Monday, May 3, 2010

The Night I Wore My Louboutins To The Mark Hotel Bar

Saturday night I wore my Louboutin Simple 70s to the bar at the Mark Hotel. 77th and Park. To a certain extent, that sentence says all that needs to be said. But it's pretty dense, as a communication, so let me deconstruct.

I lived in Manhattan from 1979 through 1984. I was young, in my mid-20's. Besieged with all the doubts of that age, and then some, I could buy the right clothes, I could look pretty good. I never felt cool. Once a Japanese newspaper took my picture for an article on the best-dressed women in business school. I'm serious. But I was quite simply too thin-skinned, and too caught between my High WASP pedigree and my left-coast training to be able to settle into a coterie. And without a coterie, where's cool?

If there was a route to coolness, I don't think I ever found it. If I did, the person in charge neglected to tell me I'd arrived.

But at 53, even the thin-skinned can speak to themselves in sensible voices. We can say to ourselves, "Cool is as cool does."

So on Saturday night, during the long weekend in Manhattan, I put on my new shoes. I put on my Narcisco Rodriguez little black dress. I put on a pair of antique Swedish earrings. I clipped my hair back in a tortoiseshell barrette, leaving too-long bangs feathering out in front. Pretty damn cool. I wore nude lipstick. Even cooler. Carried a black trench, and, as it turned out, my aubergine handbag, glittering like a bowling ball. Too early in the evening for black beaded clutches. It's the bag that defines hour-appropriateness of one's getup.

We took a cab.

The bar was lit up with stars. Literally.

The women were Upper East Side to their nails. Tory Burch lookalikes, only less earnest. I saw the UES incarnation of the New York street look, in all its blonde glory. Wheat tweed jacket, with a classic Gap denim silhouette. Beige tee. Scarf. Long necklace of big white round beads. Light menswear shoes, brogues or some such. Mark my words. Brogues are big. So is hair. Can you say, "Volume at the roots?" And yet, not plastic, not shiny, somehow friendlier than years past.

And me in my black dress and shoes feeling like an effing movie star. Which I'm not, obviously. But it didn't matter. I was well-nigh giggling out loud. Drinking Prosecco. More stars. I was my own Glinda, virtual tulle skirt in a haze about me.

We decided to eat at the Jean-Georges restaurant. Of course they had a table. They sat us by the bar. Don't you just love that guy's bald head? And the assumption of power in his forward lean?

I could have cared less which table I got - I'm not Mayor Bloomberg and thank goodness for that. I walked my own private red carpet to sit down. Like a little girl invited downstairs to the grownups dinner party, wide-eyed, bare-footed, in a nightgown, every one intoxicated around her. Except of course I had clothes on. Everyone else might have been intoxicated. I paid no nevermind.

I ordered Sweet Pea Soup with Parmesan Foam. The waitperson brought out a soup bowl in which rested three little hills of yellow. That was the parmesan part. Then she poured hot bright green soup and it ran in rivulets around the foam. Delicious. Drank a bottle of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon. Also delicious.

Ate some bread. A shrimp salad. A veal chop. Then we walked out and down Park Avenue. The night was still warm. A doorman said, "Good evening!" My feet didn't even hurt.

Through the dark trees, I saw lights from Central Park, dark sky above. When you get older, cool is easier to come by. So is sentiment. We took a cab back downtown. Didn't want to push my foot luck any further.

*DocP pointed out to me that the New York Times reviewed this exact meal just last week. Copycats:).

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Blogger Deja Pseu said...

Sounds like a fabulous evening! It sounds as though you achieved "cool glamour," a more distinctive and demanding form of cool.

(I love New York in the spring! Our years there intersected; I worked in midtown in '81-'82. Lived in Princeton, though.)

May 3, 2010 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Belle de Ville said...

Sounds like my kind of evening aperitif and chic bar and then dinner at a restaurant with a serious chef.
You must have looked come the bald gentleman with the forward power posture didn't send over a bottle of champagne?
LOVE the earrings!

May 3, 2010 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger the gardeners cottage said...

Sounds wonderful.

Wish you had included pics of you!


May 3, 2010 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger LPC said...

Pseu - I was thinking, we all have our aspirations, and sometimes fail to appreciate what we achieve. Right?
Belle - High praise indeed if you like the earrings:).
Gardener's - I'm working up to it. I'm reflected there in the taxi window though...

May 3, 2010 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

This story is beautiful! Lucky you, having experienced the parmesan-Espuma! The crazy cook Ferran Adriá dedicated his life to this foam! I love TV-documentaries on this nano-cuisine :)

I have to agree with janet: at least a foot? or a heel? the sight in the cab is all we get? Let phantasy fill in the blanks.

May 3, 2010 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger La Belette Rouge said...

You are COOL and everyone there noticed it. I feel sure that there were other bloggers there that night who have documented in their blogs seeing such a gorgeously chic, cool and glamorous gal who they feel sure is a celebrity of some kind or maybe an heiress. Gorgeous post.

May 3, 2010 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger ADG said...

"And without a coterie, where's cool?" ... hell, if you wrote grocery lists I would read you.


