With less than two weeks to go until the Royal Wedding, we’ve been finding out what New York has to offer if you’re looking for something to commemorate the royal nuptials. Online, you can buy anything from Kate dolls to wedding cushions, but what happens if you set out on foot?
The Fifth Avenue department store for ladies who lunch, Bergdorf Goodman, offers an elegant box of Royal Wedding chocolates. But in the gift department of nearby Barneys, there wasn’t a commemorative item in sight.
It’s downtown, in Greenwich Village, where all the memorabilia action really is.
Inside the British-themed store Tea and Sympathy, New Yorker Lauri Friedman is busily buying up Kate and Wills tea towels. “Three of my friends are holding wedding parties. We’re celebrating what I hope is true love,” she says, closely examining a wedding teapot. “Given the state of politics, maybe we’re all feeling a little melancholy for some tradition,” Lauri adds.
That sentiment is certainly selling royal merchandise. Nicky Perry, the British owner of Tea & Sympathy, is now on her third order of wedding china. Kate and William mugs have proved particularly popular. As the staff unpacks yet more boxes of china featuring the royal couple, Nicky shows off a new tea towel design with caricatures of the Prince and his bride to be.
“The interest in all this has been unbelievable,” says Nicky happily. Kate and William football scarves hang above the wedding trinket boxes and china plates.
Next door at the fish and chip shop, the cleverly named A Salt & Battery, the British chef Mat Arnfield is planning a heart-clogging tribute to Prince William. You’ll be able to order pairs of round pieces of wedding cake – battered and deep-fried, naturally – commemorating William’s transition from bachelor to married man.
Greenwich Avenue will host a Royal Wedding street party on April 29. There’ll be a Pearly King and Queen – a couple who will dress up in costumes adorned with buttons made from, as their name implies, pearls. Morris dancers will also be on hand. For those unacquainted with Morris dancing, here’s a video sample from the Cotswolds:
The Greenwich Avenue party organizers also hope that there will be a bagpipe band from the New York City Police Department. Yes, the NYPD has a bagpipe band, the department’s Emerald Society, and it’s been around for 50 years. Here they are playing in a St. Patrick’s Day parade:
Also, there’s going to be a Greenwich Avenue wedding party raffle, and Elizabeth Hurley has sent a leopard skin beach wrap and bikini as one of the prizes.
As the storeowners gear up for the big day, the neighborhood will probably see more wedding-related decorations. Already, a post-modern royal wedding display graces the window of one particularly hip gift and design store with the unpronounceable name of Mxyplyzyk (actually, the store offers a pronunciation: “Mix-ee-pliz-ik” ). Most prominent is a large picture, obviously styled after Andy Warhol, with multiple images of a Queen-like figure. But then, you look down to see an even more striking sight: rows of mini waving Queens, moving in unison — perhaps beckoning New Yorkers to join in the celebrations.