Ah yes, the long awaited follow up post to my BEA post, where I recount all of our wacky adventures running around New York City, trying to do everything in the tiny amount of time allotted to ourselves.
We got in on the Tuesday morning before BEA began. Our day might have started off super early, but the airport had complementary tea, coffee and cookies. Congrats Billy Bishop Airport, you won our love through our stomachs. We hung out in probably one of the nicest airport waiting rooms that I have ever come across. Billy Bishop is mostly used for commuter flights, so I had fun pretending that we were important businessmen off on a super important trip.
There were a lot of other people around us who were going to New York for BEA and BookCon, so right off the bat the excitement was high.
We were flying into Newark and as the plane began to descend, Chelsey and I began playing a new game. Count how many baseball diamonds you could see. In under five minutes we were upwards of thirty… You can’t make stuff like that up.
From Newark, we hopped on a train and headed into Manhattan. I remember turning to Chelsey when we were in the tunnel under the river and asking her what she would do if we saw a Strain Vampire stinger shoot out at our window. The Strain became an ongoing joke throughout the trip. How would you react here if you saw a vampire, what would you do there? How would you get off the island? We’re just really excited for the series to come back, okay?
We headed to our hotel to drop off our bags only to find out that we could check into our room. It was pretty early, making it a rather nice surprise. We were staying at the Pod 51.
Our room was pretty small, but that didn’t matter. We knew we wouldn’t be spending a lot of time in there anyways. If I’m ever back in NYC I would consider staying at The Pod 51 again. It was located right on a few of the major subway lines, which meant we were able to get everywhere we wanted to go really easily.
After we dropped our stuff and settled in we grabbed Chipolte and headed to Central Park. We sat under a tree and let it finally sink in that, yes we were in New York and that BEA was actually happening tomorrow. We wandered around Central Park, stopping to watch the sail boats, and look at some of the statues before we headed to the Met. The Met is probably my favourite museum ever. I can easily lose an entire day wandering around there. We arrived to do the last three hours before closing.
During our visit there were two special exhibitions that we checked out. The first was Fatal Attraction: Piotr Uklański Photographs. It came as a complete surprise to see this exhibit. But it was totally worth it. Some of the art was creepy, some of it made you think.
The exhibit that I was the most excited to check out was the China: Through the Looking Glass. This exhibit was the theme for the most recent Met Gala, so I was looking forward to checking it out. I was not disappointed. The Exhibit focused on Chinese influenced fashion specifically looking at cultural appropriation. As you wandered through the exhibit (which was beautifully laid out, the pictures don’t do it justice) there were clips showcasing scenes from Chinese Cinema. Being a huge movie nut, I really loved all the costumes from these movies and the American Classical Hollywood Cinema. The Lady from Shanghai? Yes please! Chelsey and I got through the first half of it before the museum closed and decided to come back later to see the second half.
Some of my pictures:
Tuesday ended with the two of us headed to one of our favourite restaurants: Carmines at Times Square. We hit up some of the famous stores, Chelsey would have killed me if we didn’t go to the M&M Store and then headed back to the hotel.
WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY
These days all kind of blurred into one. The majority of our time was spent at BEA and BookCon. You can check out my blog post on that here.
We managed to wedge a few activities around BEA and BookCon, most of them involving food. We checked out some of the restaurants near our hotel. My favourite being this little French place, where I had some of the best garlicky pasta of my life. We found a little cupcake shop, which Chelsey got really excited for. We wandered into a Starbucks summoning circle:
Seriously, what coffee powered hell beast are they trying to drag into this world?
We headed back to the Met on Friday evening for the Met after dark, an event where the museum stays upon a a few hours later and has live music and drinks. We took this opportunity to finish the China: Through the Looking Glass exhibit and hit up the rest of the exhibits that we missed.
We hung out in the Egyptian Temple room:
We found a statue that had an uncanny resemblance to our friend Luca:
And I had way too much fun snap chatting my friends back home:
Besides the music and the drinks, there were buskers and other forms of performance art scattered throughout the museum. They were really cool, but it looked like the museum security people weren’t all too impressed with them climbing the columns in the one room.
One night we hung out on our hotel’s rooftop patio, just reading and enjoying the view. It was a nice break from our constant intense schedule. It was too dark to take a picture at the time. The next evening I wandered up to the patio to take a picture of it during the crazy storm that hit New York. The colours were really cool.
