Okay, 20/20 hindsight has returned! Maybe lots of sleep is helping my brain recooperate from all of my adventures and note-taking burnout? Either way, let me begin with an addendum to my 2nd and 4th days in NYC.
The night I hung out with Bo, we discovered a very cool art gallery. I’ve since investigated and it turns out to be a tattoo studio as well. Wished I’d known that at the time and I’d have ventured up the spiral staircase. I’m still planning to hit up Bo in case she got pictures from the window art: Giant metal alien chick and octopus-inspired chandelier! I didn’t feel trying to photograph the art was fair to the artists so I’ve taken photos of the promo cards for you to view to get the idea.
The frames for paintings within the gallery had skulls on the corners with whited out eyes. Too awesome and SO NYC!
Another observation: throughout the city are memorials to those lost on 9/11.
Okay, flash forward to after the visit of the High Line: BACK TO BEA 15! #BEA15
I hadn’t done any reader related activities since it had started and just before I’d left Florida, I’d noticed ONE AUTHOR whom I’d love to meet – and meet her I did! Just over an hour wait got me a signed preview and chance to meet Felicia Day! You might recognize her from various appearances including Supernatural and she has her own web series The Guild that Travis and I had just watched the first season of on Netflix! Of course, my phone died AS I’M STANDING NEXT TO FELICIA DAY WAITING TO HAVE MY PIC TAKEN WITH HER! The woman in line next to me graciously took the photo and emailed it to me after our turns. BONUS: Felicia is a talker! I am too but got the bum’s rush from her handlers, so I have to put out a great novel if I want to hang again I guess.
After my one planned fan-womaning episode, I was off to Penn Station to pick up my cousin Krystal! Krystal is awesome and soon to be appearing at the Funny Bone Comedy Club in Manchester Connecticut on June 24th at 7:30p.m.! SO PROUD!
Solstice Day also known as Manhattanhenge was coined by Neil deGrasse Tyson and means that you can see the setting sun in its full glory twice a year on city cross streets facing New Jersey. A rare occurrence that I luckily I photographed!
Krystal and I decided to bop over to “up and coming” Chelsea for dinner. Once again, I forgot to photograph my food because we were starving! We walked through the Chelsea market looking for gifts and decided that the only thing we would consider were the NYC themed cookies (that wouldn’t have traveled well) and figured out that they were a good idea because we were hungry.
Writer’s note: Chelsea still has a long way to go. We walked out of the restaurant onto the adjacent block we’d come in from and began walking back to our room in Hell’s Kitchen. Turns out, up and coming is a liberal description as a couple of blocks were lined with drug dealers and others with cops (incident in a liquor store) and it was still pretty early (10ish). We were deeply engrossed in catching up but did notice the young men speaking to us from the darkness. I was noting to Krystal that they must have poor eyesight as our “elder hanging shit” might freak them out upon closer observation.
UPublishU was Saturday morning. Though not technically BEA, the event was the most enlightening part of my trip. Finally saw a speaker who was brutally honest about self-publishing, why it’s expanded (because the publishers are catering to distributors and not readers) and some of the basics including money, incorporating and copy/content editing. WONDERFUL!
Afterward, Krystal and I ventured out for a night on the town Brandy and Krystal style. That means walking with sore feet to find presents for our loved ones and ending up in Times Square! Talk about VEGAS. It’s amazing how bright that place is!
I will now slack on the writing and add photos and video so you can get an idea of what we did.
