Monday, May 18, 2009

Recap | New York

Last Tuesday I left midday on a Virgin America flight from LAX to JFK, having packed up the line (samples from the company I currently do sales for) in a suitcase triple the size of the one I had my own clothes in, grabbed and packed over one hundred bracelets, prepared line sheets and cads with press releases in fancy folders, and organized it all for each of the buyers. I was set, sitting in LAX excited for what was ahead of me on this trip. Having spent a little less than five hours on a Virgin America flight that was all too modern with purple lights, brightly colored interiors, touch screen TVs that do practically everything, in-flight wireless, and a safety features video that is to say the least quite funny, I put that all aside to read my newly acquired Free&Easy and sleep.

We got into New York at around 10:00 PM EST, grabbed our bags and hopped into the car waiting for us (the luxury of a business trip: car service). Having just been on a long trip and with an early and long day ahead of us we hit the hay as soon as we got into our room on the 18th floor of the Flatotel on 52nd between 6th & 7th. And boy was it a good nights sleep. The next morning I was up and ready to go. The sun was up, the cars were moving, and the hustle and bustle of New York gave me a type of energy the laid back atmosphere of Los Angeles never could. So, this is how my week went.

At 9:00 AM I was up and ready to hit the road, grabbed the suitcase with the line in it and headed to Penn Station to grab a train to Philadelphia to meet with a buyer. The train was set to leave only a half hour after we bought our ticket so like any other person traveling in Penn Station at that time, we looked for food (found nothing worth our while) and waited by the sign in between the East and West platforms to see where we would be boarding when they post it 10 minutes before our train arrives.

While waiting I did what I love to do and watched the passersby. I checked out their clothing, their bags, their hats, their suiting, the whole nine yards when a familiar face walked right by and before the cows came home I melted into a pile of mush. Tyler Thoreson, Senior Editor of GQ at Conde Nast walked by talking on his phone about fellow Senior Editor Josh Peskowitz and I couldn't help but turn a little giddy. He ran by me so fast there was nothing I could do or say. So I let it go and let the smile fade off my face in due time.

We caught the train at the respective platform and spent the next hour fingering through my Free&Easy and like the flight sleeping. At Philadelphia we caught a cab and headed straight for our destination. Realizing the significance of Philadelphia to American history I asked if this was the location of the Liberty Bell. Found out it was and that I would be all of 2 streets away with no time to see it. So we went straight to the buyer and did what we do best: Sold.

After some unknown amount of time to us I checked my watch and realized that we had 15 minuted to catch our train back for our next appointment with Bloomingdales. We threw the line in the suitcase, in an unusual fashion ran out and grabbed a cab. Told the cab driver our schedule and on his own regard broke every law possible to get us there in time, which amazingly he did. Even to the point of parking in the wrong place and almost receiving a $210.00 ticket for it. So, we ran inside flew past everyone including the attendant at the platform checking tickets and jumped into our seats. And before we could sit down the train pulled out of the station on its way back to NYC. I picked up my traveling bible (Free&Easy) and went at it.

Heading up the elevator to meet with Bloomingdales was a little nerve wrecking, I just got back from college to jump into this job exactly one week ago and already I am meeting with majors. I guess they have more faith in me than I do in myself, but what could I do? There was no turning back, so I went in head first. Set up the line in the conference room and waited for the buyers to walk in. Stern and emotionless they checked out the line and listened to us, asked if it was racist (not to us but to the other buyers due to a game a current employee of theirs called racist that they had been selling in their store for some time now) and thanked us. Without an order they asked some questions and walked back to their desks. This is not unusual for a major, but a little discerning. But we took it as it was and left. This gave us a little bit of time to go to Park Avenue and check out the stores and grab some food before heading back to the hotel. Oh, and this was only day one.

So, after walking around Bergdorf Goodman's and getting some pizza at Ray's we went back to eat and relax and read my Free&Easy. And that was my favorite part of the day. After which I passed out.

The next morning with a little more time on my hands to get where we needed to go everything was done leisurely knowing that once we stepped outside the hotel the adrenaline would kick in and we would be running like every other New Yorker. But this day was a little different. We didn't need the line, we weren't meeting with buyers, so we went to 1515 Broadway to Viacom, where we got out on the 42nd floor and were faced with a giant Spongebob Squarepants plush. Yes, we were at Nickelodeon. We have a licensee deal with Nickelodeon to use Spongebob and Dora and a new character that hasn't hit the US television circuit yet. This was significantly different than meeting with Bloomingdales. The people at Nickelodeon seemed much more enthusiastic about life and much more willing to talk off topic. So we did our thing, with many distractions. And basically spoke with my eyes focused on the view of the Hudson River and the war memorial there, the New Years ball, and the city skyline. It was amazing and fun. And the best part was that we had the rest of the day to do what we wanted.

So, we grabbed a cab and headed to Orchard and Delancey to Sol Moscot Opticians to get my glasses fixed. While there we looked at a pair of glasses and decided the best idea would be to turn my Lemtosh into sunglasses and purchase a pair later in time (like after I received my commission). So we handed them over and went downstairs to check out the Smith & Butler pop-up shop downstairs. Between the Arther Fulmer Helmets, 1970 Triumph bike, Post O'all work wear, Belstaff and Barbour Jackets, Filson bags, Churchill gloves and other great Americana items, I walked out of there with a pain in my chest like someone hooked a tow chain to my heart that would keep me there dragging me in little by little. But I got myself out of there and we went to this great little restaurant on Rivington which I did not catch the name of after which we went back to Moscot to pick-up my newly tinted glasses.

