Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Visiting New York, Part Two

This is the second part in a series of posts about my long-in-development trip to New York with my wife.
Here's Part One.

Our second day in New York started with my discovery of the New York deli. We stopped by EZ Deli, across the street from the humongous Conan O'Brien billboard for "Sharktopus VS Pteracuda", which Conan continues to play straight as can be. I probably could have eaten three meals a day here and not gotten sick of the numerous things they had, but an egg sandwich and coffee was fine for this particular morning.

We jumped on the train and headed over for the 9/11 Museum in the financial district. It really was a surprising experience. I expected it to be an emotional exhibit, but it was quite a bit more than that. We had planned to spend an hour there before heading to lunch with my agent and editor, and we ended up spending twice that time seeing the sheer amount of material on display. We could have spent even longer. Anyone planning on going to the 9/11 Museum would be wise to purchase tickets in advance (we were thankful we did) and set aside 2-3 hours to spend there.

There is one particular exhibit with a warning to let visitors know that the material within is intended to show the true violence of that day. They weren't kidding -- they don't shy away from the dark and depressing stuff. There's raw news footage, flames, and New Yorkers with faces covered in dust and debris. Walls and timelines are lined with quotes that are as brutally honest as they are emotionally moving. I'm glad I went, but it's a solemn moment that visitors should be ready for.

By the time we finished up, we were on the verge of running late for our lunch with Eddie and Jordan. We checked out the trains heading to the neighborhood we needed to get to, but ended up jumping in a cab when we saw how long it would take. FDR Drive ended up saving us on this one. We thankfully made it on time, but discovered that the restaurant where we had a reservation had a front door that wouldn't open. The folks inside just kind of shrugged and said, "Sorry!"

The good thing about hanging out with people who know the city, of course, is you're HANGING OUT WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW THE CITY. Within minutes Eddie came up with a great place, and we were walking a few blocks to an excellent Indian restaurant with great curry, a diverse buffet, and plenty of naan.

I'd met Eddie in person at ALA back in July 2013, but I'd only spoken to Jordan through emails and a few editorial calls. There is something to be said about the experience of face-to-face interaction in an industry where there often isn't much of that sort of thing (it generally isn't necessary, per se). I would recommend this kind of in-person interaction at least once to any debut writer considering the idea and in possession of the cheese to pay for it.

Next, we headed over to the Egmont office, where I got to meet a bunch of fine people and talk about anything and everything.

I should probably mention that the two coolest things about meeting publishing people are:

1) They're really nice people who care a lot about books.

2) They LOVE giving visiting authors free books.

Unless I've just been lucky with number one, and the other 95% of the industry is a cesspool of A-holes, number one is really true. And number two.... seriously, my to-read list is jam-packed now.

If I was hard pressed to list a third coolest thing, it would be THEY GIVE YOU COOKIES (thanks, Margaret!).

Next was our visit to the agency office. It's nice to put real faces to the real names I've heard so many times. And I finally got to meet the legendary Joshua Bilmes. You either know what I mean by legendary, or you're never going to understand what I mean anyway. Anna, Eddie, and I shared one of those black/white cookies that taste like a pancake with frosting and discussed lots of cool stuff about what's going to be happening between now and September 2015.

So I met a lot of excellent new people, and even though day two is only half over, this post is becoming rather long. I'm going to pull a Deathly Hallows and split my second day in New York into two posts. My trip to the Museum of the Moving Image and tour of Sunnyside with Joshua and Krystyna will not fit here.

Until tomorrow.....

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