May 3, 2010 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Mardel said...

Oh it sounds like a perfect evening. And seriously cool.

May 3, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Oh, but you ARE a movie star my dear.

And that soup? Looks delicious.

May 3, 2010 at 8:25 AM  
Blogger A Southern Accent said...

Love this post. Makes me want to up and move to NYC. Sounds so fabulous.

May 3, 2010 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

Sounds like a magical night :-)

Those earrings are fantastic - fanciful fleur de lis.

May 3, 2010 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger LPC said...

Paula - I had no idea I was experiencing food history.
La Belette - Thank you oh she of the gorgeous posts. The bloggers blogging about bloggers...
ADG - Do you know I have told my English professor father about your gift of gab?
Mardel - Thank you very much.

May 3, 2010 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger DocP said...

Did you know the NY Times reviewed The Mark and that soup on Wednesday?

May 3, 2010 at 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your reflection in the taxi window is oh so elegant! I wish you had included pictures of yourself. Thank you for the wonderful post.

May 3, 2010 at 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my imagination you are ultra chic slender petite blur eyed beauty.

May 3, 2010 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger metscan said...

We????? I´m curious. A very interesting post..I am so anxious to know who are we ; )

May 3, 2010 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger materfamilias said...

Not a cool bone in my body, sadly, but I love watching it on/in others -- seems to me you were pretty damn close! Great description of what sounds like a très glamourous evening.

May 3, 2010 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

Love the ensemble you described - you are cool to the core, my friend. And thank you for the compliment on my blog. The thought that I even remotely resemble Diane Lane made my day!

May 3, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger LPC said...

Jan - I'll pretend I am if you can make me that soup. How about it?;)
Southern Accent - Thank you. I feel that way a good 30% of the time.
Patsy - Thank you. My mom gave them to me.
DocP - Those big copycats at the NYT. I've been meaning to talk to them about it.
Anon - I'm kind of small, and I do highlight my hair, but the ultra chic I can only pull off if I gun all my engines...
metscan - You are a curious one, aren't you:).
mater - Thank you. As a Sturdy Gal, I happily settle now for pretty damn close.

May 3, 2010 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Semi Expat said...

Coolness personified. Love your evening and of course your writing even more. Adore Cloudy Bay Sauvignon too - perfection all round! x

May 3, 2010 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Wow, you got to live in NYC when it was still a gritty city, or the good ole days, depending on your point of view. I loved it then, love it still.
Sounds like such a fun night!

May 3, 2010 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Now, that's what I'm talkin' bout!

Sounds like a perfect evening for a wonderful woman!

I adore the earrings.

May 3, 2010 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger Sydney Shop Girl said...

Cool prose for a cool night!

I love it, LPC. You've got the jump on SATC 2. Weeks before the official opening, you've lived their world.

I am inspired. When my left foot can fit into a pair, I'm going to slip on some Louboutins, hit the city and think of you.

SSG xxx

May 3, 2010 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Duchesse said...

Very glamorous and, a sincere, not anxious glamour. My coolest nights in New York unfortunately I no longer remember what I wore. Probably did not remember a week later. Now, would do exactly as you have!

May 3, 2010 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Kcecelia said...

Lovely post. Just lovely. I haven't been to New York since spring 2001, but I was taking that post-prandial stroll right with you. And, I am one who finds you cool. We can share a coterie.

May 3, 2010 at 4:06 PM  
Anonymous The Preppy Princess said...

Because we all played a small role in the assembling of the ensemble via your posts, it is almost as if we were there with you. The description of the soup alone is bliss, the rest is uber-cool.

We know you looked awesome. Yeppers.

Smiles at you Miss LPC,

May 3, 2010 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger LPC said...

Semi expat- Thank you. If we've got to age, at least we can gain some perspective.
Maureen - Yes, it was grittier, wasn't it.
Jill - Maybe that night I was in fact a chica.
Sydney Shop Girl - Yes, I hope your foot heels fast and you are out and about.

May 3, 2010 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger DocP said...

We all deserve an evening of magic at least once per decade (or more often - much more often!)

May 3, 2010 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger LPC said...

Duchesse - I thought you were going to say you no longer remember the nights. There were some of those:).
Kcecelia - I will be in a coterie with you any day. You're way cool, as my kids would say.
TPP - Yeppers. Manhattan is more fun when you're over 40, say I.

May 3, 2010 at 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your opening paragraph is perfect. I too lived in NY arriving in 1979. I has a great time in the go-go '80s...except for the uniform of the basic suit, floppy bow tie and those Gucci pumps with good trim on the heel :)

May 3, 2010 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger Preppy 101 said...

We need a picture! I can see you glide through the restaurant with the confidence that only comes from life experiences!! And those earrings - I'm in love. Love the description of your hair, too! Fabulous post! xoxo

May 3, 2010 at 6:46 PM  
Anonymous gourmetmom said...

You must have looked gorgeous and there is no question that everyone at the bar was wondering WHO is that very sophisticated woman...

May 3, 2010 at 7:29 PM  
Anonymous julia::ordinarysaturdays said...

