Friday, 2 December 2011

New York City

sunny, mild, temps mid-forties

Beautiful day, in every way. We're in New York City - staying in the Gramercy Park Hotel. We've been to New York about once a year since the books were published....but we made the 'mistake' (at least for us) of staying the first few times in hotels in midtown. Which is pretty much like staying in the Grand Canyon. Not a lot of neighourhood feel. Just loads and loads of people and office buildings/hotels. Magnificent, but doesn't feel very human.

We honestly didn't like New York very much. Were in awe of it. But there wasn't much affection.

But then our friend Susan, who adores New York City, suggested we stay downtown...Greenwich, Chelsea, Soho....a place that is actually a neighborhood. With small restaurants and markets and where people live. So we found a place on Union Square....and started our love affair with this city. Now we've moved to Gramcery Park and the affair deepens. It just gives us such a thrill to walk out the door, turn onto Lexington and see the Crysler building...or look down park ave and see the empire state building. Just standing on Park Ave gives me a thrill!!! You can see Michael outside the Flatiron building, looking toward the Empire State building.

But I have to tell you about the flight down. We got up in Sutton yesterday morning...had breakfast. Tony came by, then Bob came by - but we got away just after 9am...drove to Burlington, VT for our flight. So much easier to fly out of Burlington than Montreal - we're already across the border, so no airport customs, and it's a lovely, small airport. We arrived early, and I parked the car while Michael checked the bags in. We already had our boarding pass.

When I arrived I noticed there was an earlier flight that had been delayed and was leaving in 20 minutes....I hesitated, but thought I might as well ask....could we get on the JetBlue flight about to leave?

Our bags had already been checked. We had boarding passes for the later flight - and the one I was asking about was about to leave.

the jetblue attendent said, 'I'll check' - which I figured was a long shot. next thing I knew she was handing us new boarding passes, new luggage tags and telling us to hurry!

We hopped it through other passengers there and arrived at the gate just as they were calling the flight....and arrived in NYC before our original flight would have even left. It was wonderful.

The hotel is great - dinner last night was with six people from the publishers....Hope (my editor), Sarah (who does publicity), Jeanne-Marie (marketing), Matthew, who is Vice president of St Martin's Press...Sally, who is the publisher of St Martin's - and Andy Martin, the publisher of my imprint (which is a subsidiary of SMP) - Minotaur Books. We had one of the best meals of our's the latest Danny Meyer restaurant called Maialino. We shared a cheese plate and a salami plate...some had starter of sweet breads. Then the main course...most of us had roast pork...I had mine with pasta. It was amazing. Then we ended with an assortment of desserts. We agreed that Michael 'won' with vanilla ice creams drizzled with warm esspresso. Dear Lord!

We'd brought cheese wedges for everyone - to celebrate THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY...the cheese was Bleu Benedictine, made at the monastery of St-Benoit-du-lac.

This morning after breakfast we headed over to the Flatiron, I thought to discuss strategy for THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY. But Andy led us into a room and there were fifty people, all part of the publishing team, from designers to marketers, to library and audio people - all people who'd helped propel A TRICK OF THE LIGHT to number 4 on the NYTimes list. And a huge cake with the cover of the book on it!!! And a gorgeous framed copy of the book cover and the New York times list. Wow. Michael got weepy. I got weepy.

It was one of those amazing moments in life...I never, ever expected to be feted in New York. By my publishers. It was a time I will never forget. Nor will I forget their kindness. And the kindess of Elizabeth and Silissa to organize it. Wow.

You can see the photo I took of all of them. the man holding my book is Andy Martin, the publisher of Minotaur Books. the other photo, of the three men, is of John Sargent - the head of the whole thing...of Macmillan. the big banana, standing beside Andy, who is standing beside Michael...and all are standing where I would not! the balcony outside John's office on the top floor, at the point of the wedge, of the Flatiron. Amazing.

After that - Michael, Sarah, Hope, Andy and I sat down and did a de-brief on the launch of A TRICK OF THE LIGHT and began to strategize for THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY. Out, probably, in late august/early sept of 2012.

Then we had a fabulous Indian meal at Tamirind then I had my hair done. It was actually Sally - the publisher's - appointment, but when I asked her about how I could get an appointment at such a late date she said, 'Take mine!" So after some very feeble protests on my part, I did!

Now back at the hotel briefly. Meeting Hope and her husband Charlie for dinner at the Four Seasons. But first Michael and I are hitting Saks Fifth Ave, and seeing the tree at Rockefeller Centre...then walking over to the Four Seasons.

What a life! What an amazing, fortunate, life. Wow. Gotta Run! Speak soon. the Nero awards are tomorrow. Bury Your Dead nominated. Wish me luck!


Margaret J. McMaster said...

New York is so magical at Christmas. I imagine the window displays are fantastical.

KBurke said...

You should try the Upper West Side sometime...real neighborhood feeling and great eateries and green grocers.

A. Wright said...

Good Luck!!


John said...

Best of luck with the Nero, Louise, and thank you very much for continuing to share the days of your life with us!!!


Beth said...

You are in my favorite place on earth! From our little country town on the West Coast I am feeling a bit of the NYC magic. Thanks so much for sharing!

Wishing you best of luck with the Nero. This has been a year of exceptionally good taste with regard to book awards, so I have a good feeling...

xxx Beth

Jodi said...

Welcome to NY Louise!

Your description of Danny Meyer's new restaurant has me drooling (but then, his restaurants usually have that effect).

Don't forget to go to Fairway (upper west side and upper east side) and Zabar's (upper west side). Foodie heaven!

Anonymous said...

What a great experience! Thanks for bringing us along.
Karen L.

lil Gluckstern said...

These places are just names until you describe them. It is so nice to go along with you. And definitely, good luck for the Nero

kendall said...

Sounds magical, enjoyed every word of your experience. Good luck.