Saturday 16th December 2017
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The prisoner of Madison Avenue

Aside from the fact that I’m sleeping on an air mattress, my life is just like Gossip Girl right now

It would appear as though power is in no particular rush to make its way back to lower Manhattan, and so I find myself—highest of high class problems—closing in on Day Three of my exile on the Upper East Side. It sure is a whole different world around here, guys. A world where, if you can’t exactly say life imitates Gossip Girl, you can’t exactly say it doesn’t either: Fiftysomething former Blair Waldorfs wearing headbands, quilted hunting coats, and tight little smiles share sidewalk space with impossibly tall and tawny Serena van der Woodsens of all ages, who may or may not be jogging, walking golden retrievers, or in the company of gold-Rolexed, well-preserved, somewhat older gentlemen wearing open-collared shirts with navy blazers. The type of men it wouldn’t surprise one to learn owned a large boat docked in Crete.
And then there are the stores. So, so many stores. I popped in to Diptique to pick up a travel version of my favorite Lavender candle—if I can’t be at home, then at least I can remind myself of it, right?—and at the cash register, went out of my head over their Holiday Collection. The candles come in three scents—Amber, Fir, and Frankincense—all of which are divine (especially the Frankincense, which is the purple one you see here). Memo to everybody in my life who complains that I’m impossible to buy gifts for: this, please.
And just a few doors down: I think it’s safe to say that Christian Louboutin has jumped the shark, no?
Stubbs and Wooton—of the bespoke velvet slippers only Fran Lebowitz can really get away with, and that’s because she can get away with whatever she wants—have always felt super-sissypants and highly objectionable to me. I am amazed afresh every time I see a grown man wearing them—that whole cheeky preppy thing; it’s just deathly. But I can not lie: when I saw this needlepoint camo duffel in their window today, I didn’t not think it was fantastic.
My decision to flee downtown before the storm was made at the last conceivable moment, and left me with about ten minutes to pack. So I just threw whatever I thought I might need at the suitcase and hoped for the best. And considering the circumstances, I did pretty well. Except that I completely neglected to pack anything having to do with the care and maintenance of my hair. I’ve got a very specific regimen—with a flotilla of me-specific products at home, and was in no mood to spend a fortune trying to replicate it. So I just popped over to Zitomer —an overgrown drugstore/dry goods emporium that you must visit if you’re ever in the neighborhood, even though the staff isn’t exactly the friendliest, because they’ve got everything: exotic candles, homeopathic remedies, a house cosmetics line, nipple petals, a whole floor of toys and children’s clothing. And I bought myself some good, old fashioned Psssst. There are a lot of fancier options in the hair shampoo/hair powder category these days, but more than one big deal hairdresser of my acquaintance swears by this stuff, because it gives you body for days.
Finally: I am feeling deeply, deeply fortunate to have made out so comparatively well in the aftermath of Sandy. Every single friend I’ve got who doesn’t live in Brooklyn is without power, and one of my Brooklyn friends lost his car when it drowned. Others of course, have had it far, far worse than that. Here is a particularly helpful list of places to donate your money or time to help those who’ve been affected by the storm. I’m hoping to do some Citymeals on Wheels deliveries this weekend—something I’ve wanted to do forever anyway, but never got it together for until exactly now.
Posted on October 31st, 2012 17 Comments

17 Responses

  1. susanjane says:

    I prefer Batiste dry shampoo to Pssst. I have used both and Batiste is vastly superior to any other product on the market both for body and making your hair look clean. It also comes in different subtle colors designed to match haircolor.

  2. c.w. says:

    Glad to hear you are safe and sound (and the pooch too?). Both my kids have power (son staying with dad on upper west side where he is miserable because it’s the upper west side, daughter at her apt. in brooklyn), but no internet. Small misery given the givens. Red Cross can use donations.

  3. Jules says:

    Your “Prisoner of Madison Avenue” made me laugh. I go there for doctors appointments only. May the power come back on before you start sporting headbands or buttery blonde highlights.

