26 June 2016

April in Manhattan

by R.T. Lawton


AHMM editor Linda Landrigan
 at Notaro's Ristorante
The plane lands at La Guardia and passengers proceed through the walkway. Now, it's down the stairs to claim luggage and find ground transportation. Out on the sidewalk, drivers for black Town Cars hawk $63 rides to Manhattan, but a taxi, even for two passengers, is a less expensive fare to the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Terminal. Check into the hotel, up to the room, unpack and we're ready for a little relaxation. Start with a draft beer at $9 each in the hotel lounge. The price alone lets you know you are no longer in one of the fly-over states.

3 SleuthSayers at DELL reception
R.T., Liz Zelvin & David Dean
Wednesday morning is breakfast at Pershing Square Restaurant across the street from the Hyatt and nestled under an overhead street. Nice atmosphere, short waiting line, good service. Eggs Benedict are fine and the final bill is fairly reasonable for breakfast in mid-Manhattan.

Supper that evening is with AHMM editor Linda Landrigan at Notaro's Ristorante, 635 2nd Avenue. This is a family owned business, the atmosphere is homey, the food is superb, the waiters are friendly and the prices are good. Try their Rigatoni alla Vodka with a glass of Pinot Noir. You'll come back to dine again. Even though we were all full, I got into a several minute discussion with our waiter about the Italian dessert Tiramisu and learned a few things. The waiter promptly returned with a plate of Tiramisu (on the house) and three forks. Best I've ever had, to include the one I ate in northern Italy where this dessert originated. Turns out our waiter is part of the family who owns the restaurant. It's not a large place, so I would recommend reservations. We will definitely eat there again.

Some of the fancy dessert
at Edgars Banquet.
Edgar is white chocolate.
Thursday afternoon is the DELL Publishing (AHMM & EQMM) Cocktail Reception. Editors Linda Landrigan (AHMM) and Janet Hutchings (EQMM), Senior Assistant Editor Jackie Sherbow, Carol Dumont (the nice lady who sends contracts and paychecks to writers whose stories are accepted) and other names on the masthead are there to greet attendees. Nicely, three other SleuthSayers (David Dean, Liz Zelvin and Brian Thornton) plus a gentleman from our predecessor Criminal Brief (James Lincoln Warren), all short story authors,  also showed up. This event is always a good time, where one gets to meet other short story mystery authors and discuss all sorts of topics.

Then, it's back to the Grand Hyatt for the Edgar Awards Banquet. The wife and I start with the Edgar Nominees Champagne Reception in a large room on the Ballroom level. As chief judge for the Best Novel category (509 hardcovers in ten months) it's interesting to meet and be able to chat with some of the Nominees. Best Novel Judges Brian Thornton and James Lincoln Warren are also in attendance.
R.T. presenting to Edgars Best Novel Winner - Lori Roy
Next comes the general cocktail reception, followed by the banquet itself. Supper is served, speakers talk and awards are presented. Winners (and their publishers) are elated, while the rest of the Nominees get to look forward to the possibility of their next work earning them the status of Nominee and maybe Winner at the next Edgar Awards Banquet. Still, it's a good time and you get to meet and network with lots of fascinating people. Meanwhile, outside the banquet room, publishers have set up lines of tables with free books of their Nominee authors. I'm still waiting for one of my stories to make me a Nominee in the Best Short Story category. For now, it looks like a long wait.

The Pond in Central Park
Reflections in Central Park
Friday is free time and an enjoyable walk north to Central Park. On the south end of the park where the horse and carriage drivers hawk their rides, we see two people sitting in the back of a carriage within an area that's been blocked off. The driver, wearing a top hat, is perched on his seat, but there is no horse in the harness. A closer look reveals two movie cameras, a boom mike and some guys holding huge light reflector panels. Someone says "action" and a man steps into the horse harness. He has a plume on top of his head like the horses wear and as he pulls the carriage  forward about fifty feet, he bobs his head like a horse would do so that the plume has a horse's rhythm to its movement. The driver even flicks his reins as if a horse is in harness. The camera is shooting over what would be the horse's head and into the carriage. The carriage stops, three men back it up to its original starting position and they do another take. Must be easier for men to move the carriage in both directions than to back up a horse. Wonder what the horse thought about all this process as he stood off to the side doing nothing.

