Monday, October 15, 2012

Two Small Town Writers And One Large City

I'm sure some of you have one of those online friends--someone you only know through the cyber-world. I met Courtney Rene, or 'Cornty' as the people in Starbucks like to call her, back in 2008. She posted a story, which I loved, in a forum on the Institute for Children's Literature, and we became writing friends, swapping manuscripts for critique, offering advice, and sharing markets. Now, Courtney Rene is the author of FOUR YA novels!

When she e-mailed me, saying her family was coming to New York, I jumped at the opportunity to join her for a day in the city. This get together has been two years in the making. We had also planned to meet up Cindy, a fellow writer who lives in New York, but Cindy couldn't meet us until later in the day and unfortunately, Courtney and her family had evening plans. We missed you, Cindy!

In my younger days, I worked in various jobs all over downtown and midtown NYC. Since moving to Blairstown, I've only been back to the metropolis a few times, but I kinda sorta knew where I was going, so I mapped out some of the tourist spots in midtown.

I met up with Courtney and her beautiful family at their hotel. After swapping a signed copy of 31 More Halloween Nights for a signed copy of her long-awaited Shadow's End, (SQUEE!) we boarded a bus to Manhattan and started our day from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.


We walked up 42nd Street through Times Square, and then through a beautiful, but disappointing-because-of-renovations Bryant Park, and then on to the NY Public Library.

Oh my! What a building! 




Of course, we checked out the two large rooms in the children's area, but there were no books in sight by Courtney Rene. :(
But the library had lots of marble and stairs.
They had old wooden phone booths and lots of stairs. There were individual rooms of books and inside those rooms were stairs. Did I say there were an awful lot of stairs?

Me & Courtney standing on the stairs in front of the library.

We walked up to Fifth Avenue and made our way to the American Girl store. We saw lots of overpriced dolls, matching girl/doll clothes, and bug-eyed little girls mentally writing their Christmas lists. Who wouldn't want Santa to bring them a $150 dollar baby grand piano for their doll?


 Aren't these dolls kind of creepy? Makes me think of Stepford Children...


St. Patrick's Cathedral was also going through some restorations. This church is almost as beautiful as St Paul's Cathedral in London, but not nearly as massive. For $2.00 we could have lit a candle (a stub of wax) at one of the many devotionals for different Saints, but we decided to move on.


 We made a quick detour into Rockefeller Center. No tree yet, but the skaters were already on the rink.


After a yummy lunch at Five Guys, we popped into Nintendo World, a pokemon-lover's paradise! I thought of you, Amanda!

 This picture of Link is made up of thousands of fan photos.

 Gotta catch 'em all...

We did some souvenir shopping, a couple of stops for coffee, and got sucked into a chocolate store. Our noses were pressed up against the glass, trying to choose the perfect piece of candy, but I never thought to take a photo of the little works of art.

We were running out of time, so we headed straight for the Empire State Building. We waited and talked and waited some more. We made it to the observation deck without giving in to the urgent advice someone yelled at us every 15 minutes: "...There is nobody on the deck to tell you what you are looking at. You NEED one of these maps. We have maps in 10 different languages..."


We were fine without a map.


It was a beautiful clear day, and not as cold as I feared it would be 80 stories above New York City.


Courtney and her gorgeous daughters.

Me and Courtney 


When I was getting ready that morning to meet Courtney, I was excited, but also a little nervous--like a fan-girl meeting her favorite author. But our easy conversations and lots of silliness (including duck-lipped, hiding-chins Empire State souvenir photos) seemed like we'd known each other forever.

Thankfully, I only got everyone lost/side-tracked/turned-in-the-wrong-direction once and we made it back to the hotel safely.

Next year, we're doing lower Manhattan--





Why not meet us there?