  4. Rosemary says:

    I loves me some JCrew now and then but enough retailers. Can you shame JCrew re their “Our Hearts go out to everyone…we are here to help in any way…” email. Really, JCrew? can you get the flooding out of the Subway stations? Drain Hoboken before it becomes KatrinaII? Bring Gasoline to NJ? Operate some hot food tents and portable showers all over 34th Street and South? You said in any way………Moe Rons……

  5. KimFrance says:

    I understand your annoyance with that, but there is a possibility that they’ve made a corporate donation of some kind–most socially-conscious companies do, and I do think the Crew is one of those companies. I’ve always been impressed by the fact that they give teachers generous discounts at their stores.

  6. Viajera says:

    I know it’s not of the level of seriousness of, say, storm damages and tragedies.

    But I propose a ban on the word “bespoke.” Enough already. No grown person, especially a man, has any business using it. No, no, no. Nails on chalkboard to me, for some reason. (And I have nothing against a good cobbler, either.)

  7. Viajera says:

    Whereas, yummy smelling candles are always good. I don’t care who says they are cliche, I still love them. And I applaud the use of hair products in an emergency. That’s carrying on in the finest British tradition.

  8. jhops says:

    Wow, those Louboutins are awful. I bet they cost as much as a mortgage payment, too.

  9. Jessica says:

    Saying that Zitomer’s “staff isn’t exactly the friendliest” is a very gracious and diplomatic way to put it! Still, they *do* have an impressive selection…

    And the staff at Diptyque on Madison Avenue couldn’t be nicer, which is just one more reason I enjoy shopping there (in addition to the candles, fragrances, body products…).

  10. batampte says:

    The Louboutins are frightening and the Stubbs and Wooton bag is hysterical—in a good way! Think the J. Crew email was just a way for them to say customers might experience shipping delays. Got a similar one from Vente Privee and neither bothered me.

  11. Kim | says:

    Another vote for Batiste! Don’t get the exotically scented ones, though. 2 packs via the web. Holla, Amazon Prime!

  12. diane says:

    i love the stubbbs and wotten velvet slippers for WOMEN, they have been doing them for eons longer than the slipper trend we are in the middle of, and the are a nice alternative to the uber ubiquitous ballet flat, plus you can get them monogramed instead of brand logo. Again these are a girl thing only, and they are way less pricey than the designer versions topping out at about $600 and over at the dept stores. just wear them ironically, Diane

  13. Margie says:

    Thank you Kim for making me laugh with this post. Am just returning to work after home damage and no power in northern NJ. My hairdresser also swears by psssst but I could never find it. Also about the J Crew email and others like it…after living through this storm and seeing so much damage, it was actually nice to see companies expressing concern. Goodwill marketing touches everyone differently I suppose. Hope everyone’s power is restored soon.

  14. elizabeth says:

    The Eileen Fisher email was depressing – stores & offices without power and flooded, staff without power and damages unknown to warehouse in NJ – the tone was “we don’t know what’s going happen so if you order or see your local store understocked then please be patient with us”

  15. muranogirl says:

    You got me with, “tight little smiles”!

  16. vssc says:

    We were having the same “staycation”–I was a prisoner of Madison Avenue during the power outage as well. Had to leave our apartment downtown and stay with my mother in law, right on Madison Avenue, which truly was another world. I, too, noticed the abundance of Barbour jackets, French Sole ballet slippers, and tasteful tan-colored statement bags. Even the children dressed differently–preteen girls with Goyard bsgs! young boys in Gucci loafers! And when the power came back on, we couldn’t escape fast enough. But at least we had a place to go to, unlike many others…with lights, heat, hot food, and a warm shower, so I am very thankful for that. When we got home, I did some major closet purging for our school donation drive–and those preppy cashmere sweaters I’ve been keeping for years, but never wearing, are now, hopefully, keeping someone warm!