Solo New York Trip - Going to Book Con!
I've been watching different BookTubers’ Book Expo and Book Con vlogs for years and it always looked like they had so much fun. Of course, I wouldn't be able to go to Book Expo (yet), but I decided early this year that I was going to go to Book Con! I didn't have anyone to come with me, but I had decided that that didn't matter and I solo-travelled all the way to New York City! I'll admit, I was a bit nervous at first. New York is a big city! But I ended up having the absolute best time.
Day 1 - Landing in New York and Checking Out Chelsea
I took a red-eye flight from Vancouver to Toronto before hopping on a short flight from Toronto to LaGuardia Airport in New York. LaGuardia is on the smaller side compared to other airports that I had been in and it was easy to find the bus to the nearest subway station. The subway is a lot more confusing than the Skytrain in Vancouver (which only has 3 lines), but I managed to get on a train going in the right direction and after a 20-30 ish minute ride (and walking a few blocks), I had made it to Pod Hotel Times Square where I would be staying.
I would definitely recommend staying at the Pod Hotel, especially if you're travelling by yourself. The Times Square location is in Midtown/Hells Kitchen and it's super close to the theatre district and the subway if you need it to get around. The rooms are compact and only have the necessities, so they're great if you don't have a lot of stuff or not spending a lot of time in your hotel room, which you shouldn't be if you're in New York.
I had gotten about 3 hours of sleep max on the plane, so I did chill in my hotel for about an hour before deciding to walk from my hotel to Chelsea Market, which ended up being about a 30-minute walk.
Chelsea Market was a great place to go on my first day there because I was tired and keen to just wander. There are a lot of great little shops and food places, as well as a cool market-style room at the end where there were independent craft vendors selling their work. I bought this little cosmetic bag/pencil case that said "I AM A FAMOUS WRITER" on it, which was super cute and who knows, maybe it will help me manifest my goals.
After I had done a bit of shopping, eaten some chicken strips and had a milkshake, I walked back towards the area of my hotel via the high line. The high line is this walkway above the city with gardens and great views of the city.
After all of this walking, I was pretty tired so after returning to my hotel for a bit, I took a quick peek at Times Square (or as quick of a peek as one could) and took some Shake Shack back to my room (I LOVE Shake Shack).
Day 2 - Wandering the Met and The Room Where It Happens
It was drizzling my second day in New York, so I had decided it was the perfect day for an indoor activity. So I hopped on the Subway and after a rainy walk through Central Park, I had made it to the Met.
I had been to the Met once 6 years ago when I had gone to New York for the first time with my family and I don't even think we walked around the whole thing because the Met is HUGE! There were a lot of cool exhibits, such as the Heavenly Bodies exhibition (which partly you weren't allowed to take photos of), sculptures and armoury, and my personal favourite, oil paintings on canvas. I think I spend at least 4 hours at the Met and I probably could have been there longer, but I was getting a bit hungry and my scone breakfast was not lasting me as long as I'd hoped.
After the Met, I had made my way back towards the theatre district and found the Richard Rodgers theatre where I had a ticket to see HAMILTON! I was very early, but mostly just wanted to make sure that I knew where I was going. I had a quick dinner at TGI Fridays (I was too excited and worried about time to pick a better place for dinner.) and then came back to the theatre to wait for the doors to open.
When they started to let people in I went straight for the merch and got myself a super soft Hamilton zip hoodie. Then I headed up to where I was sitting in the Front Mezzanine and Oh MY God the view! I was in row C in the Front Mezzanine and I had a great view of the stage. Just look at this!
And once those lights went down and I heard those first few notes, I was already crying. I couldn't believe that I was seeing Hamilton and it lived up to and exceeded all of my expectations. The cast was phenomenal and the way that they use the turntable on the stage was super cool. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing show!
Day 3 - Modern Art, Good Food and New Friends
The only thing that I had planned for Day 3 was I had to be at the Javits Center around 2 to pick up my passes for Book Con, so I kind of went with the flow of the day.
But of course, I had to start with a delicious breakfast and I was on the hunt for a New York bagel. It went to Pick-A-Bagel on 8th Ave. and I fell in love with this bagel place! I had a sesame bagel with sundried tomato cream cheese and it was DELICIOUS!
From the bagel place, I walked to the Museum of Modern Art and checked out their galleries. I particularly enjoyed the photography galleries. That said, there was a small hallway covered with little photos of women giving birth on both walls, which I wasn't quite sure how to interpret. I also saw Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, which was super cool! It also made me think of that Vincent Van Gogh Doctor Who episode, but there was no TARDIS in the painting.
After the MoMA, I walked over to the New York Public Library. The architecture of this building was super cool — very old-style and the building has a very rich history. I love to try and pop into a library when visiting other cities, because why wouldn't you want to go somewhere with books?! I didn't spend very long here, but I thought it was cool seeing this library.
From the New York Public Library, I walked to the Javits Center to pick up my badges for Book Con at will call. This is where I met three lovely bookish people Rose, Mo and Ally. It was lovely meeting you and you're all awesome people!
After picking up our badges the four of us went to the Strand! I loved this bookstore and they had a great selection of YA books. I didn't buy any books here because I did want to save suitcase space for Book Con (which was the smart decision), but it was fun looking at all the pretty books and talking about some of the ones that we've read. There was also a superhero/comic themed store called Forbidden Planet right next to it which was also really cool!
Once we've left the Forbidden Planet, we parted ways and I headed off to this cookie dough shop called Dō near Washington Square Park where they serve cookie dough in the same way that you would serve ice cream and OH MY it was good. I had a scoop of their classic chocolate chip and a scoop of their chocolate brownie batter one.
