Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CO-BLOGGER ALERT!: M writes NYC, part 1

We stayed, for the first portion of our time in New York, with Edmundo Desnoes and Felicia Rosshandler, good friends of Achy's, each very accomplished in their own right (and whom Achy will talk more about in NYC: Deux). They greeted us in their amazingly gorgeous Upper West Side apartment with a most indulgent after-travel snack: champagne, cheese, ladyfingers, and chocolate truffles. As if that weren't enough to make me insanely envious of their lives, when asked what they were up to these days, Felicia said, rather dreamily: "Oh, we're both writing, we read, we eat, we drink...occasionally we have house guests...". I nearly died. What must we do to be them when we grow up? To have exquisite taste, lovely things, a content sense of routine, a gorgeous view?? Whatever it is, I hope a little bit rubbed off in the three nights we were with them.

I'd never been to Bluestockings before, but as soon as we walked into the tiny New York bookstore, I was sorry I hadn't made it in sooner. The store is small-ish, and the walls are stocked with more or less my ideal home library. It identifies itself as a radical activist space, though it used to be a women's bookstore, and thus has a similar groove to Women & Children First (Achy's Chicago bookstore homebase and my beloved former employer) -- I felt pretty at home. We didn't get there in time to grill the staff about whether or not it's another flourishing indie, but they seemed to be doing pretty alright -- well stocked, a thriving 'zine rack, lots of the kinds of neat sidelines you expect from a funky little shop, etc. There was a sizable crowd of listeners there for the reading, including beloved friends of both Achy and I, Bobby's friends and family, as well as the good folks from Akashic Books. The crowd - including the staff - was super engaged, and asked a lot of interesting questions during the Q&A period.

After the reading, we hung out with Johnny and Ibrahim from Akashic, as well as Achy's cousin Maggie, at a pretty little French restaurant near the bookstore. We had an awfully good time eating, drinking, and telling absurd stories. This restaurant had a cocktail called the "Old Cubano," which, after Bobby & Achy's readings, seemed obvious and appropriate, and so I ordered it (twice). It's made from rum, mint, lime, and champagne (like a mojito, I suppose, with champagne instead of sugar and soda), served muddled and strained into a champagne flute instead of over ice. And thus we ended our first day in NYC as indulgently as it had begun.

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