North America,  Travel

Mattress Hunting in New York City

The business of setting up home is a strange blend of weariness and exhilaration. I find myself oscillating between these two extremes as the process kicks off. On Saturday we made our way to Macy’s at Herald Square. If you are not from this country, you need to know that it is the iconic American departmental store that sets the heart of the locals throbbing (you can call me out on this one if you are not a fan, but what are the chances of that, eh?).

The idea behind spending time at Macy’s was to throw ourselves on mattresses stuffed with all kinds of memory foams, promising firmness in varying degrees. Adi is firm about it being firm, you see.

And throw ourselves we did, Adi with immense pleasure, I with reserve. The idea of laying back, turning around over and over, while pretending to be laying on my own bed when in reality it is within a department store, however hallowed its halls might be, is disconcerting. Never mind the woman on the next mattress in her yellow sundress taking her shoes off to lay on her stomach and change angles as she decides what works for her. Now that is the way you buy a mattress. I know it, okay? But I cannot and shall not fall in line. I have Adi to do it on my behalf.

Soon came the tut-tutting of the saleswoman guiding us through the sacred rituals of choosing The Mattress. This grey-haired matriarchal figure was not in the least like our cordial little Mrs Marple. She cast a gimlet eye upon me, observing, “I’ve been noticing that you are standing around for the most part, while your husband tests mattresses out.”

Adi got his chit of approval and showed me all of his shining teeth. I was the sheepish one.

Then came the deal breaker. The part where all kind of hearts, young and old, stumble and fall. Prices.

Adi’s grin started fading bit by bit. Till it was time to take ourselves out of the vicinity of those rectangular beacons of firmness to think sanely. In almost every situation in life, when you feel overwhelmed, it helps to take a step or a few steps aside, and just let it be.

That is what we did, and the result was that while sauntering down the all-important doyen of avenues, Fifth Avenue, we espied a store that declared itself to be Mattress Firm. ‘Surely a sign’, we thought to ourselves, and entered the store past a bunch of police crowd control barriers, wooden, blue and pretty. A sign that Fifth Avenue had been the venue of a parade earlier on in the day.

An old-world lift whisked us into a massive hall which was a picture of neatness, stacked with rows and columns of mattresses, boxsprings, and more mattresses. A head popped out of the corner accompanied by a grin and a booming voice. “You folks are the first people to step in, so come here quick. Give me a hug! Let’s have a group hug, y’all.”

Javon was his name and he pronounced it as Gio-vaan as he engulfed the two of us in his big arms and gave us a tight hug.

A start with a hugging salesman. Prophetic of good times to come? It was certainly symbiotic for both parties – we got our mattress – and good on Javon, he made a sale without breaking a sweat. He added to the experience by giving us tips. How to catch the best views of NYC while sitting atop rooftop bars, which burgers to chomp on, the best track for running in Central Park, meeting celebrities like Julianne Moore (who had apparently inclined her head to let him know that it was indeed her). He also mentioned his momma who lives in Little Italy in the Bronx.

Now this Italian neighbourhood is not the same as Little Italy of Lower Manhattan. The Bronx one is the original they say, and no, the Italian mafia has not sunk its claws into it because its notoriety means that even the dons took a step back. Which is not to say that there are no mobs around.

On our first day in Jersey City, we had met a burly and chatty cab driver who drove us into Manhattan. He had alluded to the infamous Bronx as he noted, “Two blocks up and down my house in Newark, it is not quite safe. But then I have lived in the Bronx. I know how to take care of myself.”

We shall go one day to the Bronx. Before which I shall arm myself with copious quantities of coffee to steel the nerve.

Back in Javon’s Fifth Avenue hood, two hours passed by in a whirl of nattering. The perfect salesman had done his job sans judgement on my refusal to sink into the mattresses. And we had snagged us a deal that was a neat thousand dollars cheaper than Macy’s. The business of achieving the perfect sleep dealt with, we strolled down Fifth Avenue where we greedily grabbed bags of dark Lindt chocolate and indulged in fashion dilemmas in Adi’s dearest Abercrombie & Fitch store – ‘Why I am in the flagship store!’ he remarked with awe — because he had made it a point to drag me to all of its European locations. This was followed by a long-drawn dinner of delicious Indian fare at Moti Mahal.

The euphoric moment of the day was unplanned – it lay in the transition from daylight to dusk.

New York at night. Those of you who have walked its bedazzled streets by night know this that the city knows how to work it once dusk falls like no other. Oh, the streets were a miasma of activity. Women came out in throngs in lovely dresses, tipsy boys hollered around the streets, pretty young women waited in dimly-lit sidewalk cafes (waiting for their dates?), dogs sat patiently in bicycle trailers as their owners whizzed along the roads, and people spilled onto the streets, diving into drinks and appetizers at cocktail bars. Yellow cabs rushed by us with passengers and Hello Dolly ads as the balmy night air caressed our hair and welcomed us to the city.

