BookCon: Friday Night

Hey there! It’s 10:47 PM, someone is singing loudly (but actually sort of well) at the bar across the street from our hotel, and I am exhausted.

It’s been a long day.

After not going to sleep until around 2:00 yesterday because of packing, I woke up at 7:00 to shower, pack some more, shove a bowl of Lucky Charms down my throat, and print about a million pages worth of various passes and schedules for the weekend.

The passes actually wouldn’t have eaten so many pages, except the first time through they printed wrong. (Everything came out but the barcodes. Of course the one parts of the dumb things we actually needed).

Between that and other random setbacks, Madre and I ended up leaving the house over an hour later than planned, which then led to a mad dash to the airport and through security. We reached our gate on time, thank God, and while waiting there–in the middle of a discussion on marriage, of all things–a guy got down on his knee on the moving sidewalk beside us and proposed to his (joyfully) stunned girlfriend. It was adorable.

Then there was some trouble with our luggage. And once we reached NYC our taxi got stuck in a massive traffic jam because the driver thought it would be a good idea to take us through Times Square (why? the world may never know), so we ended up walking the last few blocks to the hotel. And then the hotel didn’t have our room ready yet so we had to leave our luggage at their baggage check. And we couldn’t find a free taxi so we walked all the way to the Javits Center, where both BookCon and its parent event Book Expo America (BEA) are taking place right now (which, you know, is a pretty long walk when you’re out of shape and it’s hot out).

All in all, it was actually really nice. I will never turn down an opportunity walk Times Square and finding our way to the Javits Center on foot was fun.

However, what you need to understand in all this: Our flight was scheduled to land at 2:00. The BookCon kickoff event for tonight (a panel about the film adaption This Is Where I Leave You, featuring the author, director, and, you know, stars Tina Fey and Jason Bateman) was scheduled to begin at 4:00.

That was two hours to get out of the airport, through the hotel, to Javits. Basically a superhuman feat.

And I was not missing Tina Fey.

So when absolutely everything seemed out to keep us from making it to the panel on time, for some reason neither my mom nor I were happy campers.

But then the plane landed early, and the walk to the Javits Center wasn’t as long as we thought it would be, and we arrived and checked in at the BookCon registration desk with five minutes to spare.

We raced down to the Special Events Hall and got in the mile-long line to get into the panel.

Inched every so slowly towards the quickly filling seats.

At which point Mom said, “I thought Hannah and her mom were saving seats for us?”

And I replied, “Yeah, they said they’re at a table at the front, but I don’t see–”

Frantically waving arms alerted us to the fact that when Hannah had texted me that they were sitting at the front of the hall, she didn’t just mean TOWARDS the front. She meant the FRONT of the front. Like front row. Like right next to the stage.

So yeah. The BookCon kickoff event ended up being awesome.

Afterward, we went out to the BookCon happy hour, where Hannah and her mom introduced us to their amazing cousin (like dude, I want to be related to this woman too) who’s attending BEA. And who, then, ever-so-casually introduced us to some friends of hers who, you know, happen to run New York Magazine. (Is this even real life?)

This is only one of the things Hannah’s cousin did for us tonight. She is my new favorite human.

The entire time we were in the Javits Center, I was basically a hyperventilating, creepishly-staring-at-everything mess. I’ve been dreaming of attending BEA ever since I first heard of it back junior year of high school, and after lusting after all the pictures of massive book advertisements filling entire walls and beautiful stacks of ARCs on table after table and all the rugs! the BEA logo on all the rugs! –It just. I couldn’t believe I was actually there.

Not actually for BEA, of course. For BookCon. But still. My Twitter feed has been nothing but BEA all week and it was crazy to actually be standing in the middle of it. (I would have cried if it weren’t for the fact that I would have gotten lots of weird looks from the industry people, half of whom basically hate BEA but are required to go, and therefore, you know, would not have understood why this random girl was crying about the fact she was standing in the Javits Center. Especially because she was happy about it.)

Plus, just to solidify my unhealthy levels of excitement, after the kickoff event I spotted Christine Riccio of Page to Premiere and polandbananasBOOKS (my favorite BookTube channel), and it REALLY hit home for me that I was ACTUALLY. THERE. (Unfortunately, I spotted her as she got on an escalator on her way out for the night, so I wasn’t able to go fangirl all over her. But fingers crossed I have a chance to gush about how much I love her videos tomorrow?)

After leaving Javits, we took one of the BEA shuttles to Grand Central Station, where we got sorbet/gelato and admired the architecture. Then we headed to Bryant Park and stumbled upon a Shakespeare in the Park production of Hamlet. We watched that for a while, but it started raining and it seemed like the weather was just going to get worse, so then we were off to somewhere indoors–John’s Pizzeria for dinner, to be specific.

(By the way: If you’re ever looking for a pizza place near Times Square, I’ve eaten at John’s twice now and have been fully satisfied with my pizza both times. I highly recommend it for all your New York-style pizza needs.)

Then, after dinner, it was back to the hotel. And now Mom and I are just sitting in our room, listening to the drunken singing from the bar, and it is 11:51 PM.

What a weird day, right? A little bad and a ton good.

As Hannah and I walked out of the Javits Center, I looked around, all wide eyes and burning cheeks from smiling too hard, and I said, “I feel so… content right now.” It’s amazing how true that was (and still is; I never want to forget this feeling).

Here’s to hoping the rest of the weekend lives up to Friday.



PS. Sorry for the lack of pictures in this. My phone ran out of space basically the instant we got to New York (and I can’t figure out how to upload what I do have using this computer, anyway). But hopefully I can take a few tomorrow.