The Night I Wore My Louboutins To The Mark Hotel Bar

Saturday night I wore my Louboutin Simple 70s to the bar at the Mark Hotel. 77th and Park. To a certain extent, that sentence says all that needs to be said. But it’s pretty dense, as a communication, so let me deconstruct.

I lived in Manhattan from 1979 through 1984. I was young, in my mid-20’s. Besieged with all the doubts of that age, and then some, I could buy the right clothes, I could look pretty good. I never felt cool. Once a Japanese newspaper took my picture for an article on the best-dressed women in business school. I’m serious. But I was quite simply too thin-skinned, and too caught between my High WASP pedigree and my left-coast training to be able to settle into a coterie. And without a coterie, where’s cool?

If there was a route to coolness, I don’t think I ever found it. If I did, the person in charge neglected to tell me I’d arrived.

But at 53, even the thin-skinned can speak to themselves in sensible voices. We can say to ourselves, “Cool is as cool does.”

So on Saturday night, during the long weekend in Manhattan, I put on my new shoes. I put on my Narcisco Rodriguez little black dress. I put on a pair of antique Swedish earrings. I clipped my hair back in a tortoiseshell barrette, leaving too-long bangs feathering out in front. Pretty damn cool. I wore nude lipstick. Even cooler. Carried a black trench, and, as it turned out, my aubergine handbag, glittering like a bowling ball. Too early in the evening for black beaded clutches. It’s the bag that defines hour-appropriateness of one’s getup.

We took a cab.

The bar was lit up with stars. Literally.

The women were Upper East Side to their nails. Tory Burch lookalikes, only less earnest. I saw the UES incarnation of the New York street look, in all its blonde glory. Wheat tweed jacket, with a classic Gap denim silhouette. Beige tee. Scarf. Long necklace of big white round beads. Light menswear shoes, brogues or some such. Mark my words. Brogues are big. So is hair. Can you say, “Volume at the roots?” And yet, not plastic, not shiny, somehow friendlier than years past.

And me in my black dress and shoes feeling like an effing movie star. Which I’m not, obviously. But it didn’t matter. I was well-nigh giggling out loud. Drinking Prosecco. More stars. I was my own Glinda, virtual tulle skirt in a haze about me.

We decided to eat at the Jean-Georges restaurant. Of course they had a table. They sat us by the bar. Don’t you just love that guy’s bald head? And the assumption of power in his forward lean?

I could have cared less which table I got – I’m not Mayor Bloomberg and thank goodness for that. I walked my own private red carpet to sit down. Like a little girl invited downstairs to the grownups dinner party, wide-eyed, bare-footed, in a nightgown, every one intoxicated around her. Except of course I had clothes on. Everyone else might have been intoxicated. I paid no nevermind.

I ordered Sweet Pea Soup with Parmesan Foam. The waitperson brought out a soup bowl in which rested three little hills of yellow. That was the parmesan part. Then she poured hot bright green soup and it ran in rivulets around the foam. Delicious. Drank a bottle of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon. Also delicious.

Ate some bread. A shrimp salad. A veal chop. Then we walked out and down Park Avenue. The night was still warm. A doorman said, “Good evening!” My feet didn’t even hurt.

Through the dark trees, I saw lights from Central Park, dark sky above. When you get older, cool is easier to come by. So is sentiment. We took a cab back downtown. Didn’t want to push my foot luck any further.

*DocP pointed out to me that the New York Times reviewed this exact meal just last week. Copycats:).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  • Sounds like a fabulous evening! It sounds as though you achieved "cool glamour," a more distinctive and demanding form of cool.

    (I love New York in the spring! Our years there intersected; I worked in midtown in '81-'82. Lived in Princeton, though.)

  • Sounds like my kind of evening out…an aperitif and chic bar and then dinner at a restaurant with a serious chef.
    You must have looked gorgeous…how come the bald gentleman with the forward power posture didn't send over a bottle of champagne?
    LOVE the earrings!

  • Sounds wonderful.

    Wish you had included pics of you!


  • Pseu – I was thinking, we all have our aspirations, and sometimes fail to appreciate what we achieve. Right?
    Belle – High praise indeed if you like the earrings:).
    Gardener's – I'm working up to it. I'm reflected there in the taxi window though…

  • This story is beautiful! Lucky you, having experienced the parmesan-Espuma! The crazy cook Ferran Adriá dedicated his life to this foam! I love TV-documentaries on this nano-cuisine :)

    I have to agree with janet: at least a foot? or a heel? the sight in the cab is all we get? Let phantasy fill in the blanks.

