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Notes on a Perfect Staycation in New York and My Latest Finds.

By: Jen Shoop

Mr. Magpie and I just enjoyed the loveliest staycation. We ate at two of our absolute favorite restaurants, I Sodi and Prune (where THE Gabrielle Hamilton bussed our table! Mr. Magpie was majorly starstruck, as her memoir is one of his favorite books and we reference/use the Prune cookbook constantly. She made a joke about taking his Bloody Mary away before it was finished, and after she left, he said: “We’re basically on the level of exchanging Christmas cards now.” Ha!). We also had dinner with friends at Mission Chinese, took in the Dutch Masterpieces exhibition at The Met (one of the best exhibits I’ve seen in a long awhile — the curator’s notes were exceptional!), enjoyed a leisurely coffee date just the two of us at Irving Farm, watched “Parasite” and “Ford v Ferrari,” bought some “drip” (ha!) for Mr. Magpie at Todd Snyder, popped in for an impromptu glass of wine at a wine bar around the corner from us, supervised several playdates, passed a lovely morning over coffee and pastries with our former neighbors, and passed an equally lovely happy hour over wine with our new neighbors while our children played. As we sat in I Sodi eating truffle pappardelle with globes of nebbiolo in hand, we kept saying to each other: “Do we really live here? Is this our life?!” For all of its bawdiness and unkindnesses, New York makes it up to you when it really matters. I’m sure NY will figure out how to take us down a peg (remember the cockroach incident?), but for now? We’re on cloud nine.

If you’re visiting or staycationing in NY and share a similar penchant for gluttony, may I recommend you follow our protocol? Try Prune for lunch. Show up just as it opens at 11:30 on a Monday. We got a table with no problem and lingered there for some time. You might even spot Gabrielle herself, as we did.

Stop by the Met on a Tuesday afternoon around 2:30. The early crowds have evaporated and there is far more elbow room. (Plus, the Met is pay-what-you-wish for NY residents.) Then grab a happy hour drink — incidentally, happy hours are few and far between in Manhattan and it’s hard to find a glass of wine for under $14, but Mermaid Inn and Vin Sur Vingt on the UWS are exceptions and accommodating spots to pass an hour or so.

I Sodi does accept reservations but you might do as we did and chance it by showing up around 6:30 (risky business) on a Tuesday night and putting your names in for a spot at the bar. (Honestly, we prefer sitting at the bar to a table most nights! It’s cozy, easier to hear one another, and has a completely different — more casual — vibe. I love it.) The restaurant said it would be a 45 minute wait, which, in New York, is the equivalent to “immediate seating” — ha, and also, eye roll. Everything in Manhattan is SUCH A SCENE. We miss the unfussiness of Chicago, which boasted excellent restaurants but was a lot more approachable and easy to navigate when it came to getting seated. (With one exception: Au Cheval.) We one time went to Gramercy Tavern to try their legendary burger and were told that there would be a two hour wait…to put our names in. As in — “Come back in two hours, and we can add your name then.” YAH RIGHT. We’re not waiting for four hours for a burger thankyouverymuch. At any rate, this past Tuesday, we put in our names and went around the corner from I Sodi to one of my favorite bars in the city, Bar Pisellino. It’s essentially a Milanese aperitivi bar — they specialize in spritzes and negronis and have little salty treats to snack on, like pickled vegetables and hunks of parm and crispy breadsticks. The bar is a triangle shape optimal for a quick perch and a quick sip before heading out to dinner; most of the customers appear to be waiting for tables at nearby restaurants like Via Corota (excellent, and we saw Natalie Portman there when we went) and I Sodi. It’s an easy, pleasant, elegant way to pass an hour while waiting for a table.

Take the Subway to and from. It’s the fastest way to get around and will leave you feeling less guilty about the tab.

At any rate. Glowing from our lovely culinary itinerary, but thought I’d also share a few discoveries and purchases over the past few days that you need to know about…

+Saw this organza blouse (seen above) and ordered on the spot. $35 for the prettiest shade, the puffiest sleeves, and those bows at the back?! IN LOVE.

+This top is also really fun. Both give me Cecilie Bahnsen vibes.

+PSA DO NOT MISS THE LAKE PAJAMAS ANNUAL SALE. Love these for little boys, these for myself, and — if you are pregnant or nursing or know someone who is — you cannot miss these, which were my favoriteeeee.

