Just returned from a glorious week in NYC (my first visit). Kind of felt like a stranger in my own land, although I've been to every other large city in the country. Assorted and scattered thoughts: - New York men love the black square-toes. It killed me to see a guy in a great suit, only to look down and see the unseemly black clogs. Shoes of AE quality and up seemed rare. Lots of nice suits, though. - Not a single sighting of a NASCAR "3" (or, for that matter "8") hat or jacket. Thousands of men and not a single NASCAR shout-out. This nation is truly divided. Also a notable absence of college sweatshirts. - The average level of dress is much better than where I live (see immediately preceding item) - Lots of very, very well-dressed ladies in their late 20-early 40s. - Actually hit an unannounced sale at Barneys and scored C & J cordovan bluchers for $279. Yes! - After three visits to Bergdorf - just to stare - had to buy something out of guilt, and walked away with a very cool tan leather belt. What a fantastic store. I actually saw a human being wearing the Thom Browne high-waters. - Met the charming Gabor Halmos of Vass at Bergdorf trunk show and viewed the stunning, fantastic collection. Not enough money to buy anything that day, but I'm saving my pennies. Pebble-grain was out of this world. - Metropolitan Opera performance of Fidelio marred by a piss-poor substitution; left at intermission. Saw the stunning and fabulous Anna Netrebko in Pasquale (fantastic!). Sondheim Sweeney Todd (w/ Patti Lupone) was life-altering. - Visited Macys/Bloomingdales/Saks/Lobb/Alden/J Press/Weston/Polo mansion (didn't mention jose's name) and every other store I could find. Service everywhere was good to excellent. Exception to the above: Century 21, which I didn't care for. - New Yorkers don't deserve their reputation for rudeness. Many, many people overextended themselves to make our visit a fantastic experience. - Best places for a single guy (not me) to meet women: cologne department at Saks/Macys/Bloomingdales; balcony section at the Met, Nick Arrojo hair salon in Soho. - For a policymaker, New York City is a fascinating combination of capitalism and government regulation. - Celebrities and "celebrities" spotted: Pink, Leigh from Antiques Roadshow, Kim Locke, Greg Anthony from ESPN/NBA, Nick Arrojo from What Not to Wear. As another SF member noted to me, New York seems to make every other city look like a mere "town." It is overwhelming in the best way. I left with a vow to return (often) and conspire to find some way to live there in the future. I'm saddened that that is highly unlikely to happen.