This pick comes from the week of February 23rd
Our main objective in London was to shop, and shop we did, starting with the famous Portobello Market in Notting Hill. It was a crowded stretch of road with vendors of all kinds, mot notably lots of cheap and trendy clothes (I finally found a plaid jacket inspired by Tokyo Drifter) and some good vintage once you cross under the bridge. Nearby children's clothing shops Stasi and Jigsaw were great for work. It's a lovely area to walk around with quaint buildings and antiques and fresh flowers peering out of windows.
Soho was much less quaint, a bustling center that reminded me of midtown and houses the colossal four story Topshop (soon to be causing mayhem in NYC). The place is a madhouse sea of intimidating head to toe trendy teens throwing hangers and grabbing sizes before you can reach for them. Not a spot for those prone to panic attacks, it is still worth a look for it's fun and exciting trends that are sold at comparatively reasonable prices.
For relative calm we headed to the exquisite concept store Dover Street Market, where even a pair of socks was out of my price range. Amazing designer clothing like Commes des Garcons and Manish Arora set among interesting displays of wax heads, neon tree branches, and giant plastic octopuses. It's more like a museum of avant garde design than a retail shop.
The next day got up early for the Brick Lane Market that reminded me of Brooklyn and bore great handmade t-shirts, spray painted shoes, beautiful people watching and excellent food (see restaurant picks). Nearby Beyond Retro, Shelf, Labour and Wait, Ella Doran and Mar Mar are worth visiting.
I really fell in love with London and hope to visit again when I can. Part of the magic was the comforts afforded by the great hotel No. 11 Cadogan Gardens in beautiful Chelsea and seeing my friend and her adorable baby again. It's the only city outside New York I could see myself living in.
Vanderbilt Mansion and Planetarium