I went to Manhattan for Book Expo America. I’d spent a bundle on having my books displayed and airfare, so it was important to keep other costs down. For starters, I flew in the morning the conference began and flew out the evening it ended, so I only needed two nights’ accommodation. While I might have been able to find a couch, I decided it would be better to have those two evenings to have some time to myself after pitching myself all day. The options at first seemed to be hundreds of dollars per night near the Javits Conference Center or having to figure out transportation back and forth from New Jersey. Then I found The Out.
The Out NYC is on 42nd St, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Their rooms are expensive, but they have some hostel-style rooms that are closer to $150/night. The artwork in the entry and corridor to the rooms left me wondering, but I later learned it was simply the current artist exhibit.
Hostel means you share the room. The beds are twin-size built-in bunks, each with its own TV, shelf, and reading lamp. They each have a heavy curtain to close for privacy. It turned out that two of my roommates were male, but since none of us spent much time in the room, it wasn’t really awkward. The staff were extremely helpful, giving me the same directions when I’d lose the first note. They didn’t fuss the last day when I stored my luggage and got in and out of it a couple of times before leaving.
It was a short walk from Javits Conference Center to The Out and a slightly longer walk to Times Square and Central Park. There’s lots of construction going on. Friday night was definitely busier with people heading to shows and/or dinner.
In Central Park, the road’s shut off to cars, but there’s a pedestrian lane to keep runners and joggers separate from the bikes that zip along. Classes meet there to exercise, and there are also bikes you can rent. There are horse-drawn carriages nearby. One of the drivers told me he had to take training and get a license, then work for a company that has all the permits necessary. You still hear the city in the park, but it’s nothing compared to walking down the street.
For short videos:
Sounds of Fifth Avenue
The Out staff gave me four different places to eat, each of which was fantastic. One was a natural food store/deli on 42nd and 11th where I ate breakfast. The others were Thai, Greek, and Turkish. The last one, their masseur (yeah, The Out is really a nice resort) walked me to the restaurant because he’s Turkish and wanted to be sure I got to the “real” Turkish restaurant. The Thai Restaurant is called Room Service and is on 9th Ave. It was very affordable and the chicken in my curry was tender. The Greek restaurant’s specialty is fish. They’re Kellari Taverna at 19 West 44th St., close to Fifth Avenue. Their specialty is fish and their baklava is amazing, too. At dinner time, they were packed with reservations, but another lady happened to have come solo without one and they gave us hugs and kisses for offering to sit together.
The one thing about dining at the usual dinner hour is that it’s noisy. I thought maybe it was because the Thai place was small and informal, but the Greek restaurant was upscale and conversation across a table required shouting and repetition. If you like a quiet dinner, go early. My last day at Turkish Cuisine on 9th Ave., I was the only one in the place because it was 2 PM. Again, the food was excellent.
For more about Book Expo America, catch my writing blog at Goodreads. The next post here should be the plane adventure!