02 May 2010

Acquavella Galleries, Old Friends, Shopping

Day 5: Catching Up & A Bit More Shopping!
My first free day. It is a beautiful day – light wind which actually feels chilly if I am not in the sun. I plan to meet my friends at Acquavella Galleries, the most fantastic gallery in NYC where I worked for 3 years in the early 80s. I haven't seen my friends for years.

I walk from the hotel – about 2 blocks of pure and decadent window shopping. I pass Jimmy Choo, Valentine, Armani, Saks Fifth Avenue, Boucheron, Frederick Leighton Jewels, Space NK, and so many more. What I love about NYC is how each avenue is uniquely different from the next. SO walking across from 8th and 7th avenue on the west side which is all about tourists, Broadway shows and general souvenir tat , to 6h Avenue which is high end tourism (Hilton) and publishing houses including Simon & Schuster, to 5th Ave (no need to tell you about this famous avenue) to Park with its wide leafy and flowery garden beds down the centre of the avenue, to Madison Avenue where I walk up from 49th Street.

Aside from window shopping I am also people watching and even pooch watching. There are some elegant slights, some seriously scary one thanks to an over zealous use of botox, some famous ones too.

What a deja vu feeling I have walking into Acquavella after so many years. Practically everyone who worked there when I was there are still there. Aside from the pretty phenomenal modern art exhibition on at the moment ( I was used to seeing Impressionists on the wall) nothing has changed. The gallery is very majestic with a magnificent curved stone staircase, mahogany panelled elevator, mosaic patterned marble floors and wonderful tall sash windows looking out over 79th Street.

I have a gossipy and relaxed lunch with Garth and Jean, great friends from the past. So many memories came flooding back. I really didn't stop to think until now how important my friends were (and are) from that period of my life.

After lunch I stop for a decadent manicure and pedicure at Iris' on Lexington. The book launch is tomorrow evening and I know I will not have the time tomorrow. Iris' is obviously very well known. Boxes of nail polish with the clients' names on them were stacked 50 high against one wall. Their regulars came in, took their book out of the stack and went to find their favourite manicurist to do wonders. My nails looked great. I always think if you look well groomed you feel more sophisticated.

My evening's talk is in Port Washington, Long Island. Another long drive from the city. My venue is the public library.

Another enormous library building with lots of people coming and going. The public library systems seems so much more active in the US. All sorts of people use it.

My talk is well attended, including one man! I tell stories about the collection and dresses and there is lots of chatter when the dresses are brought past for closer inspection. More books sold and signed.

Tonight I am being a true New Yorker and heading out for dinner at 10:30pm! I am meeting another long lost friend from the past, gorgeous Cameron Shay, now a Director of James Graham Gallery. I arrive at Employees Only, a very noisy, tiny and jam packed bar with dining tables at the far end. I think I am too old and definitely too tired for this tonight, but hey, this is a trip of a lifetime.

Cameron arrives late (nothing's changed) and doesn't even recognise me. Must be the super blonde hair! We have a wild couple of hours before I make my excuses and head back to the hotel. It was wonderful to see him again. He really was a great firend when I lived in NYC back in the 80s. I get to bed at 1:30am. Not wise when my book launch is that night and I am meant to look fresh and glam.

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