an attempt at exhausting a place in soho

I was recently gifted a lovely quick read called An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris by Georges Perec. It’s a short book that chronicles the weekend events of Perec from the same café window in Paris. Perec notes all the mundane details that we visually erase and often fail to register due to their abundance — buses passing, pigeons, the common passerby. In the collection of passages you begin to gather a rhythm of life and everyday actions.

I wanted to try Perec’s study for myself, and took to a café window this evening in SoHo. It was the perfect perch on the corner of Spring and Crosby streets, with counters lining the windows that allow for an ideal lookout. All the beautiful people in the street are irresistible to me, and from this corner I can see the most exquisite fashions, women, men, dogs, people on bikes, shoes, sunglasses, hats, skirts of chiffon and jackets of fine leather, hair of every cut and color, jewelry swinging like pendulums around gorgeous necks. Women carry bright shopping bags and the sleekest handbags of every color, stilted on heels and walking with unimaginable ease over the old brick roads of Crosby Street. Men make their outfits look effortless, rolled slacks and city boots in smooth, worn leathers and tailored jackets, roused hair or slick with a gentleman’s refinement. Kitty-corner is a brick building rising six stories, with a rooftop patio lined by a fence of thin, manicured shrubs. The energy is brilliant.

The outcome of this experiment was quite unexpected, but very true to New York.

An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in SoHo

6:32 p.m., Spring and Crosby Streets

Shoes and tights
bright blue sneakers
Shopping bag
Shopping bag
Two men walking…in the wrong direction
Shopping bag
A woman in a sculpted coat
A heavy man in holey pants and a baseball cap
Yoga pants, yoga pants
A cheetah print coat
A woman with Auburn hair texting on the curb
A backpack
A cigarette
A women in heels flying past on a mustard-colored bicycle
Taxi cab
A man riding faster on an electric blue bicycle
A gentleman
A runner in neon shoes
A man in a neon orange jacket
More texting
More shopping bags
Another taxi cab
A woman in high-heeled boots carrying a large square box
A popped collar
Taxi cab
Taxi cab
Perfectly groomed man with slicked-back hair
A beautiful afro
Patterned tights and a pom-pom hat
A drunk man lurks behind me
A plump man tripping over his feet
Floodwater pants
A metal handbag
A trio of black leather jackets
A sharp nose
The drunk man apologizes, says he needs help
Tory Burch
Royal purple
An employee asks the drunk man to leave
A woman carrying a box of cupcakes
Two cabs stalled at an intersection
Shopping bags
Shopping bags
A yoga mat
Black tights and high heels
The manager calls the police
An old man walking with his hands behind his back
Two men out for a smoke
A popped collar
A peacoat
Louis Vuitton and bedazzled Ugg boots
Shopping bag
A woman halting to dump a bag of potato chips into her mouth
A pom-pom hat
Two thick fur jackets walking together
The drunk man dozes off in the chair next to me (police on their way)
A neon Yankees cap
Metallic thread
The woman who dumped potato chips in her mouth has come inside and is now sitting behind me
A furry cheetah jacket
Police are here
Manager saying, “Just do what you gotta do,”
Police asking the drunk man if he’d like to go to the hospital
Police name the man “Charlie,”
An iridescent trenchcoat
An NYPD car parked across the street
Patchwork jeans with zippers everywhere
A leather jacket studded with silver spikes
Combat boots
A woman in pink pants standing outside the window in front of me, kissing a lover
An angry customer yells at the barista
A man steps out of a cab
The policeman goes outside to check his phone
A nonfat chai for Mary
A vanilla steamer for Ali
An orange head scarf
An ambulance pulls up
The policemen carry the drunken man away
The ambulance is loaded
It’s 7:03 p.m.

An Invisible Thread

I admittedly, and embarrassingly, don’t read very much. In the past five years during college, I probably put away no more than five books. Sad. For some reason reading has never been a priority, and usually my gnat-sized attention span doesn’t allow for it. But one thing about being here, as I mentioned in a previous post about An Object of Beauty, is there is plenty of opportunity to pick up a good book and feel really good about it. I have totally become excited about books again.

Having mastered the art of reading a thick book while holding onto a subway pole, I’ve decided that reading a paperback book is just too, well, predictable. Today I ventured into the world of e-books! I utilized my Nook app, scoured the e-store of Barnes & Noble, and picked out a delightful work of non-fiction that I’ve quickly become engulfed in.

I’ve been gravitating toward books that take place in New York City. My first read, An Object of Beauty, took place in the city and my new book is no different. An Invisible Thread is an incredible story of a successful businesswoman in Manhattan, and her chance run-in with an 11-year old boy begging for food on the streets. The book prefaces with a beautiful Chinese proverb:

An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.

