A Clandestine Affair in NYC

Friday we woke up mostly refreshed and fairly prepared for the day.  We headed out and used our second and final groupon, which was a discount at a small cafe called 63 Bites.   It was right near Central Park, and in a refurbished portion of a YMCA building – very cool looking, and plenty of space to eat. 

YMCA Building with 63 Bites inside

We walked up to take pictures of the Metropolitan Opera house for M’s opera-singing sister, and spent the rest of the morning at the American Museum of Natural History. 

We then spent a few hours wandering through the fashion district and the Times Square area.  D is a fantastic seamstress, and spent a fair bit of time drooling over fabrics and trying to figure out what she’d do with each one.  I looked at the ones that could be used for reupholstery, since I am planning to reupholster some chairs in the near future. 

 We ate dinner at Pazza Notte  , very tasty, and VERY crowded.  I think crowded is a good general description of everything in Manhattan, though.  I had managed to convince myself and the others that our showing of Phantom of the Opera was at 8:30, right up until we got back to the hotel before dinner.  Luckily, paranoia set in, and I checked the tickets – 8pm start.  Dinner and getting dressed for the evening were a wee bit rushed, but we made it to the show in good time.  I haven’t been to many shows, but this was AMAZING.  I can now understand why the others were so gung-ho about buying tickets for a show they had both already seen before – The Phantom of the Opera is worth seeing more than once in your life!  However, I was hugely disappointed upon realising that the charms it looked like they were selling were actually a not-so-nice bracelet, and not something I was interested in.  So there went that opportunity for a touristy-keepsake.  Oh Well.


We went to the very open-late Toys R Us right near our theatre, and saw lots of lego landmarks and generally awesome toys.

Saturday, we were at some random little diner near our hotel, and who should walk in off the street but… some hockey guy.  Yeah, I know, I’m clearly not really a Canadian, with my lack of hockey obsession – but clearly my travelling buddies aren’t either.  We made the brilliant deduction that he was someone in hockey by the fact that he was carrying a New York Rangers hockey bag, as well as 6 really expensive hockey sticks, while also wearing a suit.  Clearly he was famous, because about half the men in the diner leapt to their feet, emitting Bieber-feverish-pre-teen girl squeals of of excitement and delight, and stampeding over to get their pictures taken with him.  I heard such gems as “Hey man, you’re like, really good at hockey, like, um.  Can I get your autograph?” and “I am totally planning on trying to maybe watch the game tonight, man.  Good luck!”

The Empire State Building's Shadow, from above

We went from there to the Empire State Building.  Where  we waited in many different lines on many different levels of the building.  Another common theme in New York is lineups… we stood in many of them.  I can think of a whole lot of things I ‘d much rather do.

We headed down to Canal street to do some shopping, hitting up china-town for lunch.  While on Canal Street, I had the opportunity to casually read through a random novel with pictures of faux-designer purses in it.  In an oh-so-sneaky way, I made my purchase decision, carried on a muttered conversation with the mysterious figure who had first handed me the book, and came to a price decision.  It was then that they led me and my travelling companions down a dark alley, and we met with an enormous man in a trench coat and fedora smoking a thick cigar.  The fedora was

I much prefer the Christler Building to the Empire State Building, it's so pretty

pulled low over his eyes, shadowing his face, and the thick smoke of his cigar shrouded him in mystery and nicotine.  He casually opened his coat, holding the panels wide so that I could see the many faux purses he had hanging about his person.  This would explain why he looked like a small canvas hill.  His cohort walked up and whispered my choice of purse in his ear, and he whispered its location on his person to her in return.  There was a flurry of smoke-hidden activity ( I swear, I think there was a monkey clambering all over him like it was scaling a tree), and when the dust and smoke settled, he was once-more fully buttoned up, and had my choice of purse on his arm.  It nearly glowed with its designer-ness, and I felt the heat of the prestige it radiated on my face even from a distance.  Beside me, D frantically tried to cool her eyebrows; the prestige radiation was so great that it was singeing them.  Nearly drooling, I walked over, money in the palm of my hand. 

ostriches... awesome! And crazy-expensive purses... the kind you might find immitations of in shady back-alleys full of cigar smoke 😉

 We casually shook hands, transferring the purse and the money.  He grinned a toothy predatory grin, touched the brim of his hat in a small salute, and a scrawny hairy monkey arm poked out of the collar of his coat, dropping something.  Before I could prepare myself for it, smoke boiled up from all around the man in the fedora, leaving me gasping and stunned.  When the smoke cleared, the alleyway was empty except for D, M and I.  None of us had our purses or our shoes, and the clear light of day now filtering down between the buildings revealed that the beautiful prestigious purse I had been handed had been switched out for a canvas sack with the brand mockingly written in sharpie.  The inside of the ‘purse’ was clearly where the monkey had been going when nature called.  We trudged out of the alleyway in defeat, the rosy glow of warmth from the real fake bag a distant memory as our bare feet hit the cold cold pavement.

Well… in the real version of that, I did get to handshake-pay someone, and I did read a novel full of purse pictures.  But we did NOT go into a dark alley with anyone, because that would be irresponsible and stupid and dangerous.  Our clandestine purse-shopping expedition happened in a Starbucks, and, while I’m quite sure it’s not a real designer bag, it looks decent enough.  The story would have been better with a monkey, though.

monkeys in the natural history museum. Too bad we couldn't have gone at night, when they all wake up 🙂

… I’ll leave the rest for another post, to keep things moving along.



  1. I totallyt missed yesterdays post and didn’t know you were in New York! Ha, ha. Sounds like you are having some wonderful adventures. I have never been…hear its a great place to walk though 🙂

    • the New York trip was two weekends ago… I’m just plain not on the ball with posting about it. It was a great trip, and a fun city to walk through – though some kind of transportation is definitely necessary… if we hadn’t taken the subway for the long treks, my feet would have died before the end of the trip!

  2. TheIdiotSpeaketh

     /  April 20, 2011

    Never a dull moment for you in the Big Apple eh? I would love to visit there someday….. Great pics!

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