Local Guide (Not For Tourists) Guide to Manhattan 2000 At area bookstores, giftshops and newsstands.
The NFT guide is one of the handiest little things I've seen in a long time. Creators Jane Pirone and Rob Tallia have boiled down the good stuff from the phone books?the yellow pages, the subway/bus guides, the concert venue, arena and stadia plats, the white business and community yellow and serious blue pages?into this handsome 6-by-4-inch pocket guide.
Thirsty New Yorkers will find the list of neighborhood liquor stores handy?invaluable for that late Saturday night wine purchase that'll prevent a Sunday ride on the PATH train?but NFT is best for its nuts-and-bolts lists. Six pages run down FedEx locations and include pick-up times, while two more locate virtually every movie house on the island (what do they show in the Tripod Room in the West Village?). Museums and theaters, tennis courts both public and private, golf courses and driving ranges are addressed and numbered, and the nerve centers of New York's main points of entry (Penn, Port, Grand Central) are digested. Four more pages note essential 24-hour services like locksmiths, gyms, copy shops and billiard halls; the phone numbers of and airports served by every airline in the whole world are offered, with details on the three major area airports themselves.
The most useful information the NFT guide offers is "Essential Phone Numbers." Attacked by a dog, thinking of jumping off a bridge, crack a molar at 3 a.m.? Look inside the back cover for where to call. Other thoughtful numbers will help you report potholes and "evil real estate brokers," or just bitch about noise. Or get it all off your chest at once by calling the Central Complaint Bureau.
One quibble with the NFT guide: the maps don't list Little Italy or Chinatown in lower Manhattan. But that's a minor point, and locals won't have trouble gleaning the information for those neighborhoods from the details for "City Hall" and the "Lower East Side." Remember, the guide's not for tourists. And who wants to say anything bad about a book that lists Milano's as a landmark, anyway?
Preppie Handbag Jane Fox Handbags At Barneys, Searle and Henri Bendel; or visit www.Janefox.com.
After Lisa Birnbach's Official Preppie Handbook was published in 1980, it took several years for the tsunami wave of deck shoes and Lacoste shirts to hit the consciousness of my preteen self back in Manila. But once it did, even if my friends and I had no idea what or who L.L. Bean was, or what boarding school entailed, we dressed ourselves in the closest approximation of the preppie wardrobe that we could. I begged my mother to buy me shiny mahogany pennyloafers from Japan, and found a long-sleeved Polo oxford shirt at the local mall. It was probably fake, but at least the tag didn't read "Ralph Lawrence" or something equally bad (counterfeit "Denetton" clothes were in vogue in Manila at the time). The book's irony went way over our heads?we took it all literally, longing for ancestral, weather-beaten cottages in far-off American places like Nantucket and East Hampton.
I've been in the U.S. for almost 16 years now, and these embarrassing memories of my homegrown Philippines attempt at WASPiness have long led me to despise preppie clothes. Patrician chic looks so tacky on bourgeois strivers, and I find the whole Asians-in-WASP-clothing thing particularly offensive. Still, I've always been fascinated by the Lilly Pulitzer lifestyle, especially in the summertime, when bright colors and floral prints are popular, and anyone can wear pink-and-green with impunity. Hot weather also means it's time to trade in the heavy patent-leather Prada bowling bag or the Louis Vuitton bucket bag for something a little more frivolous?a beach bag in straw or plastic.
I like Jane Fox's selection of cotton canvas bags. Jane Fox was started by two girls with bona fide Preppie Handbook credentials. But I'm not going to hold it against them, since their bags are so cute. Their Georgica Beach Tote ($123) is a hefty square bag that comes with a matching zip-out pocket bag, while their Alicia Evening Clutch ($99) is dainty and elegant. Made of sturdy cotton canvas, both are available in Jane Fox's signature "bug" print (pink and green dragonflies on a white background), in a perfect zebra print or in a blue floral paisley-like pattern. I also liked their Sarah Tissue Holders ($24), in leopard print and tangerine. If you're the kind of girl who roots through her handbag and finds snot rags, this is a way to keep the kleenexes organized in a handy and stylish accessory.
I'll never wear Topsiders again, but why should Locust Valley weekenders have all the fun? I'm taking my Jane Fox bag to Jones Beach.
Melissa de la Cruz
Drinker's Delight Total Beer 1-877-936-BEER
I've thrown a lot of parties, and I really hate having to push my rickety grocery cart to and from the beer store. I feel like an old woman, and the bumpy streets of Williamsburg shake the beer into foam. And inevitably sweaty men playing basketball ogle my cart stacked with cases and get that crazy we're-going-to-pounce-on-your-scrawny-ass-and-take-all-your-beer look.
Well, those days are now gone. TotalBeer has made things easy. Just call them up Monday through Saturday between noon and 10 p.m. and within 24 hours they'll bring you a case of damn near any beer you want. They stock 250 different bottled beers and the price is right. Whereas your average bodega will charge you eight dollars and up for a sixpack of Brooklyn Pennant Ale ($32 a case), a case of the same from TotalBeer costs $28.95. And delivery is free.
If you're looking to throw a keg party, they have more than 50 different keg beers to choose from, including rare beers like Aventinus and funky microbrews like Magic Hat. TotalBeer will bring the keg to you, along with a tap (no $50 deposit necessary), a tub to set the keg in (again, no deposit) and free plastic cups. If you're feeling particularly snotty, you can even buy some fancy beer glassware from them.
When the party is over and you're hideously hungover, TotalBeer will drive to your apartment to pick up the tub and keg. Which beats the hell out of trying to get one of your buddies to load the stinking thing into his car or rolling it back to the brewery.
Kevin R. Kosar