Today was meant to start off with a bright and early adventure at 8am. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating. I rolled out of bed and parted the scratchy hotel curtains expecting summer sunshine and, instead, was greeted with a dark, gloomy wall of clouds. Still hoping for the best, I headed toward an adventure at the Trapeze School of New York.
Only a handful of souls appeared to brave the ominous forecast and we all hung around patiently waiting for the decision on cancellation of the class (they wait until 15 minutes before to cancel). Lightning moved in, the rain began to pellet us with icy pricks and the wind caused the trapeze lines to start swaying viciously. It was enough to make almost anyone run away. Class was cancelled but luckily, I was able to snag a spot in one remaining class where they had openings later in the week. It would require some schedule rearranging but as long as the weather held, I’d hopefully be up in the air later in the week.
Considering the bad weather, I’ve no idea why I decided a walk along the Hudson back toward the Javits Convention Center might be a good idea. By the time I got my registration papers I was shivering and my teeth were chattering. I ducked into a quiet little restaurant called the Market Diner. Warm, cozy and decorated like an old fashioned diner you’d see in a movie, it was a nice respite from the storms and it gave me a chance to dig through the thick BookExpo registration packet.
After spending way more time at my table than the waiter cared for, I dropped my stuff at the hotel and headed toward the hell that is Times Square. I had intended on not stepping a single toe into the tourist trap but I hadn’t packed for shivering, pelleting rain either. So off I went to face summer tourists in hopes of finding some warmer clothing to get me through the week.
After several hours spent searching the only thing I was able to find were horrid I heart the Big Apple hoodies in bright “look at me!” colors. Even I have my standards. I even broke down and asked for help in a couple of stores but, being June, everywhere was stocking tank tops and shorts rather than cold weather gear. The locals looked at me like I was nuts and I felt the need to defend myself…when I left my home is was well over 90 degrees for goodness sakes!
Exhausted by the shopping and crowds, I ducked into a coffee shop that was all most completely empty. While the coffee was nothing to write home about, I was able to score a table right in the corner of the café overlooking the street. I could’ve sat here for hours people watching now that I had the safety of several inches of glass between me and the crowds.
After people watching for awhile and trying a few more stores, I gave up and resigned myself to shivering for the remainder of the week. With an unplanned free day, I decided to get to know my new neighborhood a bit better and set out on an ambling walk around Hell’s Kitchen. Strolling up and down the blocks, I took in the historic ivy covered buildings and random street art.
I chatted with locals as I went, enjoying the more quiet side streets that the area offered. I’d been afraid my enjoyment of the area the night before had been a fluke and once a Monday morning rolled around, it would turn into utter chaos. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find it unchanged…a quiet little haven in the city where families strolled along and only rarely did the rude, headphone wearing, backpack toting obnoxious urbanite appear to shove everyone out of his way.
Tucked away on a side street, I found was is apparently a landmark bakery. Although if you are looking for it, you may have a hard time finding it because it’s a tiny little jewel of a place called Sullivan Street Bakery (it is not, for the record, on Sullivan Street). So small, in fact, that the idea of staying inside made me a little queasy so I took my goods to go.
I settled into Hell’s Kitchen park, what we call at home a “pocket park”. With a few benches under shade trees and a kid’s playground, I snacked on my pastry while watching the comings and goings. The sun peeked out for a little while and it dappled through the trees and onto my bare legs. It was the warmest I’d felt since arriving in the city and I relished every minute of it.
As the sun began to set and the chilly air descend again, I rambled back to the hotel. I still had several pages of book lists to go through before BookExpo opened the next day. Curling up in my pajamas and surrounding myself with paperwork, I decided to forego heading out to a restaurant and instead, ordered takeout from a nearby Indian restaurant. Baseera turned out to be a great choice and spicy curry perfumed the hotel room well into the next day (sorry about that, Kimpton!).
Confusion about my dinner order did prove an amusing end to the day, though. It seems asking for “tea” doesn’t mean quite the same as it does back home. I assume iced tea (especially since it was the dinner hour) but people wanted to know what kind of crazy lady I was to be asking for hot tea to go with my curry. Note to self: next time, be more specific with your drink order.