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Herald Street in Manhattan
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And that’s not even the tallest building in NY 
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Insights into its colonial past
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By dint of habit and height, every photograph tends to be vertical here
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Remnants of barricades and parades
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The Chrysler Building. A marvellous dream in Art Deco was conceived as the headquarters of the car manufacturer, but it was built by Walter Chrysler, the founder, using his personal funds because he wanted his descendants to inherit it.
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Down glitzy Fifth Avenue where the brands come flying at you, fast and furious.
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Rockefeller center. Artist Jeff Koons has installed a 45-foot high inflatable art installation. Meet the Seated Ballerina. She towers above onlookers and engages with them in conversation to raise awareness for missing children.
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Ornate doors 
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Life passes by in a blur down Fifth Avenue
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Churches along the way

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Creamy malai tikkas at Moti Mahal
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Butter naan
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…and butter chicken. You have got to work off all that walking around the city with rich food. Importantly, Adi threw a fit about missing Indian food. Do not mess with a hungry husband.
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Delicious rolls to whisk you into the alleys of Calcutta. The original Kati Roll company of New York. It was one of our regular haunts in London.
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Atmospheric cocktail bars rub shoulders with temples
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Leafy city neighbourhoods
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When just like that nostalgia kicks in


  • Marie

    Great shots. I was in NYC last week visiting one of my sisters for couple of days and saw Hello, Dolly. It was Fabulous!!! How long will you be living there? There is so much to do and see.

  • Miriam

    Loved this and smiled all the way through it. From falling on mattresses, hugging salesmen, dark Lindt chocolate and Indian food to die for you had me! Welcome to the big smoke. ?

  • Fabulous-Fusions

    OMG- when did I miss the indication that you are moving to NYC? I still locate you in my mind in English Midlands 🙂 Oh… so we have to set a meeting in US, I guess 🙂
    Anyways, wish you good luck with all 1000 things you have to sort out.
    Enjoy New York- you are right, one cannot get bored there 🙂

  • 3sistersabroad

    Looks so busy and the buildings are so tall…a bit like Sydney where some streets never see the sun because of how tall the buildings are. One day I will get there. I will be there via your photos and your blog. A friend of mine is leaving today to head to New York. spending 4 days there then onto a tour of Canada etc. Another friend is going in two weeks to see U2 I think….I could be wrong have been wrong once before lol…..

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      U2 is on a concert here? I shall check out this tip asap 😉 You know what, sometimes, just sometimes when it is unbearably hot as I thought it was the other day, those tall buildings do serve a purpose other than simply towering over you. I hope you get here soon enough if these posts intrigue you 🙂 P.S.: It is extremely busy but the diversity of people here lends it character.

  • Lee

    I still want to visit NYC! My dad was there for work a few years back, they were building a casino! But sadly I didn’t get to visit before he came back. I love the pictures at night with all the lights✨ I don’t think I’ve ever hugged a salesman before lol

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Hahaha this was a unique one I tell ya Lee. I am not much of a hugger if it is a stranger, which I believe is the case for most of us 😉 May you visit NYC soon girl! It can be addictive if New Yorkers are to be believed xx

  • Stewie Overseas

    Thank goodness you found a mattress $1000 cheaper than the first ones. No matter how comfortable it was, it might be hard to have a good nights sleep on the first one knowing how much it cost. I think I may hunt for some Lindt chocolates today too.

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      I have a whole bag waiting to be unravelled. I am holding onto them for a rainy day. Though I think they should not be put in a corner 😉 The mattresses we were offered went up to $3000, Jen. Needless to say, we were in a daze xx

      • Stewie Overseas

        I don’t think I could save them for a rainy day, unless today was a rainy day 😉 Sometimes I buy the bag of 50 online, and it lasts a week. Then I’m sad because they’re gone. I didn’t even know mattress prices went up so high. Good thing you found a cheaper one, now you can sleep easy. Hope it’s comfortable.

        • Dippy-Dotty Girl

          Welcome to my astonishment at the thought of mattresses that can go up to $10,000. It is a strange, strange world out there. We shall find out about the mattress on the weekend when we shift into the apartment 😉 I am reaching out for some right now! Coffee and hazelnut. I would offer you some now had there been a screen transfer possibility 😛

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            I did not know about the peanut butter ones! I would go nutty about that for sure. Thanks for the tip. I shall look out for it the next time I hit the store. Which might be soon 😀 Knowing how fast technology is evolving, it might just be reality. Transferring snacks virtually. Imagine the glee of it! xx

  • The Shower of Blessings

    I’ve never been to NYC. My daughter has, when she was in modeling school, she went to the modeling convention there. Thank you for the photos to go from day times to night time and food. I bet life in NYC is as exciting as in Hong Kong!

