Guest Blog

Apr 20

Written by: Guest Author
4/20/2012 9:42 AM  RssIcon

Greetings from Cathy and Ellen Heck, a mother-daughter design team based in Austin, Texas. Last year, we shared a few tips for booth set-up–in a nutshell: color, creativity, and comfortable shoes. So, this year, we decided to share our best bets for the hours after the SURTEX lights go out.

When we return to our studios after our trip to New York, not only are we filled to the brim with new ideas from SURTEX client visits and neighbor exchanges, but we have filled our extra suitcases with “research” loot from our favorite creativity-boosting stops in Manhattan. Here are a few or our favorites combined with some new places we plan to add to our after-Surtex dessert-for-the-soul list. What are your favorite inspiration destinations? Please share them with all of us in the comment box.

Day 1, Friday: After we drop off our bags at our hotel, we walk around the corner to Lee’s Art Shop on 57th to pick up the rubber-cement-solvent that we are not allowed to bring on the plane. (This is our remedy for goo-ified scissors due to velcro-strip cutting ... feel free to come by and borrow ours if you need some.) However, we really visit Lee’s because we love to see if there might just be a new pen or pencil we need to try ... plus, they also curate a wonderful gift section–you might even see some of your own licensed products! Depending on the time, we will often have our first dinner at Trattoria Dell’Arte on 7th Avenue. It was designed by Milton Glaser, so we always feel like we are receiving a little magic design dust when we enter. And, if we don’t have a reservation, we can often be seated right away at the Antipasto Bar, which is as entertaining to watch as to eat. And, since we are in New York for such a short time, we like to get started right away with a slice of Crack Pie at Momofuku’s Milk Bar. One year, we walked for miles to find this addictive pie at their location on 13th Street. (Blocks seem like miles after a day of show standing.) But I have recently discovered that there is a shop at 15 West 56th Street, just minutes from our hotel. Uh-oh.

Day 2, Saturday: The lure of the Manhattan streets is the incentive for assembling our booth with vigor. We can hear ABC Carpet & Home calling to us. Inside this great building in the Flatiron District are ten floors of beautiful and beautifully displayed home textiles and accessories there for the feasting. Enjoy! After sensory overload, we then like to zen out at nearby Fishs Eddy. There is something so very calming about the repeat patterns we see in the stacks of plates, mountains of bowls, and baskets of sugar shakers. Be careful though, you might find yourself asking, “Hm, what could I do with 50 matching egg cups?” Since we are so close to Soho and two of our must-sees close at 6 on Sunday, we are going to head over to Kate’s Paperie, on Broome. I have stopped here every visit for years, and it never disappoints–paper product heaven. And this year, for the first time, we plan to spend some time in Purl Soho, also on Broome. We can’t wait, as we have been designing fabric all year long. If you design fabric, buy fabric, wear fabric or just like to drink in all things fabric and yarn, this might be a good SURTEX-dessert stop for you, too.

Day 3, Sunday: (First official day of SURTEX) After all that standing and smiling, you would think we would be ready for some sitting, but actually, we’re usually ready for some walking and laughing. We are planning to head to Soho again, as we all want to take a look at Uniqlo, a new japanese store like H&M or GAP, and it is open until 8 on Sundays. Then we’re planning on supper at a Caffe Falai. We heard we could enjoy a great Italian fix and we might even see someone famous. (I never recognize anybody famous even if he engages me in conversation ... yep, it happened once with Jack Nicholson.) If all my booth helpers are in more of a pizza mood, we may try Lombardi’s on Spring. I’ve never been there, but have heard it’s the best pizza in town.

Day 4, Monday: After Day 2 of SURTEX, we have found that we still have some get-up-and-go. And, after standing for a couple of days in the fluorescent splendor that is the Javits Center, we are usually ready for some fresh Manhattan air. We have never been to the High Line, an urban park built on an abandoned stretch of elevated railway. We have decided that we will not leave New York this time, without putting our Texas toes on the Park in the Air about which so many of our friends have raved. Then we thought we might try to grab dinner at the Chelsea Market, where we can find something for everyone. Plus, as Food Network fans, just being so close (the market is underneath the studio) we’ll feel like we’re having a little brush with greatness.