I’ll wrap this up, kids, and say that as I left at some horrid hour for the Port Authority, I got a glimpse of the OLD NYC. As I trudged with my wheeled suitcase at 4:45a.m. toward the station, I noted that I had a choice of crossing toward a large group of men partying on the opposite corner or passing the hookers working on my side of the street. I opted for the hooker side and lamented my once pristine luggage as I sought to dodge various piles of puke on the street. The view when I got to the Port Authority was familiar. The stairs were sporadically occupied with sleeping people and the background Theater District still lit to the hilt! The city that never sleeps…
My mom just sent me this with the video clip:
“What a walk down memory lane…We were living in New York when RFK was killed. We were devastated; it felt like the end of everything hopeful in the country. Brandy was a baby. We took her and her stroller into NYC on the train from Long Island. We walked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where the funeral was held, but the crowds were massive; we couldn’t get in. Somehow it felt better just to be in a crowd of like-minded people. Very sad day. Oddly, that day we met people on the street we had known at the St. Pete Times. That led us to our next job, at the Suffolk Sun, an ambitious newspaper financed by the owners of Look Magazine that started up to compete with Newsday.” – Sally Swartz
I HAD grand plans for my second blog segment on NYC and BEA 15, however, once I looked through my pictures, I realized how in love I am with the High Line so am breaking this out into a separate blog post!
DAY 4: The night before, Ana had told me about the High Line. WOW. Renovated abandoned railroad tracks turned into green/art space! Gorgeous! Turned out that the path begins right next to the Javits Center so I walked the almost mile-and-a-half and back – 3 miles round trip. Perfect to have an adventure and make it back in time to stand in line for Felicia Day at Javits!
Favorite art: To Employ The Mistress. Bust of a woman that is frozen in a perpetual pucker THAT SPITS WATER! Lots of young boys hanging out with disappointed/shaming parents in tow. 🙂
I will include as much description and some video. The north end has just recently been completed and is located at 35th Street between 11th and 12th Avenue, exactly on the south side of the Javits Center.
A woman I met wearing a BEA badge, didn’t like how industrial this segment is BUT it IS located directly over existing trains. LOVED. EVERY. BIT!
I’m sure I missed a bunch of gorgeous views and art. I was SO in love with this trek!!!! It’s so uniquely New York and I’m so grateful to have seen it on my visit! Hopefully you see why I had to post all these pics separately from the rest of the blog. More on the rest of the trip in a bit but in the meantime, please enjoy!
The good: I am still alive, hardly anything got stolen, I saw some cool stuff (pics included in the blog) and met some very cool people. The bad: Somebody stole my metro card along with some of my contact cards for cool people I met. The mildly disproportionate: my perception of the city has changed though more for the good! Negative incidents included, I would still visit again though next time with a detailed list of “to do’s” and restaurants.
Let me begin by saying that I met and hung out with some awesome people both at the BEA and galavanting across the city as one must do when one is in Manhattan. People in general were extremely nice and helpful – an experience I’d not had before (though I’d not visited since 2002) so I was pleasantly surprised.
DAY 1 – Arrived and immediately purchased a $26 ticket for the AirTrain that was no good for anything I needed it for and now have to mail it back to NY to get my money back. GRRR.
Letting go of that, met some lovely drunk people on the subway from Jamaica station who were definitely going to look me up on Facebook if they could remember my name later. So far, that’s a “no” but it’s only been a week.
Arrived at my hotel located only a short walk to the BEA at Javits. It was clean and safe for the entirety of my stay.
I ventured out into the theater district only a few short blocks away. Marveled at the bright lights and lamented all the chain restaurants everywhere. Made a mental note that I would do whatever it takes to avoid chains. Yeah, cause that’s how I roll.
Got dinner at a she-she grocery nearby and bought Travis (my significant other) a Red Bean Cake (that I’ve since tried a bite of and hated) that he ate when I got home and liked enough to purchase again at some point. Ew.
DAY 2 – Got up at ridiculous hour to walk down to the BEA. Upon arrival, met Karyn Folan, author and my new idol, and Krysta Man, a young Canadian just beginning her writing adventures. Karyn, a.k.a. My Glue, set the tone for the conference and allowed me to puppy-dog her for the next 2 days! And we LAUGHED AND LAUGHED. I’ve just downloaded her first book “Liam’s Promise” from Kindle. It’s FREE! All part of her Doomsday Kids series.
#BEA15 – Book Expo America – the largest book and author event in North America – would have swallowed me without a bit of guidance.
