The Palinode and stayed for a couple of extra days after the BlogHer '10 conference in New York so that we could make a mini-vacation out of it. I, of course, did not factor in my BlogHer conference history when we made this decision. My past two BlogHer conferences were closely followed by what I call BlogHerBola, a viral tidal wave that knocked me on my ass for at least a week. My post-BlogHer experience was no different this year.
Only a cocktail of two Dayquil, two Advil liquigels, and a soup tureen-worth of espresso taken every three hours could carry me through. Barely. I felt like a hot sack of wet clay as we dragged ourselves through the streets of New York in humid, 91°F heat.
I think everyone else was feeling that way, too, by the looks of it:
We headed to the financial district, where we were transferring from the Hilton to another hotel. The financial district seemed like a strange choice, but it was actually an interesting spot to be, being that it was fairly central to a lot of historically and culturally interesting stuff, like "The Sphere", a Fritz Koenig sculpture that once stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center and now stands in Battery Park bearing the scars of the WTC 9/11 collapse:
We saw the Staten Island Ferry terminal but didn't actually get to take the ferry due to time constraints. I tried to get a picture of the whole thing, but like the rest of New York, there was construction surrounding half of it, so all I got was this –
– and now it looks like we visited PENISLAND. Tourist photo taking fail.
This prairie person had a few moments of claustrophobia before adjusting to the city, because everything is right there touching you all the time. Buildings, construction, people, and heady stench brush up against you constantly.
Within the couple of days that we were there, though, I came to love the closeness of it all. My eyes were so full with the looking.
People thought the balls on "Charging Bull", a Wall Street icon, were awesome. You could tell, because the metal testicles had been polished to a high sheen by all the people who kept pressing their heads against them for photos.
Being that we were in New York, we couldn't not see Adam P. Knave, the author for whom I just designed a book cover, so we braved our way onto the subway to head to the Village:
Adam and his friend James took us to Arthur's Tavern, a musty hole-in-the-wall entertained by a jazz band who have been playing there every Monday night for 47 years. The place was decked out in decorations from everything that had ever happened there. It reminded me of both an eclectic storage attic and what things looked like when I used to get really high in the 1990s.
We could have sat there all night, allowing Bass beer to melt us into the split benches and wooden chairs, but the Palinode took control and suggested we walk around for a bit. He's a smart man.
We wandered through the streets talking about writing and our childhoods, occasionally stopping to say Look! A famous thing! In this case, it was the Washington Arch:
And, in this case, it was Union Square:
At Union Square, I missed getting photos of the twelve people learning to hula hoop and the huge black guys being taught how to skateboard by these tiny white dudes and the one hollow-eyed man sitting at a folding table in front of a chess board with no one to play with. Tourist photo taking fail, again. I need an artistic director.
The next day, we dedicated ourselves to walking and walking and walking so that we could suck up what we could of New York in the last few hours we had before heading to the airport.
This picture is one of my favourites:
You know how so often in television shows and movies set in New York there is steam coming from places, and you're all what the hell is all the steam about? Well, there is steam coming from random places, and, having seen it with my own eyes, I still have no idea what it's about:
After walking through streets slammed close up on all sides by skyscrapers, it was jarring to find such a calm spot, the Trinity Church graveyard dating into the 1700s, resting in the middle of it all:
Just down from the graveyard was the site of the World Trade Center, walled off during construction:
My chest swooped down into this hollow yet weighted feeling as we walked by. I remembered images from television of people running and cowering behind vehicles and recordings of people trying to reach their loved ones, and I thought This is not my place. I do not belong here. I was suddenly relieved rather than disappointed that the WTC construction site was closed off while we were there. It is not for my rubbernecking. It shouldn't have to shake its moneymaker for my entertainment.
And that was the last moment of our trip before we turned back to grab our luggage and head to the airport, the first leg in a terrible trip home that completely outdid our horrible journey to get to New York in the first place.
We got on a plane that was to take us to Minneapolis, but there was an electrical storm, so we circled a while before giving up and then flew to Sioux Falls, where we sat on the tarmac for a couple of hours and tried not to kill all the idiots who crowded the aisles and rubbed their fat guts up against us. And then, we flew back to Minneapolis, landed at about 12:30 a.m., and were told that our connecting flight didn't leave until 9:30. We slept on the floor on fold-out mats until I woke up drooling on the airport carpet surrounded by fresh morning passengers. By the time we finally landed at the Regina airport, we had decided that we would never take a trip with connecting flights again, because THIS HAPPENS TO US EVERY TRIP.
In short, I survived the trip and even remember most of it despite the high doses of medication I had to be on to walk upright, no good feelings arise within the confines of A tiny airplane filled with large people with personal space issues, and New York was so excellent to visit that we are still sad we had to come back.
And thus concludes my seemingly endless chronicling of our trip to BlogHer '10 and New York City. I really do promise this time, unlike those other times that I lied.
(You should try yelling that out loud. It lightens the spirit.)
Check out my New York photoset on Flickr to see the rest of my photos.