Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our fin de siecle New York vacation

my Jersey Girl
New York is freezing and full of Europeans and young women wearing their hair in very high topknots like this. I've been spending money like a drunken sailor while wondering how I'm going to earn any ever again. This was the first place I ever held a full-time job and also the last. I have no idea what I'm going to do for the rest of my life.

Worries can wait until next week. Because Isabel loves theater, we've seen Fried Chicken and Latkes and Old Jews Telling Jokes and they were both pretty good, but Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf was better and you should see this production if you have the chance. It was funny and dark and I am in awe of Tracy Letts.

We've been to Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken (the Cake Boss's place) and Isabel explained to me who Joey and Madeline were and it was a delightful expedition even though we had to wait for an hour to buy our cupcakes and I would never, ever go back in a million years if you paid me and twisted my arm and it was the last bakery on earth.
fans, Joey, Madeline
We've eaten pizza at Eataly and it is good, but the pizza at Roberta's in Brooklyn is better. I like Brooklyn and at 16 would have aspired to live there, but as a mother and viewer of Girls, I hope Isabel does not.
my Girl? 
We've eaten a handful of non-pizza meals, but the best by far was at Ssam Bar. The pork buns. The toasted bulgur. The hanger steak. The crispy rice cakes. The service. Everything.

But even better than the dinner at Ssam Bar was when I bought Isabel a dress, a cheap dress on lower Broadway, and we were walking out of the store and she said, "Mom, you're the best."

I don't care if it's just because I bought her a dress. I'm buying happiness this week and that made me profoundly happy.


  1. Nice! My mom took me to Philly when I was 16 for a Monet show she was dying to see, had no other plan regarding things to see or eat, and we wound up screaming at each other because it was August and 1000 degrees and I was fed up with walking aimlessly. Not good. (I'm aware now that my teenage surliness did not help matters, and that my mom has never been and will never be a planner). Point is, kudos to you for swinging a successful and rewarding trip with a teenager. Tricky stuff.

  2. Such a shame that you missed the Lunch Hour exhibition at the NY Public Library by a few days

  3. I had a wonderful recent vacation with my daughter in New York; her 21st birthday was at the end of August, and she requested, as a birthday treat, that I accompany her back to NY for a few days of city adventure before the beginning of her senior year at Sarah Lawrence. We stayed in a cheap hotel, wandered endlessly around the city, ate at a few nice restaurants, and didn't fight once.

  4. Lovely Isabel knows she has a great mom, lucky her and lucky you.

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  6. Oh, Jennifer, this brought tears to my eyes! It made me miss my mom so much. (She was the best, too.) It is lovely to see you and Isabel making memories. Who cares if it involves spending a little money?

  7. What a treasure. How nice to have this experience and memory with Isabel.

    Also: freaking cupcakes.

  8. Layne, I agree with you. I HATE cupcakes. I find their recent (and, thankfully, waning) popularity both pretentious and childish. Stupid, over-frosted, sugary, blandly sweet cakes with garishly colored, flavorless decorations that are shaken out of a store-bought container. Where's the finesse in that?

  9. Other Kristin: (I'm Kristin too). Hating cupcakes? So harsh! I prefer a slice of cake, but a good cupcake is a good cupcake and there are some out there, made by hand with love. But to me, their ubiquity has made them like pizza: mediocre is bad and why bother.

    Kevin on the Office said, "Mini-cupcakes? As in the mini version of regular cupcakes? Which is already a mini version of cake? Honestly, where does it end with you people?"

  10. I find it funny that I have been reading your blog long enough to recoil in disbelief every time you mention Isabel's age.

    I wouldn't have enjoyed a trip with my mom when I was (an admittedly surly) 16 years old no matter what she was buying, much less said that she was the best for doing so. You must be doing something right.