Saturday was my last full day in New York City. Since I had never been to NYC before, I knew I needed to add some sightseeing time into my trip. I also knew I wouldn't have a ton of time to see things because I didn't feel super comfortable wandering around on my own and I was already pretty booked up before I even got to BEA.
Ciara (Lost at Midnight) and I decided we would spend the morning together and meet up with Katherine (Ms Lady Critic) later in the day. We wanted to see as much as we could so we picked a lot of things we could sort of do walk-by stops at. First up: the M&M's and Hershey's stores in Times Square.
Oh my gosh, guys. So much chocolate. It was so cool just looking around M&M's World because there were colours everywhere. Look at those M&M dispensers! Because I didn't have a ton of money and am trying to not eat as much junk, I walked away from both stores empty handed. (Except for the free chocolate at Hershey that ended up melting and then I forgot it when I was packing up anyway. Fail.)
Ciara decided we could cut through Times Square before heading to Bryant Park. This was when she learned that I hadn't actually been to NYC before and immediately stopped and made me stand in front of the iconic buildings for a typical tourist picture. We ended up walking the wrong way, I think?, off the subway but it was an excellent move because we found ourselves in front of the New York Public Library. You know...the one with the lions out front! So we took a selfie, as one does. Bryant Park was lovely (I didn't get a great picture!) and it was nice to have a brief break in the shade. It was so hot outside! I had spotted the HBO Store down the street and we decided to make a quick stop. I picked up an Eastbound and Down shot glass for my boyfriend's brother, a Sex and the City magnet for me, and a Newsroom coffee mug for my boyfriend. The guy at cash (who had visited Toronto, naturally, because everyone we met had been there) told me that the building across the street, the Bank of America Tower, was used for the media building in the Newsroom. They just used CGI to put the fake media corporation name on it in post-production. Neat!
|Left: Look, Ma! I'm in Times Square! | Middle: Making new friends with the lions.|
Right: Can't believe that building is in The Newsoom!
We battled slow/delayed subways and large crowds and powerwalked our way down (up?) Fifth Avenue (Tiffany's!) to make it to FAO Schwarz and Katherine. The three of us definitely wanted to go to the iconic toy store because we knew it would be closing in July. It was so freaking cool. So many toys and things to play with! If you've never been, employees are stationed throughout the store showing off different toys. We happened upon one guy who had the coolest Melissa and Doug game (it was similar to Jenga). We started playing and he asked us where we were from. We answered generally: Ontario, Canada. He was all, "No way, I'm from Brampton!" Cue the jaw dropping. Just kidding! He actually wasn't (I think he was from Montana or something) but the fact that he knew Brampton and could kind of tell us where it was totally made our afternoon. After spending way too much time playing the game (and all of us wishing we could afford to buy it) we carried on to our next destination: Central Park!
|Top left: I wanted that Barbie so bad. | Top middle: The Big piano!|
Top right: The closest I got to the Statue of Liberty.
Bottom: The main store signage. I was there!
Of all the things to do in Central Park, I really wanted to see the Alice in Wonderland statue. Katherine and Ciara wanted to ride the carousel, which I was totally down for. It was classic, nostalgic, and a lot of fun. We wandered through the Mall and Literary Walk (spotted Robert Burns and had to take a picture for my grandma. We're Stewarts, after all.), found Hans Christian Andersen, and then came upon Alice. Ciara and I scrambled up for a picture (thanks, Katherine!). I, as a bunny owner, snuggled up to the White Rabbit and Ciara nearly burned her butt sitting on the mushroom. Totally worth it! :) We walked through Bethesda Terrace (I foolishly didn't get a picture. It was so beautiful though.) and saw the Loeb Boathouse and the pond that are featured in so many movies. Again, beautiful.
|Top left: Hello from the carousel! | Top middle: Robbie Burns! | Top right: carousel details.|
Bottom left: Chilling with Alice and her friends. | Bottom middle: The Ugly Duckling + Hans.
Bottom right: Beautiful scenery.
After Ladurée we made our way back to the apartment because we had agreed to go to a Paper Lantern Lit party in Brooklyn that Jess (Read My Breath Away) had been invited to later that night. While I'm happy we went and it was fun to be with everyone (Tiff and Sarah included), it almost wasn't worth it. We were already late leaving and certain subway lines weren't running so that made us even later and we missed the games and most of the fun at the party. We did get drinks and candy so that was a plus. I was a super fancy lady and had some Rosé (in my plastic cup) while others tried the punch (it had basil in it and I leave the basil to my rabbit). I classed it up even more and ate a candy necklace as well. I also turned down the free ARCs that were being handed out at the end of the evening. They weren't books I really wanted to read and I was super conscious of suitcase space!
I also couldn't help but think of all the things I didn't get to see in New York City. I didn't see the Statue of Liberty. I wasn't able to make it to the 9/11 Memorial (a fact I'm really dwelling on today, 9/11, as I write this). I didn't get up the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock. I wish I could have made it on The High Line too (something I didn't even know existed until I was there). I am happy with what I did get to see and I know I was there for BEA but I can't help but wish I had done just a bit more sightseeing.
While at the publishing party, Tiff, Katherine and I arranged to get to the airport together, which lead us to packing as soon as we got back to the apartment. But even the fact that Emilie needed to leave at the crack of dawn to drive back to Ottawa didn't stop us from staying up too late and enjoying our last night in New York City together. Katherine and I quickly regretted it the next morning when we both overslept and had to throw crap in our suitcase and hope we weren't overweight. We made it to the car service (which was early, of course) and realized all three of us were going to different terminals in Newark. Of course. Why can't things be simple? Once I was dropped off, a very nice United employee got to work checking me in. Then disaster struck. Again. Yep. My flight was cancelled. Again. I was super lucky that I was early so the woman got me all set up on the next flight, just 45 minutes after my original flight. It still meant I had a lot of waiting to do in the airport. But, bonus, both suitcases were underweight! I was so happy I went the suitcase within a suitcase route! At long last, I made it back to Buffalo, got off the (tiny) plane in the pouring rain, gathered my (wet) luggage, made my way to my parked car, and went off towards the border and my country. This was where I was very worried. I had heard horror stories of people being charged duty and given trouble for going over the border with ARCs they had received at BEA. Luckily I made it through without incident. Finally, about an hour after landing, I was home sweet home. I was exhausted and exhilarated and I couldn't wait to unpack all of my lovely new books and start planning for BEA 2016.
Stay tuned for my haul post where I will share everything I brought back with me from BEA. I can sum it up in one word: insanity.
In case you missed it...