A Moment of Jen
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Saturday, September 06, 2003
posted by Jen at 9/06/2003 10:18:00 PM

We had a wonderful few days in New York City, but oh boy, I don't know how you NYC moms do it. The city is not so much, as they say, baby-friendly.

Half of the sidewalks don't have curb cuts, which means you've got to heave the stroller up over the curb and hope you don't get hit by some eager-beaver cabbie or bumped into by some businessperson on a cell phone headset.

Lots of places we visited (restaurants, bookstores, our hotel) had stairs but no ramps. Or stairs and some completely hard-to-locate little lift.

Even worse, NONE of the restaurant bathrooms we visited had changing tables, which meant I wound up changing Lucy on the floor. One of the bathrooms, in a completely egregious display of misplaced priorities, had a bathroom attendant but no changing table....which meant the management was paying someone to stand there and offer paper towels, but unwilling to shell out the comparatively minimal cost of installing one of those fold-out plastic thingees.

And then there was my shopping jaunt. I was on the Upper East Side with my sister and my friend. We hit Serendipity 3, which is this amazing ice-cream parlor that has a big "NO STROLLER" sign on the door. Yikes. Wouldn't you think that a place like that would want new-mom-and-baby business? Guess not. On our way to Dylan's Candy Bar (stairs, no ramps, no visible elevator), we stopped into a chichi little children's boutique.

There were stairs, but no ramp, which should have tipped me off that this was not going to be such a great experience. We wrestled the stroller down to the sales floor, and I picked up a sweater in Lucy's size...and quickly put it down after noticing the $200 price tag. Then I made the mistake of asking the woman behind the counter whether there was anything on sale. She gave me a look of withering pity. "I'm sorry," she said sweetly, "but no."

It's a mystery to me why the parents of New York put up with this. I mean, snooty boutiques are everywhere (although I have to say that the one I visit in Philadelphia always has at least something on sale), but no curb cuts, no changing tables, and NO STROLLER signs?


But the rest of the visit was a complete delight. On Wednesday my sister, my husband, Lucy and I had lunch at La Goulue, where I interviewed Candace Bushnell many years ago. Then I went to the Marina Rinaldi boutique on Madison Avenue, where I was doing an event with The New Yorker that night. The staff there was amazingly kind and friendly and they gave me this fabulous outfit (bias-cut brown skirt, brown sweater, funky denim jacket, amazing calf-high brown suede boots that actually fit!) to wear for the reading that night. It was, hands-down, the most Pretty Woman-esque time of my life.

The reading there, and the one I did at the Astor Place Barnes & Noble on Thursday, both were well attended and lots of fun. I read from the book I'm working on now, which is about a group of new mothers (no, it's not Jezebel Bright, which is done, but needs some time to ferment before I'm ready to unleash it on the world.).

And, during lunch at the washroom-attendant place, I got a call from an executive at Fox 2000, which is turning IN HER SHOES into a movie, to say that they're finalizing things with Cameron Diaz (as Maggie) and director Curtis Hanson (of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, WONDER BOYS and EIGHT MILE), and that they want to start filming later this fall!

I'm still having a hard time believing how smoothly the project has come together, because I know it doesn't usually work this way. Writers get their stuff optioned for the movies and then it sits around and sits around. Or a screenplay gets written, and that sits around and sits around, waiting for a star or a director to be attached so the project can move forward.

This just feels almost magical. The studio got the first screenwriter on its list, the actress of its dreams, and now it looks like it's actually really doing to be a movie. Very cool.

And when we got back home the girl and I headed immediately to Old Navy, where all the summer stuff was on clearance, and where we got a lot more than one sweater and spent a lot less than two hundred bucks.
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