfume rollerballs. The Rockefeller Centre came into view and since i was going here on Sunday I took a quick look at the ice rink area and the flags. It was surreal to be standing there after seeing it so many times on TV or in films. J Crew came into view and i headed in. They seemed to have a 25% sale on items but i wasn't sure if it was on everything or certain things. I browsed for a little while and spied something that i was interested in. I took my phone out to use the currency converter to see how much said item would cost me, with and without this discount. Remember to add that tax on though! I decided not to get it just now but it was in the back of my mind, just in case.

A walk further up Fifth Avenue and i came to Tiffany's. My destination. I entered through the revolving door and inside were lots of display cases with everything from sterling silver to million pound diamonds. Okay so i didn't see anything worth that amount but there were things in the tens of thousands. I caught the lift up to the third floor - sterling silver! haha. Again on entering that floor there were cases and cases of different rings, chains, bracelets, pendants, all things silver and a few gold. It took me a good while to look around. It's like some sort of sweetie shop for adults. I settled on a few items and again tried to work out how much this was going to cost. Ach what the heck. Who cares. I'm getting myself two things. It's just gotta be done. I ended up with an Atlas collection ring and matching bracelet. This means that YOU can get me the accompanying necklace for my Christmas *wink*. Presents for my sister and mum were bought too. I can say this here now as they've already got them. The service was great and the woman wrapped each item individually in one of those famous Tiffany blue boxes with an off white ribbon. Then she put everything in a large bag and gave me four little individual bags for giving the presents too. A nice touch. Watching her wrap the boxes in the ribbon I guessed that each assistant must have been put through their paces at a ribbon wrapping class before being let loose on the shop floor.  I left shortly after that.

what about those Elmo comfies!
Heading out I looked at my phone and realised i'd been in there over an hour. Wowsers. I could see the corner of central park from here but decided that it wasn't going to interrupt my serious shopping expedition. Next up was the Apple store, for nothing other than a short charge of my phone and a nose. But if you've seen one Apple store you've seen them all. Same items, same prices except those times have a dollar sign and ours a pound sign. Damn that eh.

After that I wandered along East 58th Street to try to find Bloomingdale's. They also had a denim sale on, I checked before I left my room. I entered into a wonderland of designer handbags. Now, I did say to myself I'd buy a new bag, a Philip Lim Pashli was what I was after. But on seeing the price (although cheaper than if I was buying it in the UK) I just couldn't part with that kind of cash on a bag. I just couldn't. I headed up the escalator to the contemporary fashion level. It was awash with Acne, Alexander Wang, Etro, Christopher Kane and as I was passing the Kenzo section I was complimented on my 'cute shirt'. I was wearing my awesome white Kenzo tiger head sweatshirt. I was tempted to get a couple of items but alas I really wanted jeans. New jeans.

They were up another level. Denim galore. And plenty of people to help you find the right size and fit. I wanted some Paige denims in plain denim with no rips in them as I realised too late that I'd only packed boyfriend jeans with rips in them. Duh. I found a pair i quite liked and tried them on. There were two pairs to choose from but i opted for the Paige Kylie crop jeans which turned out to be a pretty good ankle length on me. Perfect. They're a dark indigo denim so can be dressed up with a cute pair of heels. And lo, there was 15% off 1 item of denim or 25% off 2 items. When you convert it back into pounds i saved a good £50 on these jeans if i were to buy them here in the UK. I love you exchange rate!

After Bloomingdale's I exited into real warm sunshine and had to remove my jacket. I was laden with bags and my back was starting to ache. Ducking into a Bath and Body Works on my way to Grand Central Station, I bought some bits and pieces for presents. This was on my list. During my walk I got a voice mail on my phone from the restaurant where I'd booked lunch for on the Sunday, Minetta Tavern. I called back to confirm and kept walking down Lexington. Almost 20 blocks later (yes I walked 20 blocks) I saw Grand Central Station and headed inside. WOW.

Inside Grand Central Station, obvs. And you should see that ceiling
It really is just like the movies. Sorry I'm saying this all of the time. Actually, I'm not sorry as I was well excited. It stood for a few minutes taking it all in. It was busy but not crazy busy. Cameras were flashing, the voices were echoing and every now and then an announcement came over the tannoy for the latest departures. Wandering around I stopped at the clock in the middle of the vast main concourse and a couple of women asked me to take their picture. It as a tradition for them they said. They were tow of a group of friends from all over America who, whenever they visit New York, go to the clock, have a picture taken and send it to the rest of the group saying 'meet us at 3pm'. I loved that little story and longed for a similar one, except here I was alone. Not with a group of friends, but with only my phone to take pictures and capture memories for me. However, they kindly returned the favour and took a picture of me at the clock and we went our separate ways after the thank you'd. People are just lovely sometimes aren't they.