It's safe to say by this time of day that my feet are completely dead, so I ended the night by taking the train back to Midtown and had food and margaritas at Iron Bar.
Day 4 - Book Con Day 1
Day 4 was the first day of Book Con! And oh my goodness was it amazing. I started the day with Fantasy and Sci-fi Writing Workshop, which I really enjoyed. We did a lot of world building exercises, which were fun and also super helpful in getting some perspective on my own writing.
After the workshop, my first event of the day was my photo-op with Marie Lu! Marie Lu has written some of my all-time favourite book series and she was so nice. She also makes me look like a giant, but it was amazing having the chance to meet her and take a photo. At the photo op, I also received a chapter sampler of Wildcard — I would die for an arc but I still love the chapter sampler. I also had a signing with her later that day, so I had gotten to see her twice!
I spent most of Day 1 of Book Con walking around and looking at the different publishers and picked up a few books.
The last event of Day 1 was my Cassandra Clare autographing session and the line was already down the length of the room an hour before the signing. It was totally worth the wait though! She was lovely of course, but I also look absolutely stunned in all my photos with her. She also said she thinks Vancouver is one of her stops on her Queen of Air and Darkness tour, so I'm crossing my fingers I'll get to see her again later this year.
I was pretty tired afterwards, so I capped off the end of the night with some delicious Shake Shack. The perfect end to a great day!
Day 5 - Book Con Day 2
Day 5 was the second and final day of Book Con! I was there about 2 and half hours early, so I would be one of the first people in line to the Rainbow Rowell signing, which was scheduled for 10:30. I went straight there from the line and I was like 7th or 8th in line. I met Rainbow Rowell and she was so sweet! I never thought I would meet Rainbow Rowell because she rarely goes on tour, let alone does a signing anywhere near me, so this was pretty surreal.
After the signing, I went straight to the Epic Reads booth to try and get a ticket to play a game to get an arc. Besides my autographing sessions, my only goal for the day was to get the Epic Reads arc drop and I did! I got my ticket, wandered around for a bit before lining up again to play to get an arc. I ended up getting Nobody Real by Steven Camden, which I'm excited to read!
From here I headed straight to the BookTube panel, which I watched from afar, but it was still super cool to see my favourite BookTubers talk about their channels and books and it made me really want to start a channel too.
I didn't have anything planned for directly after the BookTube panels, so I went to the autographing area to see if anyone had started lining up for Angie Thomas, which was my last signing for the convention. There were a couple of people there so I decided to line up and I was fourth in line to meet her! The Hate U Give was my favourite read of 2017 and meeting Angie Thomas was so amazing. I told her that it made me cry, she apologized and I said, "Oh no it was a good thing!". She is so sweet and I cannot wait for her next book because her first was so phenomenal.
Because I did so much running around on the show floor on the first day, I decided to free my afternoon to try and catch a few panels, so after meeting Angie Thomas I went to the panel area to wait for the Yet-To-Be: Bravery panel to start. This panel was super interesting because the authors spoke on the topic of bravery and what it had meant to them and their writing, and it was great to hear their perspectives and experiences. I had originally wanted to go to this panel because I knew Adam Silvera was on it, but the other 4 authors on the panel were also just as great. I thought that Jason Reynolds, in particular, seemed really cool. I hadn't read any of his books, but I've heard of them and listening to him speak made me want to pick them up.
Immediately following the Yet-To-Be: Bravery panel was the book to movie adaptation panel in the same room, which had some of my favourites on it, Alexandra Bracken, Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han. We saw a few teasers for the upcoming The Darkest Minds movie and the To All the Boys I Loved Before movie and I'm all the more hyped for these releases!
And then the convention ended — so sad! Again, I walked my feet into the ground, so after stopping at Milk Bar in midtown (had a delicious milkshake), I got myself some New York style pizza from a little place in the theatre district called Patzeria and settled in for the night.
Day 6 - The Last Day and West Village Wanderings
Day 6 was my last full day in New York! The week had gone by so so fast, so I knew I had to do all the little bits left that I wanted to do. I started my day with pancakes at a place called Bubbly's in the Meatpacking district. Not only were the pancakes delicious, but the look and feel of the restaurant were also very aesthetically pleasing.
From Bubbly's I picked up a new shirt at Madewell next door. I like to buy a new item of clothing whenever I travel and I'm obsessed with this new shirt — it's going to be perfect for summer.
After this, I walked to the West Village and picked up cookies at Milk Bar and took a stroll around the area. I visited the building that they used for the external shot in Friends and took photos of the streets because the West Village is super cute!
From here I walked back towards Midtown via Books of Wonder, the Flatiron building and the Empire State Building. And after taking a quick pit stop back at the hotel, I took a hop on hop off bus tour of the downtown area. I'm usually not one for bus tours, but it gave me a great overview of the area and I got a quick look at anything that I might have missed downtown. I wrapped up my last night with dinner at an Irish Pub, take-out Junior's cheesecake and packing up my suitcase.
That's it for my trip to New York! In the morning of the day that I flew home, I picked up one last bagel (I still wish I could have another bagel) and took the Subway back to LaGuardia. I had the absolute best time, even though I was by myself. If there is somewhere you really want to go or something that you really want to do, as long as you feel safe don't let not having people to go with stop you. I wanted to go to Book Con, so I went to New York for Book Con by myself and I had an amazing time.
Until next time, have a lovely rest of your day and read something awesome!