What I Did With My Second Day of Non-BEA NYC Time

So what did I do with my second full day in New York since I decided that BEA was not for me so I knew I wasn’t going back?

The view from the second floor out through the front doors.

First, I went to the library one of my favorite places in the city. I love going up to the reading floor on the top level and sitting at those long wooden tables with the light streaming in through the tall windows above. This time, I spent some time going through the exhibit on the first floor (which I had actually never done before). Right now it is about the 100 year history of the New York Public Library. What did I see there? Oh I’m so glad you asked! If only I could have taken pictures, but, alas, it wasn’t allowed. So I took notes instead, because I didn’t want to forget a thing and knew I needed to tell you all about it! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Charles Dickens’ prompt copy of David Copperfield. What’s a prompt copy? It’s the copy of the book that he used when doing public readings. It contains notes in the margin of how he wanted to convey passages including how he was going to break up sentences while reading!
  • A lock of Mary Shelley’s hair.
  • Charlotte Bronte’s traveling writing desk!
  • E.E. Cummings’ typewriter.
  • A draft of Native Son.
  • A draft of the Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson’s own hand (apparently he wrote five to give to friends, one being his mentor, George Wythe, who — if you’re doing our read along — you know I recently found out was a distant relative of mine!). This was super, super cool because it is so relevant to the read-a-long book and what I’m learning from it.
  • (Also along those lines…) George Washington’s farewell address in his own hand! This was never given orally, but rather was published in the newspaper.
  • Malcolm X’s journal from 1964.
  • Jack Kerouac’s journal from his trip from NY to San Francisco in 1949 with Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg and others. The page that was available read was scandalous (go figure). They also displayed his glasses, zig zag papers, valium packet, and  his lighter.
After the library I headed up to the Upper East Side. I exited the subway and headed straight for Helene Hanff’s house. If you are a reader of my blog, you know how much I adore Helene Hanff. If you haven’t read one of her books you are missing out. Walking through her neighborhood I was drawn to the window of Upper East Side Housing Works Thrift Shop. I immediately  noticed a red 40’s style dress that was only $20 and my size! So, naturally, I grabbed it. Then I headed straight for the back where there were books. I just couldn’t help but wish that there would be a Hanff book that I could grab; a keepsake that I bought it in her neighborhood. (I mean, really… wouldn’t it be perfect???) Unfortunately her books did not grace the shelves, so I bought the dress and continued on to her street. As I walked past the cute cafes and stores I was envisioning little Helene walking around this neighborhood. And then there it was! HER house!
The actual address is 305 72nd Street. It was named the Charing Cross House in her honor. If I were the type of person who was super outgoing and didn’t mind breaking rules I would have bounded through the door and begged the doorman to tell me which apartment she lived in. (And then would have begged him to let me walk by the door a million times while he took a thousand pictures of me.) But I’m not that kind of person, so I took a picture of the plaque instead (below), stood across the street taking in the entire building for a bit, and then bid Helene adieu and headed down the street.
I headed over to Central Park. Since it was a hot day (and since I’m a vegetarian) I decided to grab an oreo ice cream bar from a vendor instead of a hot dog for Ti (see comments from yesterday if you’re confused) and then made my way down Terrace Drive to the Bethesda fountain and the Boathouse, where I sat and enjoyed the shade and my yummy treat.
After swinging by 1040 5th Ave. (Jackie O’s famous abode in the city… the one I mentioned yesterday) to wave a hello, it was time to book it back down to Chelsea to jump in a freezing cold shower (I’m not kidding when I say it was HOT people… and I was walking everywhere today). Then I headed for dinner and The Book of Mormon with a friend. WOW, I tell ya, wow! If you think South Park pushes boundaries, The Book of Mormon kicks those boundaries right over the edge of the cliff! Besides the two guys who were sitting next to me, but left in the second half, the rest of us seemed to have a great time. Totally hilarious! BUT, but, but, if you are easily offended by very crude jokes, incredibly bad language, and spoofs about religion… this would not be the musical for you to see. Then again, who goes to see a musical with that title created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone thinking it won’t be super shocking?
Off to BBCon tomorrow, though I know I’ll be late. Unfortunately I can’t get onto east coast time. So for me, it’s only 9- something, when here in New York it’s past midnight. This also means trying to get up before 8:00 (5:oo Cali time) is a heinous crime. I will be making myself get up a little early though and will sneak in as soon as I can get there. Will be back here (on the blog) tomorrow evening to fill you in.

