This weekend I made a whirlwind trip to New York to what I affectionately call "Presidents Camp" for Mystery Writers of America. All the newly elected chapter presidents (I was elected to the Southern California Chapter) met in New York with the newly elected natonal board, so I got to hob nob with some fantastic names in mystery, which I'll get to in a New York minute. (Hey, by the way, you, too, can be a member of MWA. You need not be a writer, and you can go to interesting events and schmooze with authors.)
I arrived Friday evening, greeted by rain. But my driver got me to the bookstore event in record time. Mysterious Bookshop is the last remaining mystery indie bookstore in Manhattan, if you can believe that. The event was open to the public to come and buy books from their favorite authors and get them signed. I don't know if any public showed up, but the place was lousy with mystery authors. Take a look at this place.
The manager is up on a ladder to welcome us. Top to bottom bookshelves on all three walls. Old books, classic books, new books. A paradise of a library! Why aren't you shopping there? Go online and order stuff!
Then it was time to hop on the subway (thank you Patricia King [aka Annamaria Alfieri) for the personal escort!) to Sammy's Noodle House, where we feasted. Some of the folks at my table: Charlaine Harris, our new National president, Daniel Hale, our new Executive Vice President, out-going EVP Larry Light, Greg Herren, Reed Farrel Coleman, Frankie Baily, and Dana Cameron. And now Frankie knows better than to eat those peppers in the schezwan chicken.
The next day we got to work with all day meetings on procedures and what-nots.
We're attentive to Margery Flax--or else--our Knower-of-All-Things-MWA and Administrative Director (at the end of the table). I am seated with out-going presidents, board members, members-at-large, and new presidents. Such names as Michelle Gagnon, Gary Phillips, Greg Herren (my new best friend. Hi Greg!), Bill Cameron, Louis Bayard, Hilary Davidson, Harley Jane Kozak, Hank Phillipi Ryan, Beth Terrell, Sharon Potts, Darrell James, Mike Befeler...I know there's more I'm forgetting to mention. All I know is that if that room had gone up in flames, there goes your mysteries.
Checking out the view out of my hotel window, I got a chance to pore over the architecture. I'm coocoo for Rococo. Get a load of the buffalo busts on the Helmsly building. This building has two huge arches through which the street traffic flows.
And when the sky cleared enough, I noticed this.
Hotel hallways in front of the elevators had these wonderful chandeliers. And speaking of elevators, I think I heard people speaking a different language every time I got in. Chinese, Norwegian, Russian, Italian, Portuguese...everyone comes to New York.
More of the lobby of the Roosevelt:
Then finally, on to the streets, where we walked to Bobby Van's and were treated to a wonderful dinner.
The next day, there was a little free time for me to breakfast with my agent. We walked the streets of New York, and he pointed out some of the finer bits of architecture and its history. For instance, Park Avenue is higher because they had to build up the streets for the subway train tunnels that run directly below.
Lots of cabs available. I like the idea of sticking my hand out and a car comes running. Not when it rains, though.
He took me to Ess-a-bagel. I thought I died and went to deli heaven. We're a little short on delis in the Inland Empire. Short on fellow lansmen, too, so I got my Jew on in New York. Ten kinds of cream cheese, a dozen kinds of bagels, lox, all kinds of salads.
And then it was on to the Flat Iron building, that triangular structure that is the home of my publisher, St. Martin's. My editor was nice enough to come in on a Sunday to give me the five cent tour. A classic bit of architecture in New York from 1902. The outside is great. Terra cotta for all the details. The inside, however, is like any other warren office building. Though I did get to see the view from some of the "prow" offices.
Like this one. The building makes up a triangle of 5th Avenue, Broadway, and 23rd Street. Across the street is Madison Square Park (right).
The facade on the fifth avenue side. The entrance on the other side has an entirely different address number. Confusing? Feh.
So that's all, folks. I have work to do as the new prez and I'll be working on that, tying to write the Next Big Thing, and finishing up the remodeling of my kitchen. But not today. Lagging just a bit. Let's get a fresh start tomorrow.