“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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Lunch At Bergdorf Goodman


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Windows on the jewel of New York City, Central Park

I love New York City.  

  • I love the way it smells like bagels and urine.
  • I love that it causes sweat to run in rivulets under my butt and breasts in the sticky August heat.
  • I love the whistling workmen (thank you!).  
  • I love riding the subway and wondering about the secret lives of all the disparate faces, certain I know which ones are the murderers.  
  • I love walking into the fancy stores on Fifth Avenue and knowing I won’t buy a thing because the socks alone cost 50$.  
  • I love feeling anonymous in the sea of roiling humanity.  
  • I love feeling like I’m someone else; a Ukraine spy, a mute ventriloquist, a piano lounge lizard, an uptown call girl, a squirrel wrangler, a woman running from her past.  
  • And I love how pissed off and adrenalized everyone is. “Fuck youse!” “No, fuck youse!”

It makes me want to punch sides of beef in a meat locker like Rocky.

In New York City I am more me than I am in Southern California even though I was born and raised there.  

In the Big Apple I talk and walk fast. I never meet a stranger’s eyes. I’m funnier, louder, sassier. Oh, those vagabond shoes.

On my last visit I decided to have lunch at Bergdorf Goodman overlooking Central Park.  

I figured I couldn’t buy anything there, but I could splurge on a 15$ glass of pinot grigio and a 20$ chicken and walnut salad. The bread is free.  

I sat there and smelled the wealth.  Inhaled the privilege.  

I peered at everyone’s shoes. The shoes weren’t ostentatious, but you could tell they were really well made, would last forever and could’ve financed college for your kids.  

The Bergdorf Goodman ladies-who-lunch are Old Money.  

They don’t have to be flashy, they simply are classy. And skinny. And look like they’ve just gotten back from a lovely summer of playing canasta in the Hamptons, or Martha’s Vineyard or ‘Sconset in Nantucket.

I didn’t envy them, but enjoyed the buoyancy of company that didn’t reek of Poverty Consciousness.  

In the Bergdorf Goodman restaurant I let my Poverty Consciousness go and didn’t worry about the check.  

For a moment, I was one of them. Someone who never has to think for one moment about money and what things cost.

I sipped my wine and took in the magnificent view.

 Then it occurred to me I’d had the same exact view in 2006, when I was in New York City for my in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary.  

I’d been two floors up at the John Barrett Hair salon where my mother-in-law made appointments for all of the ladies to get manicures and blow outs.  

My father-in-law, a native New Yorker, just passed away this January.  

I raised my wine glass in a toast to the beautiful, still fresh memory of the celebration of a long, loving marriage and felt my heart contract at the blessedness of my life and the people in it. I felt grateful for the rarified air I breathe.

I love New York. The city of memory, magic and possibility.


Write a comment
  1. Megan
    Megan 17 August, 2012, 07:54

    I’m never at home unless I’m in New York.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 August, 2012, 11:46

      I must admit I’ve never been there in the dead of January. Would I change my tune?

      Reply this comment
  2. Tania luviano
    Tania luviano 17 August, 2012, 08:43

    I also love NYC! I’m my real me! Loud, fast and don’t care to run over anyone, LOL!

    Reply this comment
  3. Mrs. Jen B
    Mrs. Jen B 17 August, 2012, 09:47

    I adore NYC. My husband has never been there and doesn’t see the point. Needless to say, I’m planning a weekend getaway – probably at Christmas time.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 17 August, 2012, 11:46

      I would love to see the tree. I’ve never been in NY during the Christmas season. I smell an addition to my bucket list.

      Reply this comment
  4. Joy
    Joy 17 August, 2012, 09:59

    I need to experience NYC w/o the Ex. It’s on my bucket list.

    Reply this comment
  5. Sharon Greenthal
    Sharon Greenthal 17 August, 2012, 10:00

    I’m from New York and I love it. Every time I visit it’s like I never left. I actually think the people in New York are friendlier than in LA.

    Reply this comment
  6. Deena
    Deena 17 August, 2012, 10:24

    Sounds like you really enjoyed yourself. I’m not a gr fan of New York for all of the reasons you love it…

    Reply this comment
  7. Disney Sisters
    Disney Sisters 17 August, 2012, 15:20

    What a lovely lunch you had and even better than the view was the memory!! Cheers

    Reply this comment
  8. hilljean
    hilljean 17 August, 2012, 16:29

    Urine and bagels. Huh. So that’s what that smell was!

    Reply this comment
  9. Deborah Stambler
    Deborah Stambler 17 August, 2012, 16:40

    Oh I miss that town. Lived for some of my formative years and am always an East Coast girl first. Good for you in treating yourself to lunch. Love your description of the city. I miss that driving energy. And wandering around for hours on end.

    Reply this comment
  10. Mad Shady Girl
    Mad Shady Girl 17 August, 2012, 17:53

    New York will always be my home 😀 I miss the genuineness and the diversity the most. Though the laid back style of L.A. life has definitely grown on me…I lose my poverty consciousness in Brentwood, mingling among successful writers. I pretend I’m one of them as I think, someday. haha!! By the way, love your blog! And your honesty.

    Reply this comment
  11. Presley's Pantry
    Presley's Pantry 17 August, 2012, 18:37

    Fuck… you just took the words out of my mouth…. except I LOVE to pretend I’m Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver. Rock the short shorts and walk around like I own the city. This is an awesome piece and you managed to make me cry at the end too!

    Reply this comment
  12. Delfin Joaquin Paris III
    Delfin Joaquin Paris III 18 August, 2012, 09:49

    I love New York, but even more than that I love Dustin Hoffman’s classic “I’m walking here!” scene in Midnight Cowboy.

    That’s NYC in three words to me.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 18 August, 2012, 09:52

      And that line was ad libbed. That taxi wasn’t a planned thing. Dustin’s a God. Strangely just saw Jon Voight at the mall the other day. It took me a few seconds to realize who the old codger was and I desperately wanted to give him a hug.

      Reply this comment
  13. GirltoMom- Heidi
    GirltoMom- Heidi 18 August, 2012, 18:23


    I’ve been stalking your blog and it was lovely running into you today and meeting your beautiful family! Your husband is handsome, glowing fabulous people.

    I’m trying to find your email address, mine is girltomom@gmail.com – let’s get together and have a girl lunch at Food! Or whatever, coffee, etc…your wedding pics are ridiculously gorgeous. I’m around this week if you have time.

    XOXO- Heidi

    Reply this comment

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