Manhattanhenge: I happened to be in New York during the biannual occurrence of Manhattanhenge. Basically, the setting sun aligns with the east-west grid of Manhattan’s streets. My friend Chesley and I had just finished a lovely dinner at a vegetarian teahouse on Park Avenue and we caught the event on 34th street. It was pretty cool watching the sun set between the buildings and shine right down 34th. People were in the streets checking it out and taking pictures and the drivers did not like that. Ches was trying to get a picture of us while a bus barreled towards us. It did not slow down, so she snapped a pic and we jumped aside.
Duck on the Beach: I took the B train out to Brighton Beach one day and spent some time walking around “Little Russia by the Sea.” Then I stopped for lunch at a place called Tatiana, which was right on the boardwalk. I got pelmeni and duck with a cherry-wine sauce, which was delicious. I sat outside, enjoying my meal while a cool breeze came off the water. I could have stayed there for hours.
Meet the Author: At Book Expo they have this big area for book signings. Authors come in for an hour apiece promoting a new book. If you are willing to stand in line, you can get the book for a $1 donation. I’m not one for collecting autographs, but I noticed that Bryan Mark Rigg was signing Lives of Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers. I had just read about this book and was interested to check it out, so I went to his line. When I approached the table, he looked at me and said very confidently, “I know you!” I was pretty sure he didn’t, but I asked, “Do you perhaps play roleplaying games?” He didn’t so I couldn’t say why he thought he knew me. I gave him a card in case he figured it out. I’m reading the book now and it’s quite interesting.
Dinner Music: My last night in the city I went to the Spotted Pig, a gastropub I’ve heard a lot about. It’s open until 2 am, so I thought I’d go late so I could just walk in and get a table. No such luck. I got there at 11:15 and all the tables were full and both bars were packed. The staff found me a stool by a window and that’s where I ate. It was busy and it was loud, but I didn’t care once I was eating marjoram potatoes fried in duck fat. Then over the noise I heard a song come on: “I Love Livin’ in the City” by Fear. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and I thought, “Goddamn, I do love living in the city.”
Where I Get It From: My folks came down from Boston to see me while I was on the East Coast. We had several meals together, the last a breakfast at Junior’s. I show them copies of my game stuff from time to time so they can see what I’m up to, but they are not gamers. I thought they might appreciate Hobby Games: The 100 Best though, as it’s a book of essays. So I brought a copy and gave to them at breakfast. My dad looked at it and said, “Hobby Games, what am supposed to do with this?” I said, “You could read it.” He looked at it again and then asked if it was one of my books. I had mentioned that when I pulled it out but he has two hearing aids and I think he missed it. “Yes, I published it and wrote one of the essays,” I confirmed. “Oh,” he said dryly, “then I’ll treasure it.”
I’ll try to write more about my week in NYC when I have a chance. I squeezed a lot into my time there and I can’t do it justice in one post.