First up, the unexpected nostalgia stop: 40 CARROTS, the “ladies-who-lunch” spot on the top floor of Bloomingdales. AKA: one of my very first waitressing jobs, in the summer before college, 1998.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I worked at the Bloomingdales in White Plains, NY, not the one on 59th Street, but as I walked past, having finally ditched my car, the pull was surprisingly powerful. I am a sentimentalist of the highest order. Plus, the air conditioning seemed like an excellent idea.
So, I ducked inside. Now, this Bloomingdales was not unfamiliar to me. After my daughter was born, we lived on the upper east side for a time, and I spent many, many days wheeling her around the smooth tile floors, ogling and pawing the wall of brilliantly-colored bath towels.
I have a snarky story I sometimes tell about waitressing that summer. It involved some very fancy ladies who talked to each other about me, as I was waiting on them, assuming I did not speak much English. But I will save that for another day, and say only that I devoured a chocolate frozen yogurt (with chocolate sprinkles, brought in a tiny ramekin alongside) and downed a perfectly serviceable black coffee at the gleaming counter, between two ladies, each fancy in her own right. It was just what I needed to kickstart the trip.