Tuesday, October 17, 2006

All I learned about Fashion from my dog (walks).

Teddy's trip through Soho; or "Fashion Walks" or "All I learned about Fashion from my dog (walks)."

We take a left out of 40 macDougal Street and immediately are stopped right next door at the French restaurant, Provence. All the waiters and bus boys are standing outside, leaning against the cars parked on the street and smoking a cigarette, enjoying the warm sun on their faces and back before they have to head in for another night of mis-management and boring slow table service.

"Teddy! Teddy!" Come 'ere Teddy!" the chorus of French, Tibetan, Mexican and Kentuckian voices ring out. "Hey dude! How're ya doin,'" Mike, the bartender from Kentucky who doesn't drink and who epouses his left-wing radical points-of-view to anyone who'll sit and listen to his grumbling, asks. He musses up the fur on Teddy's head and picks up his front paws so he's standing like a circus bear. Sometimes Mike will put a big square white napkin over Teddy's head and make up a little political skit. Sometimes he'll ask Teddy if he was down in Washington protesting Bush this past week.

After a few more jokes, jabs and laughs around Mike and his engaging Teddy in his political activism, and after relatively few words even acknowledging Courtney, his owner, she decides it's time to go. Courtney laughing says, "alright…we'll come back later, but Teddy's gotta go have his walk now. We'll be by later, for some steak."

Teddy moves up to the next planter filled with Ivy, sniffs and lifts his leg. Then to the other side of the sidewalk, he approaches the corner of the building. Simon and Anna live here, at this gorgeously large townhome with front windows filled from top to bottom with hanging plants, trees and cacti on the windowsill. It's almost a tourist attraction with young people stopping to show it to their parents as part of their "this is my New York tour." Simon and Anna moved into the building on the corner of MacDougal and Prince in 1970. Today, the market on that house? Well, as Tony Bagandoughnuts would say, "fo-get-abou-it." Teddy lifts his legs and proclaims, "I was here" with his piddle.

We round Prince and Teddy stops at the planter, filled with ivy, on the Prince Street side of Simon and Anna's house. A lift, a piddle and we're on. Teddy criss-crosses down the sidewalk, going from garbage heap on the curb to the corners of buildings and storefronts, lifting his leg, sniffing and marking his spot.

Once we reach Thompson Street, Teddy usually will want to pull and head up North. He stays close to the curb as we get mid-block when, good New Yorker that he is, jay-walks to the other side of the street, and we continue North to the Pet Bar. Of course, there's a little stop for a quick mark, and then we head into the famed Pet Bar.

Teddy immediately banks a left and inspects all the raw-hide chews in the bins close to the floor. After moving down the aisle, sniffing cat food and then heads back up to head to the other side of the store and check out the dog food. Courtney inspects the leashes and toys. "Would Teddy like a cookie?" "Sure." The owner offers a cookie, which Teddy promptly snubs his nose at. He wants a special "dried lamb lung." Courtney takes the cookie and they leave, heading South again and back onto Prince Street to head East and then further South down West Broadway.

The first stop is the Swatch store, where Teddy will mark on the corner. If it's summertime, he likes to go in there and lay flat on the cool granite tile floors. He'll chill out here a little bit and then bounce up and trot on out to the next stop.

A little sniff here. A little sniff there. Lift the leg at this spot, lift the leg at that spot. We make our way down, marking the black-painted concrete stoop where a petite poodle lives and his owner, always in roller blades and in tight black short-shorts and t-shirt, a terry-cloth headband, knee pads, elbow pads.

There's the new mediteranean day spa with large fruit and cake shaped soaps, the adorable French mens' and boys matching swimming trunks store Villebreune and my one of my favorite jewelry stores (NAME) with brightly colored gems and lacquer gold and silver chunky necklaces, earrings, rings, brooches and bracelets.

