Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Big Apple 3

Alot more shopping got done today, at Banana Republic and Bloomingdales in and around 5th and Madison avenues, Uptown. As someone who loathes shopping for clothes in England, I doubted I would spend time going in and out of shops in New York City. How wrong I was.

Shopping in New York is as stress-free as they come. As soon as you have more than a few garments in your arms, a shop assistant will whisk them away and hold open a fitting room just for you. You can then deposit there any other clothes you pick up and there is no limit on how many things you take in, making it easy to try on different styles and sizes. The assistants work on a commission so it's as much in their as your own interest to help you. The result is alot more sales for them and a comfortable experience for you.

It wasn't all shopping today, though. We visited the glass-fronted Museum of Modern Art in Midtown. MoMA has a strong, worldwide reputation despite, in my eyes, paling in comparison to London's Tate Modern (which houses its treasure in a building as stunning as its collection, which is in a sublime location on the River Thames and which receives twice as many visitors per year). Unlike the Tate, though, we were allowed to take photos so long as we didn't use flash, so I took photos of artists I have loved since I was a teenager: Marc Chagall (below), Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (above, third) and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (above, first and second); as well as of artists recently discovered: Bernd and Hilla Becher, and Gerhard Richter.

For lunch, we ate burritos with beef and chilli (M) and sweet potatoes with black beans and corn (me) and Oreo chocolate bars at Digby's. We had dinner at the cosy, teal-walled, basement restaurant Cafe el Portal on Elizabeth Street in NoLita, where we ate authentic Mexican comfort food: chicken tamales and chilaquiles (tortillas soaked in lemon and smothered with refried beans, chicken, salsa and chilli sauce) and drank extremely strong mojitos and margaretas. The last time I had tamales as good as these was 8 years ago on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. The perfect ending to the perfect day.

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