Friday, 9 July 2010

Falling in love, with NYC

sunny, hot, humid - but wonderful!!! temps 85

We're in New York City. Heat wave broken, for the most part. Now it's just hot, but not sizzling. Everyone here is sighing with relief and saying, "you should've seen it earlier in the week.'

I'll tell you, 85 and humid in NYC is hot enough for us fragile Canadians. Very delicate.

We're having such a great time. Arrived via Jet Blue from Burlington at about 1pm, at hotel by 1:45. W Union Square. Did the usual and asked for an upgrade, and they were happy to give it to us. Very gracious. But (oh dear) the room they gave us while very big was more than a little dreary and had a sliver of a window with a kind of turret wall blocking out half the view.

Sooo - I was in the embarrassing (though not unfamiliar position) of asking for an upgrade on the upgrade. They were lovely and sent a manager right up who showed us to a slightly smaller room on the 15th floor - with a huge window and a view over Union Square.

Now, Union Square (as we're learning) is a fabulous location in New York...just at the border with Greenwich Village and the East Village. The park used to be very scary - drug deals, prostitutes, violent crime. But now it's great...trees, benches, a market Friday's to Sundays. Lively without being frightening. After we'd unpacked we asked the concierge where to have lunch and she pointed us across Union Square to the Blue Water Grill. Off we went and had a great meal. Michael had the watermelon gaspacho and I had a fruit and cheese salad. Then he had the grilled cod and I had grilled shrimp.

Oh. Jesus, take me now.

Then we walked back across the park, to the hotel, and had a nap. First good sleep in days - thanks to the air conditioning. Ahhh.

Up by 5pm, dressed and into a cab to the Hyatt Regency in Times Square for the St Martin's Press/Minotaur cocktail at Thrillerfest. Met loads of people...very fun, and loud. Then Hope, Michael and I hopped back into a cab for dinner at the Gotham Bar and Grill. Michael had seafood ceviche salad as a starter, I had the corn chowder. Hope resisted. She had the grilled steak as a main course, Michael and I both had halibut. Delicious. Michael topped it off with the Gotham chocolate cake. The boy was lost beneath a sea of moans.

Home to the hotel by midnight - an easy walk. And a lovely night for a short stroll.

Then up by 7am - breakfast at a nearby bistro - l'express - with Sarah Melnyk, my publicist at Minotaur, and a really terrific writer for Publisher's Weekly named Lenny. Michael was there too. So it was cafe au laits, and talking, for two hours.

Then off to the Flatiron building, and a taped interview with Laura, the head of Macmillian Audio. Ralph Cosham, who narrates the audio books, was supposed to be there, but wasn't able to. Disappointing, but I know we'll meet one fine day.

Then off to a nearby greek restaurant for lunch with 14 people from Barnes and Noble, as well as my publisher, Andy Martin and a number of others from Minotaur. A fun, relaxed lunch. though I realize it's a Friday and normally these people would scoot out of the city at noon - so I'm very grateful they delayed that to sit down for lunch.

And now Michael and I are relaxing in the lobby bar of the W, with lemonades (well, I have a Shirley Temple). Michael's finished the latest draft of his brilliant book, so I'm taking him out tonight to celebrate. I asked where he'd like to go...and do you know what he said???

The Blue Water Grill! He loved it so much he wants to go back!

Tomorrow morning we plan to wander the Union Square market...then I'm off for a birthday celebration with my friend Dan (taking him to the Union Square Cafe) while Michael enjoys himself in quieter pursuits.

We are growing to LOVE this amazing city. If you've been following the blog since the beginning you know it's been very slow boil. NYC intimidated us at first...and we'd creep back with some trepidation. We realized after a while that we weren't helping things by staying in large mid-town hotels. We need a sense of community, of NYC as smaller neighborhoods. So we've re-located this area. the area of villages. And now, finally, we feel at home. And we still feel how dynamic and exciting this city is. Indeed, we're even considering finding a very small pied a terre in this area, and maybe renovating it. Not to live it, but to be here when we visit.

Probably won't...but fun to dream. And such a blessing to be falling in love with this wonderful city.

Off now to walk around, stop for ice cream, find a quiet place to read the Times. Then off for Michael's celebration dinner. So glad you could come with us!


Reen said...

Ha ha! Glad it's cooled off in NYC. I recommend the banana tart with honey-vanilla ice cream at the Union Square Cafe.

lil Gluckstern said...

I just love traveling with you. Although I grew up in NYC, just thinking about it now is intimidating. However, You remind me that one can take it one neighborhood at a time. Enjoy your lovely times, and lovely meals, and all else.

Jodi Kaplan said...

So glad you're having a fabulous time. And that the heat wave eased (yes, it really was much worse), and you haven't melted. I swear I was taller last week than I am now.

Sounds like you've already found your way around the food (let's see, that's 5 restaurants down, only 18,691 to go). :-)

Dana said...

Anyone brave enough to visit NYC in July deserves all the good food they can find. One of my earliest memories is of unbelievably long rides to get to a cottage on LI (rural in those days) or the Catskills to get out of the city.

So glad to be along for the visit and the trip down memory lane.

Diane said...

How wonderful to be in NYC - I too love that city, glad you weren't there for the melt-down.

Great to hear Michael has finished his first draft - two writers in one family - what's the odds of that happening!

Thanks for sharing your trip - it's like being there again.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

The great time now, true to form, looking through the NYTimes real estate listings for studio flats in the Union Square area. Michael is remaining stoic...but this sort of behavior by me keeps him close to his God. He's in a state of near-constant prayer I don't do something idiotic.

Keep him young.