Monday, January 14, 2008

Adventures in New York City

So I have just returned from my weekend in New York City where I attended the book launch party for Someday my Prince will come by Jerramy Fine. It was a rather impulsive trip - I don't normally go to New York City for the weekend. But I had a fantastic time and as you can see, I came back in one piece. Despite my expectations to the contrary, I found New Yorkers to be friendly and helpful.

I left on Friday January 11th. Going through Immigration I was met by a gum chewing officer who wore the name tag: Rodgrigues. The following exchange took place.

Rodgrigues: Is your trip for business or pleasure?

Me: Pleasure

Rodgrigues: What will you be doing while you are in New York?

Me: Attending a party for the launch of a book.

Rodgrigues: What book?

Me: It's called Someday my prince will come and it's about a woman who wants to become a princess and moves to London in order to find her prince.

Rodgrigues eyes narrowed. He looked sceptical.

Rodgrigues: Does she marry a Prince?

Me: No

Rodrigues: So how does her situation resolve itself?

Me: I don't know, I haven't read the book!

Rodgrigues still looked sceptical but he stamped my paperwork and I was on my way.

I arrived late at night and went on a wild shuttle ride to get to my hotel, a few blocks from Times Square.

Saturday January 12th

Started the day by visiting the WTC site. I have a non-royal story idea I'm working on so I felt somewhat compelled to go there. It was strange to ask for directions to the site, as if I was looking for a tourist attraction. But I have to say that I was disappointed that there was no proper area to view the site. Or that other than a list of those who'd died, there was no type of real tribute. The noise from the construction drowned out any sense of respect towards the victims.

After visiting, I was off to find The Strand bookstore. With 55,000 square feet of space, it is a book lovers paradise. However, with minimal space in my carry-on, I was on a mission to find one book: the Diana, Princess of Wales Christie's catalogue for her dress auction in 1997. Having coveted this item for some time, I'm happy to say it is now part of my collection. Behold.

I had lunch and I was then off to 5th avenue, which I eventually reached after getting lost on the subway system. Mecca for window shoppers, my focus was on the toy store FAO Swartz and Tiffany's. At the toy store I saw the infamous piano from the movie Big. If you want one of your own it will set you back $250,000. I also visited St. Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Centre.

After a day of window shopping, I went back to the hotel, had dinner and changed for the party. I arrived at Soho House, where the party bustled with friends and people from the publishing industry. The guest of honor circulated amongst the crowd and signed books. I finally managed to get a photo taken with her. Congratulations Jerramy!

Sunday January 13th.

My last morning in New York City was spent getting lost on the subway system, and taking long walks to my destination because of it. I eventually made my way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and by the end of the day my dogs were definitely barking.

Monday January 14th

I'm writing this article about my thoroughly enjoyable trip! I highly recommend visiting New York City if you get the chance. Albeit for longer than a weekend!

© Marilyn Braun 2008


Anonymous said...

Sounds like fun, and your story about the immigration officer is funny!

I can't believe a quarter million dollars for that piano. Although I'm surprised it didn't cost that much for the Diana dress catalogue.

Marilyn Braun said...

I almost thought he wasn't going to let me into the country! ;)

When I saw the $250,000 price tag near the piano I had to double check it on the FAO website before posting it here. I couldn't believe it. I still don't believe it.

The dress catalogue wasn't as expensive as that - not by a long shot. It isn't in perfect condition but I'm happy to have it after all of these years. It actually has a letter in it - addressed to Franklin Mint, who'd bought one of the dresses if I remember correctly. It also includes a list of the final prices for each dress. I'm wondering if this was one of their copies. Doesn't matter, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

Mme.G said...

Yes, our wonderful immigration agents are so fabulously on-topic. I once had a lecture from one such agent about why I didn't know which river I lived nearest (we have 3 here in Pittsburgh, PA - it gets confusing!).

Anonymous said...

Welcome home Marilyn! Sounds like you had a wonderful time, I'm very glad you did. I'd love to visit NYC one day, must be a fantastic city. Did you get the book at the party so that you can read it? I might get it with my next Amazon shipment as we don't have it here in Sweden. What was the best about NY?

The security officers and immigration officers at US airports can be really, how should one say.... Scary! I once had a big beefy one empty my whole backpack (which was stuffed) surrounded by him - looking sternly at me - and his colleagues came to see. Of course it was nothing, but my heart pounded like crazy!

Marilyn Braun said...

Thank you! NYC is great - it was my third trip there. I'd never actually travelled on my own before so it was really somewhat of an adventure for me.

I did not get the book at her party! unfortunate because I could have had Jerramy sign it. So I await it in the mail. I'm really looking forward to reading it and eventually reviewing it here.

My favorite thing about NYC - there was a cab driver who took me to Jerramy's party. Very friendly, a former cop, he wore a sailor's cap - it's his trademark. He was telling me about living in NYC and all of the characters he'd had in his cab over the years. Then he mentioned that he had a wife and a girlfriend - I didn't ask further but I thought that was kind of funny.

NYC is great, just so much to see and do. I was a few blocks from Times Square and knowing that I was in one of the most exciting areas was pretty cool. If you do end up going, wear very comfortable walking shoes because you'll walk everywhere.

Yeah the immigration officers can be intimidating. We were driving into the US last year and as we went through immigration the guy was firing all sorts of questions at us - what do you do, where are you going, why are you going. He asked my husband what he does for a living - a simple question but it made my husband nervous enough to stutter the answer. We had our kids with us and he made us open the doors to check whether they were there. Very absurd.

I had no problems on the way back. The security guy briefly opened my carry on and helped me zip it up afterwards because it was stuffed too.