Although some retailers start playing Christmas music in early November, for us the holidays don't start until right now. At our house, we celebrate Thanksgiving, then my birthday, then TD's birthday, then the holidays, which started with a bang on Friday.
Act I An Uptown Luncheon
My mother was in town and stayed over night. She invited me to lunch at Bergdorf Goodman, to BG, the restaurant on the seventh floor. I've worked at Bergdorf Goodman twice in my career, and have written for Bergdorf Goodman magazine. For anyone who loves fashion and luxury and beautiful things, a trip to Bergdorf Goodman is like going to church; it's ground zero for high style. In this wretched economy, I am happy to report that the store was packed with people. I hope the registers were ringing. We wandered around a little before lunch. The store is subtlety decorated in tones of silver, grey, crystal, which I like -- no red and green. In the jewelry department, tableaux feature grey doves and white swans snuggled in silver nests.
In the elegant restaurant we commandeered a table next to the windows which look out over the Plaza Hotel, Central Park and Fifth Avenue. It's one of the best views in New York, unchanged for one hundred years.
Do you see Central Park West in the distance? My mother said, "That looks like a medieval city on a hill." She's right. The Park and the Avenues around it are the jewels of New York.
Once when I worked at Bergdorf Goodman I got into the elevator with a janitor and he brought me up to the eighth floor into the apartment where the Goodman family had lived. That was one of the most amazing experience. I wandered alone through the huge apartment at the corner of 58th Street and Fifth Avenue, through the master bedroom, the maids' rooms, etc. That floor is now the John Barrett hair salon. This is a view from our table up Fifth Avenue, the same view the Goodmans would have had. Really, it doesn't get any better.
After lunch, we had a look at the Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows, which are all silver and white, and based on the four seasons. Here is Summer.
Beneath the figure and the waterfall is an underwater scene.
Can you see the jewels lying on the bottom of the sea? Really good.
Here is Spring.
This is a gown of feathers by Reem Acra, dripping with crystals.
Madness here -- birdcages, skeletons, antique boxes, love it.
At Bergdorf's I bought a Christmas tree ornament. When TD and I moved into this apartment, we were thinking "Swedish beach house" and this silvery seashell suits very nicely.
Act 2 Picking Up a Christmas Tree
No visuals here, but stay with me. After my mother and I got home from Bergdorf's, TD and I went and got a Christmas tree. In 1987, when we lived on the top floor at 35 Jane Street, at the corner of Jane and Eighth Avenue, we looked down one night and saw a red pick-up truck packed with Christmas trees. What the heck was this? It was Billy Romp and his family, from Vermont, just arriving. We love Billy Romp and have been buying Christmas trees from him for twenty years. Ten years ago he published a book, Christmas on Jane Street, maybe you've heard of it? When we went over yesterday, he came out of his truck trailed by a girl with a microphone and announced he was being interviewed for the radio about the tenth year anniversary edition, available now. Then the girl interviewed me. I said, "It wouldn't be Christmas without Billy Romp."
We picked out a beautiful tree. Last year, I learned that trees are too heavy to carry home to 15th Street. Billy Romp said his son Timmy would put it in a cart and follow us home. Timmy: tiny, big black cowboy hat, silver sheriff's badge on his jacket, cowboy boots. Billy said, "Timmy's thirteen but he looks nine." Off we with this child behind us pulling the tree in the cart. "What grade are you in?" asked TD. "Home schooled," said Timmy. "Who teaches you?" I said. "Everyone," said Timmy, "Today you are my teachers."
We threw the tree up into a tree stand. Tree decorating would have to wait because we were on the way to
Act 3 The Grand Finale
Through a dear friend of ours, the three of us had house seats to see Patti LuPone in Gypsy. Do see Patti LuPone in Gypsy.
We had dinner first at Angus McIndoe, which is right next door to the Saint James Theater where Gypsy is playing. We sat in the front bar room which is cheerily decorated for the holidays with twinkling white lights. I like how New York sparkles during the holidays with twinkling white lights. There, we ran into our friends Tim Allis and Jeffrey McCollough, who are briefly in town from Louisiana, which was a treat.
A hop next door to the theater. Our seats were in the tenth row on the aisle -- house seats really are the greatest luxury. "Curtain up, light the lights."
Gypsy: one of the great American musicals. I've seen Gypsy on Broadway with Tyne Daly, and the movie version with Bette Midler, but this production with Patti LuPone, who won a Tony in June, is stellar. It's simply a role made for her. She possesses it fully, and it's a great pleasure to see a consummate performer in her natural habitat. At the end, in her song "Rose's Turn," she fully lets it rip. She chews up the stage, she spins, she twirls, she lets loose. It is an artist at the peak of her power. I sat on the edge of my seat which happens very rarely, when an artist totally mesmerizes me and I move forward in my seat and straighten up my spine so as not to miss anything. It was truly a dazzling performance.
When we got home we had a little birthday party for me mum who is celebrating her birthday this week. I gave her a scarf I bought in Paris. What a day in New York. Sparkling, exhilarating, uplifting. Hey, it's the holidays!