  • You are COOL and everyone there noticed it. I feel sure that there were other bloggers there that night who have documented in their blogs seeing such a gorgeously chic, cool and glamorous gal who they feel sure is a celebrity of some kind or maybe an heiress. Gorgeous post.

  • "And without a coterie, where's cool?" … hell, if you wrote grocery lists I would read you.


  • Oh it sounds like a perfect evening. And seriously cool.

  • Oh, but you ARE a movie star my dear.

    And that soup? Looks delicious.

  • Love this post. Makes me want to up and move to NYC. Sounds so fabulous.

  • Sounds like a magical night :-)

    Those earrings are fantastic – fanciful fleur de lis.

  • Paula – I had no idea I was experiencing food history.
    La Belette – Thank you oh she of the gorgeous posts. The bloggers blogging about bloggers…
    ADG – Do you know I have told my English professor father about your gift of gab?
    Mardel – Thank you very much.

  • Did you know the NY Times reviewed The Mark and that soup on Wednesday?

  • Your reflection in the taxi window is oh so elegant! I wish you had included pictures of yourself. Thank you for the wonderful post.

  • In my imagination you are ultra chic slender petite blur eyed beauty.

  • We????? I´m curious. A very interesting post..I am so anxious to know who are we ; )

  • Not a cool bone in my body, sadly, but I love watching it on/in others — seems to me you were pretty damn close! Great description of what sounds like a très glamourous evening.

  • Love the ensemble you described – you are cool to the core, my friend. And thank you for the compliment on my blog. The thought that I even remotely resemble Diane Lane made my day!

  • Jan – I'll pretend I am if you can make me that soup. How about it?;)
    Southern Accent – Thank you. I feel that way a good 30% of the time.
    Patsy – Thank you. My mom gave them to me.
    DocP – Those big copycats at the NYT. I've been meaning to talk to them about it.
    Anon – I'm kind of small, and I do highlight my hair, but the ultra chic I can only pull off if I gun all my engines…
    metscan – You are a curious one, aren't you:).
    mater – Thank you. As a Sturdy Gal, I happily settle now for pretty damn close.

  • Coolness personified. Love your evening and of course your writing even more. Adore Cloudy Bay Sauvignon too – perfection all round! x

  • Wow, you got to live in NYC when it was still a gritty city, or the good ole days, depending on your point of view. I loved it then, love it still.
    Sounds like such a fun night!

  • Now, that's what I'm talkin' bout!

    Sounds like a perfect evening for a wonderful woman!

    I adore the earrings.

  • Cool prose for a cool night!

    I love it, LPC. You've got the jump on SATC 2. Weeks before the official opening, you've lived their world.

    I am inspired. When my left foot can fit into a pair, I'm going to slip on some Louboutins, hit the city and think of you.

    SSG xxx

  • Very glamorous and, a sincere, not anxious glamour. My coolest nights in New York unfortunately I no longer remember what I wore. Probably did not remember a week later. Now, would do exactly as you have!

  • Lovely post. Just lovely. I haven't been to New York since spring 2001, but I was taking that post-prandial stroll right with you. And, I am one who finds you cool. We can share a coterie.

  • Because we all played a small role in the assembling of the ensemble via your posts, it is almost as if we were there with you. The description of the soup alone is bliss, the rest is uber-cool.

    We know you looked awesome. Yeppers.

    Smiles at you Miss LPC,

  • Semi expat- Thank you. If we've got to age, at least we can gain some perspective.
    Maureen – Yes, it was grittier, wasn't it.
    Jill – Maybe that night I was in fact a chica.
    Sydney Shop Girl – Yes, I hope your foot heels fast and you are out and about.

  • We all deserve an evening of magic at least once per decade (or more often – much more often!)

  • Duchesse – I thought you were going to say you no longer remember the nights. There were some of those:).
    Kcecelia – I will be in a coterie with you any day. You're way cool, as my kids would say.
    TPP – Yeppers. Manhattan is more fun when you're over 40, say I.

  • Your opening paragraph is perfect. I too lived in NY arriving in 1979. I has a great time in the go-go '80s…except for the uniform of the basic suit, floppy bow tie and those Gucci pumps with good trim on the heel :)

  • We need a picture! I can see you glide through the restaurant with the confidence that only comes from life experiences!! And those earrings – I'm in love. Love the description of your hair, too! Fabulous post! xoxo

  • You must have looked gorgeous and there is no question that everyone at the bar was wondering WHO is that very sophisticated woman…

  • What a lovely night. Nice earrings, too.

  • It's always better to raise the tone than lower it!

