I Don't Think I Have A New York State of Mind
“It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city for only the very young.”
Some say New York is the nation’s melting pot. The city that never sleeps. America’s fashion capital. Inspiring.
But others call it loud. Noisy. Crowded. Rude. A concrete jungle.
The truth: It is all of these things. And during my first visit back to the city after having been away for 10 years—a whole decade—I felt all of these things and more. So here’s a recap of my time in NYC for none other than Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
Every year, various fashionable cities worldwide host Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. And every fall and spring, fashionistas and designers converge in NYC to debut their new collections and next season’s trends. And this year, I go the opportunity to go to MBFW because my good friend Leah Frazier, a well-known fashion writer and style consultant in Dallas, was sent on behalf of one of the publications for which she writes. So off we went.
We stayed at the Lexington Hotel in Midtown. It is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and was touted as an art hotel with a 1920s jazz feel.
It was gorgeous. The lobby had tables for people to work and connect with free WiFi. Not to mention The Mixing Room cocktail bar where they play live jazz Tuesday evenings. Colorful art peppered the walls while purple mood lighting illuminated the high ceilings. The elevators were works of art and the mezzanine featured oversized chairs with speakers that you could connect to your laptop to give yourself a surround-sound experience while working or chatting.
The rooms were clean and well-appointed, too. They were a good size, for a Manhattan hotel. But there was one huge design flaw. One epic fail…
The bathroom. It was tiny! But that wasn’t the problem; after all it is New York; space is at a premium. Although this wasn’t the case in all rooms, we were in a corner room, which meant an extra tiny bathroom. So the shower took up one whole wall. And the radiator was huge (again, to be expected, it is New York, after all) and covered by a radiator cabinet. Then there was the sink against the back wall. So where did they wedge the toilet? In the corner, by the sink, with the front ending two inches from the radiator cabinet. Yes, I meant when I said wedge. So how does one, say, use the toilet? On a 45-degree angle. For four days. It was utter nonsense. Total foolishness.
Other than that teeny, tiny issue, I loved The Lexington. Great location. Near Park Avenue. Not far from the artsy area or Broadway and lots of little restaurants. A definite win.
Leah, being the rock star that she is, got to attend designer numerous shows. Check out her blog, Beauty4Ashes to get her insider’s take on the upcoming spring lines. And because she is such a rock star, I also got to attend a few shows and events.
What do you get when you combine fashion, cutting-edge technology, luggage and a Shark? Andiamo’s new luxury Avanti and Pantera luggage lines, backed by super entrepreneur Daymond John.
Daymond John, the creator of FUBU clothing line, debuted his new luxury luggage line at Fashion Week. While the quality of the collection is apparent, it is the technological bells and whistles that seem to set Andiamo apart. The Avanti (soft-line) collection features Auto-Expand, which uses tension to expand packing space by 20 percent and then gently compresses your belongings to meet airline requirements—with no wrinkles. The Pantera (hard-line) collection is made of a lightweight polycarbonate hard-shell that reduces luggage weight by 20 percent. Both of these factors are clutch for someone like me who overpacks and is consistently over the weight limit. (In fact, I had to rearrange my bag on the way there and order a duffle bag via Amazon Prime to meet me at the hotel for the flight back since my bag was almost 55 pounds. Don’t judge me—it was Fashion Week.)
Another fancy feature: both lines utilize Thin Guard YKK zippers with interlocking technology that is only used by our military and first responders. And all bags are protected not only by manufacturer’s warranty, but also from airline damage, included in the price.
But the most impressive part of the presentation: Daymond John. He was down to earth and totally sincere. He spoke candidly, not like someone worth millions of dollars. He was cool, and he let me interview him personally about the luggage line. Maybe one day I will own a piece.
Sunnies and travel go hand in hand. And Haze Collection sunglasses, worn by celebrities like Rihanna, debuted its Spring 2015 line in an invitation-only show at the Hudson Hotel in NYC in the roof apartment of the hotel. I loved the oversized shades the best, but there were so many awesome styles.
And this girl was my favorite model. Her shades were fantastic and so was she. I may have to pick up a pair. And him. Lovely.
For more photos, check out my gallery for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
If I had to live in NYC, I think it would be in Brooklyn. We spent an afternoon in the BK for the Essence Street Style Block Party. I love the cobblestone streets. The space. The Brooklyn Bowl. I just think I like Brooklyn. I didn’t make it to Harlem, but I loved the vibe, the street, style that I experienced in this borough.
It was awesome. Check out my last blog post. Yummy.
Live singing. A live orchestra. Soul. Motown music. Broadway. A true delight.
Motown the Musical, based on Berry Gordy’s autobiography “To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown”, is in its theatrical run on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, along with touring nationwide. And it was awesome.
The music was magical and the signing was excellent. The actress who played Diana Ross, Krystal Joy Brown, had her mannerisms nailed. But it is the young actor Samuel Pickens that stole the show in his portrayal of a young Michael Jackson as a member of the Jackson 5. Pickens’ singing actually made me forget that I wasn’t listening to the real MJ of the Jackson 5 days. This kid’s performances were met with well-deserved standing ovations. I give the show an ‘A’ and recommend you go see it either on Broadway or its nationwide tour.
This was my first actual show on Broadway and I loved it. Music-wise, I should have been born in the Motown era. Its music speaks to me. It’s timeless. And I guess I am really starting to get old because it is so much better than most of the stuff I hear from some of these youngins on the radio.
My Final NYC Thoughts
Alicia Keys croons: "New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there's nothing you can't do."
I absolutely agree that Manhattan can best be described as a concrete jungle. But nothing you can't do??? I can think of several things that I couldn't do in New York—
Sleep. Drive in Manhattan. Have some peace and quiet. Escape the crowds. See green space (grass, trees). Deal with Times Square. Sit by a pool. Relax.
Now mind you, I am familiar with and have thrived in a face pace. I am from Chicagoland and handled downtown Chicago perfectly fine when I worked there. I am a former newsroom journalist, constantly on a deadline. Not to mention a current attorney. And anyone who knows me knows that I work nonstop. (Work hard, play hard.) So pace isn't the issue. The problem was the noise, the pervasive and continuous noise. The cab honking wars at 6 in the morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I had fun while I was there. It’s a great place to visit. And perhaps in my younger days, I could have handled New York City living. I had actually seriously planned on it after finishing undergrad. But now that I am a little older, I realize that New York City really is a city for the young... and for those who don't mind being cramped... and for those who like roommates. I am not one of any of those people.
I guess I no longer have a New York state of mind.
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