On a recent visit to New York City, an out-of-towner noticed that the city was full of backpackers. Everywhere she looked, people were wearing backpacks. I was guilty of this until just recently, when I switched to using a shoulder bag made of rawhide suede. It’s constructed to carry my Mac, composition notebook, smartphone and wallet and has a small compartment where I can easily access both my MetroCard and credit cards (the latter I wish I could do without). Getting back to our foreign visitor, who was amazed by such a sight–which, in many cases, was rather unsightly–she went in search of finding the perfect bag and spotted a stylish lady walking down the street, carrying what appeared to be the perfect one.

Totally intrigued and not at all shy, the visitor approached the lady and inquired as to where she had purchased the bag. Openly and honestly, the lady replied that she purchased her bag at a little-known boutique called Artbag, located at 1130 Madison Ave. The lady then went on and on about the details of the bag and all of its various compartments that keep the bag’s contents from falling into the “black hole,” also known as the bottom of the bag.

Thanking the lady ever so much for sharing, the tourist scurried over to Madison Avenue, where she found owner/manager Chris Moore busy as a bee. The shop not only sells the classiest “in” bags, but also does repairs. Most popular is the Stella bag, named after his wife. While the bags sell for anywhere from $500-$800, let me tell you: They’re snapping them up like hot cakes as elsewhere, the same bags are selling for $1,000 or more. Whoa.

Many of you will recall that you read it here first that the city’s bike share program was about to kick off. Well, it has, and personally, my views are mixed. First of all, you have to expect that a city like New York is going to try all sorts of things to please some of the people all of the time. Many love the idea of not having to take the train or get stuck in traffic on the bus, all while getting exercise and fresh air. Consequently, the streets are lined with Citibike stands. The bikes themselves are nothing like a Peugeot or racer bike but lean more toward a mountain bike in design. If nothing else, the stands are a good deterrent from jaywalking, because it is almost impossible to step around and through the bike stands, especially if you’re wearing heels. While in theory I think it’s a good idea, I find it laughable imagining someone all dressed up in business attire, jumping on a bike to ride from one end of Midtown to the other.

Secondly, I guess the idea is a little strange to me, because when I go bike riding, it’s an event. I wear my bike-riding clothes, bike-riding shoes, a helmet, sometimes bike gloves, have an attachment for a water bottle and, oh yeah, wear a backpack. Even though it’s been years since I’ve ridden a bike, if I were to ride one now, that would be my getup. Additionally, I would never try to maneuver riding a bike through Midtown traffic. Quelle dommage.

Last weekend, I tried to teach Julia how to ride a bike. She’s 7 years old, so training wheels were out of the question. I have to admit that I wasn’t very good at it, and Julia told me so by saying I was “putting too much pressure” on her, at which point she got off of the bike, vowing never to get on again. Fortunately, it was Daddy to the rescue, as he has much more patience with this sort of thing. Julia got back on the bike and went merrily along with Daddy holding onto the seat and riding alongside of her. Whew, I am so glad this will be their thing and I can relax. Anyway, we’ll see how long the Citibike thing last. Bets anyone?

Happy birthday, Cleveland “Kojak” Manley, who used to throw down on his birthday back in the day. The only thing he is revealing these days is that his bus ride to Mount Airy Casino and the Crossing Premium Outlets is coming up on June 15. The cost is $45, with $25 back for slots and $10 for food. For more information, call him at 917-543-5930. Happy birthday also to Dr. Ernst Robertson, April Wright, Molly Fox, documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson Jr. and his sister, author Jill Nelson.

I went into the Chase Bank branch located on 44th Street and Sixth Avenue the other day because I was making my weekly withdrawal to pay my babysitter, who has been doing a fantastic job. (There is nothing in the world better than a fantastic babysitter, unless it’s a fantastic kid.) Once again, I was deeply disturbed by the music wafting through the air. Annoyed but polite, I approached the young lady at the information desk. This is how the conversation went:

“Excuse me, but I have to lodge a complaint that the music in here is very disturbing. How do you expect a person to think and conduct business with this music playing?”

“Our tellers and bank personal are professionals and trained to handle all transactions with the music playing; we hardly notice it,” she said with a smile.

“I wasn’t referring to you and the tellers, I was referring to customers like myself who are trying to add, subtract and multiply.”

“Oh. Well, some of our customers say it is too quiet in here, and they want music.”

“Well, if they want music, they can listen to their iPod, smartphone or go to the club.”

“I’ll tell the manager,” she said, giggling.

“Thank you.”

I understand that Bose has a new headphone on the market just for people like me, so that even when you are not listening to music, unwanted noises and sounds are blocked out. But they must be expensive, because the ad also stated, “payment plans available.” I admit that I’m thinking about it, but then again, it’s not like I am antisocial (me, the Cosmopolitan Reviewer, being antisocial? How would that look?) and it’s not that I don’t enjoy the sounds of the city; I just don’t like it that in every establishment I go into, some crazy music that I’ve never heard before is playing so loud that I lose track of what it is I’m supposed to be doing. I can’t make a living that way. Sigh!

Until next week … kisses