Wrapup: NYC & NSS 2013
I’m back from a whirlwind trip up to New York for NSS (that’s the National Stationery Show for you non-paper peeps). Basically it’s market for paper goods – buyers from all over the US (and the world) come to NSS to shop from the top paper designers. Everybody you can think of was there in the industry – everything from Crane & Co. to Sugar Paper to Rifle Paper Co. – and a ton of new-to-me finds as well.
So in a nutshell, it’s complete and utter design madness. (Additionally, I’m going to do a post later on why you should attend NSS if you’re a paper peep, and also how to survive it.)
I flew into NYC on Saturday evening and headed over to the W Hotel to drop off my stuff and dash around town a bit before meeting up with a bunch of Stationery Academy peeps at Bottega (YUM) on the UES. Then it was back to the hotel because I was completely zonked. Somewhere around midnight, my roomie Caroline got in from the ballet and we mumbled a hello/goodnight to each other.
Sunday morning began the show and it was up and at ’em. I hopped the free shuttle over to the Javits Center, presented my credentials to be admitted, and boom. I was in.
Two seconds later, cue the feelings of overwhelmingness (is that a word?). It was probably about 10 rows in that I started to feel really brain fried about everything I was seeing. Can I be frank? To be honest, I just wasn’t seeing anything that I hadn’t seen before. It was a lot of the same thing over and over again. Sure, there were the big awesome guys like Rifle Paper Co., but then there were 100 knockoffs of her (amazing) work there too. I was hoping there would be more manufacturers — more people who could help me figure out how to make stuff — and there was a definite lack of that.
But that being said, there were some really neat things happening – lots of campy influence, gold foil, funky graphic native American prints, and some gorgeous booths. Plus it was fun to meet some of my favorite designers in person. I chatted with a few blog readers, caught up with my contacts at Minted and hugged my favorite girls at Ampersand Design Studio over at Surtex.
After filling my brain with all it could stand, I hopped a cab (in the rain – urghhh) and headed to Soho. I had a few places I wanted to hit — Splendid, in particular, since they had so generously sent me a gift card — as well as C. Wonder, which was such a visual experience. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take any pix there other than the one w/ my iPhone, but at that point, my feet were soaking wet and I was looking all drowned rat. AND in addition to wet feet, the orange color of my leather shoes had RUBBED OFF ONTO MY FEET. GAG.
That afternoon I had scheduled a blow out at the Dry Bar at Parker Meridien, and it was like a breath of fresh air despite the rain. My stylist was AMAZING and it was just what I needed. I dashed to meet friends for dinner at Whym and also got the hotel to give us a bigger corner room to accommodate our 3rd roommate who was coming to join us (uber-talented Nicole Yang from Southern Weddings).
Perhaps my favorite memory from this trip was heading to the Hudson Library after dinner, and sitting in the Library. It was the most ridiculously ambient experience, what with the library ladders, roaring fireplace, piles of books, buttery leather chesterfield sofas, and funky mismatched chairs. I sipped a Shirley Temple and enjoyed hanging out with the girls. There’s just no words for nights like that.
On Monday morning, I dashed around town before heading back over to the show. I had a handful of things on my list that I wanted to accomplish. I hurried up to the UES to hit the new Kate Spade flagship (DIVINE!), as well as Jonathan Adler, Laduree (a complete surprise – I’d forgotten there was an NYC outpost), as well as a few other shops. I ate my Laduree macarons in the back of a cab, whirring by Central Park on my way down to the Flatiron district so I could hit up ABC Carpet & Home, as well as Safavieh. One mad dash into Marimekko, and then a sandwich later at Eataly, and it was back in a cab to go to the stationery show.
This time I was ready for it. I had a list of places I wanted to go back to see, and a few contacts that I wanted to make (custom washi tape, anyone?!?!). I felt much more comfortable and familiar with the layout and knew what to expect (isn’t that always half the battle? Managing expectations.)
To top it all off, all of the Stationery Academy alums met at The Liberty for dinner, and then we flocked over to The Standard on the Highline, which might give the Hudson a run for its money on ambience. A perfect evening with a clear sky, sitting outside in that crazy amazing restaurant space. There’s just nothing else like it.
Only a few hours later I was back on a plane headed to Oklahoma and the crazy devastation that the tornado left behind. I’m hugging my family and thanking God that we’re all okay and safe, and that we have each other. Nothing else matters, you know?
But I’m remembering, too. I’m remembering what New York does to you — that desperate feeling that you simply must get back, no matter what it takes. It’s addictive. And this next time, I’ll definitely be bringing my boys with me.
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