My Saturday started out like many others, sleepy and sun-drenched. I sleep with the blinds up so I wake up to the sun and on this particular Saturday it was so bright and warm that it woke me up earlier than my brain wanted me to.
I live in an old building in the East Village with my boyfriend Fed. We both have odd and demanding work schedules, so often Saturdays are the only day we have together. For this reason, they are usually planned out so we get the most out of our one day. This particular Saturday, by my request, we went to a diner that we'd never been to before. I LOVE diners. If it wasn't bad for my health to eat giant cheese filled omelettes for breakfast at a diner every morning I totally would. Today went to Joe Junior's, because it's nearby and I've always admired the kitschy, hand-made sign. I ordered a ham and cheese omelette Fed ordered pancakes. We sat in a vinyl upholstered booth, exactly as it should be in a good diner.
After our breakfast, we returned home for a quick nap before venturing out again. We walked from our apartment through the beautiful Peter Stuyvesent Square and down some of the quieter streets in Gramercy, bypassing the many stinky, traffic-y ones. We walked past a Bath and Body Works, which is one of exactly two in Manhattan. For kicks we went inside and I tried out a bright blue Honolulu Sun hand sanitizer, the sickeningly artificial scent of which lingered and made me feel slightly nauseated all day. Really, it just made me miss the Freesia body spray from the 90s that my grandma used to wear. Eventually we arrived at Madison Square Park where the Big Apple Barbecue Festival was happening. It was so crowded, hot and smoky so we quickly assessed the situation, chose a line, ordered some really really delicious ribs and found a nice grassy patch under a tree. As we worked our way through the park, we couldn't help but stop at Shake Shack for an ice cream cone.
The next shop was my choice: artist Lucy Sparrow's The Convenience Store, which is a bodega that sells all of the things an NYC bodega would sell except that they're all hand-made out of felt. Years ago when I was visiting my old stomping grounds in London I happened upon this same thing in my old neighborhood. It was an astounding and hilarious thing to just find on the street and it's been a fond memory ever since, so when I heard that she was going to do a New York version I couldn't pass it up! Turns out the New York Times beat me to it and the line was really long. We waiting for about 45 minutes and finally got in. There were a lot of people Snapchatting and a lot of laughter. There was even a deli counter, a freezer section and a section for rental movies! And everything was actually for sale! We left with a box of Lemonheads for the shop (we ALWAYS have a bowl of Lemonheads on our desk) and a trio of beverages for our apartment--a bottle of blue Gatorade, a bottle of Mountain Dew and a can of Welch's Grape Soda.
Because I'm in the market for my first ever grown-up watch and because it's one of Fed's favorite places, we made our way to the Shinola shop in TriBeCA. Architecturally, it's one of the loveliest and surprising shops in NYC, and there's a cute cafe by one of my favorite restaurants, the Smile in the front. TriBeCA is a quiet neighborhood on the weekend but in addition to the Shinola store it hosts a couple of my other favorite places, including the Mmuseumm (the internet does this place no justice, just visit! And don't be scared of the alley you have to walk down to get to it) and the Balloon Saloon...
...which is where we went next, mostly because it's currently the Official Favorite Shop of CWPE and because Fed had never been there. Basically, it's a really crazy balloon shop. It's easy to spot because the outside is covered in pool floats and inflatable things. Inside, you can get any type of balloon that exists (we got multiple shades of yellow and confetti-filled balloons here for the book launch party in March). BUT the real attraction is the rest of the shop, which is fully stocked with old-school board games, party supplies, children's books, super hero paraphernalia, a lot of nostalgic toys and candy, those weird miniatures of nostalgic toys, SO many prank toys and A LOT of scented stickers. Mostly we love it for the scented stickers. I left with a pack of fruit punch scented stickers of fruits doing karate (get it?) an Archie Comics puzzle and a book of Where's Waldo postcards. I'm pretty sure I had a huge grin on my face the whole subway ride home.
But! The day wasn't over yet. Ariel, who is the first new friend I made when I first moved to NYC is moving to Paris at the end of the month so I planned us a nice, romantic sunset picnic at the park along the Hudson River. We ate a lot of cheese, grapes and salad and stayed until it was dark and there were rats in the bushes (oh hi, NYC!). Since it was nice out we walked East and stopped at a really cute bar called Analogue for a quick cocktail before parting ways.
It was a perfect Saturday that satisfied just about all of my requirements for a fulfilling and fun day off. And I didn't get sunburnt! And I was even in bed before midnight! That's a win in my book.