03/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Totally Retail Therapy Deprived: New York Is No Fun Right Now!

I'm still dying for those beige suede Vanessa Noel boots which are now selling for $800 albeit down from $1600 but here's the thing - I won't pay that price and they won't budge (I could get almost three round trips on Jet Blue to Ft. Lauderdale for that price or half an injection of Botox).

New York has become a city where bargain shopping buzzards are pointing their beaks at retail carcasses and by that I mean you can actually try to weedle prices down. Unfortunately no one in that store is getting the message — I've been making offers but I guess they'd rather have those boots sit unsold amongst all the other dusty shoes rather than have some easy cash. Even Bergdorf's pre-Christmas shoe sale is still going on and they've whittled the prices down to about nothing though the remaining shoes would be better for hookers (wonder what they're getting these days?) or Halloween. I'm always curious to see who is buying BG's high end designer duds and noticed more Asian than Caucasian in Chanel and a lot of salesmen standing around wishing me a good day. FYI it would be good if I could buy something.

My new thing is to cook my own food rather than buy ready-made at Grace's Market. So instead of spending $7 on a really good chicken leg and thigh, I spent $8.04 and cooked a whole Perdue chicken. I also bought carrot sticks, an artichoke, a giant chocolate bar and six clementines. Unfortunately I ate everything up at the same time so not only did I gain weight but I hated my chicken.

I'm also not buying coffee in the morning saving myself two dollars with tip and I've stopped buying Bubble-licious gum which is a huge saving (could be as much as $10 a week) because I gobbled packs every day being from the chew and spit school (no, not spit on the sidewalk but as in once the flavor has gone, replace).

It is true what the New York Times reported the other day; checks are idling in neutral on restaurant tables in the hope you're not the one stuck with the bill. I've always been the one to grab it, but these days my wallet is as hard to find as yours and we're either splitting it or meeting for a coffee and not at Starbucks. The other night at dinner, after being surprised with a prix fixe menu which meant no grazing or sharing of food or eating two appetizers, my aunt and I slogged through three courses eating every bite on our plates because we paid for it. And we split the bill.

My new mantra until the stim package kicks in is that I'm just happy to earn enough to cover the bills and pay the monthly nut. However, in my high-end high rise, always without a vacancy and always with a waiting list, rumor has it there are now five vacant apartments. Just last summer I was moaning about the big black Escalades in the drive way and the nannies with spoiled little charges wearing those ghastly helicopter bows in their hair; yesterday there was a Mercedes with a for sale sign parked conspicuously and those spoiled little children no longer seem to running around the lobby in their pyjamas at night. Can it be they've moved to the suburbs?

It took the tourists leaving the city after the Christmas holidays to really feel this recession and as someone with a child applying to private school recently confided, "Maybe the fact someone else can't pay the tuition will leave spaces for those of us who can." Survival of those who still got it these days. I've lived here long enough to know we'll be fine and I'm prepared to gut it out. I've not lived much beyond my means (fair disclosure — with the exception of the time my brother handed me a fat check from our dad's estate and said "put it away for a rainy day" which of course I squandered lickety split) and always worked for a living or married the living (no comment).

So here's my final plea to Vanessa Noel: sell me those damn boots and let me have one last pleasure. You could use the cash too because I don't ever see any other customers in there!

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