One mid-April weekend, two bi-coastal besties decided – on a whim – to fly out to the melting pot that is NYC and surprise mutual buddy, Melissa, for her 30th birthday. The whirlwind weekend, full of yummy dinners, day-long shopping excursions and lots of dancing until the wee hours, culminated with a major bash for said-30th-birthday-girl at Tribeca’s Bubble Lounge on Saturday night. Being reunited with a LOT of old, great friends was the icing on the cake. Half of our hometown invaded NYC for the weekend, and went on a 48-hour belly-laughing, cheers-ing, and dancing rampage.
Just having stepped off the plane from NY, and with Alicia Keys’ “New Yoh-ohhhhk” still jammin’ in our heads, it’s hard to summarize all the things we love so much about NYC. The place is like a jolt of espresso for the soul; the energy upon stepping into that city is like nothing else. Here is a wrap-up of what we loved about our Bang-Up Big Apple Weekend:
1) Getting to surprise one of our closest friends, Melissa, who had no clue we were coming. Well, neither did we. Karrie ambushed her in the apartment lobby; Stephanie tracked her down in the dairy aisle at Whole Foods. Both scenarios resulted in gasping, squealing, and hugging. In that order. This is how far we all go back:
2) Happening upon the cutest, most delicious mini-stuffed cupcakes we’d ever tasted, courtesy of Baked By Melissa, in flavors like peanut butter & jelly, red velvet, and tie-dye. This little gem was quietly tucked away on Spring Street in SoHo, near the corner of Broadway. Now also available online:
3) Holing up in cozy cafes during shopping breaks, like BOOM on Spring Street in SoHo. This one happens to be a personal fave of Steph’s… largely because a few years back when she was trying to escape a blizzard, she went inside, sat down, and they insisted upon bringing her a giant mug of mulled wine to warm her up. On the house. She’s loved it ever since. We had lobster bisque and the rustica salad this time. It was spot on:
Jacques in Nolita also did not disappoint. The beet salad, grilled chicken salad, and Dijonnaise moules were divine:
3) Getting ghetto hair extensions at some joint called “Wig & Weave” on 5th Avenue. And by we, I mean Karrie. She whipped her Rapunzel-esque locks from side-to-side all weekend long, which sent all of us into doubled-over hysterics. To Wig & Weave’s credit, they glanced at her hair color and matched it perfectly. All 24 inches of it.
4) Street Vendors, street vendors, STREET vendors! If I had a dime for every time I asked someone, “where did you find that AMAZING (thing)?” And they replied, “On the street in New York!” I’d be a kazillionaire. Scoring amazing pieces of jewelry like these on Broadway is yet another reason we love NYC. Steph got the 2 of ‘em for $30:
5) Chinatown. The sunglasses, the watches, jewelry, the perfume (!) It’s a steal. Literally. If you even breathe the words “Rolex” or “Louis Vuitton,” the shopkeepers wave their hands, shake their heads, and vehemently deny in fear. “Ohhhhh, no no no no NO! No Rolex. No Louis Vuitton. Sohh-ree.” But then, as you continue strolling down Canal Street, you can just barely hear, “you like-ah-da-Rolex? Louis Vuitton?” floating through the air as you pass. Our ears perked up, and we followed a shady little man through a Labyrinth of twists, turns, and seafood markets… waited it out while he and his counterparts took cover until cop cars passed… and were then presented with a giant pamplet of the available, prinstine knock-offs:
And folks, you better believe you can bargain. Shady-man-with-a-Louis-Vuitton-hidden-in-a-black-trash-bag tried to sell Karrie this Rolex for $150. She paid $50. BANG. The key is knowing what it’s worth to you, and not agreeing to spend a penny more.
6) The kindness and generosity of new – and old – friends. Melissa’s adorable boyfriend, Paul, hosted 6 of us in his tiny 1-bedroom apartment. Most of the weekend, it looked like a bomb went off in there. But Paul just cheerfully bee-bopped around, ordered take-out for the crew, and stepped aside while a mob of us took over his universe for a few short days. And the infectiously delightful birthday girl treated us to homemade lattes every morning.
7) The local flav-ah. We passed this girl on the street in the Nolita neighborhood. Her ensemble was so original and so creative, we couldn’t resist snapping her pic.
THEN, we passed this dude, who was totally engrossed in stylin’ his ‘do in a window on Canal Street. Gotta love it. He didn’t mind posing for us. Not one bit.
8) The everywhere-you-look inspiration. For instance, we night-capped at Madame Geneva on Friday night, which was like being teleported to Casablanca. I wish we had a better shot of the white lanterns over the bar. They were exquisitely intricate:
BOOM in SoHo (the Italian lunch venue) also had this gorgeous, Alice-in-Wonderland-esque skylight installation in the back. It makes me want to live in a cartoon, and hop over lilly pads in the sky. And no, I did not just smoke a doobie.
9) Late-night dance parties:
10) Celebrating our girl Melissa (affectionately known as “Mayleesch”). Because she is the the kind of friend who will always give more than she gets, and do so cheerfully and gracefully, but expect nothing in return… the kind whose effervescence, poise and generosity inspires you… the kind of person who makes everyone around her feel good, and the kind you will only ever look up to, because she’s just that awesome.
Cheers to the Big Apple… to impromptu trips for a good cause… and to Melissa’s 30th!