BEA & NYC Recap Day 1: Arrival & SimonTeen Party

So as you guys know, I was in New York City (specifically Manhattan – no I didn’t see Spider-Man or the Avengers 😦 – exactly two weeks from today for BookExpo of America and the BEA Bloggers Conference. So I’m using this week to do a more detailed recap because SO much has happened during those four days. There is a more general summary of my trip on Paperdroids.com.

Take Off/Touch Down: NYC, Here I Come

I should start off by saying that I didn’t travel alone. I brought back-up: my mom and little sister. Once my mom heard “New York City” and “me going” she jumped at the chance to go with me. She’s always wanted to go to the Big Apple and saw this as a wonderful opportunity to go. My sister coming along was a last minute thing. She’s the baby of the family at 12 years old and my mom was worried she’d be forgotten in a house of men so she got her a plane ticket. It was my first time on a plane as a conscious-of-my-surroundings-and-will-remember-this human being (the last time I was on a plane was when I came to Canada at a year and a half old).

IMG_2044Waiting to board the plane with #HolyBEABatman

The plane was small. I was disappoint by this because I expected the big jumbo planes like the one on Snakes on a Plane (without the snakes of course). I regretted not bringing a proper camera since I couldn’t use my phone in the plane to take photos. The view was awesome and I realized I wasn’t a afraid of flying. An hour and 40 minutes later we touched down and was welcomed by a “Welcome to New York sign on the runaway. We took a private shuttle bus to the hotel and had too take so many detours that we ended up at the hotel at 11:00 am. This was fine with us since we got an unintended tour of the city.

IMG_2054The Welcome to New York sign on the runway

IMG_2056Some New York City architecture while in the shuttle bus

Check-In: It’s Raining and Pouring

We checked into the Yotel which was this futuristic looking place. The first floor had no traditional concierge desk but instead a row of computers on the left, four elevators straight ahead and a giant robotic arm on the right. The giant robotic arm was called the Yobot where hotel guests store their luggage for free before check-in or after check-out. We went to the row of computers to check ourselves in. It was a really easy experience and we even printed out our own hotel keys (two between the three of us). We hopped onto the elevator to the next and last floor called FOUR where the concierge desk, restaurant, bar etc was. We turned and found another set of elevators that would take us to our rooms or “cabins” as they’re called. The cabins were small but in a we’re-being-modern-and-utilizing-every-square-foot-as-efficiently-as-possible way. It was nice. Our only complaint the entire of the entire hotel experience was that the mattresses SUCK. They were too hard for my taste.

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#HolyBEABatman enjoying our hotel bed upon arrival

Ok, enough about the boring stuff and straight to the part where it was raining on the only full day that I had to do New York tourist-y things. We went to a nearby diner and, after being fed, was directed to where we could find an umbrella which was at a newsstand. After we got an umbrella, we hung out at times square where we saw Elmo wearing a Jan Sport bag. We were there for an hour or two before we headed back to the hotel (we were getting wet) and took a much needed nap. I woke up and got ready for my first book event of the trip hosted by SimonTeen. I met up with my pal Michele from Just A Lil Lost to head over there together.

IMG_2062#HolyBEABatman enjoying a milk shake at a diner

IMG_2089#HolyBEABatman at Times Square

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Elmo! What a nice surprise…

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The other end of Times Square. A very wet Times Square.

Party Time: SimonTeen Blogger Preview Party

We got to the SimonTeen party where we were carded before entry (I was given a special bracelet to indicate that I was NOT to be given alcohol. I turn 21 in July but it wasn’t a big deal since I don’t drink anyways). Michele forgot her IDs because she never expected to get carded so I had to vouch for her. We got inside and immediately met Jamie from The Broke and The Bookish who was a sweetheart and awesome to hang out with. I ran into her a few more times throughout the week (BBC and the Expo) and she was one of the bloggers I most wanted to meet in person outside of Canada so YAY! We also met the Ottawa bloggers: Kathy from A Glass of Wine, Emilie from Emilie’s Book World and Jessica from Read My Breath Away. We mingled a bit before we were told to sit down to listen to some author interviews. I really enjoyed the format of this because Suzanne Young (author of The Program and A Need So Beautiful) was the one doing the author interviews. It was relaxed and she did a wonderful job making it feel cozy and informal by giving the interviews a the theme of “A Night Out”.

IMG_2096Suzanne Young at the SimonTeen Party

We got to hear from Corey Ann Haydu (author of the upcoming book OCD Love Story), Amy Butler Greenfield (author of Chantress), Jason Reynolds (author of the upcoming book When I Was the Greatest), Siobhan Vivian & Jenny Han (co-authors of the Burn for Burn series including the upcoming sequel Fire With Fire) and Cat Patrick (author of The Originals and co-author of the upcoming book Just Like Fate with Suzanne Young).

Suzanne Young & Corey Ann Haydu

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Suzanne Young & Amy Butler Greenfield

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Suzanne Young & Jason Reynolds

IMG_2104Suzanne Young & Cat Patrick

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(L to R) Suzanne Young & Cat Patrick with Siobhan Vivian & Jenny Han

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The whole gang: (L to R) Suzanne Young, Cat Patrick, Siobhan Vivian, Jenny Han, Corey Ann Haydu, Amy Butler Greenfield and Jason Reynolds.

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Afterwards, there was a raffle giveaway. I’m not good at winning things that are up to chance. I suck at bingo, raffles etc so I already psyched myself out of winning anything to avoid disappointment…

…I won. Yes, I won one of the prizes: books by Lisa McMann (ONE OF MY FAVOURITE AUTHORS) including her upcoming sequel Bang. Oh and also a $50 Sephora gift card. We mingled some more. I introduced myself to Nicole from Word for Teen. I hung out with Jenn from Lost in a Great Book, Jen from Misbehavin’ Librarian and Terri from Read and Riot. On our way out, we were given a swag bag that included books from all of the authors above as well as bound manuscript of Perfect Ruins by Lauren DeStefano who couldn’t be there.

I was exhausted but had a lot of fun. The following day would be the start of my BEA adventure as BEA Bloggers Conference edged closer…

A. A. Omer

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