Strolling Through the Home Improvement District

New Yorkers are like people living in the hinterlands in the sense that we, too, need to make trips to the home improvement stores. I'm talking your Home Depots, your Bed, Bath, and Beyonds. I am particularly attracted to the Beyond. We need these stores in a serious way, because we feel pressured to turn our tiny and expensive places into showcases for our fabulous sense of personal style. We also sometimes need mundane things such as sliders so that the chairs don't chew up the floor.

In Manhattan, these stores are not located at the far end of a vast parking lot, but in buildings of Beaux-Arts élégance. Many are fun to visit. Mostly you'll see New York residents in the Bed, Bath, & Beyond on 6th Ave. and 18th St., the location that I visited yesterday. I stayed in the store for nearly two hours, agonizing over a selection of duvet covers. I somehow believed that there was only one correct choice, and that if I chose the wrong color or fabric then I would be condemned to a life of eternal damnation. I noticed a fellow of similar temperament who kept asking his friend if he should go ahead and buy a certain wastebasket. He examined it from all angles and decided it was "fabulous."

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