So, apparently Tumblr ate my last couple of blog posts. In case you were wondering why I haven’t posted in a while, that’s part of the reason. Here’s a re-write of my last post describing the other reason:
I’ve been to New York several times before: first as part of an eighth grade class trip, then briefly during a family vacation around the states, and yet again with my high school choir to sing at Carnegie Hall. Last week marks my fourth venture into the concrete jungle that is New York City.
The trip was more for work than for pleasure, though I did get to do some of the latter. I was invited to attend BEA (Book Expo of America) at the Javits Center in downtown Manhattan. BEA is the premier book conference in the United States and among the largest in the world. Publishers, authors, and booksellers come from all around the world to exhibit upcoming titles, network, and learn from experts about the state of the industry.
For my part, I got to sit in on a variety of panel discussions about everything from marketing on social media to the rise of ebooks. I took lots of notes, listened intently to passionate speakers, endured horrific PowerPoints, and struggled to stay awake through boring monologues. And I walked. A lot. Since just about everyone in the world of books was there, the showroom floor was full to the brim with exhibitor booths. The conference center got so crowded and hectic at times that it felt almost like pushing through crowds in Times Square.
Speaking of Times Square, that’s where the hotel was. Right there where 7th Avenue meets Broadway. No matter what, we were always surrounded by people.
Even so, I quite enjoyed exploring the city in the evenings and getting to visit with my sister. She had moved to NYC almost a year prior to attend an acting academy, and this was my first time seeing her there in the city. We spent several evenings going out to eat and walking around town, and we capped off our visit with a Broadway show, The Lion King.
That show, incidentally, has sold out every night since it’s debut in the late ’90s – and I honestly cannot understand how it’s still pulling that off. Perhaps it was just a bad night, but the performance was pretty dismal. The lines were delivered by-the-book with little to no enthusiasm. What’s worse, the singing was embarrassingly unimpressive. If this wasn’t a Broadway musical, I wouldn’t be so critical, but this is supposed to be the pinnacle of stage theatre… right? My sister was thoroughly unimpressed, too. Also, it didn’t help that we had noisy children behind us the whole time. There was also a woman up front who suddenly burst into a loud tirade during the wildebeest stampede scene.
Afterward, we redeemed the evening by going to get drinks at the The View atop the Marriott Marquis – a rotating restaurant with a panorama view of the city. It was a good night.
Here’s just a taster of a few other highlights from the trip:
- getting pulled over by policemen while in the back of a Taxi. The driver apparently took an illegal right-hand turn. He told the police that he didn’t know he did anything wrong. He also didn’t have insurance in the car for some reason. We sat quietly in the back while the policemen conferred and settled on letting him go with 15 days to send in his insurance or be faced with arrest. Needless to say, the rest of the drive was quiet and awkward.
- getting treated to a lavish meal at Harry Cipriani’s, one of the finest Italian restaurants on 5th Avenue.
- going to see the midnight showing of The Kings of Summer (a great film, by the way) at the Lincoln Center. I went with one other guy, and we ended up walking back to the hotel in Times Square at 2:30am. On the way, we saw a loud group of guys standing in a circle. One of them walked up to my friend and mumbled something about “coke”. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t diet.
- running 5 and a half miles through Central Park on two different occasions. This was one of my favorite highlights. Once in the park, you have to merge into a stream of other runners and bikers – but the park really is a beautiful place to run. People-dodging is really a small price to pay for the experience.
- walking through Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, the Apple Store, FAO Schwarz toy company, taking the subway, and generally exploring the city.
All in all, it was a memorable experience. Now it’s time to get back to real life, and I’ve got some soul-searching to do. I need to find my focus in life. I’m currently gearing up to do freelance design and illustration, but I want to start working toward something… But I’ll save that for a future blog post.
And don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about the 30-day drawing challenge. I’m committed to finishing it, so stay tuned for more drawings on the horizon.
God bless, and good afternoon.