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New York Adventures Part One

    I love New York.  If I were really rich I’d like to live in New York.  At least part of the time because I’d really miss my horse.  It’s like L.A. — you feel the energy throbbing up through the soles of your feet as if the city’s heart is beating.  Of course it might just be the rumble of the subways from far below, but I like to think it’s the breathing of great dragon just beneath the pavement.  Both these metropolitan areas share that sense that something very exciting is just about to happen, and by just being present makes you part of the song.  Of course New York is a real city, and Los Angeles is a strip mall surrounded by freeways.
    Sam lives in a brownstone in Brooklyn.  An honest to god brownstone.  I’ve never been in one, I’ve just read about them in Nero Wolfe books.  Four floors so you had privacy, and we weren’t intruding on Sam and Susan.  We were greeted by Nellie, their fairly-like whippet.  She is a charmer and helped with my loneliness for my own animals.
    Our hosts took us to a wonderful Italian restaurant where I had pasta with braised short ribs.  It was the richest and most delicious sauce I’ve ever enjoyed.  I make a bolognese sauce with pulled beef, but it isn’t as delicious as this.  Susan and I shared a salad filled with fine lettuce, olives, mozzarella, and artichoke hearts, and I relaxed with a very good glass of red wine.
    I managed to read a few pages of the mystery novel I’d brought, but it was time for lights out.
    Monday we were free until drinks with the agent.  Sam took us on a walking tour of the neighborhood.  There is an amazing promenade overlooking the East River.  It was a bright, clear day with a cold wind blowing.  The water matched the sky, and Lady Liberty thrust up like a green mermaid rising out of the water.  Knowing that the Bush administration was finally gone I felt like she could once again represent the best of our country.  
    From the promenade we had a spectacular view of lower Manhattan, and the spires of mid-town glittering the the sunlight.   Sam proposed that we walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and I was all good with that.  Again, having Sam made this all the more interesting because he could tell us some of the history.  How it was the first time people figured out what caused the bends, how trolleys used to run across the bridge.  The wind was pretty vicious so we only went to the first pier, but it was spectacular.  Next time I’ll make it all the way.  Still, here are some pictures for your enjoyment.
    We paused for lunch an a little Italian place, then home to clean up for our meeting with the amazing Kay McCauley agent extraordinaire.  Susan mentioned there was this great website called Hopstop which plots your route through Manhattan on subways or buses.  I then discovered there is an app that can be downloaded to your IPhone.  I have an IPhone so I quickly snatched it.  It turned out to be a godsend.  Have I mentioned that I love, love, love my IPhone.  I’m sure my Apple Overlord is happy, but I can’t help but worship when the Overlord is so damn _good_.
    While I’m an ace at getting around on subways I inevitably get lost when I emerge from the subway.  I don’t know the buildings well enough to use them as landmarks for directions so when Hopspot would tell me to walk west down 51st street I would always pick the wrong direction.  After a few false starts we made our way to Vong.  
    Okay, I have to mention one place where the overlord failed.  With all the tall buildings the GPS that tracked my position kept getting confused, and just wandering around the map.  Keep that in mind if you’re a secret agent.  They will have a hard time following you in the steel canyons.
    Vong is a high end, Asian-style restaurant that has burnished deep cherry wood in curving panels, polished red wood floor with tiny tongue and groove slats, and dark upholstery.  It’s really, really beautiful, but it’s the food that blows your mind.
    Kay was going to dinner with an agent from Hollywood so we were just going to have drinks and canapes.  The appetizer plate was exquisite, and I could have eaten another one all by myself.  We were drinking prosecco and discussing our careers, our lives and our upcoming meeting with Tor.
    Then Kay’s dinner date called at 6:20 to say his plane had just landed.  That meant we got to have dinner with Kay and sample the main courses at Vong.  I would eat there again in hot second.  I think the truth is that a hotdog from a street vendor would taste good if you’re with Kay McCauley.  She is the most ebullient, fascinating person I have ever met.  Fierce in her representation of her clients, but equally ready to tell you when you’re being a prat, and to stop whining and get back to work.
    We broke up around 9:30 and made our way back to Brooklyn.  We were home early enough to have some quite conversation with both Sam and Susan.  I found it hard to sleep that night because we were having lunch with our editor, publicist and Linda Quinton, Tom Dogherty’s daughter, the next day.  I really wanted information about the state of book two, THE EDGE OF RUIN, and Ian needed an update on his series.  We were also going to the theater that evening to see South Pacific.  
    It makes for an unquiet spirit, and a basically sleepless night.

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