OFFICIAL BLOG

Fieldnotes

Lunch (and identity) on the (lower) Upper East Side

Published by Wednesday Martin
I had lunch with my friend Barbara at Chat Noir, E. 66th near Madison, recently. It’s teeming with ladies- who-lunch types. The east side in the 60s and 70s skews older than Carnegie Hill.
I had lunch with my friend Barbara at Chat Noir, E. 66th near Madison, recently. It’s teeming with ladies- who-lunch types. The east side in the 60s and 70s skews older than Carnegie Hill.

  


Fieldnotes: Baby CZ Opening and Childhood on the Upper East Side

Published by Wednesday Martin
These girls came to the store opening with their mothers. In Manhattan, children accompany their parents just about everywhere. I saw a six-year-old boy with his dad at a Wagner opera once.
These girls came to the store opening with their mothers. In Manhattan, children accompany their parents just about everywhere. I saw a six-year-old boy with his dad at a Wagner opera once.

The Manhattan tribe I study lives in a state of ecological release. Basically, that means life is good. As is the case for the fortunate of the industrialized world, subsistence is a given — my tribe are not struggling to get enough calories for themselves and their kids to avoid starvation, not by a long shot. They are not at war (even when their country is). There is little competition for abundant resources. And they face no predators (now that Bernie Madoff is in jail).


Strange Fall Rites of the Manhattan Tribe

Published by Wednesday Martin
Photo by Rachel Bowie. We stand right in the street to hail cabs. Often in the bike lane. Sometimes a cyclist will high five you as they bike by, no kidding.
Photo by Rachel Bowie. We stand right in the street to hail cabs. Often in the bike lane. Sometimes a cyclist will high five you as they bike by, no kidding.

Manhattan may be the exception to the adage "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." It's hard to come back to a smelly, noisy, cramped town after a beachy, rural summer idyll. Lots of us hate it — complaining about being back in town after time away away (in the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket, most often) is a Fall tradition here. But distance and absence have certainly make the city look more fascinatingly strange, exotic and foreign to me after 11 weeks at the beach (don't hate me — I worked while I was there!) Manhattan and Manhattanites, now I see you as you truly are — a tribe (or collection of tribes) with rites, rituals and ways of being and doing that truly set you apart.


Letter from Manhattan: Understanding New York Fashion Week

Published by Wednesday Martin
“Standing” is both a place and a hazing practice at New York Fashion Week. The uninitiated and low ranking do not get seats. Wearing the designer’s accessories or clothing is a demonstration of loyalty and belief.
“Standing” is both a place and a hazing practice at New York Fashion Week. The uninitiated and low ranking do not get seats. Wearing the designer’s accessories or clothing is a demonstration of loyalty and belief.

Manhattan is a town of tribes. And there is no tribe-ier tribe than the fashion tribe. They speak their own language, in which they express their own concerns to themselves and the rest of us who care (“Fringe is trending”; “Alexander Wang is the new Marc Jacobs”; “The yellow story is holding on”). They are migratory and exotic, traveling where their Vuitton luggage and schedules take them: New York City, London, Milan and Paris are the tribe’s habitus. And they live in another timeframe — for them, it’s all about Spring/Summer 2014 in the early days of fall. But as a New Yorker, I like to think they are somehow ours, that they live with us here and now, and always will. 


Field Trip to the Other Fork

Published by Wednesday Martin
To get from here to there you take two ferries. In between the South Fork and the North Fork is Shelter Island. It marks the transition from world to world.
To get from here to there you take two ferries. In between the South Fork and the North Fork is Shelter Island. It marks the transition from world to world.

The Manhattan tribes live by binary oppositions. French anthropologist Claude Levi Strauss suggested that, just like the indigenous people he studied in the Brazilian Amazon, we all share the same "savage mind" that creates categories in distinction to other categories (alive/dead; animal/human; inside/outside), thus ordering our experience.


Fashion Friday — Back to Fall

Published by Wednesday Martin
The strappy sandal has migrated to women’s backs this summer. The lines here draw attention to her back and her bottom. The latter is where you would find a non-human female primate’s indications of estrus. But back display is relatively new.
The strappy sandal has migrated to women’s backs this summer. The lines here draw attention to her back and her bottom. The latter is where you would find a non-human female primate’s indications of estrus. But back display is relatively new.

On Labor Day weekend, a woman with kids is thinking Back to School. Or she's in denial about it.