New York, New York!
I have a love/hate relationship with the city, I can’t deny. I love it because there’s so much to see and do and experience! It’s the epicenter of absolutely everything I’m into – writing, blogging, beauty, style, good food, fun…
I hate it because I don’t live there.
Don’t get me wrong, I just moved to the Chi and I’m happy to be here! But I’ll be damned – doesn’t it seem like EVERY hot event is in NYC? What’s with that?
Every time I visit New York, it’s hard for me to leave. I always leave with a feeling of loss, of imcompleteness, of wait – there’s SO much more I wanted to do here! But I reassure myself with the knowledge that I’ll be back. I just visited in March, and I’m already plotting my return. Did someone say Fashion Week? Hell yeah! Next time I visit NYC, I’ve got 5 places I need to spend more time at. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. The East Village. Every time I come visit, I stay with my homegirl Jenny in the West Village. And it’s super fun for sure… but I’m new to the East Village. And it just has a flavor to it that I LOVE. Mohawked punk rockers strolling alongside silver haired abuelitas dragging little suitcases on wheels, hair colors, piercings, and tattoos the likes of which you don’t see regularly anyplace else, and a plethora — PLETHORA of funky restaurants, boutiques, and bars to check out. I darted in and out of Max Brenner, Chocolate By the Bald Man for a fabulicious hot chocolate, and I NEED MORE. This place is a chocolaholic’s mecca, I swear! En route we whizzed through Village Kitchen — I could spend a grip in a store like this! Every kind of kitchen gadget you’ve imagined, and a score more you’ve never seen before. If you imagine yourself an at-home like I do, this could be your little corner of heaven. Another store I have-to-have-to-have-to visit next time I’m in NYC is a teeny jewelry shop that all but yanked me in as I strolled by. When I met the owner, I realized fate had stepped into my life yet again. The store’s called The Shape of Lies and the owner’s name is Peggy. Just like my mom!
The Shape of Lies specializes in historic reproduction jewelry, and some of their pieces are just stunners. I almost don’t want to blog about them too much because there’s a necklace there that is MINE, you read me? MINE! As soon as I can pony up the cash! Their jewelry isn’t cheap, but it certainly will get you noticed and remembered. I have made a promise to gift myself with a little something from The Shape of Lies. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, please stop by and tell Peggy you read about her on Afrobella!
2. Brooklyn in general. Sugarcane restaurant in specific. I’ve been to NYC several times and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t explored or experienced Brooklyn yet. And I know there’s SO much going on there! If you’re of Caribbean descent and you live in NYC, odds are this is where you’re at. So even though my last trip took me in opposite directions, I had to make it out there for just a taste of home. Overwhelmingly, every Trini I asked said one thing — go straight to Sugarcane! And apparently I wasn’t the only one who got the message — when we arrived for our 7 p.m. reservation, this chic Caribbean restaurant was packed to the GILLS. Like call the fire department because this is a hazard packed. Meanwhile the restaurants across the street were so empty it was embarrassing. If you’re planning to head there, take my advice. Make a reservation ahead of time, corrall your party, and if you get there early don’t expect to be treated special. The response to my 15 minute-early arrival was horror. They were NOT ready. So come armed with patience and be prepared for a Trinidadian feast the likes of which you can hardly find off the island. Callaloo. Macaroni pie. Brown stewed chicken. A version of bake and shark that didn’t disappoint. Sugarcane, I’ll be back. And next time I’ll check out the rest of Brooklyn, too. Any specific recommendations, bellas and fellas?
3. Central Park. I’ve wanted to go ever since I saw Miss Ross turn it out in 1983. It was a defining moment in my life. I just didn’t know it at the time because I was four years old!
As luck would have it, Calvin, a good friend of mine who used to be a reporter at my old job, is now a Central Park ranger. Score! He drew us a map and my husband and I spent a beautiful afternoon wandering through the park. But this was in frigid March, so the flowers were barely just beginning to bloom. I bet the park is verdant and glorious now! I gotta get to NYC in the summer, so I can stroll through the park when it’s full of life.
4. The museums! NYC is a city filled with culture, and just about every time I’ve visited, I seek out anything but. The last time I came, my amiga Nichelle of 55 Secret Street took me to MOMA — the Museum of Modern Art. It was a whirlwind trip that left me hungry for so much more. MOMA’s so huge, so intricate, so chockablock with things to see, I owe myself a visit back to soak it all in. And besides MOMA, there’s the Met, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, the American Museum of Natural History… so many more to explore. I’ll be back and someday my trip will be all about museum day.
5. The plus size fashion meccas. Last visit, I made a special visit to Monif C.’s boutique, and got to check out her lovely gowns in person. Regrettably I didn’t get to meet Monif, so I need to stop by when she’s in the house. I want the Marilyn convertible dress breakdown live and in person! If you’re a voluptuous chica like I am, there’s nowhere to get your shop on like NYC. No wonder it’s the home of Full Figured Fashion Week! Next time I’m in town I’m making a pilgrimage to Re/Dress NYC, which is possibly the only buy/sell/trade plus size clothing store in the land. I have only heard raves and I love the concept. Cute, chic, and for curvy chicks? Count me in!
Whew! As you can tell, my next trips to the Big Apple are more-or-less planned out. I can’t wait to get back already, and the next time I do, I’ll have another meet and greet with my bellas in the area. If you’re a NYC bella, talk to me! Have you been to the places I shouted out? Is there anywhere else I need to see? Let me know!