UES pt. 1: Movin’ on up

Today was all about investments in the future and trips to the past.

I’m on the UES by accident. At a diner, or what Upper East Siders call a diner. In a city pervaded by culture, even the diners are dry here. But it’s still an ok place to come and talk to you for a bit.

So here’s how I got to be here. I had a dentist in Bushwick. But I didn’t want a dentist in Bushwick. I’m done with shitty dentists. I’m 40, it’s time to start acting like an adult. So I did what adults do and I asked my bestest friend from 4th grade for a recommendation. Michael, widely known to Manhattanites as a terrible pick for restaurants (Eataly notwithstanding), did me right.

I just had to back track six times to find the place. Finally on my way, I managed to follow the same guy from 86th and Lex to my dentist’s building. He was on a mission…to take shitty pictures with what had to be a newish camera. I only say that because he was doing the baby photographer thing of taking pictures of things no one wants to see. Pigeons mostly. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong big time and his pictures will be hung all over the Guggenheim in a couple of months. It’s like they say, “Out with the Basquiats, in with the winged rats who eat French Fries.” Or something like that.

The dentist was great and the Latina assistants were very sweet to me. I’m going to be spending a king’s ransom in that office, so it’s good that I like them. I decided to make the most of being in a neighborhood where ten-year old boys wear blazers and the seas part for pregnant Asian women and head to Zitomer Department Store.

The walk was pleasant enough. The weather is transitional today and the sky is overcast. Which is why you find women dressed for every weather eventuality. Like a puffer jacket and flip flops. Or a sleeveless Lily Pulitzer dress and a scarf. WASPS may dress expensive, but it doesn’t mean that they dress well. Me, I’m in pajamas because I expected to be on the UWS because I’m dyslexic and today is Rosh Hashanah (Shana Tova, Michael and Happy Jew Year to you 🍎). But mostly, I just feel like no one is having good sex on the UES. No one looks appetizing and no one looks satisfied.

Anyway, wearing pajamas on the UES is anathema. Sure, these are from Anthropologie and they look like clothes anywhere else in the city. But unless your pajamas are made of tweed, they are not gonna pass up here for clothes. Lucky for me, I wore my Gucci bow pinned to my jacket. The ladies at Alexis Bittar commented on it (see, Michael, I didn’t forget). But I’ve long ago learned the trick for fitting in amongst the rich is to just act mildly disgusted and nonplussed.

Rich is rich is rich no matter where you are on the planet. It’s universal. And nothing is more universal than a facial expression that says that nothing is ever quite good enough. Which brings me to Zitomer.

Zitomer is a place I heard about years ago from someone’s Insta feed. It’s legendary. For what, I’m not sure, but I figured I had to check it out. One step in and I knew where I was. Bracker’s c. 1992, down to the elevator. It had so much stuff that my mother (for whom nothing is ever quite good enough) would buy: velvet scrunchies, giant headbands, clips, rabbit fur earmuffs, stockings. Basically anything you’d see on a woman named Buffy. I couldn’t help myself. I bought a houndstooth headband, shoe inserts for plantar fasciitis and a black velvet turban. Told you I was investing in my future.

I’m wearing the headband right now, and I think it elevates the whole pajama look. This diner is sad. Maybe because of the holiday, but I think it just is sad. Across the way from my booth are what have to be a mother and son. He’s very cute (the pic’s not great). And he seems like the kind of shitty son that only makes time for his mother when he needs money.

I have to decide whether to make my move and head back to mundane Bed Stuy or do some more window shopping and eavesdropping up here. In any case, it’s been a trip.

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