That got me thinking right from the start, of all the people that have had invisible threads in my life, and maybe those whose lives I have entered as well.

I’m only one-quarter through the book, so I can’t say much more at this point (I should learn to save my book reviews until I’ve finished books, but I just get too excited)! I can tell you now, however, that I would recommend it!

(Not to mention, reading on the iPad is glorious. I am skeptical about taking it on the subway — I can already picture myself dropping it — but it sure makes books seem archaic.)


An Object of Beauty

I’m currently reading Steve Martin’s book An Object of Beauty. I like to dig it out during my morning/evening subway rides from Brooklyn to Manhattan, biting off a few short chapters at a time.

When I went to the book store to look for a book, I couldn’t make up my mind. I am so out of the loop as to what’s good and what’s mediocre that I often rely on the New York Times Bestseller seal of approval to guide my way.
I read the synopsis on the back cover of An Object of Beauty, and immediately knew it was the book I needed. The story is about a young woman named Lacey who, like me, is living in New York City. The story is set in the early- to mid-90’s and chases Lacey around the city, where she works for Sotheby’s. Initially starting out working with the forgotten artwork in the basement, witty Lacey works her way up the ladder in the art dealing world and gains the respect of gallery giants. The story starts to build when she makes her first $7,000 off a cunning art sale, moves to an expensive flat and begins purchasing expensive works. I’m about one third through the book and eager to know how her life continues to unfold.
Anyway, Lacey is so intriguing to me because at the beginning of the story, she’s barely getting by and garners little recognition. But once she realizes that everything is in front of her, and she merely has to say the right things to the right people; that she is capable of doing what no one expected of her; and how to apply herself amidst opportunity; she soars.
Lacey gives me a lot of hope, because right now I feel that I am sifting through forgotten works in the Sotheby’s basement, hoping to strike a land mine of wealth. There is so much opportunity here, it’s just a matter of time before I can hopefully climb to the first floor and see the light…
I am happy to start somewhere, and I’m happy it’s here.

View of Manhattan from Manhattan Bridge during a taxi ride home. I love evening cab rides where you can sit and enjoy all the pretty lights.


a half-ass book review/gushing: jay-z’s ‘decoded’

I’M GOING TO PUT THIS TO YOU PLAIN and SIMPLE: I’m fairly sure (94%) that there’s not a single person on the planet that has a legitimate reason to dislike Jay-Z (people who are jealous of him don’t count). I love Jay, and how can you not? He’s talented, wisdomatic, and married to one of the sexiest women on the planet (Beyoncé, holla gurl). Sure, there’s a curse word or two or twenty in what he writes (we all have them somewhere in our heads), but it’s genuine. Sometimes I’ll youtube ‘Empire State of Mind’ when I’m in my studio and just…blast it. Because Jay is a feel-good kind of guy.
I was ambling about Target today (looking for tennis balls, no less) and somehow meandered into the book section (?) where I saw this: DECODED. On sale. Did I buy it? No. Did I look through it? Yes. Do I want it? Chyeah. A lot. There’s great visuals, quotes, and plenty of deep explanations to his lyrical genius. It’s a thick book with more pictures than words and a lotta soul to go with it. I would slap that thing on my coffee table (if you can call it a coffee table, more like a shoe caddy) and look for reasons to read it.
Jay’s had me since his classic ‘Big Pimpin” hit my ears in 7th grade, or ‘Heartbreaker‘ he sang with Mariah Carey (whichever came first)(warning: there is a lot of Mariah booty, etc. in this song).
You can watch Jay-Z talking about his life and his book…for 112 minutes, in an interview with Cornel West. Glorious. Watch as much as you can, there is so much passion here!

“Jay Z, I was not ready to be somewhat…bowled over…by your book.”
Cornel West

and one of my favorite Jay youtube clips (from a few years ago):


Early Risings

TODAY IS OFF TO A GREAT START—I spent the morning at my clients’ apartment helping them get ready for work. As much as I admit to not being a morning person, I very much enjoy being a part of their routine. They add the jet pack I need to boost my day!
I grabbed coffee after my shift, and it was only 9am. Nine! And to think of everything I’d already accomplished. Normally before nine I sleep and sometimes get myself ready for the day. When I got home I felt motivated to do the things I helped with earlier in the morning: Make my bed, put my clothes away, eat a healthy breakfast, and be thankful for my wellness.
Now at the library, I’m giddy about the discovery of a landmine of design books on the “New Books” shelf. I checked out three and I’m looking forward to devouring them when I get off work tonight…
The books I checked out…

& a lovely day to all —