25 thoughts on “What I Did With My Second Day of Non-BEA NYC Time

  1. um, WOW… I was a little sad for you when I read your other post about how BEA didn’t turn out to be your kind of thing–but, WOW–it sounds like that’s a good thing, because look what an amazing trip it’s turning out to be for you!!!

    I’m really happy you’re trip has turned into such an adventure for you!!!!—And I say, if you have time, you should totally go back and see if you can beg the doorman to take a picture for you!!!! ;)

  2. *Alex continues to furiously note down recommendations*

    I’ve been to take photos of the original Charing Cross Road in London, so why not do the same at the other end of the line?

    • Ah, I’m jealous… next time I’m in London I’m going straight there! I hadn’t read the book when I was there in 2008. I had no idea what I was missing.

  3. I’ve loved reading about your second day filled with non-BEA activities- sounds way more fun than trolling around that convention and beggging for books that they don’t want to give you ;) That is so cool you went by Hanff’s house and how awesome that you snagged that dresss! The Book of Mormon sounds like a hoot – glad you enjoyed it! Have fun today at BBC!

    • Thanks Nadia! It did turn out to be much better. I had almost forgotten about the dress until I started packing tonight and got it out of the hotel closet. I got excited all over again. Isn’t it funny how that happens? Someday I’m coming down to Florida and we’re going to Hogwarts! (I can’t remember if you said you’ve been or not).

  4. Sounds like you’re having a great, bookish time — my kind of trip! I agree with Nadia, I’ll bet you’re having much more fun than hanging around BEA asking for books you might not even like.

    If you’re looking for another bookish activity, why not visit the Library Hotel? I’m not sure if it’s anywhere close to you, but I know it’s in midtown Manhattan near the Morgan Library. It’s a library-themed boutique hotel, might be fun to look in the lobby!

    • I was totally going to stay there! It was on the expensive side, but then I found out I could possibly use points on it… by that time they were booked up. Someday, though, I’d like to stay there. Doesn’t it look like so much fun?!? It’s basically across the street from the library.

  5. I am an on-again, off-again vegetarian and non-gluten eating fool (because of my allergies) so the hot dog was my attempt to be bad…very bad. Glad the ice cream did the trick.

    Well, it looks like you are having a fab time anyway. I think you will probably like BBC better. Smaller scale.. more “get to know you” type stuff.

    Hey, next week we get to meet!

    • I’m toying with the idea of a gluten free (or at least gluten reduced) diet… I hear it’s so beneficial for your health. No matter what I do, I usually cheat (as in I’m a veggie but I eat fish).

      Can’t wait to meet you next week!

  6. The visit to Helene Hanff’s apartment building is something I never would have thought of, now I’m wishing I would have done that while in the city last year. I love her books!

    • Next time! It’s really easy to get to from the 6 line of the subway (where it stops at 77th/ Lenox Hill Hospital). Just a few blocks from there, and then another few blocks to Central Park.

  7. Although it sucks that you didn’t at all like BEA, it sounds like you’re making way better use of your time, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise! That exhibit at the NYPL sounds amazing!

  8. I got shivers!! Mary Shelley’s hair? Charles Dickens’ notes???

    Your time was well-spent! I’d a thousand times rather see all that, than BEA.

    Thanks for sharing! :-)

  9. I saw the Book of Mormon too! It utterly killed me! I saw it with my parents, can you believe it?
    I had fun at BEA and the Book Blogger Con, though I wish there had been more time to meet people at the Blogger Con. So many neat readers with blogs!

    • Oh my gosh, you saw it with your parents?! What did they think? My mom would NOT have appreciated it, haha! I was half laughing and half having my mouth hang open. Even as prepared as I was, I was still shocked… but couldn’t help laughing out loud a LOT.

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