Recently, my friend Cynthia and I went to NYC for the Writer’s Digest Conference that took place at the Hilton in Midtown. While waiting at the airport in SLC to fly to JFK, I told Cynthia about how I saw a really weird porn (don’t ask) and in the beginning (which is the only part that I saw) a German man stood up, surveyed the room, and asked, “Is deh paaaawwwty gettin’ staaawted.” This became the catchphrase of our trip. Is our plane here? When is deh pawty gettin’ stawted? Repeat 2,000 times.
The party getting started.
We did not stay at the Hilton where the conference was located because we were like, “nah, let’s find something cute nearby.” But the place we booked looked way better online. Like, shockingly better. In reality, the “cute” boutique hotel was actually a dingy, moldy, place that seemed like it housed the criminally insane. Our room was a heavily wallpapered shoebox (see pic below, and imagine that wallpaper covering every inch of the space, including the curtains and headboard), with a sign that suggests you have to pay for towels.
In the hotel room (that I shall not name), there was a plaque on the wall that said something along the lines of “you can pay for towels at the front desk,” so the first day we dried off with washcloths while swearing and vowing to leave, “the worst review ever.” We were so convinced that we had to pay for towels that we overlooked the towel rack full of bath towels in. the. shower. While you might be thinking, “wow, you’re a couple of geniuses,” just know that I blame the hotel for their weirdly vague sign in the room that should say, “pay for EXTRA TOWELS,” which is also weird.
The conference was three days of writing classes, networking events, workshops, and something called speed querying which I imagine is like speed dating in the sense that you pack as much rejection as possible into a short amount of time. Since writing is such a solitary job, conferences and retreats help you feel like you’re part of something other than your keyboard. If you’re interested in writing, definitely get involved in the community, meet people, and surround yourself with people you can learn from. Even if you already make a living writing like I do (yeah, I’m just as surprised by it as you are), there’s always more to learn and it never hurts to be immersed in it. Plus, it’s NYC, one of my favorite places on earth, so I’ll go there any chance I get.
Cynthia and I had a super fun time at the conference making inappropriate jokes within earshot of everyone else. We arrived every morning at like 8:45 a.m., grabbed a coffee and rushed to whichever thing we’d decided to go to. There was a one-hour lunch break where we ate anywhere near the hotel and then we’d head back for more conference things until about five p.m. Most of what we ate near our hotel was not good, however, we found this cute little french place that was delicious.
Every evening, we’d run back to our dingy, murdery hotel with the scary wallpaper to change our clothes and rush out to meet people. The first night, we met up with one of my oldest friends, Danielle, and went to an art show in Brooklyn on Java St to catch a performance by two local artists. At the end of their social commentary piece, they pulled everyone from the audience into their space and asked us all to dance together. FUN! And there was wine, naturally.
The next night, Cynthia went out with her friend and I headed to M. Shanghai with Danielle. We binge ate and then walked to Rockefeller Center to burn off some of the soup dumblings.
On our last night, Cynthia and I met up with one of her colleagues in town and Danielle for drinks at Sel Rrose (where Danielle bought shots for a random group of gorgeous humans because one of them just turned 21), then we went to dinner at Freeman’s, this badass little restaurant that reminded me of a hunting lodge in a sexy way. It was romanticly dark, rustic and warm with a lot of taxidermied animals on the walls. The food was amazing. We ordered the artichoke dip, a ton of side veggies and potatoes, and salmon. My friends also ordered lamb but I didn’t eat it because I’m not a Batman villain. Say what you will, I think it’s weird.
Cynthia and I did a lot of frolicking around Midtown, the part of NYC that most people picture when they think of NY. We cruised around 5th and 6th avenue and Time Square because that’s where both our hotel and conference were located. Usually, when I’m in the city I spend most of my time in Chelsea, Soho, and the West Village (my fave restaurant is in the west village, an Italian place called Palma). And, if you’re new to visiting NYC, I’d super recommend venturing out of the city to Queens, Brooklyn, Coney Island, etc. I love Brooklyn and always have a ton of fun in Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy, there’s always a ton of cool shit happening plus great food, bars, music, and people. Coney Island is a nice place to spend the day, witness some weird shit when the sun goes down and buy a Warriors t-shirt or ten if you’re into that movie as much as I am (a weird amount).
You can’t take me anywhere.
Our clothes matched the city somehow and my shoe just happened to match the crosswalk because my feet have impeccable timing (add that to my resume). What can I say? Also, LOOK AT THOSE TAXIs! Iconic, my friends. Also, notice how I have no idea how to pose.
Look at us match the walls. We didn’t even plan this shit.
I took Cynthia and her friend Daniel to the Chelsea Market to buy tea and spices from Spices and Tease, stuff our faces with brownies, and eat Oysters on the half shell in the fish market. It’s super packed with tourists but the market has pretty great food and I always find awesome snacks there. And everywhere. I basically just walk around eating 24/7. And I love Chelsea. Last year, my friends and I rented an epic apartment in Chelsea and ate our way through the neighborhood like Pacman.
The day that we left we did some shopping and ate lunch at the Horny Ram because we needed to get the party started, but also because we loved the name and it had decent Yelp reviews. I had the breakfast tacos that were pretty alright and Cynthia had the avo toast which was more like a crumb of bread with avocado. Then, we hopped in a cab and cruised to JFK.
This is us on the plane back to SLC. We only had to wait on the Tarmac for 200 hours and I only had to pop one anxiety pill so I felt pretty good about myself. And look at Cynthia’s bright, shining face. And that hair. You guys, she only has to do it like ONCE PER WEEK and it just stays that way. It’s a magic mane. I need to market that.
I’d also recommend checking out Sleep No More if you’re into plays, dark hotels, and being accosted by actors (one of the most fun sober nights I’ve ever had). Get soup dumplings at M Shanghai and while you’re at it see what’s happening at Baby’s All Right. What would you recommend someone do if they’re in NYC for the weekend? Add to the comments below!
What would you recommend that I do next time I’m in NYC for the weekend? Put it in the comments below!