We hit up two comedy clubs during our trip. The first one was the Village Underground. We went there on the Wednesday night, and had a great time. Since we arrived right at the beginning of the show our seats were not the greatest, but it was still really funny. The second time around was at the Comedy Cellar, and it was a bit of a mixed bag. Since this was the Monday night, the majority of the A Lister comedians weren’t there and we saw a few ameteurs. Despite that, most of them were good. There was this one comedian though, his jokes were mostly misogynistic. Luckily he was followed up by an awesome closing act, but we’ll get more into detail on him later. Because now it’s….
MONDAY. THE DAY WE DID ALL THE THINGS
After the madness that was BEA and BookCon we had one full day left to wander NYC and hit up all the remaining things that we wanted to see. We started off heading in the general direction of the MoMA, but getting side tracked at Rockefeller Square.
The MoMA was the only remaining big named museum that either of us had never been too. By the time we arrived it was pouring rain. We waited in line for our tickets and thus began one of the weirdest, most surreal few hours of my life. I knew next to nothing about Modern Art when we entered the MoMA and I still feel the same way after leaving. I recognized some movements which I covered in Lit classes (I’m looking at you DaDa) and saw a few paintings that I really loved.
I saw the real honest to God Starry Night. In real life.
After seeing masses of people taking selfies with Starry Night, I decided to start my own Modern Art project: people taking photos with famous pieces of art. I’ll get around to it. Eventually.
Then there was this piece by Andy Warhol, which I fell in love with. I’m going to try and find a print of it for myself somewhere. I took a picture of it, but it didn’t do the piece justice. So here’s the scan from the MoMA website:
We also saw the Andy Warhol Soup Cans and Marilyns, which were larger than I expected them to be. Our MoMA experience consisted us going to the top floor and just wandering through everything until we hit the ground floor again. This led to us finding some really cool stuff. Chelsey and I both really liked the One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works exhibit. We spent a good hour wandering around looking at each painting. The Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971 exhibit was fascinating but I think a lot of it went over my head. We also had a chance to see the Björk exhibit that had a really cool multi-media set up.
We left the MoMA, grabbed a quick lunch before heading off to our next location. The Tenement Museum. Chelsey had found it when we were researching our trip and she really wanted to check it out. The set up was pretty neat. There were multiple tours you could choose from (we took the Irish Outsiders Tour) You got to go into an old apartment complex and trace a family and learn about the living conditions of the time. The tour was guided and our tour guide was amazing. He was able to field questions and keep everyone in our group interested. Sadly there was a no photography policy inside the building. But I did take a few pictures around the museum site.
After our tour, we stuck around and asked the guide a few more questions before heading out to Strand. The coolest bookstore ever.
Dinner was Carmines again, because we both love it and it was our last night in NYC. From dinner we headed to the Comedy Cellar to catch another round of stand up.
So I was talking about this earlier. Chelsey wanted to sit in the front row, in the line of fire of the comedians. I was hesitant but eventually relented. For the first four comedians, nothing happened. Then Judah Friedlander came out. He began talking to the couple sitting next to us. The guy worked in a food truck, selling waffles. In other words. He does exactly what I do. I was so excited to play the “I’m a carnie card. I mean, what can you say to that? So when Judah turned to us and asked me what I did and I dropped the carnie selling waffles. Well everything got interesting. It’s like the two of us handed him a joke on a silver platter. It was lots of fun.
TUESDAY THE DAY IT RAINED. HARD.
The bell boy from the hotel arranged a shuttle for us from the hotel to the airport. This was amazing because we had to carry all those books from BEA. I had not been looking forward to that subway ride. Instead we got there with little fuss, only to find out our flight had been delayed due to weather. The woman at the main desk was nice enough to put us on an earlier flight… so it ended up leaving just when our original flight was supposed to leave.
During the flight back to Canada I happened to look out the window only to see that we were flying over Niagara Falls. Which was really cool. I managed to snap a picture.
This trip was crazy. With all the convention going and sight seeing I felt like I needed to sleep for a week to get back to normal. As we were taking off out of Newark to go back home I had a feeling that this was going to be the last time I was in New York City for a very long time. It made me sad, but I think I’ve seen as much of the city that never sleeps for now.
So now, here I sit, back in reality. I have a lot of books to read and a lot of new ideas for projects. Sometimes you just need to go somewhere different for a while to get inspiration.
Now it’s time to do something with it.