We’ve watched the Macy’s parade on TV while eating Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (deliciously artificial) and drinking coffee for the past few Thanksgivings, and this year, the parade will literally traipse right past our apartment on Central Park West. New Yorkers can be blase about these kinds of magical happenings that take place right in their backyards — or, more acurately, on their street corners — in the way that Washingtonians shrug and roll their eyes when the presidential motorcade blocks traffic on Mass Ave for an hour at a time. Meanwhile, outsiders’ eyes widen as they tuck the marvel they’ve just observed away for sharing with friends and family back home — “you won’t believe it, but the President drove RIGHT BY us!” or “I actually saw the Peanuts balloon in person!”
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about living in outsider mode recently. I’m certainly no New Yorker, but I’m growing increasingly acclimated — though not de-sensitized! — to the happenings of this great city. Central Park takes my breath away at least twice per walk per day. I live two minutes from Lincoln Center, and, colored by a scene from one of my favorite movies, Moonstruck, it always strikes me as romantic. There are nearly always pairs of people clustered on the shallow steps leading up to its magnificence, and I imagine many sweet nothings and proposals and important but quiet conversations taking place between them. The enormous, borderline European-style statues at the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park still turn my head. And yet — I’ve learned to keep my eyes to myself when the abundant weirdos in this city cloy for attention. I’ve learned to walk with purpose, briskly, traversing certain streets instead of others to avoid the clog of tourists.
Mr. Magpie has a funny reaction to people eating ice cream: he turns schmaltzy, sentimental. He clambered for words one time: “I don’t know, it’s just — grown men, men in suits, adults wanting something sweet. Something totally unnecessary. Something that can only make you happy. It’s just…I don’t know.”
I knew what he was getting it: the sudden, chest-wracking sight of someone’s sweet, vulnerable, and very human side, like when you accidentally see someone dab a tear away, or watch your mother grin ear to ear while watching a performance of Oklahoma, so happy is she with the spectacle in front of her (that happened), or spot Mr. Magpie’s rabbit foot perched on top of his phone for good luck.
There are many ice cream moments in this city of New York, and few involve ice cream. There are skaters laughing and twirling in Central Park’s rink. There are tourists snapping photos of themselves in front of — well, everything. There are visitors on those stupid horse drawn buggies that clod through Central Park (I say stupid because the horses anger Tilly to such a degree that I legitimately must scan the length of stroll in front of us and carefully time our exit from the building, across the roads that cut through the Park, etc., or I will be virtually unable to control her. She hates those damn horses! Also, the blankets the people lay over their legs in those buggies skeeve me out. You know those aren’t ever cleaned.) There are trails of people waiting for Levain cookies (the best the best the best OMG THE BEST).
The past few weeks were murky and overcast, and I recently stumbled into a particularly unnerving fog after weaning minimagpie (more on that in a future post, but — wow, hormones!), but over the last few days, I feel as though my vision has cleared, and what stands in front of me is the realization that not a day goes by that I don’t observe someone in an ice cream moment, living totally and gleefully in the moment, in the transitory pursuit of happiness, in this entirely magical city I have had the good fortune to find my way into.
And it makes me thankful. Thankful to bear witness to the goodness of people, thankful for the reminder of what an incredible life I have, thankful for the gentle but urgent call to take a minute and breathe it all in.
Today, though we will not be leaving our apartment (in part because we are essentially blockaded in owing to the parade), I am wearing a Jill Jill Stuart burgundy lace dress that is no longer available, but similar to this or this (epic budget buy!). BTW, you should check out Jill Jill Stuart when you’re looking for something to wear to a more staid-style event, like dinner with parents-in-law, or a shower at a country club, or — hate to say it — a funeral? They have lots of modest styles, like this dress, which feels both conservative and fashionable.
After dinner, I wish I’d had the foresight to order a pair of cashmere joggers — these have been on my list for awhile, though I just stumbled upon these, which are a more attractive price! And there is more well-priced cashmere goodness here.
Also — love the tablescape above. The contrast of the rustic burlap and eucalyptus with the gleaming gold/copper accents is delightful. Those taper candle holders remind me of these, which are at the top of my lust list. I’m not usually super into the midcentury modern style, but pops of it here and there…yes. I also love this gold flatware and these copper mule mugs. For tablecloth/runner, check out this and this. These gilded plates would also fit in nicely. Finally, Trader Joe’s almost always has eucalyptus branches this time of year for super cheap — snag some of those for your next autumn / holiday tablescape! (Also, check out these reusable garlands for your tablescape or mantel!)