Pop Up Rules of the Game

I wore my jacket for so many years the buttons started to blow. There was only one thing for it: pay a visit to Tender Buttons, just around the corner from Bloomingdale’s on New York’s Upper East Side.

tender buttons

I collect buttons myself, the kind you happen upon at tag sales. None suited my jacket. Tender Buttons, named after an obscure volume by Gertrude Stein, stocks fancy buttons – something of an oxymoron, wouldn’t you say?

architectural swirl

You may browse as long as you like.

pink buttons

Until you are bewitched, bothered and bewildered.

yellow buttons

There are too many choices. You may be tempted to take some of the children’s beauties home even if you don’t have a child.

child buttons

Bone, horn, leather, plastic, wood. Maud and I tried to take it all in. What is the fanciest button you sell? I asked. That would be the Swarovski crystal, said the sales clerk a little primly.

store interior

I loved the scrimshaw, carved scenes on aged walrus tusk. Price point out of range for me however. And who wouldn’t like the limited-edition artist-painted scenes from Alice in Wonderland, one to a button. You’d be telling a fantastic story as you walked down the street.

I settled on the finest buttons in the store, fortunately less fancy than some but French, crafted of glass.

jean buttons

We had fortified ourselves for this venture, Maud and I, with a stop at Serendipity 3 just down the street, which was serving up frozen hot chocolate in giant goblets. Worthy of many photos.

serendipity picture

We shared the over-the-top, whipped cream crowned confection over laughs and confidences.

Then stole away for a treat, lipstick from the people who know how to make lipstick, carefully chosen with our particular lips in mind by a greenly eye-shadowed Bloomingdale’s salesperson.


A woman needs a French lipstick in her arsenal. Maud’s made her look more mature, mine made me look less mature. Perfect.

Dinner was a celebration at a pop up steak restaurant that had been relocated while its premises were renovated.

redfarm blackboard

To a laundromat downstairs.


Gil has a new project, a collaboration. So we toasted him with hot crunchy egg rolls stuffed with pastrami from Katz’s. Chicken-fried chicken stuffed with shrimp. Baby shitake mushrooms, nude and slathered in a slick garlic cream sauce. And a blazing red shellfish casserole roasted in a banana leaf tureen.

banana leaf

I don’t eat crawfish.


So there was plenty for Gil and Maud

gil maud redfarm

And perfect steak, of course, all served around a farm table with dish towel napkins that were quite well used by the end of the meal. If the place reverts to a laundry they’ll have their hands full.


We had cooked up a plan to go try “spaghetti ice cream” at a place down the street – ice cream forced through a culinary fun factory, with ice cream  meatballs.

enhanced-buzz-16071-1378422061-10But a downpour hit as we stepped out the door at Redfarm. We quickstepped by the illumination of lightning flashes to the car. Oh my aching foot.

Later, sunk on the couch at home with my leg up, I watched Renoir’s Rules of the Game, the story of rich Parisian twits and their foibles in a country house one fateful fall weekend, putting on amateur theatricals, falling in and out of love, shooting rabbits as well as each other.


Elegant buttons, luscious ice creams, lobster, premium lipstick… these are all things Christine, the protagonist, would be well acquainted with as often as she pleased. Run of the mill, ho hum. For us, a one-day treat was extravagant… and enough.


Filed under Art, Cooking, Culture, Fashion, Film, Jean Zimmerman, Photography

3 responses to “Pop Up Rules of the Game

  1. Pingback: Thank You for Reading | Jean Zimmerman

  2. Oh, you do indeed have to treat yourself every now and then! Viva la treat!

  3. Hack Attack

    Viva Nora Gregor!

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