Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Le Jour de Valentine

Wandering New York City last week, I found numerous reminders that le 14 fèvrier is Valentine's Day. My sweetheart, Richard, purchased a gift for me just once in our long history together, specifically for Valentine's Day. (He buys me beautiful things all year, so this is not a criticism.)

The delightful gift was purchased when we lived in Philadelphia. There is a charming, old-fashioned shop called Shane Handcrafted Candies on Market Street down by the Delaware River. It dates back to 1876. The facade is green with curved windows which display wonderful sweets. My favorites were the fruit gums. These were plump, soft-gum candies in the shapes and colors of fruits. They were made from an original recipe, that is, to my regret, no longer used.

For a Valentine's Day back then, Richard went to Shane and chose a large, empty heart-shaped box. Then he personally directed the choice and placement of each piece of candy. The saleslady was skeptical -- but when it was complete, she had to admit it looked beautiful. I was thrilled to receive it.

Nowadays, our favorite candy shop in New York is Lilac. Dating back to 1923,  Lilac is located on 8th Avenue and Jane Street. It's also in Grand Central Terminal, which is convenient when one needs a hostess gift for those trips to Katonah to see my sister, Jeanne. Lilac was founded by George Demetrious, a Greek, who learned chocolate-making in France, bien sûr.
Lilac's windows for Valentine's Day.

My sister, Susan, loves the French Mints, which are delectable.
Richard pays for our purchase: a fudge bar and a dark-chocolate caramel bar.

The drill is to take your candy booty to the little V-shaped pocket park between Hudson and 8th Avenue, sit on a bench, watch the pigeons, and enjoy!
If one is of a mind to have a Valentine Dinner au restaurant, one could do no better than to frequent Wallse on West 11th Street. At least the flowers are lovely, and you might see the artist,  Julian Schnabel, whose "Pink Palazzo" building is nearby. 

Flowers from the florist, VSF, in Greenwich Village.

Valentine-themed cookbooks at Bonnie Slotnick.

One of my most favorite vintage shops is Madame Matovu, Rosemary Wettenhall's beautiful little shop on West 10th Street. Her windows are all decked out for Cupid's Day.
 I will post more about Madame Matovu very soon.

We were also uptown on Madison Avenue last week, and there is no dearth
 (or dirt, for that matter) of Valentine spirit in the haute East Side.
Guess what fancy macaron store has hit Manhattan?

 No pictures in the store, please!

A bijou for your bébé?

A Michael Kors bag.
Beautiful Instruments of Torture
A Carolina Herrara evening gown
This Valentino facade couldn't be more apt for Valentino Day.

Finally, we visited the Leonard Fox Gallery at 790 Madison Avenue. Over the past three years, Leonard Fox has searched the world for outstanding examples of costume-design illustrations.
The result, "Costume Design, Fantasy into Fashion," an exhibition of original work
 will be on view until February 29.

Photo by William Larson
Richard and I on our wedding day in 1970.

Happy Valentine's Day & À Bientôt!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! I love the window photography, with all the reflections, it tells a story within the story.