November 24, 2012

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Black Friday in NYC: A Tale of Terror and Conquest

Today's post is brought to you by Marlisse Silver-Sweeney, a lawyer-turned-journalist, fashion enthusiast, and best of all, my roommate! You can follow her on Twitter at @MarlisseSS

My first American Thanksgiving was truncated with the awe, rapture and delight of my first American Black Friday.  Unlike my far trendier and hipper roommate Niki, I am a bargain-hunter like the best of them, and she is often perplexed at how I manage to wield through the masses of people and rags at our neighborhood T.J. Maxx and come out with a Elie Tahari wrap dress for under $80.00.  So as she civilly ate turkey with friends, I marched my visiting retired-policeman-ex-line-back body-guard of a father up and down Fifth Ave., beginning Thursday night, to protect me from the crowds.

Commercialism is to New York what the Douglas Firs are to Vancouver – the pretty scenery.  The ads, billboards, and lights of Times Square are quite magical -- from a distance, preferably with a drink in hand. (I suggest the The View Lounge, revolving bar on top of the Marriott Marquis for the best place to take in the view.)

Double the pleasure, double the fun? A phallic fail by Nautical Mickey Mouse in this year's annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (photo via Marlisse Silver-Sweeney.)

As I waited to watch the dirty muppets of Avenue Q in the Theatre District on Thanksgiving Thursday (after having witnessed an inadvertent dirty cartoon character mishap at the Macy’s Day parade hours previously – see Mickey, above), I hit up my first “Black Friday” locale a day early, simply for a lack of better options in the area, and my 16-year old self was very impressed with the 40% off the entire store sale at American Eagle Outfitters.  My 26-year old self even managed to buy a dress (and one that covers my ass at that, and doesn’t beg cashiers to ask me if I’m excited to go back to school every September). Who even shops at American Eagle anymore? Apparently those in their mid-twenties who find themselves in Times Square and are actively trying to avoid the Hershey’s store…that’s who.

AE Chiffon Hi-Lo Dress, $49.95

By actual Black Friday, there weren’t enough deals (or Ativan) in the world that would allow me to spend longer than three minutes in the 9-levelled tower of terror, also known as Macy’s Herald Square -- the biggest department store in the world.

Cue nightmares: Macy's Herald Square on Black Friday. (photo via The New York Times.)

The neons of Gap’s “Brights” campaign and promises of 40-60% off the entire store lured me in and my uterus hurt as I stood in the smaller line at Baby Gap to purchase my new outfit, which makes me look like navy and orange’s redheaded love child.

All from Gap: Cashmere gloves, $20, Colorblock cardigan, $45, Cable knit snood, $25, Shift dress, $40.

As I fought off my former-corporate-lawyer-self, and refused the 40% suits at Ann Taylor and Banana Republic, I took refuge in the Bryant Park craft fair and stumbled upon Diana Warner New York, my new jewelry hero.  The full store is on the Lower East Side, but her pop-up boutique boasted gems sported by the Gossip Girl cast, such as the rose-gold chandelier earrings worn by faux-Charlie Rhodes.

Many of the deals at my favourite designers, such as 30% off Ted Baker and 20% off Reiss, were available on-line, which probably would have been a better option, I thought, while waiting in the thirty minute toilet line in the Rockefeller Plaza Shopping Mall.  Bargain hunting, after all, is not worth a bladder infection.
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  1. Black Friday was WILD! ..I am looking forward to Cyber Monday though :)


  2. Speaking on behalf of the visiting retired-policeman-ex-linebacker body-guard of a father I can only say that the human tsunami that is Times Square was as close to terrified as I've been in my life and begs the question "Why?"