NYC's Met Life building lit up at night.
It hits me the minute I step off the plane and onto the walkway to the terminal at Laguardia airport. That smell of New York, unlike any other I know. Pure city. Weathered and old. Heavy. Concrete and cement mixed with the odor of exhaust fumes. But always filled with anticipation. Uber whisks me off to Manhattan for a packed weekend playing like a tourist ...though years of NYC commutes hardly can count.

Packing light, I'm hauling only my bright pink and white beach-ready tote and white Kors leather handbag, having stowed the wheelie luggage in cargo. Saturday night with precious 24 yr.-old son awaits, and an overnight at his Chelsea apartment, overlooking the US Post Office, Madison Square Garden and the Hudson River, with Lady Liberty in the background. Not bad for a first apartment!

Sushi fix needed! SL's favorite food and called for last meal! All the NY foodie reviews give 4 stars to Asuzu nearby, so off we trek. Yummalicious rolls, lighter-than-air tempura-fried veggies, and fresh- off-the-boat sashimi satisfy our craving. Heading for drinks, we pop into a jazz lounge open off the street, then it's over to a trendy rooftop bar--The Press Lounge in Hell's Kitchen, where we manage to talk our way to the head of the line and up to the roof. (That's another story!)

Feeling older than dirt, fatter than a Nebraska cow, and shorter than a midget among double-high platforms and sausage-tight mini-dresses, I head on my son's arm for the farthest spot to roost and nurse martinis and margaritas. The view? Spectacular. Weather? Cool summer breezes straight from Heaven.

Sunday we're up and headed for check-in at the venerable Waldorf Astoria, greeting me once again with its smiling gold-gilt clock that still chimes. Brunch with family friends at Lexington Brass starts our afternoon for exploring Soho shops among the throngs attending the annual Gay Rights Parade. Just gotta make a stop at Top Shop where Asian tourists dressed impeccably in designer duds ruffle through racks and racks of trendy tiny-size fashions. Best pick, the clear, or cellophane-colored plexiglass handbags studded with jewels knocked off the recent runway collections. Grabbed a luscious cotton pale aqua tee to float over skinny jeans.

Happy Hour calls us to the rooftop of the Gansevoort where babes in bikinis frolick at the pool, and a crowd gathers around the bar late afternoon. Hot tip, get an invitation to the Sunday Pool Party, a summer ritual for the in-crowd. We didn't rate, but I managed a peek behind a very large, very scary suit-clad security detail with that curly white wire hanging from his right ear.

Since our first press party at Chin Chin, we've made this our annual Chinese food hot spot. We even recognize the waiters from our last media gig (don't ask how long ago)! And the Grand Marnier Shrimp (not on the menu, you have to ask) never fails to thrill SL's taste buds. Stuffed to the gills, and exhausted, we head back to Old Lady Waldorf to rest up for Monday at the Met.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Feeling like a true New Yorker, SL and pal hit Starbucks for a muffin and SL's fave--a grande skinny vanilla latt; then we cab it to The Metropolitan Museum of Art where we inhale the rarefied world of fashion genius Charles James.
We lunch on salads at The Met, shop for books, then cab it back to the Waldorf's Peacock Alley for a breather over chardonnay before dressing for dinner and the theatre. With 5:30 reservations, we bravely find a rush-hour cab to take us to Times Square, where crowds of crazy people push their way through construction, traffic, and the chaos that is this time-worn tourist destination. Sweet son subways over from Wall Street where he manages to get caught up in the filming of a Paramount movie, right next to our dining destination. What luck! What chaos! What were we thinking?
Tomato salad at Aureole where
presentation is everything! 

Delicious, quietly elegant, and tres' expensive, Aureole calms our nerves, but shatters the budget with its $380 tab. With 30 minutes to spare for getting our Kinky Boots tickets at Will Call, we stroll a few blocks to the Al Hirschfeld theatre, and into our seats where we settle in for two hours of outrageous fun  around SL's favorite topic...none other than SHOES! These shoes are sky high boots for the trans-gender crowd wearing size 12s, 13s, or bigger. A heartwarming story that scored loads of Tony Awards.

All too soon it's time to head home, after a brief stop over in Sag Harbor for a glimpse of ocean and taste of the Hamptons. My old friend Laguardia greets me again, stirring old memories of hurrying home to deadlines, crying kiddos, and cranky clients. Ahh, what a joy to enjoy New York like a true tourist! Strains of Sinatra's "New York, New York" still spinning in my head! She'll be back, but she'll be avoiding Times Square for a 5:30 dinner reservation!

Spex-tacularly yours,


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