+Finally picked a rug for mini’s bedroom and scored it at 20% off with code HOLIDAY. It’s one of the last “essential” pieces I had hoped to figure out in the short term. There are slower-burn items we’ll be keeping an eye out for over the next year or so, like a big and hopefully vintage piece of furniture for our dining room (maybe a hutch or a pie safe, as explained here) and some artwork for our bedroom, but we’re in a pretty good place at the moment. Mini’s room is an odd shape — pretty long (maybe 16 feet?) but with a window seat at an angle and her bed opposite on one end of the room. My friend (and talented interior designer!) Jen Hunter had suggested having a rug custom cut from this store for the room, which is what she did for her daughter’s also oddly-shaped nursery, but we decided that spending north of $1000 for a rug in an apartment we are renting for maybe a few more years wasn’t worth it. We instead bought a 6×9 of this rug to demarcate her “play space” and more or less fill most of the room before the slanted window, and then will use a smaller round rug in the space between her bed and the slanted window seat. I’m waiting for the rug to arrive to assess how bright its colors are and we’ll go from there on the round rug, but how cute is this or this?

+Itching to snag this for myself…

+Prior to moving into this apartment, I’d never used a rug pad in my life. Is that embarrassing? But we bought all new rugs for our apartment and truly invested in them — and so I also bought rug pads, including for both children’s rooms. They keep them from moving around/slipping, protect the rug and floor, and also add a delightful layer of cushioning. We have used this brand.

+We use this Scandi-style side table in mini’s room and I am nearly always asked where it is from! People assume it’s more expensive than it is…

+Speaking of mini’s bedroom, we lucked out in that I noticed that the conversion kit that will enable us to switch her toddler bed into a twin bed is now on clearance!!! Yikes. Glad I ordered that before it went out of stock. Just a word to the wise — probably better to order all of the parts to a given convertible crib before it’s too late!

+This elegant dining bench is back in stock.

+We bought a few new things for Mr. Magpie from Todd Snyder, but my favorites are this pair of jeans (love love the vintage, All-American look of a light wash denim on a guy), which I insisted he pair with this white cashmere sweater. So handsome!

+CUTE toddler dress.

+Mr. Magpie has worn Persol sunglasses for maybe the last decade, and I want to shake things up by buying him these clear shades from hip label Garrett Leight.

+Mini needs this floral blouse. PRECIOUS.

+Cute new book we are reading a lot these days at mini’s bedtime.

+I needed one more backup sleepsack for micro as his Moon & Back one literally fell apart within a few weeks of use (!!!) Going to give this Kyte one a try as so many of you recommend them, though we do love our Woolinos.

+Stocked up on these for micro’s spring wardrobe. When do baby boys start looking weird in peter pan collars??? I love them so much but don’t want him to look like Little Lord Fauntleroy. Ha.

+DEAD over this blouse!!! LOVE. I’m always drawn to white but maybe I need it in the pink.

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9 thoughts on “Notes on a Perfect Staycation in New York and My Latest Finds.

  1. Oh, how I love i Sodi and Via Carota — you have me wanting to drop everything & make plans for my next trip to NYC at the end of the month! Love.

    I also co-sign the practice of eating à deux at the bar. It’s romantic, convenient, and just feels cool. Ha!


  2. Love all the rugs and finds! As for Peter Pan collars, I believe they are perfectly alright until you are done with Jon Jon’s! My 2.5 year old still wears one under a Jon Jon, though now that he is toilet trained I’ll switch to two piece sets. Anyway I’d say age 3? At least in the south that’s perfectly acceptable.

  3. Ooo I’ve been dying to go to Pisellino, as a amaro/aperitif obsessive. You might also really enjoy Amor y Amargo in the East Village, which is a similar. They serve delicious amaro-based cocktails only- no beer, no wine, no margaritas. Liquor-based drinks only! They also don’t serve any snacks, so don’t go on an empty stomach. (Ask me how I know…) But because it’s the size of a living room, it’s usually not too loud, and the owner is often behind the bar mixing up the drinks himself.

    1. Anna, thanks for this rec! I have not been drinking alcohol for several months, but amaro is my very favorite — bookmarking this for when I’m tippling again. 🙂

  4. We moved out of NYC a few months ago and this post makes my heart ache. Glad you are enjoying it while living there still makes sense for your family!

    1. Aw — don’t worry, I’m sure the city will take us down a notch today. Ha! I’m sure that it is a HUGE transition though. Landon was just saying that we won’t fit in anywhere else because we’ve been molded into pushy, fast-paced Manhattanites. It’ll take a long time to unlearn some of our bad habits. Ha.

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