Sunday, April 3, 2011

Purity, charm and mystery… and one late night out

As much as I love Paris, my heart has always belonged to New York. And while I’ve been having little moments of quiet glee and deep connection, walking through the crooked streets and long avenues, it was the Bill Cunningham documentary that made me so happy to be in New York right now.

You probably know his On the Street column (and party pictures) in the Sunday Styles section. But the man himself is mesmerizing. He is goofy and sweet, sharp and singularly focused, and he restores your faith in people. He’s kind, a creative genius and an icon. There is absolutely no one like him in this world. (I’m so glad I stalked him in Galignani last fall! Strangely enough, I saw Grace Coddington when I went to see Jane Eyre a couple weeks ago. But that's another style obsession...)

Beyond making you fall for Bill, the movie is a love letter to New York: the creative energy, the crazy people, the history, the chutzpa, the fame and fabulousness. It made me so proud and excited to be here.

And yet it just so happens that I saw the movie a couple nights after hitting the town with Amee. We had a drink at Orient Express, popped into Pastis for kir royales, then found ourselves at Abe & Arthur surrounded by men—such a rarity in this city that teems with women—and ultimately wound up dancing at SL, where bottles of Cristal were delivered with sparklers and eight-foot tall women were gyrating on the booths. It was fun because, well, how often do you swig Cristal straight from the bottle and dance with a bunch of amped-up traders? But it was also soulless, uninspiring and empty. It just seems like there are no more unique characters, no only-in-New-York clubs, no creative spirit. The Bill Cunningham doc showed the yesteryears of New York as thrilling and unique. You never knew what you were going to get. The New York of today is Duane Reade, Citibank and bottle service.

What can we do to keep New York as charming and mysterious as Bill Cunningham himself?


  1. Love your blog so much! I really agree about your NYC observations. I feel pretty out of sorts in NYC these days - I just don't feel very excited anymore. It's all the same stuff with a different name - same parties, restos, bars, etc... Lather, rinse, repeat. I think I need a break.

  2. Great film...I agree he his an inspiration...his eye is always spot on and fresh. I think clubs are much the same in most major cities these days...too much emphasis on the dollar and not enough on the personality...xv

  3. For Amy...
    My apologies - I am new to "blogging". Which probably speaks volumes about my following comment. I thoroughly LOVED your column in the NYT re: your adventuresome leap into Paris immersion for 2 years. I could picutre and smell your enviable experience. I would give up much to do the same. But reading your NYC blog, I see that you have embraced I live I envy - period. I would dearly love to communicate with you about your Paris experience. May I? I would love to share my e-mail with

  4. Thanks for getting me out to see Bill yesterday before it closed!
    Though Jetlag made me miss the first half, he still was terrific as ever.
    I'll have to get the DVD to catch up..

  5. Now I'll have to put the jeans away and get dressed up for Bill :)