Tag Archives: manhattan

it’s aural, not oral, photography!

“jeez, get your mind out of the gutter,”  i said.  “i’m not a kardashian sister!”

i was explaining to maximillian my photography adventure with facebook friends carolyn quinn and azusa watanabe.  it’s not oral it’s aural–a form of photography that is meant to capture the inner essence of a person.

“it’s meant to capture the subtle color radiances that surround a person,”  i said.  “also called the life field.”

“uh huh.”

“we went to a place that did aural photography right after our lunch at laconda verde.”

“how was the restaurant?”

“well, the food was middling but expensive and the atmosphere was chaotic, but otherwise. . . ”

laconda verde is a restaurant in manhattan owned by robert de niro. my facebook friend michele persiak has agoraphobia but so wanted to go to this restaurant that she managed to get out of her house, take the staten island ferry and come to the restaurant with us. at his morning staff meeting, mr. de niro no doubt was determined that his waiters and waitresses deliver the highest standards of new york service. mr. de niro starred in the 1976 movie taxi driver as an angry, depressed, homocidal young new york man. but a taxi driver, not a waiter.

after lunch, michele went home and i hope she is aware that if you can have lunch at laconda verde, you can make it anywhere!  but i wanted to spend a little more time with carolyn and azusa.  i was particularly intrigued by azusa.  we became friends in february of last february.  a japanese social media site mixi.jp did a story about my facebook new year’s resolution.  when azusa was traveling in the united states this summer she made a point of contacting me and figuring out when we would be in the same city.  i really appreciate that!  azusa is a teacher of conversation english in tokyo.

the new york lunch bunch–carolyn, azusa, me, and michele. none of us would be friends without the help of facebook. so thank you mark zuckerberg!

carolyn suggested that we go to china town and get our aural photographs taken.  she has done so before and it turns out she is what is termed an “indigo girl”. . . which means that she has a great degree of creativity and spirituality.  we went to a small little shop that sold crystals, jewelry, herbal supplements.  each of us sat for our picture.  the photographer was a little strict.

as it turns out carolyn again was revealed to be an indigo girl!  which meant that her picture was a fuzzy melange of purple-ish tones.

carolyn is hard to see with all that life field around her!

azusa and  i turned out to be sort of yellow and red, meaning we had a great deal of creativity and verve.  oddly, all three of us were advised by the photographer that our chakra showed that we needed some sleep.  well, azusa was jetlagged, carolyn has bronchitis and me?  i hadn’t slept the night before because i was starting to worry about how i was getting home.  and i had a right to be worried!

this is how new yorkers welcome a traveler to the city!

two months ago i made a commitment to facebook friend michele persiak that i would fly into new york just to take her to lunch at her favorite restaurant laconda verde.  why?  because michele had been experiencing a period of anxiety attacks and agoraphobia that made it impossible to leave her staten island home.  what was a place that would motivate her to walk around the block, take the bus a few stops, go to the store, all to get her ready for the trip across the water to manhattan?

i think it’s the sweetest most adorable endorsement of a restaurant that michele was willing to make major life changes and overcome obstacles in order to go to the restaurant laconda verde 377 greenwich in new york.


i flew in the day before our luncheon and had a chance to wander around.  i walked into the shop sabon, which sells sweet smelling soaps and candles and lotions.  the proprietress said that it was a company tradition that first time customers be welcomed with a ceremonial washing of hands.  new york is brutish, dirty, sweaty, hot and sometimes overwhelming.  this is how to be welcomed in new york and it is the same experience i hoped to offer michele when she came into manhattan!

sabon has three different locations in new york and while i was at the one at 1371 6th avenue, you can find the others at sabonnyc.com

i am (briefly) living the supermodel life in new york!

the hotel st. james is an unassuming little boutique hotel on west forty fifth street and you could be forgiven for walking right by it, as i did.  i got there just when the doormen and the valets and the bellboys were on break.  nonetheless, it is the most magnificent fan-tabulous hotel in all manhattan!  the lobby is a commentary on ikea postmodernist minimalism and dusty plastic flowers.

the desk clerk raised an eyebrow–i had cheated on my diet in the past few days–and he assigned me the supermodel suite on the twelfth floor. how do i know it’s the supermodel suite?  it’s on the twelfth floor. and the staff very helpfully shut down the elevators. getting to my room was a great workout! and coming back downstairs to tell them that the magnetized key card didn’t work just doubled the fun!

you don’t need blush or highlighter powder at the hotel–everyone has a natural, pink glow, in part because they are true environmentalists who don’t believe in air conditioning!  coming back up to the room after getting my card fixed i figured i was ready for a refreshing shower.

this picture from the st. james website doesn’t do justice to the supermodel bathroom which is so slim and compact that only a woman with a nineteen inch waist can brush her teeth without standing in the tub. i am learning to suck in that tummy!

real estate is pricey in manhattan and i was surprised by how reasonably priced the st. james is.

a picture of somebody else’s guest room and the pool from their website. i haven’t found the pool but since i cheated on my diet maybe that’s a good thing. i might alarm chic new yorkers if i wore a bikini! and besides, i’m on a mission and shouldn’t get distracted.

in may of this year, i crossed over to staten island in the ferry to meet michele persiak, the 317th facebook friend in my friends list.  michele is an agoraphobic who rarely left the house and then only with the help of a “safe” friend.  i was very honored that i counted as a “safe” friend and we went for a walk.

michele is a wonderful twentysomething gal who is just too young to let herself be tied to the house this way.  i asked her what her major goal in life is and she said it was to become a psychiatrist and help people who have anxiety disorders.  i asked her what her “minor” goal was and she said it was to one day dine at the restaurant laconde verde which is on greenwich street in manhattan.  she had read that robert de niro owns the joint and that it was the superswankest restaurant she could imagine.  a bus ride, a ferry trip, and a cab ride away.  it might as well be on the moon.

supermodels are allowed their eccentricities. so if michele wants to bring her pet stewie, i guess i have to say “okay!”

but i promised michele that if she broke things up into little parts she could call me and i would make reservations.  she started walking a block every day, then two blocks, then a trip to micky dee’s, and then out for a meal with our mutual facebook friend carolyn quinn.  carolyn called for reservations.  and i booked my flight.  and we’ll be joined by azusa watanabe who is coming all the way from japan!

this is exactly how supermodels do it!  and it’s going to be four supermodels having the supermodel life!  if you want to join us please do!  but make sure you  work it like a supermodel!