By now I was getting hungry, but since my plan was to head down to Soho in the evening and maybe try to grab a burger, I decided that I'd quite like a Magnolia cupcake and some tea. It took me a while (several trips outside the building and umpteam stops at the 'you are here' map) to find it. It was on the lower level, almost directly across from Shake Shack. Argh, that was on my 'to do' list too but i couldn't have two burgers in one day. Plus the queue was miles long. I settled for a vanilla cupcake and no tea. They'd run out of black tea, offering me chai or early grey, to which i politely declined. I took my little cupcake in the magnolia box and headed the few blocks back to my sanctuary at the Refinery.

I sat for a little while and watched a few things on TV, then freshened up. My face need a clean. It must be the traffic dust or something but i just needed to wash my face. I ate the delicious cupcake and at around 5pm I headed off out towards herald square and the Flatiron building.

Wow it really was something. Again, just like you see in pictures, but me being a building dork i totally loved it. It was turning out to be a lovely evening walk. But my feet just couldn't take me all the way to Soho so I took my first subway ride! Exciting. I bought a ticket and hopped on after only a few short minutes wait.

Soho subway tiles
Gorgeous golden evening glow
Before I knew it I'd emerged into the golden hour to a new landscape of buzzing narrower streets and lower buildings. I liked this a lot. Admittedly with only a paper map to hand (I was trying to save data on my phone!) it took me a little while to get my bearings but once I had found them I headed straight to the shop on the top only my 'to do' list, Rag and Bone on Mercer street. I was after another pair of jeans. And perhaps one of their amazing fedora hats. The denim display was at the back of the shop so i headed straight there but not without the customary welcome from a sales assistant manning the front door area. Nice.

I found the jean style I was after, The Dre, I could only find the white plan denim or ripped ones. My ripped jeans collection far outdoes any other so i decided what the heck and chose the white. I was led downstairs by another nice assistant to the changing rooms who would be the one helping on my visit, she said. I told her my size and she said no, let's try a 27, I think a 27 will fit you. Wah! I've not had 27 jeans on for ages but i went with it. And sure enough they fitted but the white just wasn't me. I asked if she had them in plain denim and in fact, a new style had just come out in the Dre jean. She took a little while to bring them but when she did I tried them on and they fitted like a glove. Size 27 Dre jeans in the new Bradford wash. Perfect. Whilst in the changing room i was trying to work out how much the jeans and a hat wold cost me in pounds. I decided that I couldn't part with the cash just now so it was jeans only. Now, yes they were expensive but when converted back into pounds, they still cost me less than they do if I were to buy them here. Bargain. I left with a spring in my step and headed for the Adidas Originals shop. I wanted new Superstars.

When I found it (my internal compass was slightly off) it was like a garage. There was loud music. The whole front of the shop was open for you to just wander in. It wasn't big and to be honest the selection wasn't that great but i found a crisp all white pair in the kids section. And they didn't have that pesky tax added. All in all I got them for £30 and so picked up a cool little black Adidas NY t-shirt for Ryan. With that my shopping list was nearly complete. I wandered around Soho for a little while longer. Darkness was setting in and being alone I didn't want to leave it too late to head back to the hotel. I really loved the Soho area though. I'd come back for more exploration.

My second trip on the subway was just as fine as my first and I got off at Times Square and walked the short 10 minutes walk back to my hotel. It was about 8.30pm and I collapsed on the bed. I hadn't had anything substantial to eat since my breakfast at 9am. This could only mean one thing. Room service from Parker and Quinn!

I oohed and ahed over the in room menu and decided on the burger and fries and a cup of tea. Yes I know. But hadn't had tea since 9am too! After washing my face again and sorting through the shopping bags, i found some good things to watch on TV and rested on the amazing bed till the knock on the door came about half an hour later.

Room service
Room service was deliver in a brown paper bag on a tray with napkins, plastic plate and plastic cutlery. My tea came with a little side container of milk, and there was a little serving of tomato sauce in a separate dish too. Inside the bag was two trays. One filled with fries. The other had my burger. I didn't even bother using the plate, I just ate it from the black tray it was delivered in. Now, I'd seen in reviews that some people didn't like this form of delivery on plastic trays and plastic cutlery but it didn't bother me. I've seen the Kardashians eat salad from those on the new series ;) Even though they were plastic the food was hot and honestly the burger had amazing melty cheese on it. I even lost sight of my sense and forgot to take a picture of it! Damn. The chips were so tasty. They were proper potatoes but cut thinly and still had their skins on. And the tray I got was full of them. Once I'd been fed and watered i got changed into my jammies and sorted my itinerary for Sunday. Then I had a nice surprise. My cousins Facetimed me all the way from Australia.

A good end to a tiring but wonderful day shopping in New York. Dreamy.

Angela xx

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