My baby sister is actually not a baby and about to be a bride. This weekend we are headed to Disney World to celebrate her, and a good dose of Harry Potter world awaits as well. I am so excited!! All this festive glitter has me reminiscing about my own Bachelorette in old New York. Read along to relive it with me!
New York City is my favorite place in the world. Hence, when it was time to celebrate my status as then-Future Mrs. Wilhite, there was only one place to go. We flew in Thursday night and headed straight to Broadway to take in Cinderella the Musical. Seeing a princess bride be so brave, kind and forgiving was inspiring. Watching the Broadway star Laura Osnes (@lauraosnes) dance about and have so many spangly costume changes was a dream! Caro Bean and I headed downtown to meet up with friends at Momofuku Noodle Bar for late bites after the show.
I have so many happy memories from this weekend. Days after my 27th birthday, it was a brisk November visit: cold enough to need a good coat with bright brass buttons, but not terribly freezing. Since we had 18 of us, including my mom and Aunt Pam, it seemed the wisest choice to triangulate our activities to one section of Manhattan. Getting 18 women anywhere is a challenge. Hailing enough yellow taxi cabs to make a reservation deadline is a nightmare.
We stayed at the Mondrian SoHo, which is now the Nomo Soho. It was lovely when we were there. They still offer a dazzling entrance and glorious party room behind a secret bookcase. If there isn’t a secret wall, is it worth going to the party?
The Lingerie shower had all the trappings: pink balloons, pink boas, tiaras, glow sticks, animal ear swag (most notable, Caroline Thompson Knapp working the bunny ears all night) and custom cookies from Eleni’s New York. Caroline Knapp, my sister Caro Bean, my Aunt Pam Thompson and my mom all get an extra special mention for bringing all these details together. Really, everyone who joined in the trip went above and beyond to make it a BLAST and to cover every detail for this detail-loving party girl!
Thanks to Alexandra Reichek (@chekmarkeats), authority on all matters of dining in New York, Italy, Austin and the world; we ate and partied like royalty while we were there. Alex is a dear friend who faithfully phones me up despite the fact that I am a flake and we don’t live in the same city. She’s the best.
Alex coordinated our first night’s feast, open bar and explosion of carbs at a now-closed Italian restaurant on the Lower East Side. We started with drinks at Pianos, which surprised some girls for its dive-essence, but was an excellent snapshot of LES, my old stomping grounds. We ended up back at the dance lounge at the hotel and went on to after hours clubs in SoHo and again the Lower East Side. I may have had a run-in at the coat check. We may have lost half the group. They may have resurfaced during the better part of the next morning, and I am told that they were led through a sunrise yoga session in an apartment somewhere in TriBeCa.
Since the City offers plenty of entertainment, we did not have a lot of structure during the day except for brunch at The Cupping Room Cafe, one of my mom’s and my favorite spots in SoHo. The day before we lunched down the street at Balthazar. Also wonderful. We don’t go enough these days, but my mom and I pride ourselves on befriending the best waiter in the restaurant who is now running the joint as manager, and more importantly, who always whisks us into a cozy booth with a good view of the excellent people-worth-watching.
Some of the girls made 8 hours stretch into 20 and hit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Modern Museum of Art and The Frick. Fun fact: the Frick did not hire me to work in their coat check closet. Perhaps for the best, perhaps not. But, had I tarried any longer working in New York, I would not have met my man and had a Bachelorette party there!
That day others got blow outs or skulked around McBloomies – as I like to call the Bloomingdales in SoHo) A few went back to their own apartments and took a nap. All I know for sure is that I spent more than one trip examining every inch of C. Wonder. I wish I had bought the whole store because now it’s another New York Minute Memory.
The second night, Alexandra outdid herself by surprising me with a seated dinner of several courses and the most amazing variety of deserts. Alex, I will never forget how much work you put in to making our nights out so memorable! We ate crunchy rice cakes, mongolian lamb robata, custom sushi rolls, bourbon-miso chilean seabass, bok choi (potentially stewed in crack to make it taste that good), fried rice with Chinese sausage, and something called Buddhist delight. It was DELICIOUS. And that’s not listing the 10 kinds of desserts, some of which were on fire and some of which included a small hammer to conk into layers of chocolate, ice cream and melt-in-your-mouth goodness. We feasted like a bunch of teenage football players and then danced ’till dawn like. . . well, . . . like a bunch of twenty somethings on a Bachelorette bender.
Like so many of-the-moment New York spots, a few of the clubs and restaurants we attended en masse that night are no more. Alas, the memories will last a lifetime and there are more and more places to explore and taste on our next trip. It won’t be long until Miss Emma Bean and I are making our own SoHo memories just like my mom and I have for decades. We woke up that morning to headaches, pink feathers strewn throughout the hotel lobby and elevator banks, and we rolled out to a burger joint (no waining appetites in this group!) and one more hug-fest before flying off to the four winds.
I feel so blessed by the amazing friends who celebrated with me. It was a weekend for the books! #SoLongSuffield #ElizaGoneWilhite
Pink sparkle dress. on sale, softer version.
LBD with cut outs. 2017 edition.