City Pulse

By Razi Schwartz

Ladies, may I be the umpteenth person to wish you a Happy/Merry/Splendid 2006! Oh, wait, what do you mean it’s not so splendid? Funny you should mention that, I’ve been hearing from a lot of my girlfriends that this year is starting out a bit rough around the edges. Why this year of all years? Who knows. I like to think it’s something in the cosmos because at least than there is some flightly, non-concrete reason for why 2006 isn’t starting out stellar for ladies one and all. And a few men, too, I suppose. Oh let’s face it – who says 2006 sucks?!? Give me an aye, a raise of hands, or a hell yeah – the message is loud and clear.

Unfortunately for you fellas, this entry is for the femmes seulement. Pourquoi, you ask? Well, I stumbled upon something in the wealth of knowledge I like to call my brain, and I thought I’d share. Guys, if you feel left out, I thoroughly apologize. I promise I’ll have a male-only entry sometime soon to make up for it. And no trying to crash the event – girls’ time is serious business that is not designed to accommodate any XY visitors.

Tomorrow night – that’d be Wednesday, January 11th – Life Works is having a free seminar at their downtown space entitled, “Creating a life that fits you.” To bring it to the personal level, I’ve always had this dream of opening my own boutique – a haven for all things fabulous, unique, and anything that takes the shape of a handbag. But, my fear of my dream being a big flop, the financial commitment, the unknown – it’s all so daunting to me that my dream has gone dusty in the closet next to the sewing machine I never learned to use, the sweater folder from the infomercial (and the second freebee sweater folder I got for calling within the first 30 seconds) and so many other unfinished moments of brilliance in my life.

This workshop is geared toward encouraging women to do…or push women away from…not doing. It’s a workshop that is geared to guide you to being…a better you.

The seminar on Wednesday starts at 7:30pm and lasts around two hours. It’s going to be held at the Life Works downtown offices at 55 Fifth Avenue, and you should call for a reservation at 212-741-8787. And of course, because it is “this day and age” check out the website at www.lifeworksgroup.com.

If you can’t make it this Wednesday, check out their website. The group offers several weekend workshops and courses throughout the year (the one entitled “Having what you want with a man” is particularly interesting, no? Oh I’ll tell you what I want with a man – sit, look pretty, massage my back, cook…RAZI, WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, Ok, I’m back…) – and believe it or not, some are co-ed (score one for the XY-ers). Will it work for you? I can’t say for sure. But, if you’re looking for something new and filled with positive female energy…it definitely can’t hurt.

The Meat Packing District
By Stacey Cervellino

The Meat Packing District has an element of mystery about it. The cobblestone pavement, narrow side streets, the Hudson River being only a stone’s throw away, this area of Manhattan has experienced a renaissance since the mid 90′s with the modernist and posh Hotel Gansevoort, exclusive velvet rope nightclubs, and major fashion industry players moving into the neighborhood. While it often feels deserted during the day, as if you’d reached the very tip of Manhattan, the Meatpacking District, maintains an old world feel to it. Scarce is a deli, chain store or Starbucks, although the Western Beef monstrosity sandwiched in between Son Cubano and Mark’t is evidence and a reminder of how the Meat Packing District earned its title.

CATHERINE MALANDRINO
652 Hudson Street (between W13th and Gansevoort Streets)
212.929.8710
www.catherinemalandrino.com
M-Sat: 11-7
Thurs: 11-8
Sun 12-6

The Hudson Street store offers two collections: the Fall collection and the runway collection. Her clothes are exquisite and the store itself manages to be both mod and bohemian at the same time, as are her designs: sexy and bohemian, with an element of vintage style. Through mid-Jan items are 30-40% off the sale price. For a mere mortal like myself, seeing her exquisite collection was sheer torture. At $1,500-$1,800 dollars a pop, more than a month’s rent for me, I could only ooh and aah and hope that one day I’ll turn into a princess who wears nothing but Malandrino.

CALYPSO
654 Hudson Street
646.638.3000
M-Sat 11-7
Sun 12-7

Calypso is known for its natural perfumes. Each perfume is infused with other natural ingredients such as patchouli or basil to compliment the top notes: Rose, Gardenia, and the ever-popular Mimosa. The scents are strong and lean towards the soapy side-all I can suggest is to not only smell before you buy, but wear before you by. The store is full of bright colors, many items from the cruise collection: turquoise, purple, and orange tops, snakeskin open toed wedges and square heeled pumps that look like vintage finds. Shoes range from $230-$375. Check out her sexy winter boots and studded leather clogs. There is an ongoing a sale through mid January and on the sale rack you’ll find a few pretty tops and stretchy dresses for $400 and a fun felt trench coat for $500.

PARADOU
Vin.cuisine.jardin
8 Little West 12th Street
212.463.8345
www.paradounyc.com

After my visit to Paradou, I realized what makes a restaurant successful-at least in my book: Personalized service, detail of design, food made with love.

The staff and owners at Paradou clearly love what they do and their passion for food and for their customers is apparent from the moment you enter. In April I had the good fortune to dine in the back garden. We had a leisurely meal enhanced by excellent service. Since then, they have winterized the garden by heating and enclosing it. The front room and small bar remain a cozy choice for the locals and regulars who come here again and again.

NERO
46 Gansevoort Street corner of Greenwich Street
212.675.5224
www.neronyc.com

Romantic, mysterious, and inviting, Nero is the perfect candidate for a romantic date or an intimate dinner with close friends. The candlelit rustic wooden tables are warm and inviting. Nero’s handsome owner Gino, who has cultivated a name for Nero over the course of its first year, making it, in his warm and open Neapolitan way, a neighborhood place, where everyone is welcome, greeted me.

The menu offers Italian dishes with a world touch: with an impressive selection of fish dishes: black cod, salmon, scallops, and trout, risotto, veal, duck and venison, salads that could double as main courses, and updated traditional favorites such as Oxtail soup, Rigatoni with braised wild boar or Ricotta dumplings with sweet sausage and cannelloni beans. Pizza will be added to the menu, giving locals another reason to pay Nero a visit. I expect to see Nero become a local favorite for years to come.

5 NINTH
5 Ninth Avenue between Gansevoort and Little West 12th Street
212.929.9460
www.5ninth.com

5 Ninth is enclosed in a three story brownstone dating back to 1848 with 2 fireplaces on each floor, exposed brick, and a breath taking garden enclosed in ivy covered walls. Both a restaurant and bar, 5 Ninth offers romance, comfort, and style. The garden, when it is open, is truly the best feature of this romantic spot, with a New Orleans feel-a true oasis during the long hot summer. In the colder months, cozy up to the bar or at a table near one the fireplaces, order a bottle of wine, watch the beautiful people pass by, and maybe make a friend or two. The most enchanting facet of 5 Ninth is its location in one of the only open squares in Manhattan, straight out of a Henry James novel. There’s no name or flashing sign outside the building, but you can’t miss it and you’ll be glad you risked certain death as you navigate down cobblestone streets in your new heels.

Of course there are many other notable destinations in the Meat Packing District: the Stella McCartney Store, Design Within Reach, Son Cubano: a delightful Spanish restaurant, the Bodum store, the new Bubble and Bubble Salon, and old standby’s Mark’t: a Belgian bar and bistro, and the Gaslight, a bar that overflows with Wall Street types and Jersey boys.

Take the A, C, E or the 1,2,3 to 14th Street and walk east, where you’ll find quiet streets, smell the river air, and take some time to meander down the cobblestone streets. You never know who you might meet or what you’ll find.

Originally published January 2006
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