  • Love the photos esp the one of the bald guys head! Cloudy Bay Sav Blanc is one of my favourites, I wonder how much they sell it for in New York?

  • Lovely descriptive and imagination-triggering post. I _SAW_ you there… I have been following the tale of the Loubotins since you started posting _that_ article. Now I am off to the next city, which deserves this name to find a shop which carries them. And if I only wear them once ( as I do have orthopaedic problem) I must have… you know… they are on my wish list since a looong time. I assume I will not only take a cab to and fro the place where I will wish to show them, but as well a personal carrier with a sedan to get me to the table ;-))
    Your earrings are grand! I assume they are from about the 1820-1860 – what in Germany is named the "Biedermeier" Period. Exceptional that they still have all the dangles ! You lucky one !

  • WOW! I have a snippet of time here before the guests awaken….that's an amazing retelling of an event in the High Wasp World…love the cool attitude, and the ensemble…swedish earrings such a nice touch! The food looks yummy too.

  • I am coveting those earrings!

  • You are classy and cool. Dinner sounds delightful. You are always in New York

  • OK, you are damn funny! I love your writing and wit. I lived in New York in the late '80s and so get the "volume at the roots that's friendlier than in years past"!! And I get everything else you wrote. I was momentarily sitting there with you. What a hoot. You need to write a New York book! Thanks for sharing.

  • LPC, everything about you (the way you think and express yourself through writing and personal style, the way you are in the world) is fascinating. Your blog is highly educational and is one of kind (just like you!)
    Though I understand that the person must be born to / raised by a high WASP family, I aspire to be like you. You are my role model and symbol of perfection.

    If you decide to write a book, please make it a book about Style (not fashion) and Manners (being appropriate). Thank you.

    From Russia with Love.

  • Anon – Lordy, I remember those heel with the gold trim! I threw my bow tie away with gusto.
    Preppy 101 – Only someone our age could appreciate the joy of a ponytail:).
    Gourmetmom – At least I felt as though they might be wondering…
    Julia – Thank you.
    Imogen – In this case, I was so happy to.

  • Faux – By the bottle, it might have been ~$50? But could have been more. It's $30 in the stores.
    Chatelaine – I want photos of you carried in the personal sedan:). And you know more about the earrings than I do.
    hostess – Hope you are having a great time with your guests.
    Barbara – I look forward to returning.
    Barrie – Volume at the roots baby! Thank you so much.
    Anon – I'm handing out free High WASP cards here. Privilege of birth is only good if you can share what you really value. Thank you very much. And if you are in fact from Russia, my sister majored in Russian Literature. Speaks a little Russian. So there, something shared.

  • I think I'm in love with how the soup was presented as much as its dreamy name. Parmesan foam…

  • Very enjoyable post…especially the reference to the little girl being invited to the big dinner party. I had fun living vicariously through you, but oh, LPC how I would love to have seen a pic of you! I know you looked stunning!

  • love the earrings!! good choice on wine too! where can you go wrong? :p – please follow if you like. :)

  • Really enjoyed the story, especially the part about the little girl. You always have a stunning way of expressing yourself.

  • Lovely, just lovely.

    I'm so glad you had a wonderful time!

  • Wow. You write beautifully. I may as well have been there.

  • Your wonderful post made me just sigh from the loveliness of it all. Thanks for such a well written little story. You made me miss NY. I live 1.5 hours away. Maybe I should go.

  • Buckeroo – It does sound a little like a magic spell, doesn't it.

    Lipstick – Thanks. That's the line my son liked too:).

    Ash – Thank you. Glad you like the earrings.

    Housewife – Thank you so much.

    Muffy – Thank you, friend.

    Teresa – Thank you. All I can say is I waited a long, long time to be able to tell these stories and I appreciate so much that you all listen.

    Madline – I know the effort of getting to a nearby city, but it's so much fun once you arrive.

  • Seriously close to mine and Babe's last weekend in NYC. Sustract the Loubs and add Monica Lewinsky next to me at dinner. It was beauuutiful in the city and Central Park was lush and green…XXOO

  • Summer – it would have been too funny were we there at the same time. What did you wear? What was Monica wearing?

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] Very Fancy Dinners At Home Or Out […]

  2. […] the natural choice. I tried on my plain diamond studs, but they disappeared. I thought about the gold Swedish antique chandeliers, but that reddish gold did the dress hues no favor. These Hawaiian opal and diamond thingies proved […]

  3. […] in India, 1982 || Reflection of a previously anonymous blogger in a cab on the way to dinner at the Mark Hotel || The Eugenie salad at Laduree in […]