manhattan by night

Downtown girls seem to have better sunglasses and darker manicures than the uptown breeds.  But their winter hats are model-ugly, in that “it’s so ugly, but it could never make her look ugly” way. 

I’m sitting on the corner of Crosby and Spring Streets, in a crowded Starbucks.  It’s 5:30pm, and I’m just now getting my latte… which means it’s going to be a very late night.  See, if I go home early… a.k.a. at a reasonable hour, he’ll get tired and want to go to sleep, which won’t do, ’cause I need.  Need.  Want.  Need.  And I’ll want him to stay up and play with me, but that’s selfish.  So with all that, it’s really better for everyone if I just stay out, then come home to pass out, so as not to disturb.  But then I run up against the whole, "why did you stay out so late?" thing.  Except, I doubt he’d ever say that.  That’s something I would say, so it’s really do onto others that should apply.  See what it’s like to live in this head? 

Last time I was in this particular Bucks,  I met Monique and Yasmin (I miss them terribly… both left Manhattan and now only visit or write about visiting) for shopping when they were in town.  Yasmin was carrying a white Tod’s hobo and wearing the second bracelet seen on this page (I don’t own enough bracelets).  It was summer, but there was a threat of rain.  I still want her bracelet and her bag and want to know if she keeps it in its own bag when it’s not in use.  I don’t do that, even though I should.  My friends who have beautiful things take very good care of them.  I’m too reckless, no matter how much I love anything, or anyone.

There are lots of petite raven-headed curly girls down here.  Size 2, Jewish girls with enormous breasts, literary types who carry their groceries in fabric bags.  They only shop for books at The Strand.  They burn incense and have a guitar in their rooms, even though they’ve never learned to play.  They cannot cook but think they can.  They’ve got names like Brenda or Debra, short A names.

When Yasmin and Monique got to Fourbucks, we left and hit the streets to shop.  No one wanted to try on anything.  Then the downpour landed us into Bloomingdale’s Soho, where while in the handbag department, I received a text message from a MID, reading: "I want to rub up against you right now."  This is why I no longer speak with any of my exes.   

A girl with flat leather knee boots walks a Weimaraner half her height.  The handle of the dog’s leash is the same bright red as her boots.  Red, it’s a color I’m really going to try to wear soon. I doubt she coordinated them, but she looks chic and probably lives in a loft with floor to ceiling windows.  She owns plants too and keeps them alive.  Her hair is short, which means she thinks she’s pretty.  Girls who go short have confidence, or very feminine features.  I’ll never go short. 

I’m working on writing Book 2 down here, watching the light sink down as the neon traffic lights glow as they do in photographs.  I love the cobblestone streets.  The MoMA design store.  The men who wear buttoned sweaters over their buttoned shirts, with wide brown belts, dark worn jeans, and non-athletic sneakers.  I love that look.  If I were a man, clothing shopping would be so much easier.  I wonder if men think this way when they see women, think of how easy it would be to decide what they would wear.  I doubt it. 

Tonight I’m going to Kelley and Peng, Bowery to check out event space then to slurp noodles.  I’m wearing my fat jeans, and there’s no room in there.  I’m also wearing a black cashmere turtleneck with brown satin shoes.  I love black and brown together.  Navy and black too.  I like breaking the rules, except when it comes to silver and gold; I hate mixing my metals.  I don’t care so much about the fat jeans.  That’s a lie.  Oh, and I take it back; uptown girls have better sunglasses. Now that I’m a midtown girl, I don’t know that I belong here at all.



  1. I'll do navy and black, I think it looks sharp, actually.. But never, ever, ever silver and gold. Love the black cashmere turtlenecks, too. I can't wait to take mine out next fall/winter. They just don't make decent maternity cashmere.

  2. Just wanted to comment on your Kelley and Ping reference.

    I was at the Bowery location a couple of weeks ago and it was less than stellar – crappy service, so-so food, just generally…eh. For the most part I think that Kelley and Ping has gone steadily down hill since they started opening up locations throughout the city – I enjoyed it when it was one small, cozy restaurant on Spring St. with a friendly white cat who occasionally wove her way between the legs of unsuspecting diners.

    I'm also curious about the spelling at the Bowery location. Is that the correct spelling or are you just working off what you saw printed on the facade of the restaurant? When they first opened I noticed that the awning said "Kelley and Peng" however I assumed that was a typo since the menu and everything else in the restaurant is (or was) branded "Kelley and Ping".

  3. i live downtown. i agree there is quite a lot of (dare i say), hipster, dark-nail and skinny breed in this neck of the woods. yes, they make me feel like a large size 11 juniors. thanks, i needed to type that.
    you're a good writer. i've been sitting on putting my own blog together, too busy trying to make a living, earning shit wages.

  4. I love Kelly and Peng. Loved in '95 when Soho was "what's down there?" scary and the meat packing district was just that…where meat was packed.

    You asked what men think about when they see a well dressed woman? For me…it's "check out ass," "evaluate," "recheck" and "confirm original assumption." Painfully simple.

  5. I am so glad someone else on this planet doesn't speak to their MIDs.

    One of mine, 15 years removed from the scene, found me on the internet. He immediately told me how good he thought I'd look in the picture on my web site without my clothes on. This is, mind you, an image of me and my young daughters.

    Exes are a sick, sick breed. But everyone else I know seems to befriend them. I'm with you, Stephanie, on this one.

  6. I'm a man. I don't know how to shop…at least shop in a way that would make me look good. I have to have the girl help me. If I were a girl, I would probably be the ugly one in the jeans that are always paint covered, a hooded sweat shirt, and glasses that are totally unflattering.

