It's hard to be stuck indoors in New York City, if only for a weekend. I can't help but wander away from the Hilton in Midtown (this year's BlogHer conference headquarters) toward Central Park and the Met and MoMA and the NY Public Library, and as I walk three consecutive mornings with a sugar and cream saturated iced coffee pulsing in my veins, I fall ever so swiftly in love with the rhythm and people and architecture of the city.
Thursday night at 5 o'clock, we veer off the highway in the Bronx and are slowed into the halting pace of stop and go traffic. We (mister, D and son, L) roll the car windows down and the smells of garbage, fresh peaches, and fried potatoes welcomes us. Banana boxes wheel into a corner market on a trolley. A woman walks past the trolley driver, all skin and midriff, and neither takes notices of the other.
We still need to drive to W 57th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues and as we loop through neighborhoods, we arrive at our hotel too late to make it to the first cocktail party on the agenda. Next up, the Martha Stewart Bloggers' Night Out party on W 26th Street in Chelsea. I quickly dress and say goodbye to D and L as I climb into a cab. I give the cab driver directions and he says Sure, I can get you there, but you're going to have to walk a block as if he's waiting for me to flip out or something which I don't because I'd rather walk the 2.10 miles there anyway but am already late.
The lobby is packed with mostly women dressed in party shoes and dresses and I think we look like a collection of colored straws inside a box. Am I in the right place? I wonder when I see a woman carrying a tennis racket and before I push through the line that curlycues around the front desk and stairs leading up to the elevator, I ask a woman if she's going to the Martha party. Yes, we're all waiting, she says, they're taking people up in groups.
So, I wait in the straw packed lobby and talk to a novelist/fashion and beauty blogger and a sex blogger about how New York isn't the same without the World Trade Center and I admit that I haven't seen Ground Zero and before we know it, we're ushered upstairs to the 9th floor to check in and receive badges. My new friends get lost in the crowd that floats like seaweed, noisy intoxicated seaweed.
I loop around darkened corridors, past the video editing rooms and partitioned office cubicles that opens into a large studio room with towering views of the city and after one glass of champagne and an all-day empty stomach, I can't do much more than scan the room for a glimpse of Martha and blogger friends and amidst all the chaos of seaweed and champagne and games of table tennis, I can't help but stare out the windows at the sun collapsing from its own heat into the blackened streets.
After an hour and a half of mingling and staring at a cake tower of untouchable Oreo cookies and drinking a bicycle powered smoothie and avoiding the champagne table all together for feat that I won't be able to walk after two glasses.
Somehow I just miss meeting Martha Stewart. But I get designer Kevin Sparkey's autograph on September's Martha Stewart Living cover.
His apartment renovation is featured in the issue. I forget to photograph the crowd because I'm swept away by the light cast through the windows and am more than hungry when I reluctantly leave the party to photograph the city cast in painterly light before it's too late.
On my way out, a woman with a video crew in tow asks if I'm a garden blogger and when I say no, she apologizes for suggesting that I might be filmed and I tell her its okay and whether I write about gardening or not matters little. I'm on a mission.
I walk outside into the smashed apricot and blackberry dusk with my camera slung around my neck and carrying two bags of Martha related shwag. The city doesn't get much better than this, unless that is I'm wearing flip flops instead of heels and have a cup of turkish coffee and baklava in hand.
Then again, what would I have to think about on my walk from the garment district to the edge of Central Park...