*Pictures courtesy of Smith & Butler

When finished adjusting, fixing my loose joint and readjusting I handed them my credit card. They looked at me funny and because I was planning on coming back to pick up a new pair of glasses and for being as they called me "a loyal customer" (and after talking to them about how my grandfather owned a pair) they did it all complimentary. So I decided to purchase the glasses right then. So they pulled out the pair of Blonde Zeligs I was trying on earlier and with everything done in house they told me to come back a half an hour later.

Excited about what was to come I ran over to Freeman's Sporting Club just a few blocks away to check it out. Walking in was a little bit like walking out of New York and into 1930's Maine. The store had taxidermied animals all over, old shot bullets and bottles lying around, and hand tailored clothing on wooden salvage shelves with a clear view of the barbershop in the back. After speaking with, more like trying to convince them of letting us work for them as a progression company (trying to make them larger than they are) and with constant refusal we grabbed a card and walked to the back of Freeman Alley to check out the namesake restaurant. After convincing myself that I should not grab a drink we headed back to Moscot to pick up my glasses.

While back at Moscot's none other than Harvey Moscot himself talked with me and fit my glassed to my face in the case that they got wronged when having the lenses put in. We spoke to him about his ventures, his life as a optometrist and his past in regards to owning the family business. We had a good conversation about it all, including some pretty personal items. And then he gave me his card and ended the conversation by telling me he is thinking about expanding to Los Angeles (which is great for me, that's another interview waiting to happen). This being the most eventful day thus far, how could we end it here.

So, we hopped into yet another cab and went to Bleecker Street to check out some places to eat and grab a drink. So, our first stop was Magnolia bakery, being that I don't eat sweets I didn't get anything but I hear their cupcakes are to die for. From there we walked over to the Beatrice Inn, or formerly the Beatrice Inn which does not exist anymore (since when?). So, I took a look at the signs outside and laughed a little and headed over to Ye Waverly Inn, as the sign outside reads. We decided later that the Waverly Inn was not where we wanted to go or could go, but that is later.

Before that decision we went back to Bleecker Street and walked around checking out the stores till I noticed RRL. We walked in and talked with the Sales people there, tried on some pants and some glasses (vintage aviators for a ridiculous $425) and found out about a place called Save Fashion at Port Authority. It is a concept shop where everything is either a sample or mark down of production. Everything supposedly was 30% to 75% off. I was destined to check it out. So, we left RRL to meet a friend at the Waverly Inn when we decided we wanted to eat at either Cafe Cluney or August. It came to Cafe Cluney, purely on the fact that it was recommended by the asshole USC graduate host at the Waverly Inn who would not give us a reservation. The food was good, small portioned and well cooked. I give the place a B+, purely based on the cramped conditions, leave me alone I am from L.A. and spoiled when it comes to space in restaurants. So, I went back, read some more Free&Easy (by the way, I brought 7 copies of Free&Easy I wasn't really reading it or the same issue the whole time) and then went to bed.

Friday, the day of my departure was a significant day when it came to experiencing New York's Manhattan Island, though I did not do much I had fun in what I did. It started at around 11:30 when we went to Save Fashion at Port Authority to find a huge crowd and a small place with no dressing rooms. But never the less I ran around the place frantic like a chicken without a head. I went from Band of Outsiders to Steven Alan to Black Fleece by Thom Browne to Acne to Rogan to Rogues Gallery and much more. And tried things on right there in the middle of the store. I am sad to announce that I broke my shopping free streak and fell into my addiction. I almost walked out with a Black Fleece suit that was originally $2400 on sale for $450 and ended up with a pair of Acne chinos and a Steven Alan shirt both for the price of one Steven Alan shirt. I was amazed at the prices and at the concept. But I am proud to say that they as well are considering bringing it to LA. So I will keep you posted on that.

After that we walked around Park Avenue again to check out the sites and get some great Kosher hotdogs and explore the stores, but after H&M we decided we would go to Bryant Park for lunch. So, after I finished this amazing tuna melt from the place at the South West corner I noticed a gentleman walk by, well dressed with great style and when he came close enough I noticed his bag embossed with the letters F-A-T-A and recognized it from Foster Huntington's site A Restless Transplant. Jon Patrick of The Selvedge Yard just ran past and I had to catch up and give my respects for I am a fan of his site and an active reader (in fact he has some great post on vintage motorcycles and Steve McQueen and a very intriguing read on John Glasgow...check it out). He was very kind for not knowing who I was at first but upon telling him how I knew him, he seemed a little more at ease.

Nevertheless, I finished lunch and went back to the Hotel to grab the bags and head to airport. At the airport we bumped into Forrest Whitaker who my mother knew and went about our time at the airport.

New York has a feel to it that L.A. does not. I don't know if it is the adrenaline that you get from people running everywhere or the way that so many people cram into such a small area. But as much as I love New York, nothing beats Los Angeles. Or as the sign I saw today on my way to work stated (picture to come) Los Awesome.


greenjeans said...

Sounds like a crazy week! I think you showed pretty good restraint. And yes, I want to see how you like the Steven Alan shirt.

Anonymous said...

Man, what a crazy week! You are an industrious little ______ . It was a pleasure meeting, you, we'll have to make it more official next time and grab some lunch or a drink. Thanks for the shout-out.

Best Regards,


Comfortably Smug said...

Next time you're in town, drop me a line and we could grab a drink

Shaun @ TWGA said...

I will be in NY again in August so watch out for updates sometime around then.