Unique Boutique: Authentiques in Chelsea

Unique Boutique: Authentiques in Chelsea

Two years ago I started collecting vintage glasses of different shapes, sizes and colors to decorate a cabinet in the living room- an idea that I shamelessly stole from an artist friend who has a beautiful house. I’ve bought these glasses in various flea markets and vintage shops, but my go-to place is Authentiques on 18th Street in Chelsea. It’s one of the few boutiques in the area that have stood the test of time. Owners Paul Richards and Robert Pusilo set up shop in 1976, and walking inside feels…

Fun Cooking Class for All Levels

Fun Cooking Class for All Levels

I recently had to organize a party for a friend, and wanted to make it food themed, so I began searching for places that offer private cooking classes for groups. My criteria: not too expensive and not too technical. I chose Cook & Go, right next to Chelsea market. It’s a bright big space with friendly, accommodating instructors. Everyone had a great time.  We sliced, diced, and kneaded for about an hour, drinking wine along the way, and then ate our tasty creations together: handmade pappardelle (thick ribbons) with Bolognese…

Suds in the City

Suds in the City

Lately I’ve been thinking about the scents I associate with New York. There’s the infamous “eau de garbage,” which wafts malodorously from many a street corner, especially in the dead of summer. And then there’s the uplifting smell of fresh laundry that hits you unexpectedly as you walk by the side of a building. New York is a place of contrasts, even for the nose. In her unforgettable essay Goodbye to All That, Joan Didion remembered smelling “lilac and garbage and expensive perfume.” These thoughts on scent are tied to…

Hiding from the Cold in NYC

Hiding from the Cold in NYC

When the cold hurts, like it has been hurting lately, my philosophy is to basically just stay indoors. I’m not in to skying, sledding, ice fishing, or anything remotely winter-y. But when I need to get out of the house, I either go hide in a movie theater, or find places that offer assorted diversions under one roof. There’s Eataly, for example, an Italian “amuse-bouche park” in Flatiron, where you can hop from one food stand to another gulping pastas, frutti di mare, salumi, and wine. You can also shop…

Transporting Markets

Transporting Markets

Sometimes, especially when I’m walking through the fluorescent aisles of D’Agostino or even Trader Joe’s (a supermarket I have some sympathy for), I start fantasizing about teleporting myself to a petit marché in Le Marais, one of those magical neighborhood shops that smell like Beaufort cheese and freshly baked bread, where the vendors know about food, and where you wouldn’t mind sticking around for a while, sniffing delicacies. The bad news is that I don’t know how teleporting works, but the good news is that I’ve discovered two markets right…

Junking it in Williamsburg

Junking it in Williamsburg

Do you ever walk into one of those barnyard-chic restaurants and wonder where you could get their old wooden boxes, ancient radios, tin planters, or iron farmhouse tools? Brooklyn Junk, that’s where. This shop has two warehouses in Williamsburg filled with lots of junk, yes, but also a good share of refined finds, including killim rugs, leather office chairs, ceramic lamps, and much more. Not far from Brooklyn Junk’s two locations (one on North 9 and Driggs, the other two blocks away) is another treasure trove of old goods called…

Unique Boutique: Mimi Vang Olsen

Unique Boutique: Mimi Vang Olsen

Part of what makes the West Village so charming is its treasure trove of small, one-of-a-kind boutiques. Take Mimi Vang Olsen’s studio on Hudson Street, where the septuagenarian artist has been painting and exhibiting portraits of cats and dogs since 1983.  She is a true original and her canvases reflect it: one shows a cat named Bushy surrounded by fruits, still-life style, another a pug surrounded by pillows, pulling on the lace of a single ballet slipper. “I started making family portraits,” she says, “and some of them included pets;…