    Nice entry

  7. Girls who go short have confidence, or very feminine features. I’ll never go short.

    OK. How many times have i said the same thing. I cant even go shoulder length….even if I want to (sometimes I do) because…..well…what if something happens and I need to hide behind my hair? Shoulder length just wouldnt do.

    On the flip side….long hair is soooo much sexier than short hair. Oh shut up. You know its true.

  8. Loved your post today. I agree on the hair. I love my hair shorter/shoulder sleek bob. I get so many more compliments when it is cut and "fixed" but it is just to hard – with this humidity? fuggehdaboudit. My hair is almost as naturally curly as yours – although I go through the pains of straightening it most days…plus, it requires way too much confidence.

    Please don't ever stop writing! You've become like an old friend and I light up when I see an email in the inbox – only it's that I see a new post!

  9. people definitely vary by 'hood. i love it. midtown, now, though, interesting…i think that middlehood isn't defined as of yet. young though. i live downtown and i think i have a short a name. does "amanda" qualify?

  10. I often think women have a lot of advantages in all the different stuff they can wear. However, it seems really complicated and expensive, and that money could be better spent on food, video games and beer.

  11. "See what it's like to live in this head?"

    love it. was trying to say something similar to a guy friend last night. of course, not nearly so well.

  12. The MoMA design store and noodles…two favorites of mine when I venture east. And I love mixing black and navy and black and brown. Great post…thanks for reminding me.

    Ciao, Teri

  13. Posts like this make me miss NYC in that sick "I'll never love anything as much as I love that city" sorta way.
    And P.S. those of you who want that bracelet but can only afford it if the decimal was moved over 1 place – NY& Company has great ones. Good quality & great selections.
    And on that note…its back to work!
    Great Post!!

  14. Great images of the people you saw. I just love the way you bring them to life, show us their apartments, their personalities. I would definitely be a better dressed male than my husband…it seems so easy! And I just can't get the female dressing and the hair right. A ponytail is all I can do these days. It feels like too much work otherwise.

  15. I hate being defined geographically I live in the city next to Toronto… and if I’m ever downtown and tell people where I live, they automatically assume I’m some sort of hick. I hate that. I don’t like Toronto Hipsters, they are pretentious… but it’s just Toronto! I don’t get it! Blah!! I’m assuming that NYC would be ten times worse!


  16. I'm with Teri – this post made me miss living in NYC so much! I remember those days of walking around downtown, feeling very short and not quite glamorous enough, but still being thrilled to live in such an amazing people-watching, high energy, fabulous city.

  17. See, but the thing is- is commenting on clothing and hair truly "observing?" We get a lot in here about curls and leather- is this all you notice? What about facial expressions? Conversations? Do you truly just sit in starbucks and muse on what passers-by are wearing?
    You've written better people-watching posts, Stephanie. You've noticed books, faces, not just what fabric some girl decided to drape herself in today. C'mon- go a little deeper.

  18. Oh, Stephanie. You always capture those little things about New York that I miss terribly. I'm not sure yet whether I love you or hate you for it. I'm finally getting out of fucking Rome, however, which means I can enjoy Spring street all I want now.

    PS, you totally read my closet the day you posted this; I was all about the cocoa brown velvety trousers and black blouse. I broke taboo, though, and wore my guido gold necklace with my silver frame glasses. I'm one of those Jewish A-names, though, so what else can you expect?

  19. Sometimes, a girl wears her hair short, not so much because she thinks she's pretty, but more because she thinks I don't care what people think is sexy I wanna be comfortable, because she wants people to see her before they see her hair, because she wants to spend less time getting ready in the morning. But I guess you're right in that we are a pretty confident lot. Nice observations.

  20. You need to spend some time in a third world country, Stephanie. The shit that you spend time worrying & thinking about is so trivial, and shows how spoiled you are. I feel bad for your Suitor because you do not consider his welfare before yours. A man will not put up with that for very long.


  21. I loved this post! Admittedly, I am one of those females- not with short hair, but SUPER short hair. My hair is black and pin-straight and I got sick of enduring the perms, then blowing out the perms because there was "too much" curl, and all the time and chemistry it took just to look presentable.

    In a leap of faith I went from jet black just-below shoulder-length permed hair and a true "color virgin" to buzzed and spiky with bleached highlights, all in one shot. The other stylists in the salon were telling me I was brave to make such a drastic change. To this day I still have strangers come up to me and ask where I get it done, and most of them do admit they want to try it but are scared. I definitely love having "hair freedom" and I strongly recommend it.

    I also loved your quote: "See what it's like to live in this head?". I definitely know where you're coming from. So many times I find myself laughing out loud as I read your posts because you have such an ability to put those inane and funny thoughts we all have into words on a page, and it's a blast to read.
    Keep up the great writing!

  22. Hold on folks. I think we may be missing the main story here…why is Stephanie checking out event space? She's past bat mitzvah age, and I'm guessing Phil is too. What kind of event? Hmm? And if it's what I'm thinking, is it cool to throw rice at an Asian place or might they take offense? Don't risk it; go with rose petals.

  23. Brenda, Debra = short 'a' names? More like beautiful, iambic names, chosen for poetry. "Debra" though? I always thought it was "Deborah," with a (usually) silent second syllable.

    I'll get me coat…(and my fabric bag full of groceries). ;-)

  24. Speaking for myself, some girls with short hair have short hair because they have not been blessed with enough hair to carry off the whole long-hair look. If you notice, also most older women have short hair because they don't have as much hair as they used to when they were younger.
    In the end, it just may be out of necessity rather than looks or confidence.

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