It's been a week since I returned from the Novelists Inc conference in New York City and I already want to go back! NYC is such an exciting place to be. I started the trip by driving 4.5 hours to where my sister lives, so that we could drive up to Little Rock the next morning at o-dark-thirty to take the red-eye flight to Chicago andfrom there to New York City. Once we arrived, the fun began with our first taxi ride.
OH MY GOD, the taxis!!! I swear they are all kamikazes out to prove who's the bravest or most insane! We took the taxis from our hotel to visit our editors at places like Harlequin down near ground zero and Kensington and Avon Publishing. The traffic was insane. I could never drive there. Oh wait...most normal people don't! I strapped on my seatbelt every time I got into one of the yellow tombs of death and held on for dear life. For the most part, the drivers weren't originally from New York, or from the US for that matter which made giving directions interesting.
On our first day out, we managed to flag a cab to get us to our first visit at Avon. When we left, it was rush hour and we couldn't flag a cab to save our lives. So we opted for a ride in a bicycle-powered rickshaw. The entire way we giggled and pretty much felt sorry for the guy pedaling the weight of two hefty women uphill for several blocks. Don't worry, he got a hefty tip for his efforts. Of course if we thought kamikaze taxis were bad from the inside...trying riding in a rickshaw with none of the metal of a car protecting you from those kamikaze taxi drivers! It was fun and dangerous, giving us the same thrill as a dueling-with-death roller coaster ride.
We stayed at the Affinia Manahattan Hotel about 10 blocks from Times Square and basically around the corner from the Empire State building. the photo of the taxis above is a photo taken from our hotel window. When they say NYC is a city that never sleeps, they were right. Taxi drivers not only drive crazy, they think everyone else does and they honk all day and all night. If you're a light sleeper, bring your earplugs! Not only that, but we had a fire department at the base of our hotel and a police department around the corner. It was non-stop noise. Gotta love it! Thank goodness I can sleep with all that going on. I consider it the pulseof the city.
On the second day of our visit, we traveled across town to the Harlequin New York offices. They're located in the old Woolworth Building. The entrance was fabulous with tile mosaic ceilings and beautiful wood molding. The Harlequin offices were newly remodeled and beautiful in pleasant, modern, soft blue-green tones. It was fun to walk down the hallways and peer into the offices of all the editors we've met over the years, to see where they work. Thank goodness the editor we met with walked us down to the subway and showed us how to get to our next stop, Kensington! After the taxi drive there, we were still kinda shaky about getting into another! The subway was an entire new adventure for me. I've been to NYC two other times and never gave it a shot. Let me tell you, I'll do it again! It was easy and fun and the people were helpful. I guess they figured we were pretty lost. One woman yelled across the car, "This is your stop!". If she hadn't, we would have missed our exit!
Other fun things we did while in NYC was to eat hotdogs from street vendors, shop for purses we didn't need and take in a show on Broadway. We couldn't get tickets for Wicked or Spamalot, but based on a recommendation from a friend, Sylvia Day, Delilah and I went to the Saturday matinée to see David Hyde Pierce in Curtains. Talk about a hoot! I loved it! NYC is the best! But the most fun we had was visiting with other writers and talking the language of writing. A lot of us writers live a solitary world in our offices and don't get out much so the hustle and bustle of the big city can be overwhelming. But if you take along a friend or meet up with some, it makes it an adventure worth traveling half way across the country. Like I said, I'm ready to go back for another visit!