105 Ways to Give a Book

New York Bound

I am freaking out. I’ve known for six months that we’d be going to New York City for two weeks, but it didn’t seem real. I’ve arranged housing, with grateful thanks given to a kind friend and a bicoastal cousin. I’ve met program deadlines and booked theater tickets.

But with the ending of the school year, taking care of the ailing cat, hosting my niece for a week, and having my dad for a short visit, I haven’t had time to really think about the trip. Which I’m doing now. And freaking out.

It’s for business and pleasure, but the business end has nothing to do with me or my husband, who won’t join us until later. The trip is undertaken for the benefit of my twelve-year-old daughter, who was invited to return to the competitive theater program Broadway Artists Alliance. For two weeks she will work on voice, acting, and dance with an audition/performance for agents and casting directors at the end of each week. She will put in long days, with endurance sort of part of the training. After all, kids who can’t hack this kind of intensity aren’t ready for Broadway.

My job is to get her to and from the program, go over her audition pieces with notes from her coaches, and most importantly, to be a calming, gentle refuge at the end of each day. Sounds simple enough, but the anxiety of a new, stressful place in the city heat can tax the most patient of people — of which I am not. But I will do my best.

In any case, I just don’t feel like I’ve thought about this trip enough. Other than our theater tickets, I’ve made no plans for me and my older daughter during the days. I don’t know if/when I will be switching apartments, which will affect other aspects of the trip. I’m worried about the new pieces that tween is learning and also if I remember the right keys to get into the apartment. I’d like to see some New York friends, but in the era of Facebook friends, I honestly don’t know who’d like to see me. So I’m putting it out there that I’m free business hours all day with the most charming TeenReader — who could also use a friend or an agent.

I’m not sure what I will be doing on the blog, though I’m accepting guest bloggers. Again, if you’re interested get in touch. I’m finding it hard to write anything of bookish value. In fact, I’m finding it hard to even read anything. The best literary thing I’ve done is start watching all of the Harry Potter movies over again with the family in preparation for our viewing of the final movie on Sunday. The next day I’ll go to New York with my girls, three suitcases, and perhaps a bottle of Jack. Wish us luck.


Gail Gauthier said...

We obviously have very different responses to stress. If I were in a strange city for two weeks, I'd just go into hibernation mode during those periods when I had no responsibilities. Turn off.

The presence of the older child is a complicating factor when hibernating, of course.

Anonymous said...

First of all, they are promising the hellish heat will abate by next week. Second, NYC in summer is lovely in the evening. We had excellent success taking my 12-year-old to Shakespeare in the park. It actually takes all day, what with waiting on line for tickets, long siesta to recover from waiting, then returning in the cool of the evening. You can get breakfast delivered on the line, and just read. The key to all NYC summer kid things: pare it down. One thing per day is enough, there is so much stimulation. Just going out to coffee is a big thing, and enough for some days. Also: don't stint on putting yourselves in the way of AC, especially in small musuems (Folk art museum etc). You will enjoy it, planning less will make it all happen. Go slow, accommodate yourself to the heat with slow speeds, AC and ice cream. It will be great.

MotherReader said...

Gail, I'd love to hibernate, but the apt (at least the first week) doesn't have AC, and is far from the program so I'm going to have to get out. I also want to make this fun for my teen, obviously. And once I get somewhere, I actually tend to be more flexible once I get there. It's the worrying about it that gets to me.

D.i.t.Willow, Thanks for the reassurance about the heat. I keep checking the forecast myself! I hadn't thought about the Shakespeare in the Park, which my teen thespian may enjoy. I might wait until I have my husband to give the 12yr old her needed evening downtime, but I'll look into it now. Good suggestion.

Even in Australia said...

What does your older one like to do? So many fabulous museums here. MOMA is expensive, as is the cafe there, but both are worth it. Lots of smaller and stranger museums are around, too. Take the SI ferry. Walk over the Bklyn Bridge and then eat ice cream at the Bklyn Ice Cream Factory. Have fun!

Alicia said...

If there's one city where you don't need to worry too much about having nothing planned, it's New York! There is tons to do. Buy some tasty sandwiches and head into Central Park for a picnic. Take the Staten Island Ferry (it's free!) for a nice view. Walk on the newly restored Highline in Chelsea. Skip Magnolia's cupcakes (they're just so bad!) and get Crumbs or Burgers & Cupcakes. Have some Pinkberry frozen yogurt to cool off, or visit the Shake Shack. Get pizza in Little Italy at Lombardi's on Spring Street. Take in a free movie at Bryant Park (just make sure to get there early to have enough space). Check out the Tenement Museum. You can't go wrong!

Even in Australia said...

I second the Tenement Museum. Afterwards, get gelato next door at Laboratorio del Gelato. Also, the Eldridge Street Synaogue is having All-of-A-Kind Family walking tours, but only on weekends, I think. A nice book-related activity.

More book stuff - check out children's bookstores Books of Wonder (in Chelsea, has a cafe) and Bank Street Bookstore (near Columbia University). From there you can walk to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine if you are into that sort of thing.

MotherReader said...

You guys are great, and I'm writing all these down in my Notebook of Fun.

I'm usually a big planner - even if I am spontaneous enough to change plans along the way. But this time, I haven't thought about the day-to-day at all, and it once you take out the stuff we've done - well, I was at a loss.

I think we'll look to a smaller museum, and think about the ferry if we end up staying in the East Village for the second week. I walked the Highline with a good friend, but may take my teen if we get a pleasant day. We had debated the Tenement museum last time, but were far more pressed for time. Again, if we're in the East Village it will be a perfect trip. And thanks for the gelato place!

Melissa said...

Break a leg! I'm sure it'll go fine... though I understand all the stressing out. Things we liked when we were there two weeks ago? MOMA. Pizza. Walking through Central Park (though I don't know how hot it'll be...). Keep it simple, and you'll be fine.

Even in Australia said...

OK, now I must start my own Notebook of Fun.

Also, on my blog page Off the Beaten Path I mention the Noguchi Museum in Queens, which is great. It may also be near PS1 (a super-contemporary art museum) and I believe the last time I was there there is a nearby, somewhat disappointing sculpture garden. But if you make the schlep to Queens, you might as well check it out.

Speaking of sculpture gardens, Storm King is fabulous but you need a car. It's "upstate" (less than a 2 hour drive).

Alex said...

I hope this terrible heat is over by the time you get here. If it does, head down to Chinatown and try some great bubble tea (the bubbles are little balls of tapioca) My fav is coconut, but they have all kinds. Shakespeare in the park is good, get there early in the morning, bring a picnic breakfast and chat with the folks sitting around you. Tickets are given out at 1 PM, so you have the afternoon to do whatever (the Metropolitain Museum of Art is walkable on the east side, the Museum of Naturla History is walkable on the west side.) Or just explore the park - Strawberry Fields and stuff.
The NYPl (42nd and 5th) has a great free tour around their beautiful beaux arts building, and you can see an original Paddington Bear in the Children's Book Center.
Well, I could go on and on but I know you are pretty savvy and know your way around town.

Carin Siegfried said...

I third the Tenement Museum, and also recommend strongly The Frick and the Morgan Library. Both smallish, so not completely exhausting, and really cool houses aside from the art exhibits, which are also impressive.