Baltika #3 in the Russian Vodka Room
SleuthSayer Brian Thornton & wife Robyn
at Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal
Ate Nathan's hot dogs from a vendor's cart. Not bad. Don't know if this is what native New Yorkers do or if it's just tourists. Then, it's a walk south to the Russian Vodka Room where large bottles of Baltika #3 and Baltika #7 are only $4 a bottle. Beats the much higher prices at other lounges and bars, and it is a great tasting beer. Right next door, The Jersey Boys is playing at the same off-Broadway theater that it has for the last several years. Supper is in a nice Irish restaurant near Times Square and dessert is at The Oyster Bar in the depths of Grand Central Terminal.

It was a great trip. If you haven't yet been to the Edgars, you should try it one of these Aprils. Just plan on spending some money.

Saturday is an early taxi ride back to La Guardia and a flight home.

Catch ya later.

14 comments:

Jan Grape said...

it really is a fun trip. I've been a couple of times. Once when I was a nominee for Best Non-Fiction/Biographical as a co-editor of DEADLY WOMEN. The best part of that trip, my partner in Crime here on SleuthSayers, Susan Rogers Cooper, was also nominated. We were already bbfs and that made it even more fun. Neither of us won, she was nominated for Best Original Paperback, but we had a blast. No matter what anyone says, both of us should have won as we truly were the best.

John Floyd said...

A great description of Edgar Week, RT. I've been only once--last year--and had a wonderful time.

Leigh Lundin said...

I have fond memories of attending my a Dell party and MWA dinner. Linda and Janet are extremely gracious hostesses. Good for you, Liz, David, and Brian!

B.K. Stevens said...

Thanks for the description, R.T. I've never been to Edgars Week--you definitely make it sound appealing.

R.T. Lawton said...

Jan, you know your book and Susan's book really could have been the best for that year. At that high level of writing it can be as little as a frog hair that separates one book from another when judges have to make a choice. And, a different set of judges for any given year can make the difference in which author wins. Last year was an interesting year to be a judge, but also some difficult decisions to be made.

R.T. Lawton said...

John, since you love movies, I should have mentioned that the park bench seen in my photo of The Pond is the same one (I'm pretty sure) seen through the sniper scope in the movie The Professional, when Leon (the assassin) is teaching Matilda (the recent orphan) how to use a sniper rifle overlooking Central Park.

R.T. Lawton said...

Leigh, maybe one year we'll all end up there at the same time.

Bonnie, the way you write, you'll get there yet. Just keep on writing.

Eve Fisher said...

Sounds like a great time, R.T. - and I'm with you, I'm hoping someday to make that magic five for short story...

DoolinDalton said...

Who knew there was a better Baltika than #3? Holy crap #7 is a GREAT beer! Great to see you and Kiti. Robyn and I had a wonderful time!

R.T. Lawton said...

Eve, I see your story made the cover for the AHMM July/August 2016 issue. Nice going.

R.T. Lawton said...

Brian, it was a great time. After we returned home, Kiti and I tried a Baltika #6, but don't bother, Baltika #7 is still the best. Can't say that I've figured out their numbering system yet.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

R.T., it was great to see you and Kiti again, and I'm grinning after reading your writeup. My caption for the pic of us with David was "Liz in the arms of the Law." BTW, we New Yorkers do eat food off carts all the time, don't pay Grand Central restaurant prices if we can help it, don't ride in horse carriages or pedicabs with maybe a brief exception once in a blue moon to amuse the grandchildren. And the guy pulling the buggy was all in a day's New Yorkness. My husband had once just finished reassuring someone that the city was perfectly normal when a guy came riding along Park Avenue toward them, stark naked, on a white horse.

R.T. Lawton said...

Liz, it was good seeing you again at the DELL Cocktail Reception. Got a good laugh out of your post above. Maybe we'll meet you again at a future event.

David Dean said...

Sorry to be so late to this party, R.T. I've been locked out of Google for a few days for reasons unknown. I had a grand time in NYC, and it was great seeing you, Liz, Brendan DuBois, Janet Hutchings, Linda Landrigan, etc...I could go on but you get the picture. I hope to see you all there next year, too.