What a week of shopping!

| vschneps@queenscourier.com |


LIC Flea & Food has amazing views of the Manhattan skyline.

What a wonderful world of shopping this past week was!

Did you know that owning an American Girl doll seems to be every little girl’s dream? For those of you who remember the Cabbage Patch Kids, this is the latest craze. As caring grandmas, my daughter’s mother-in-law, Susan Sohmer, and I took four-year-old Morgan to the over-the-top American Girl Place in Manhattan for her birthday.

And on Saturday, my son Josh, daughter Elizabeth, dear friends and I officially cut the ribbon to launch what is becoming the hottest place to be in Queens — the LIC Flea & Food.

But let me share the American Girl experience first. It is just across the street from Saks Fifth Avenue and

Rockefeller Center, one of the busiest, high-end shopping blocks in New York. The American Girl building is a four-story “temple” of excess.

My daughter Samantha, Morgan’s mom, had arranged for us to have a personal shopper to help us navigate this huge store selling only their product. But what a product! When we first met our appointed salesperson (who shared that she wasn’t on commission), we began our search for Morgan’s choice of doll.

We had seen a doll called “Saige” that had red hair. She is the 2013 Doll of the Year. The company changes this designation every year, then “retires” it. So of course Morgan, being a red head herself, chose this doll.

But we had just begun. Then we shopped for accessories, clothes and furniture, but Saige needed a “baby!” So upstairs we went to choose one. Amazingly, there was a red-headed baby and after surveying dolls of many nationalities and colors, Morgan chose a red-headed baby. But what is a baby without its clothes? Here the marketers created outfits for the baby with matching ones for the “mommy.”

So now “Maja,” as Morgan had named her “baby,” had both matching bathing suits and pajamas. Then Morgan needed a stroller for her baby and a bed! Fortunately for me, this was a shared gift from the two grandmothers.

To top off the afternoon, we had dinner in the American Girl dining room, a very special fixed menu restaurant decorated stunningly in black, white and pink. After all, this is a girls’ world. The staff brought us a special seat for the doll that fit onto the table top. So yes, we dined with her new baby! Morgan was in doll’s heaven, and I loved every minute of her joy!

Then the next day, with the sun shining brightly, we were all together again at the LIC Flea & Food. The site is on 46th Avenue and 5th Street overlooking the TF Cornerstone luxury rental buildings and the Anable Basin.

An extraordinary thing happened. It felt like the world came to Long Island City and celebrated the opening of the bazaar with our family. Because what makes Queens soar is that we truly are the world living and working together and enriching each other. Our market in Long Island City personifies that.

On Saturday and Sunday, we were entertained by wonderful musicians. I called on my friend Clyde Bullard from Flushing Town Hall to recommend a jazz band. It was led by singer Barbara Rosene, who performed on Father’s Day.

I was also impressed by the music choices of Frankie’s Carnival Time featuring DJs Whitney Day, Jilly Hendrix and Sean Glass, who inspired the many visitors at LIC Flea to dance and dance and dance!

Now I must talk about the 50 extraordinary food vendors who were part of the international food bazaar, each one different, each one unique. My favorites included Gianna from Manducatis Rustica on Vernon Boulevard. She bought and brought to our market a fireplace to bake her famous, mouth-watering pizza. People lined up to buy it.

Then there was Butcher Bar, which brought a smoker to the market and sold pulled pork and brisket. Served on a bun with pickles, onions and coleslaw, it is beyond delicious!

What was impressive to me was that the restaurant M. Wells brought back, exclusively to our market, had a sandwich that The New York Times called one of the six foods in the world that is a “must eat.” I had the delicious, crusty-yet-soft bread filled with an egg, sausage and peppers. It melted in my mouth and made me a believer.

I must give a special thanks to the Z Hotel. Its friendly, professional staff welcomed me after the first exhausting, but successful, day of the Flea. They served a superb breakfast that recharged me and made me ready for Sunday.

What fun it was to shop, eat, laugh and give birth to a new “baby.” That is what this past weekend was all about. Visit us and feel the positive energy and fun of LIC Flea & Food at 46th Avenue and 5th Street every Saturday and Sunday from now until October. You’ll love it, too!

Morgan, mom Samantha, and grandmas Susan and I had dinner at American Girl Place in Manhattan.