By Tallulah Dumonde
…Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen…ahh, what the frig is all that about? I wouldn’t know a copper kettle from a copper penny. As a busy Manhattan girl-on-the-go, I get my hot tea in a paper cup from Lenny’s, usually with a flat bagel on the side. And whiskers on kittens? They itch, not to mention that those little buggers shed everywhere.
If you really want to know about my favorite things, just ask! Oh, you did? Alright, then, keep your pants on; I’m just warmin you grumpy Monday gals up…
I decided to write about more of the little things in life (and some not so little) that make the ride all the more pleasant. For example, I enjoy brunch, and I enjoy gardens. So where, in a city that is paved from stem to stern, can a girl and her best buddies go to get food and flowers? Well, one of my favorite things is to head north to The Cloisters. This uptown branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at Fort Tryon. The ride by subway is just under 45 minutes and then a short walk from the station. Once you make the trek, you’ll find yourself surrounded by stunning gardens, facing a castle-like Museum that is made up of Medieval cloisters imported from France. Each of the five buildings is filled with artwork and artifacts. And, while you’re there, you must indulge in a spot of lunch, or brunch, or just wine.
The New Leaf Café is a great spot whether it’s spring and you want to enjoy the blossoms and blooms around you at Fort Tryon Park or it’s the dead of winter and only a hot cup of cocoa will really thaw you out after that hilarious adult snow-ball fight (the kind where you mostly fall down and laugh and hardly manage to land a single shot at your best friend’s backside). Backed by Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, the restaurant is housed in a restored structure from the 1930′s and though the décor is sparse, it is extremely inviting. Besides, the view from the restaurant is all you really need. There’s also a terrace for outdoor dining. The menu is somewhat limited but always seems to have something for everyone, and if the food isn’t rave-worthy, you don’t notice because it’s just such a damned pleasant experience all the way around. I recommend you make reservations, though. There is a live music schedule which includes jazz on Thursday nights, but I’ve been there on the weekends for a jazz brunch, so make sure you check with the restaurant if you want to plan accordingly. Net proceeds support NYRP’s ongoing work in the park, which means, in addition to enjoying a your meal, you’re helping to keep the park in tip-top shape.
The next on my list of favorites is Bokhee. No, it isn’t a new kind of Indonesian Tribal Dance class at Alvin Ailey. It’s a store on Third Avenue where you can find the most gorgeous tunics and beaded flats. If you love the look but don’t want the same Trina Turk or Tory Burch that you’ve seen every 7th Ave fashionista sporting this season, Bokhee is the place for you. They also carry a wide range of sizes from xs to xl. Bokhee also has great sales, so while you’re in picking out a stunning kaftan to wear with your Manolos to that pool party in the Hamptons, you can pick up a great little embellished skirt for next to nothing. They also have beautifully embroidered pashminas and hand-dyed sarongs that will have the other girls wincing in envy. You’re going to love Bokhee…oh and, you’re also gonna love moi for the tip!
Bokhee New York 1077 3rd Avenue New York, NY 10021
The last little bit of love I’m going to spread around today is actually the kind of goodness that you give away. I have always been a person who believes in charity. I attend charity events, call in to telethons to make a pledge, walk for cures from Muscular Dystrophy to Breast Cancer. Oddly enough, I never really considered being a donor on an ongoing basis. Then one evening, a few months ago, I was watching television (and by evening I meant 4 a.m.) and saw a piece on St. Jude’s Hospital and all of the good works they do for children. I decided then and there that I would become a donor. So for the past several months I have been giving to St. Jude’s with an automatic deduction from my checking account. Honestly, I never even think about it. It’s a nominal amount. They suggest $20, I believe. I chose to give $35 each month. I never miss it a bit. I budget it in, and it’s done. Then each month I get the little thank-you note from them, and I gotta say, it feels great to know that I am participating in some small way in helping others.
I still do the same old things I used to do to raise money and awareness for charities that I believe in, because when it comes to things that I really love and that make me feel good, supporting a charity that I believe in is at the top of the list. I encourage each of you reading this to consider doing the same. It doesn’t have to be a large amount. Just something. If we each do something…cumulatively, we can change the world.
This last part of my ‘favorite things’ for today is dedicated to Kellie McLean, who passed away last week at the age of 10 after battling neuroblastoma for three years. For Kellie, and all of the children around the world who are fighting childhood cancer and other diseases, please take a moment to consider what giving back could mean to someone else.