It's my final day in New York City, and I'm writing this after the slightly harrowing journey from Manhattan to Newark Airport, which is actually in New Jersey. This is on account of having booked a very budget airline, which will whisk me across the Atlantic for a bargain price, but will then deposit me at Stanstead as punishment for my thriftiness, and require me to fly from Newark and not JFK.
I prepared for this by ensuring I could take trains here (having learned the folly of engaging with New York City road traffic last time), and bringing my own entertainment, being Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage and Manners by Therese O'Neill (both hilarious and informative), and Colleen Hoover's Maybe Someday in Audiobook (addictively sexy and romantic – curse your talent, Ms Hoover). Still, the trip involved duelling with the crowds at Penn Station, and wrestling my (by now) 20-odd-kg case up and down far too many staircases (along with public bathrooms, working elevators are also a rarity in NYC).
The reason for my heavy case is that I visited more bookshops today, including Book Culture on Columbus, Barnes and Noble at Union Square, and Books of Wonder. The latter is a specialist children's book store, and I have it on some authority that it's the inspiration behind the store Meg Ryan works at in You've Got Mail. My visit to NYC just isn't complete without a Meg Ryan movie reference, it seems. Sadly for my airline weight limit, I had gifts to buy and terribly helpful staff prepared to take my money.
I confess I bought six books and a book bag, my total spend being so stupendous that I qualified for an extra free book, and thus had to sit on my case to make it close. I regret nothing. But I do make an offering to the gods of baggage handlers (St Anthony of Padua, Google informs me) that my case won't pop like an overstuffed burrito before London. It was an excellent store however, including a rare book section where you could purchase a copy of Where The Wild Things Are, personally signed with a small illustration by Maurice Sendak himself, for $22,500. I stepped back from the case, just a bit.
After Books of Wonder I proceeded to Barnes and Noble and, after a cunning hunt through the four floors, found The Paris Wedding, face out no less, in a nice eye-level position. This rounded my day off nicely.
So, now, I am waiting for my flight to London, binging on an expensive box of GuyLian seashells, which looked cheap until they added the tax and I did the currency conversion. I have attempted to prepare for the long commute from the aforementioned Stanstead by photographing Google map information (and purchasing expensive, consoling Belgian chocolates), which clearly is a foolproof plan with which nothing could go wrong.
Let's just say that the next blog may contain travel misadventures. Stay tuned.