Then we approach the highpoint of the walk. Jaime Mascaro Shoes with Fanny, the store manager. Fanny has known Teddy since he was about six months old and she's the only one he let's pick her up by his armpits and let dangle facing forward. Teddy's now able to just relax and go for the ride. As soon as Teddy walks through the large all-glass doors into the long spacious store with mirrors and diagonal-poles scattered the length of the store to the back mirror wall and serpentine shelves filled with gorgeously crafted shoes, he pads over to the cashier check-out desk and sit down under the desk waiting for Fanny to finish. Sometimes she'll come around out from behind to greet Teddy and pick him up and kiss him. And, sometimes, she's down in the center or back of the store and Teddy has gotten used to just padding to the back of the store and peak around the wall to see if there's someone there. This is where the magic water bowl is waiting. Well, to be true, it's either on the floor there or on a shelf in the bathroom. Fanny fills up the water bowl and Teddy laps up a good drink of water.

After Teddy's filled up on water, he'll turn around and plop down on the cool concrete floor and just look up and around while Courtney and Fanny chat, smiling at the whole world like the very satisfied pup that he is.

After Courtney's had enough of chatter--usually about her divorce or men or some other woe-of-the-day, she bids adieu, thanks Fanny for the water and she and Teddy head back out onto the street.

Immediately out of Jaime Mascaro, Teddy immediately needs to sniff and usually pee on the wooden column of the shoe store next door. Sometimes Teddy will cut the walk short by heading up the stairs into DKNY

This store Teddy will usually just pretty much head straight through to the other side and exit on the other street--Thompson Street--which will deposit us directly next door to a pet shop with all sorts of froofy and hip toys, clothing, accessories and snacks typical of the posh New York dog owner set.

Teddy's far too "street" for this though, despite his debutante looks.

However, this sidetrip through DKNY doesn't happen too frequently since his first year. Usually Teddy keeps his eye on the prize, or prizes, which are treats at the Origins store on the southwest corner of Spring and West Broadway.

Once or twice, again in his first summer, Teddy decided to have a tour of Giorgio Armani, but he quickly decided it just wasn't his taste. The Diesel store held a lot of interest for a while because of the carpeting and full-length mirrors in the dressing rooms. The first time Teddy headed in there he meandered straight back to the dressing rooms and promptly began barking at himself in the mirrors. Then he'd flop over onto his back, do the squirmy-wormy dance. After a few more barks at himself and after Courtney could compose herself from laughing at her cute little doggy's antics, they'd walk out, thanking the staff for their hospitality.

THEN we'd make it to Origins. All the staff at Origins love Teddy. Fortunately for Teddy. He'd get several cookies and even learned a few tricks as a result. He's learned how to spin around and much of his "down" training was conducted in that very store! Sometimes Courtney would get a hand massage or a few makeup tips. Every now and then she'd get a free makeup sample but usually it was just pleasantries exchanged and most of the conversation focused around Teddy.

After a few treats and significant attention from Origins Teddy and Courtney would either head further south and Courtney would try and show off her amazingly cute doggie to all the Euros and others sitting outside at Cipriani's downtown and perhaps stop into Tommy Hilfiger's three-story store for a walk through. Lately Hilfiger's has been giving treats, so that might become a more frequent stop.

Most of the times though, after Origins, Courtney would swing Teddy around and head West on Spring. A handful of times he'd take her into Intermix, but usually they'd cross at Thompson and either head up Thompson on the Famous Ben's Pizza side, (pee on the resin statue) or on the Vesuvio Park side. Or, sometimes they'd meander up to Sullivan and walk up the StuART jewelry side (which butts up against the other end of the block-wide park) or the quieter, more residential side of the street, past the large, modern apartment buildings with all the bikes in front and the smaller, older brick townhomes.

Teddy would try and prolong the walk back as much as possible and especially linger by the flower beds on the St. Anthony's convent side of the street. But once Courtney mentioned the magic words he'd pick up his pace and get quicker to the big reward at the end of the walk.