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Women Tell Women About New York


Secret Number Seven...

Take care when paying for a cab
When paying a taxi fare, always "sing out" the denomination of the bill you are handing over. The following scenario only happened to me once but that was enough. After a taxi ride, I am absolutely sure I paid with a $20 bill, but when I questioned the amount of change, the cabbie held up a $10 and swore that is what I gave him. After numerous protestations, I started to wonder myself so I gave up and exited the taxi. It turns out this is a scam perpetrated on tourists and non-tourists alike. Be forewarned. Don't be fooled! (Cynthia E. Rubin, New York)

Secret Number Eight...

F.I.T. is fun and fashionable
My sister, daughter and I visited New York City and wanted to tell other women about a great female-friendly freebie -- The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology houses one of the world's most important collections of costume and textiles (with a particular strength in 20th-century fashion). We saw the Little Black Dress Display, and the Barbie Exhibit. Last year F.I T. also displayed a woman-centered exhibit called "The Corset: Fashioning the Body" which included approximately 100 corsets and corset-inspired fashions. F.I.T. is located on the Southwest corner of Seventh Avenue at 27th Street. Closed Sunday, Monday and legal holidays. Check their website for what's on when you plan to be in New York City. (Elaine F., Manitoba, Canada)

Secret Number Nine...

Wonderfully sinful munchies
I came across this tiny magical spot as I made my way through the building called Chelsea Market (75 Ninth Avenue at 15th Street). It was the aroma of pure intense chocolate that pulled me to the door of this woman-owned bakery shop. Called Fat Witch Bakery, the shop features the absolute most deliciously decadent assortment of Brownies. Of course, I couldn't resist the samples that were purposely designed to break down a female's resistance. I confess, one bite and I surrendered gladly. This Journeywoman left the store laden with a variety of charmingly packaged goodies sporting names like Fat Witch Walnut, Java Witch and Carmel Witch Brownies. Want to know more? You can read all about these sinful munchies at the bakery's website: (Evelyn Hannon, Journeywoman files)

Secret Number Ten...

Everything and the kitchen sink
For all the Martha Stewarts who love to travel, there's a store in New York City that one could spend an entire day in and not get tired of the goods. It's called MacKenzie-Childs, located on 824 Madison Aveue at the corner of 69th Street. This store is a small one but it goes up five stories. It's loaded with unusual houseware items (one of a kind), glasswear, dishes, lighting, tiles, sinks, tassels, diningroom table and chairs, small things, big things. All are hand painted, one of a kind patterns and very, very different. They also have a tea room open for tea and light lunch (I believe) only in the afternoons. I doubt anyone can walk out of this store without purchsing at least one item. Telephone: 212-570-6050. (Jill Elliot, New York).

Secret Number Eleven...

Shop on the street
Buy a handbag on the street. Don't be afraid to try. What do you really have to lose if you stop and examine the street vendor's selection? I bought a Prada knockoff for $US20 that everybody compliments me on and assumes it's a "real" designer bag. I suggest that visitors to New York scan Vogue Magazine before you go out shopping so you will know at least a bit about designer bags. With this knowledge you just might get a great "look-alike" deal when visiting the Big Apple. (Kathryn G., Washington)

Ed.note: For those willing to spend more on an "almost" designer bag, according to "The Complete Idiot's Travel Guide to New York," there's a NY shop that specializes in quality copies of famous designers' accessories. It's called Saurez (450 Park Avenue). Take a look!

Secret Number Twelve...

To market, to market
Finally, a great place for a Journeywoman to visit on Saturday is the Union Square farmers market which goes on all day long, packed with flowers, fruits, vegetables, bread and prepared foods. For lunch, a great salad bar nearby can be found at City Bakery (3 West 18th Street) - the chef uses lots of vegetables from the farmers market as well as roasted salmon, marinated tofu and usually a chicken dish. Great selection. Or you can splurge and go to the Blue Water Grill (31 Union Square West at 16th Street) which is one of my favorite restaurants for fish and seafood - outdoor cafe, great atmosphere. Or the other splurge would be to go to the famous Union Square Cafe at 21 East 16th Street (just off Union Square West). There is also an outdoor restaurant during the summer months right in the farmers market. (Pam, New York)

Too big to be a secret...

The new Toys 'R Us store in Times Square (1514 Broadway at 44th St.) can hardly be considered just a New York shop. This 110,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed building is the absolute largest toy store in the world and home to a 60-foot-tall Ferris wheel, a giant roaring dinosaur, a life-size Barbie townhouse and three floors of toys and games. If you're travelling with your JourneyBabes, they'll love it. If not, it's still great fun to pop in for a peek.

Best time to go...

New York City is at its most enchanting three times during the year: the middle of spring, much of autumn and early winter. There is a period in April when the entire city seems to breathe a sigh of relief. Cherry blossoms bloom sweetly, kissing the brownstones with their delicate flowers. Sunbathers haven't yet overrun Central Park. Even the cabbies seem to smile. It's like something out of a Woody Allen film. (Source: Simon Haupt, Globe and Mail, June 16, 2001)

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