We attended the Blogger’s Conference that I found was geared more towards book bloggers than those of us trying to generate buzz for our own writing. Somewhat of a disappointment but hopefully some of you that I met will be reading this upon publication. Just remember ME, ME, ME! Okay, it’s passed.
So I took lots of notes, validated that my security was properly updated on my blog and hoped the evening would be more fruitful. I walked Karyn to her bus stop – located at the police station across from my hotel.
Sidenote: Like an idiot, I’d streamed the entire last season of Law and Order: SVU the week before my trip. I was pleased that the police station was across the street but did not think that they would be operating their sirens as they drove away. SO WRONG. The ear plugs I brought didn’t help as much as I’d hoped either as they were offset by the train running under the building as well. Big city problems, I know. Still felt like the apocalypse in the middle of the night to a rural city-dweller like moi.
I remembered suddenly that I was supposed to meet Krysta for the hobnobbing after our meetings so RAN back to the Javits. I didn’t find Krysta but met Bo, who’s promoting a nonprofit related to alternative education, and a couple of other authors. Bo and I ventured off to dinner at a shotgun shack Italian hole-in-the-wall. The pizza was fab and I ate it so fast I forgot to take a picture, nom-nomming all the while.
Then the rain started and we got lost. We took refuge in a tiny Indian restaurant to use the restroom, get out of the rain and enjoy some tea until we could figure out where we were. We got a master tea pour from our waiter – who made us Chai though it was not on the menu and was clearly flirting with Bo. I promised Bo that if our future servers were so friendly with her, I would definitely be pimping her out. Yes, women pimp too! #equalopportunity
Sidenote: Building addresses are NOT IN ORDER and make no sense based on street locations. If you’re lucky, your phone GPS signal will hold long enough to get to your destination. That was not my experience but may the force be with you! Also, even your friendliest heels will become your enemy soon enough.
We found the event at Characters Bar and Grill. Met a few folks but it was a very loud venue. We didn’t stay long because we wanted to preserve our hearing. We backtracked a ways but then separated…Bo to the subway and me in the complete opposite direction of my hotel because I was basing the addresses on the Avenues – too tired to realize I’d already lived that insanity. Plus: lots of pretty lights! Minus: not wearing sneakers!
DAY 3: Sat down with a random stranger to drink my coffee and discovered the flamboyant Lutishia Lovely. Had a grand time speaking with her about her career ups and downs (currently ups) until my new idol messaged me! Karyn and I sat down in the food court and decided to blow the pop stand for some real food.
NYC was unseasonably warm but we BS’d and walked until we found a place to eat. Karyn has recently discovered food allergies – a wonderful thing in my book – when you figure out the problem and find a way to accommodate it without medication. Yay Karyn! She’s such a bad ass! Very humble though and said her friends would laugh at that – because, yeah, I made sure to tell her that she’s a bad ass.
We chose a small place with a fantastic salad bar! Well worth the indoor heat! I spent the rest of my time fangirling over Karyn until she left to meet her family. OH – and she got a great SELFIE of us with her books at the conference!
Now Ana. We met many years ago when I’d just left journalism and she was crime reporter for the Palm Beach Post. She ended up interviewing me when I found a dead woman on my job site in Palm Beach County. Whole other blog post – or maybe short story. Ana now works in The City as, what I would call, a food artist!
I hiked up to the Time Warner building and we hung out with some of her friends from work (and ate extraordinary cheese burgers) then ventured off on our own.
OH MY how the city has changed! There was a time I WOULD NEVER have considered walking through the Bowery! Anyways, enough about me and Ana. Pics and video (click link at the bottom of the pictures for the vid) of our bumbling through the Bowery, Little Italy and the edge of Chinatown!
Sidenote: Always keep your pockets on outer part of purse zipped. Oh hell, don’t put ANYTHING in outer pockets. Somebody lifted my Metro card (about $17 worth) and some business cards. Thankfully, everything else was inside or left at the hotel. Extra thanks to Ana for the lift in nightmarish traffic back to my hotel!
DAYS 4, 5, and 6 to follow in next post. Don’t want to burn you out!