  • Shweta Suresh

    I’ve never traveled outside of this country. And NYC is one place I’ve always wanted to visit. So I’m living vicariously through you. So… keep those photos coming. ???

  • neveradullbling

    Oh, such beautiful pictures! Looks like a great time exploring, but mattress buying is the worst. We just went through it a couple of months ago and it was painfully tedious. ☺

  • lifeofangela

    I will keep on walking around with my head in the air. Seriously, so many tall buildings, it’s crazy. I’ve never seen anything like that. I’m glad you bailed on Macy’s. The general department stores always seem so expensive (especially with mattresses!), and the saleswoman shouldn’t be bothered that you didn’t want to throw yourself into every one. It’s odd. We have bought one mattress in our life, and I just gingerly sat on each one. I’m glad you found one in the end though, and at a decent price 😀 Job well done, and all that food was earned 😀

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Hey Angela! I know you would feel just as awed as I do 🙂 It’s good to have that sense of awe. Makes it easier to be happy, is it not? Oh yes I had to drag Adi out before we signed up for lunacy. I was also sitting gingerly on each in the beginning till she stood on my head and made me lay down for 5 minutes! 😛 Thanks, it was indeed a wonderful deal we got because they were doing extensive sales at this mattress store. The food was the cherry 😉 xx

  • Osyth

    This is honestly one of the best pieces I have read of yours … the breathless pace echoes the atmosphere that hits you like a tram in the face when you walk around New York, the descriptions of people from the alarming to the alluring (both of which happened to be sales people of mattresses of all things) and the feeling of walking in your footsteps around this neck-aching place. Go girlie … New York is suiting you well! Xx

  • Deblina

    Really enjoyed reading this one. You seem to be enjoying “the business of setting up home”. Such things turn me into a stress bunny. In the rush to “get it done”, I often forget to “have fun”. Last weekend, we were out lounge shopping. With our 4-yr old blackmailing us with “give me a lolly or I’ll turn the shop down with my screams” (yeah. speaks of great parenting, I know), I was barely able to sit on the lounges. Saw a few other families sit on theirs and almost role-play a typical evening at home (they sat chatting, while someone lay on the chaise, and the kids exploring the inbuilt hidden storage spaces like a treasure hunt). I sat on the one I liked for a couple of seconds. It did not hurt. So we bought it. On reading this, I think we missed out on an opportunity to have fun. I’ve taken a mental note of it now. Thanks to you!

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Hey Deblina, I could picture that you know. The little girl pulling her stunt on mommy and daddy and getting away with it. I can imagine how mind numbing it must be for her 😉 But well look at it this way, at least you did a quick purchase and got off to other things. Americans are obsessed about testing things out and something like buying a mattress is akin to a quest for the Holy Grail. I found it hugely amusing. Thanks for reading and commenting re xx

  • TheresaBarker

    What an adventure! I am love … with your photos. How glorious the images are! and I loved this: “Oh, the streets were a miasma of activity” – so inventive! (I think I am repeating myself, but oh, well, at least I am being consistent!)

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      If you repeat yourself with such kindness woven into your words, I can never complain 😛 Thank you Theresa 🙂 Makes me happy to hear that you love the photos. As I repeat myself and say, it makes me feel rather chuffed xx

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  • Mad Hatters NYC

    It’s always enjoyable reading about the experiences of newcomers, to see from a different point of view, and the descriptions and pics in your post didn’t disappoint. The overwhelming thing about this city is that it never ceases to amaze. Years after relocating, we still feel we’ve hardly scratched the surface. Your adventures have only just begun. Cheers!

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      I just popped over to your profile, Lynn & Justin, and I have to say, I love the way you describe the various aspects of the city. It is a frank appraisal. Yet your love for NY shines through in those few lines.

      Thank you for the kind comment. You know, it is quite a city, though I have not even got around to scratching its surface. But I am enjoying the slow process of letting it soak in. But I do believe I am in for a great adventure and that feeling by itself is a grand one. Cheers.

  • wildprettythings

    I love how you write! Mattress hunting can be so stressful! Especially when you get home and realize that a pillow top is the worst 5 months into buying it. We are living that now lol

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Hahaha is it? Javon had also had quite a discourse reserved for us on pillows. The goodness of sleep that will drive away the cares of a busy day. I would recommend him to you 😛 But you are in California, right?

      And thank you, girl. I appreciate the appreciation 😉 xx

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