I am so honored and thrilled to participate in Estelle/Rather Be Reading‘s BEA Part of It series this year! Having previously experienced BEA as a visitor, I know how crunched for time my fellow booknerds are and how daunting the city can be, so I’ll be sharing my top NYC picks to help guide your visit and hopefully get you away from the Javits and your hotel. Oh, did I mention the fabulous Amy Ewing—author of The Jewel and the upcoming sequel, The White Rose—has a couple of suggestions, too? Let’s get started!
First up is Chelsea Market, one of my absolute favorite places in the city. Located between W 15th and 16th on 9th Ave, this indoor market boasts a variety of delicious eateries (my personal favorite is the crepe place, Bar Suzette) and a handful of shops, including a bookstore! Grab a crepe or a milkshake from the Milk Bar and then head back outside to walk over to…
The High Line! This one is a bit touristy, but this is one of the most beautiful and intriguing parks in the city that will give you some truly magical sights. The High Line rests above the city and is built on an old rail line—how cool is that? Pretty awesome if you ask me. Both Chelsea Market and the High Line are accessible by taking an A express or C/E local train to 14th street and walking over to W 15th and 9th Ave.
My next spot is Books of Wonder, a charming bookstore that specializes in children’s literature. The store has been in operation since 1980 and plays frequent host to the most beloved voices in children’s lit. And with so many awesome authors coming in and out of the store, there’s a great selection of signed copies, especially in the YA section. The store is between 5th and 6th Ave W 18th street, and I often take the F local train to 14th street and walk over. But you might want to take the N or R train to 23rd street and walk down. If you do, you’ll get to pass the Flatiron Building, which is where Macmillan resides.
Most visitors stick to Manhattan (Midtown, to be exact), but I highly recommend making the trek over to Brooklyn, particularly the Brooklyn Bridge Park/DUMBO area. The park is right on the water and offers a spectacular view of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. There are a few ice cream parlors in the area, so be sure to grab a cone or two and wander around with some friends. The park also has a lot of events during the summer, so check their calendar to see what’s happening the week of BEA. And only a few blocks away is an entrance point to walk up to the bridge itself. I recently went up with a friend and I definitely recommend checking it out. To get to the park, I usually take a downtown 3 express train to Clark Street.
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Now I’ll hand it over to NYC author Amy Ewing—take it away, my friend!
The first is a restaurant called Freeman’s, which I absolutely love. It’s off of Rivington between Bowery and Chrystie. It’s down this little alley and sort of looks like a small house from the outside. But their cocktail list is terrific (I especially recommend the Freeman’s cocktail!) and the artichoke dip is seriously to die for. (DJ: Did somebody say ‘artichoke dip’? I’m so in.)
The other place is The Boat Basin, at the very end of W. 79th St. It’s right on the water, so it’s great hanging out on sunny days with some friends to have burgers and pitchers of beer! (DJ: This place looks—and sounds—so cool. If anyone wants to go with me, let me know!)
Okay, DJ, here. Last, but not least, my #1 BEA tip is this: have fun. It’s easy to get wrapped up in snagging that ONE BOOK YOU MUST HAVE, but in the end, BEA is really about connecting with your fellow readers and writers, and sharing your passion for books. So don’t get too down if you miss out on a galley grab or a signing—just have fun. Talk to the people around you and learn more about this crazy industry we all love. You’ll leave happier if you do, trust me. Oh, also, wear comfortable shoes.