An adventure with unplanned pleasures

My friend Carol was in town. Carol is one of my far flung sewing buddies. We are part of a small group that helps to manage a large online sewing discussion group.

Carol her husband and son are serious travelers. Carol probably logs more miles in a year than I have in the past twenty. When she suggested we meet for lunch, I had a hunch that funky ethnic rather than fancy was the way to go.


I made three suggestions to get the discussion rolling, I suggested the Korean food court on 32nd street, the fancy Indian restaurant near my husband’s office  with the seriously refined food and Taam Tov, a kosher Uzbeki/Bukharin restaurant in the diamond district. Much to my delight Carol chose Kosher Uzbeki.

Yesterday was Columbus Day. Parades in Manhattan mean that you have to plan your route carefully. Parades tend to wreak havoc with traffic. Taam Tov is between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. The parade was on Fifth Avenue.


I planned my route carefully and arrived early enough to browse  the sewing books at Bookoff for a few minutes. I then walked to 47th street. Normally 47th street is all a bustle with the diamond trade. Yesterday though it was a staging area for the floats that were participating in the parade. The entire block was jam packed with floats, I think there may have been as many as a dozen floats lining both sides on the block between 5th and 6th avenues.


Each float was sponsored by a different Italian or Catholic organization.  Each float had a musical component to it. One had folk singers, another had three tenors, a third had lounge singers. Those were the only floats I could see directly in front of the restaurant. 

Now, this wasn’t the parade itself. This was just the staging area. Every 15 minutes or so another one of the floats would join the parade. While the floats waited their turn to join the parade each of them had their performers singing at full gloriously amplified volume.

No, they did not take turns as our kindergarten teachers used to tell us to do  when more than one of us wanted to talk. All the floats, all twelve of them at full blast, tenors doing opera, That’s Amore, The Tarantella, folk ballads, religious music. It was a great wall of sound. SAM_5315





When I was in college I sometimes used to get overwhelmed by all of the loud music at parties and curl up and fall asleep.  I felt myself wanting to curl up and nod off to slip away from the great wall of Italian sound. Instead I just got into the whole stunning scene.

Poor Carol thought she could avoid traffic by taking the bus to meet me. Her bus got rerouted a few blocks east and she had trouble figuring out how to cross the parade.

We were delighted to find one another and went upstairs for lunch. Carol had actually eaten in Uzbekistan, I have not eaten in Uzbekistan, although I have eaten at Taam Tov before. We each had soup and bread. I had a Georgian soup and Carol and the meat Borscht. we were both very happy with our choices.

After lunch we were trying to figure out where we would go next.  We saw this sign in the window of M+J trimming.


This seemed worth a stop.

M+J and bought out the stock of Hyman Hendler. Hyman Hendler is a ribbon shop that opened it’s door in 1900.  They had a large stock of grosgrains from early in the 20th century. I have never anywhere else seen grosgrains at 8 or 12 inches wide.  You could find dozens of rolls of embroidered ribbons from Switzerland from the 1920’s in beautiful color combinations one never sees anymore.

A few years ago they had re done the store so it no longer looked like a crazy dusty mess. They had stacked giant rolls of ribbon on counters. It was spectacularly beautiful.

Apparently they have closed the store down but are still running their to the trade business. The excess stock was sold to M+J.


I bought. I bought a lot, but I bought carefully and only bought ribbons that I thought I could use for tallit making. I did not buy the $40 roll of 8 inch wide ombre dyed satin ribbon ( I think it was from the 1920’s or early 30’s.)

This is what I did buy.


Yes, this is self control.

Carol bought one card of trim.

Here we are happy with our purchases.


We left lots for other people to buy.


We did a quick visit to Kabbala man where Carol bought two yards of a great printed knit. We did not buy the wonderful blue and red striped blanket wool, the quilted knits, the wool coating covered with gold block printed paisleys, the turquoise sweater knit, the black wool fleece with a pattern of white commas or the foil printed spandex made to celebrate the year 2000.

I got back on the subway and went home.


  1. You and Carol even look a little bit alike! What a fun day - wish I could have been there! I have been going through my garment district notes to get ready for when we are there. I've about decided to make my stops at Metro, Paron and of course Kabala man. I have had the ribbon shop on my list of places for a long time - hate I never got there. I really dislike today's grosgrain - maybe MJ will have a little bit left when I get there. Good to see you back!

  2. what a great way to spend the day with a friend - who likes what you like. Truly a treasure! It has been a lifetime since I've been to a shopping district with fabric and trim overload, and never to NYC's. What I've missed! But if I can't be there personally, I'll be there virtually...

  3. The garment district is always shrinking and always great. Carol is always great company. The grosgrain is heavenly no poly!!!


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