Many years ago I was too intimidated to walk into a high end NYC department store such as Berdorf Goodman. My mother favored Saks Fifth Ave when we made our annual visit to NYC. Particularly their pocketbook sales. My guess now is that Berdorf’s intimidated her too. The somewhat haughty “May I help you?” used to make me think that they somehow knew just by looking at me that I couldn’t afford anything they were offering.
My shoes are a better quality now. So is my attitude. Somewhere along the line, maybe when I got older than the sales persons, I stopped feeling intimidated. Maybe it was moving to CA that made me feel and think I looked more or differently sophisticated and could therefore feel ok in this status conscious temple. I know that, at some point, the Upper East Side look,which initially fascinated me and seemed unapproachable started to look conforming and dated. Nothing to fear here, for sure.
Today I wandered into the store needing a new lipstick. NO problem. It was near lunchtime so I made my way to the top floor to find a seat at their restaurant Bg. I took a seat in the lounge, because they told me there was no space in the restaurant itself. I had a perfect vantage point by the entrance to the restaurant to watch the arrival of the Ladies who Lunch. and even surreptitiously take a few photos for this blog.
“Look how gorgeous you are!”exclaims one socialite to another. “I didn’t recognize you in this fabulous color!”
It’s a chic timeless room with a green canopy of trees from Central Park visible from the windows. The upholstered small tables for two by the windows are understandably coveted. A place to see and be seen.
“A glass of white burgundy and ice water with a straw,” the woman seated next to me briskly instructs her waiter.
I easily broke the diners into categories. (90% female)
A. Those dressed all in black with and without a reservation, looking quite comfortable and more than pleased to grab a seat in the lounge when told there was no room in the restaurant itself. They know their way around here.
B. Those who step off the elevator looking uncertain. They are doomed to remain on the outside of this clubby enclave. Treated kindly as far as I could tell, but quickly turned away. The woman in the center of this photo epitomizes this look.
C. Young, polished, self-assured creatures who were there to attend a private party in the curtained off back room.They swept right through the door by passing the hostess. No one dares to question their right to be there.
D. The impeccably dressed and coiffed single female guests, greeted with a hug and large smile by the maitre d. He is positioned discreetly across the door from the hostess whom most check in with, for such an occasion when someone of “import” arrives and needs to be fussed over and ushered into the inner sanctum. Maybe there’s always a table waiting for this kind of guest? Too obvious and too close to even attempt a photo here.
I couldn’t help noticing the power shoes that came through the door. It was easy taking the photos of feet.
LOoks like the afro is back.
The people watching was great here. Probably unchanged for the last century. I think the only thing that fortunately has changed is my frame of reference!