Day 5, Tuesday: So, on the final day of SURTEX, we are usually the last ones out. We are just glad to make it back to our hotel in time to find some dinner anywhere nearby. Foodies that we are, we hate to miss one single meal in New York, but it has happened. You can only do so much. This is why we have added …

Surprise! Day 6, Wednesday! We added one extra day at the end, because, in all honesty, we probably will only make it to half the above offerings. We are planning to use our extra day to go to some galleries and museums that are hard to fit in to the hours we have left after our SURTEX workdays. We are going to start with the Student Scholarship Competition exhibit at The Society of Illustrators gallery on 63rd Street. We also hope to be inspired for one of our Christmas projects with the Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts at the Pierpont Morgan Library & Museum. We plan to top off our inspiration day with a sandwich from ‘wichcraft in Bryant Park, because it was founded by Tom Colicchio, head judge of Bravo’s Top Chef, one of our favorite foodie programs.

And after all that, we’ll pack all of our New York inspiration into our extra suitcases, and head back to our studios in Texas and California, where our first words might be, “Anybody in the mood for a taco?”

See you in the Big Apple, Cathy and Ellen
Cathy Heck Studio

P.S. If you would like to try any of our best bets, feel free to download this Google map with the above inspiration stations marked.

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11 comment(s) so far...


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Re: SURTEX After Hours

What a great tour of NY after hours! I can't wait to check out a couple of your inspiration places :) - I also heard that Dwell Studio will open up their flagship store in May so it might be worth checking it out on 77 Wooster St. (Soho); ...and, I was told, there is a fun paper place called Paper Presentation, on 23 West 18th Street.

By alex on   4/21/2012 9:46 AM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

Cathy - what a fun, informal tour - and you have just tagged some Must Sees for me on my own personal list! The best of luck to you at Surtex!

By Susie Martin on   4/22/2012 6:57 AM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

Wow girls! That was amazing, I can't wait to get back to New York, especially to see you two lovely ladies. I will be dragging Diane to as many of these recommendations as is physically possible! We already frequent the ABC store when we come over, that place is fabulous! See you soon , Del :-) x

By Delphine Cubitt on   4/23/2012 6:27 AM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

Oh Cathy and family, what a delightful article! Wishing you much success at Surtex and look forward to seeing you again soon!

By Barb Tourtillotte on   4/23/2012 9:24 AM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

Oh how exciting....great plans. I can't wait! This will be my first time at Surtex ...and I can't wait. Your blog excites me about this trip. If you like a great burger try BURGR, it's close to Martha Stewart Studios. Grass fed beef and ohhh sooo delicious! I look forward to meeting the two of you!

By Kim Gann on   4/23/2012 1:15 PM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

Fellow Austinites! I'm in booth 553 - and live in Austin....another great eats- but go early- Cafe Havana in Soho and the corn is a MUST....And of course Eataly.

By marnie long on   4/24/2012 8:39 AM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

Great article and recommendations! Add Live Bait on 23rd (BTW Madison & Broadway) for always good seafood or a little more upscale Esca West 43rd & 10th. See you at Surtex!

By Linda Mariano on   4/24/2012 1:53 PM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

Thanks everybody for adding some more great ideas. Do keep them coming. Maybe next year, we'll publish a book: SURTEX AFTER HOURS ... Subhead: All the NYC Places Exhibitors and Attendees Wish They Could Visit If They Weren't So Dang Tired." I can already see the illustrations .... :-)

By Cathy Heck on   4/26/2012 8:43 AM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

You guys are talented, kind and so inspiring! This article makes your working trip sound delightful, are you sure you don't need an extra helper in your booth? HeHe Love to all, Charity

By Charity Groom on   4/26/2012 11:16 AM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

Lovely informative after hours info from our next-door-(booth)-neighbors! Looking forward to seeing you and maybe sampling some of the apres-show delights!

By David Seddon on   5/14/2012 7:29 AM
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Re: SURTEX After Hours

What great research! Thank you! Will come by and meet you guys. A former New Yorker, I now live in Texas too. Your work is beautiful and charming! -Stacy

By Stacy Peterson on   12/7/2012 5:43 PM