What a lovely night. Nice earrings, too.

May 3, 2010 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP said...

It's always better to raise the tone than lower it!

May 3, 2010 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger Faux Fuchsia said...

Love the photos esp the one of the bald guys head! Cloudy Bay Sav Blanc is one of my favourites, I wonder how much they sell it for in New York?

May 4, 2010 at 3:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely descriptive and imagination-triggering post. I _SAW_ you there... I have been following the tale of the Loubotins since you started posting _that_ article. Now I am off to the next city, which deserves this name to find a shop which carries them. And if I only wear them once ( as I do have orthopaedic problem) I must have... you know... they are on my wish list since a looong time. I assume I will not only take a cab to and fro the place where I will wish to show them, but as well a personal carrier with a sedan to get me to the table ;-))
Your earrings are grand! I assume they are from about the 1820-1860 - what in Germany is named the "Biedermeier" Period. Exceptional that they still have all the dangles ! You lucky one !

May 4, 2010 at 6:19 AM  
Blogger hostess of the humble bungalow said...

WOW! I have a snippet of time here before the guests awaken....that's an amazing retelling of an event in the High Wasp the cool attitude, and the ensemble...swedish earrings such a nice touch! The food looks yummy too.

May 4, 2010 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

I am coveting those earrings!

May 4, 2010 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

You are classy and cool. Dinner sounds delightful. You are always in New York

May 4, 2010 at 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Barrie Davenport said...

OK, you are damn funny! I love your writing and wit. I lived in New York in the late '80s and so get the "volume at the roots that's friendlier than in years past"!! And I get everything else you wrote. I was momentarily sitting there with you. What a hoot. You need to write a New York book! Thanks for sharing.

May 4, 2010 at 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LPC, everything about you (the way you think and express yourself through writing and personal style, the way you are in the world) is fascinating. Your blog is highly educational and is one of kind (just like you!)
Though I understand that the person must be born to / raised by a high WASP family, I aspire to be like you. You are my role model and symbol of perfection.

If you decide to write a book, please make it a book about Style (not fashion) and Manners (being appropriate). Thank you.

From Russia with Love.

May 4, 2010 at 4:34 PM  
Blogger LPC said...

Anon - Lordy, I remember those heel with the gold trim! I threw my bow tie away with gusto.
Preppy 101 - Only someone our age could appreciate the joy of a ponytail:).
Gourmetmom - At least I felt as though they might be wondering...
Julia - Thank you.
Imogen - In this case, I was so happy to.

May 4, 2010 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger LPC said...

Faux - By the bottle, it might have been ~$50? But could have been more. It's $30 in the stores.
Chatelaine - I want photos of you carried in the personal sedan:). And you know more about the earrings than I do.
hostess - Hope you are having a great time with your guests.
Barbara - I look forward to returning.
Barrie - Volume at the roots baby! Thank you so much.
Anon - I'm handing out free High WASP cards here. Privilege of birth is only good if you can share what you really value. Thank you very much. And if you are in fact from Russia, my sister majored in Russian Literature. Speaks a little Russian. So there, something shared.

May 4, 2010 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Buckeroomama said...

I think I'm in love with how the soup was presented as much as its dreamy name. Parmesan foam...

May 4, 2010 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Lipstick said...

Very enjoyable post...especially the reference to the little girl being invited to the big dinner party. I had fun living vicariously through you, but oh, LPC how I would love to have seen a pic of you! I know you looked stunning!

May 4, 2010 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

love the earrings!! good choice on wine too! where can you go wrong? :p - please follow if you like. :)

May 5, 2010 at 1:36 AM  
Blogger Housewife Bliss said...

Really enjoyed the story, especially the part about the little girl. You always have a stunning way of expressing yourself.

May 5, 2010 at 3:55 AM  
Blogger Muffy said...

Lovely, just lovely.

I'm so glad you had a wonderful time!

May 5, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Wow. You write beautifully. I may as well have been there.

May 5, 2010 at 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your wonderful post made me just sigh from the loveliness of it all. Thanks for such a well written little story. You made me miss NY. I live 1.5 hours away. Maybe I should go.

May 5, 2010 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger LPC said...

Buckeroo - It does sound a little like a magic spell, doesn't it.

Lipstick - Thanks. That's the line my son liked too:).

Ash - Thank you. Glad you like the earrings.

Housewife - Thank you so much.

Muffy - Thank you, friend.

Teresa - Thank you. All I can say is I waited a long, long time to be able to tell these stories and I appreciate so much that you all listen.

Madline - I know the effort of getting to a nearby city, but it's so much fun once you arrive.

May 6, 2010 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Summer is a Verb said...

Seriously close to mine and Babe's last weekend in NYC. Sustract the Loubs and add Monica Lewinsky next to me at dinner. It was beauuutiful in the city and Central Park was lush and green...XXOO

May 6, 2010 at 6:07 PM  
Blogger LPC said...

Summer - it would have been too funny were we there at the same time. What did you wear? What was Monica wearing?

May 8, 2010 at 10:23 AM  

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