After Friday’s solo excursion into the city, it was nice to be a tourist with a friend. Clare and I decided to mark the occasion by Dressing Up. She wore my disco pants (surprisingly comfortable if ostentatiously shiny), I wore The World’s Most Dramatic Dress. We both wore red lipstick. The seven- minute walk to the bus stop in our ridiculous, glamorous outfits was somewhat offset by the fact that it was 8AM on a Saturday morning, and so most of New Brunswick wasn’t awake to witness. However, once we were in New York and aboard an East Village-bound L train, nobody batted an eyelid. Street fashion is one of my favourite things about New York, and I’ve found that below 14th Street are some of the most stylin’ on the planet.
We had eggs and coffee at Veselka, a Ukrainian diner, before heading to Chelsea for a film screening, as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. I’d booked tickets some time ago, and so we were able to breeze past the rush line (though after last time’s rush debacle, said rush line had my utmost sympathy). We saw Francophrenia (Or Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is), an “experimental art-house film”, about Hollywood actor James Franco and his stint on daytime soap opera, General Hospital. The film was entirely self-indulgent, but kind of fun, and there was a Q&A session with the film’s director Ian Olds, and co-writer Paul Felton after the screening. It was exactly what you’d expect from a dude who’s “been to film school”, but the film itself was appropriately self-deprecating, and not as wanky some of its reviews had suggested.
After the film screening, we walked over to Chelsea’s neighbouring district, the Flatiron, for hot chocolate at Sex and the City hotspot, The City Bakery. The hot chocolate was decadent and the view perfect for people watching. Refuelled, Clare and I took the subway to Brooklyn. We visited the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens for the Sakura Matsuri festival, a celebration of cherry blossoms and Japanese culture. We wandered the park, impressed and amused by the Anime-themed costumes, Samurai sword-dancing, origami workshop and real-life “Godfather of Sudoku”, Maki Kaji.
The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens are beautiful, and definitely worth a visit; Technicolor blossoms, naturally-formed woven huts and a stunning field of vibrant amethyst Turkish hazel were only made more magical by a wedding that we accidently stumbled across. Apparently we weren’t supposed to take photographs among the hazel though, and Clare got some hilariously dramatic candid shots of me running through the field, my Dramatic Dress billowing dramatically behind me.
The festival ended around 6PM, and so we headed onward to Wild Ginger, a trendy vegan restaurant in DeKalb, for dinner. One pot of Gypsy Love tea, a lot of Asian food and several layers of clothing later, we found ourselves at the DeKalb Twilight Market, a fairy-light strewn outdoor flea market. We had cupcakes from the Robicelli’s stall, Clare considered purchasing a miniature terrarium, we made use of the free instant-photo booth, and discussed our shared love for red lipstick with the delightful ladies of vintage clothing stall, LoveJunkie.
Clare and I returned to New Brunswick exhausted, but elated.
If you had told me that I’d be having experiences like these six months ago, when I was living in grey, rainy Manchester, surrounded by a sea of paperwork and sitting in my bedroom, bored out of my brains, I wouldn’t have believed you.
I definitely wouldn’t have believed you if you told me that on the Sunday of “Big NYC Weekend”, things would get even better.