First off, apologies for not having posted anything in the last couple of weeks. It has been really busy and I have also been doing a bit of travel. As such, I thought I would at least share some of the highlights from my trip in images. Nothin really to make anyone jealous here- no photos of beaches or anything like that but just some high points and suggestions in case you find yourself in the area.

iPad Hands-on

And fat-fingered people everywhere rejoiced!

 Obviously, with the release of the iPad on April 3rd (in the States at least) I couldn’t resist a test drive. I had read a lot of hands-on reports and felt that this was the sort of thing that is best experienced first hand. I would strongly suggest that anyone remotely intrigued by this little gadget take one out for a spin. I have always been a bit hesitant about e-reading but I found that the e-reading capabilities and promise on this thing are huge. Given how many books I lugged back and forth on this trip alone I think it is well worth looking into an e-reader and since the iPad weighs in at $499 for the 16gb wireless version I cannot really see myself buying anything else.

In addition to the e-reader, improved visibility to the browser and fat-finger friendly keypad the gaming was pretty slick and I think will only get better. This thing could quite easily replace a kindle, an iPod, a PSP and a number of other products so the investment for me (after they work out any kinks) is inevitable. I would love to deny it, but the thing is great and all of my concerns went out the window once I had a play.

The potential for this thing (especially with graphic design) is pretty huge and if Adobe is smart the ability to draw on this thing like any of the Bamboo vector drawing pads could be a huge money maker if Adobe launches some light versions of Photoshop and Illustrator.

Don’t take my word for it though, next time you’re near an Apple store take the time to play with one and see for yourself. They should be available in the UK in the next few weeks though rumour has it that they will be more expensive.

 

21 Mercer Nike Sportswear

21 Mercer St.

Any footwear lover must make the obligatory pilgrimage to their local havens when visiting a new city. 21 Mercer was a no brainer for this sneakerhead. Located on Mercer St. (shocker) right in SoHo and surrounded by a number of other streetwear and skateshops (APC, DC shoes, etc) this is a must see and serves as the flagship of Tier 1 Nike owned and operated specialty stores. This store served as the mold for the 1948 shop in Shoreditch and is a bit of an icon within the streetwear community.

That said, the experience wasn’t quite what I expected. The 1948 store is filled with knowledgeable sneakerheads who know ever release date and can probably tell you ever sneaker ever made by Nike. 21 Mercer was nice and had better decorations and lightin than the 1948 store but it just didn’t have the same vibe. It felt considerably more corporate and despite a seriously dope bleacher setup inside to display the dunks the stock and local feel just weren’t there.

The nail in the coffin? Don’t head to 21 Mercer if you’re looking for Jordans. Whilst the 1948 store is one of the few remaining tier 1 stores in London and (after some shenanigans at NikeTown during the Yeezy release) the only shop that get’s the super premium releases 21 Mercer directed me to NikeTown or House of Hoops to get my Jordan fix. I’m not saying I’ve got anything against either of these locales but come on! Whatever happened to a good old fashioned one-stop-shop?

 Michael Jordan by Shepard Fairey

 Jordan Blue and White by Shepard Fairey

Well, as the image above may have told you, the highlight of the NBA store on 5th Avenue was definitely the artwork and the memorabila. Perhaps none more exciting than a signed print (edition of 50) by my favorite artist, signed by the greatest basketball player of all time from his glory days at my alma mater. In addition to this Shepard Fairey gem the NBA store was filled with tourists, basketball jerseys, signed balls, retros and just about everything a basketball might hope to find. Signed Jordan’s? Check. Signed Lebron posters? Check. Retro Bird jersey? cheeeeck!

The only negative thing i would say about the NBA store (aside from the fact that it is a zoo) is a general lack of options for the personalised jersey selection. Sure they had jersey’s from every team in the league but they seem to be missing out on the proverbial “long-tail” of the basketball market. No Magic Johnson retros? No Charles Barkley retros? No Ty Lawson jersey… bummer, and I was just about to spend some money!

What they lack in variety they certainly make up for in quality. They had both the Shep prints available signed and as much memorabilia as the hall of fame.

 Meerkat Manor

It’s a stuffed me! 

Having been accused of looking like a meerkat on more than one occasion meant that taking this photo was a no-brainer. Equally, so was a trip to the Stuffed Animal Manor of New York (FAO Schwarz). Ever since watching the movie “Big” trips to FAO Schwarz have been an absolute must to satisfy the big kid in me. Whilst most everything stays the same at FAO Schwarz (big stuffed animals, fake Harry Potter Wands, etc.) some things get cooler and cooler. In addition to the normal selection of toys for big kids and little kids alone, FAO Schwarz has one-upped the “make your own” toy market in a big old way. Offering the opportunity to create your own “Muppet What Not” (basically an extra on the Muppets show), you can create your own character from hundreds of different options and watch your Henson-style puppet come to life. I know I’m not the first to notice this and have seen some pretty RAD muppets on the Wonder Web.

The “experience” will set you back about $100 but it beats the hell out of the same ol’ “handmade teddy bears” that every other kid (big or little) can get a hold of.

Approach to Heathrow

And the return home to foggy London town. After a great week it was time to head home. A bit frightening
when you realise just how close you are to the other flights coming back with you…

 

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