It’s me again. Don’t worry, a new blogger is forthcoming and you won’t be subjected to me twice a week. Promise.
But while I have you, let me take the opportunity to brag about my totally sweet and awesome weekend excursion a literary paradise: The Big Apple. I think you all, at least, will appreciate my little trip, because I’m guessing most of you are also book geeks.
This summer, my husband and I were able to get away, sans kids, to New York City for a long weekend. Over the years, I’ve grown tired of doing the touristy NYC things, and now that I’m comfortable with the inexpensive subway system, I took the opportunity to make up my own tour. A literary tour! Holly’s Dead Writers Literary Tour 2o1o! My husband was pumped. No sarcasm there. Nope. Saturday was dedicated to visiting literary destinations.
(Side note: Do you know how much it costs to go on a tour of Rockefeller Center? I forget, but I felt the price was excessive. And they couldn’t even guarantee that I’d see Kenneth the page.)
First stop: A couple of used bookstores on the Upper West Side. Westsider Rare and Used Books (2246 Broadway) is across the street from Zabar’s, which incidentally sells the very best coffee in NY. At least that’s what I’m told. I never touch the stuff myself. I’m more of a hot chocolate girl.
Westsider Rare and Used Books sells those uber-expensive classics advertised on the back of the New York Times book review. It’s the place to go to if you have the urge to shell out $4200for a copy of Lolita.
Second stop: A cafe near Westsider Rare and Used Books. Because I had to go to the bathroom.
Third stop: We had lunch at the White Horse Cafe, probably the most famous literary pub in New York. We sat in the very booth where Dylan Thomas drank himself into a coma. The husband had a bottle of Guinness. (Quite frankly, I’m surprised the White Horse has retained its liquor license after what happened to Thomas.) I read a couple of Thomas’ poems while eating a grilled cheese sandwich. It was all very literary.
Fourth stop: The Strand Bookstore. Ahhh the Strand. Some call it the book lover’s Mecca. Eighteen miles of new and used books. Three floors. A lot of people. The Strand was once a part of Book Row, a street of bookstores on 4th Avenue (near Union Square) that thrived before the Great Depression. Book Row is gone, but the Strand remains.
Fifth stop: Pete’s Tavern. The husband has another Guinness. Pete’s is the oldest tavern in NYC. It is also where O’Henry penned the short story “The Gift of the Magi.” You know the story. It’s Christmas, and a poverty-stricken husband and wife sacrifice to buy one another gifts. The wife sells her hair to buy her husband a watch band. The husband sells his watch to buy his wife barrettes. It’s all ironic and a little tragic, but hey. Her hair will grow back, darn it. (I think the watch is history, though.)
Sixth stop: Sephora. So I can buy a hair product: an homage to the wife in “The Gift of the Magi.” You can pretty much make anything fit into a literary tour.
Seventh stop: NYC Public Library. The big one. With the lions in front of it. You know. The one featured in Ghostbusters and the Sex and the City movie. By the way, the main branch of the NYC Public Library has not been a lending library in, oh, sixty years. So I’m not sure why Carrie Bradshaw was returning a book there. She was probably confused. I don’t think she borrows books very often. I only ever saw her reading the New York Post.
Places that didn’t make the cut as I ran out of time: Central Park’s Literary Gardens, and the Cedar Tavern, where Jack Kerouac allegedly urinated in an ashtray. As interesting as that may have been, I was concerned for my husband’s liver- therefore, no more taverns.
And, of course, we did not have time to make it over to Brooklyn. Holly’s Dead Writers Literary Tour 2011: The Brooklyn Edition? We’ll see.