About tigwallace

I'm an English graduate, a writer and a tennis nut. Preparing for the adventures of the real world

Reunions, Parties and a Celebrity Spot

A few weeks ago I was invited to the Lucas Alexander Whiteley (LAW) agency party, at their offices in Kensington. The weather was good enough to be outside in their garden, where trays of canapés were brought round at regular intervals. I was grateful that instead of tiny finger food, these canapés consisted of giant slices of pizza. The party was great fun, and I got to catch up with Kira, a friend of mine from the Columbia course who is interning at the agency. I was the last person to leave – obviously – which meant I got a tour around and sneak peak at some of their upcoming releases.

 

Kira!

Kira!

The following week we had a more fully fledged Columbia reunion for all the Brits, and newly adopted Londoners: Carolyn, Kate, Kira, Jess, and Daniela. Weird and wonderful to see them all out of the New York bubble, and catch up on news and updates. Also crucial to this gathering was food. Lots of it. Homeslice in Covent Garden is a favoured spot for many a Penguin, and I’m no exception. In short, they have cheap and good wine, much Prosecco, and pizzas so large that when they’re placed on the table there is no room for glasses/cutlery/anything. I look forward to doing this regularly.

Kira, Daniela, Kate, Jess, Carolyn and me

Kira, Daniela, Kate, Jess, Carolyn and me

Last week I had a day out of the office at BLE – Brand Licensing Europe – 2014. It’s huge fair held in Olympia where all the major brand owners from around the world have a presence, the aim being to sell licenses in their properties, and also to schmooze and see and be seen. It’s big, bright and colourful as you’ll see from the pictures below. I spent a lot of time wandering around with Emily and Rich, scoping out the various licensors, and going to a few meetings, and collecting some all-important swag. I was slightly overexcited to discover a ‘Table Dennis’ area of the ground floor – a Dennis the Menace themed ping pong table where I dragged Rich in between meetings. When I wasn’t exploring or playing Table Dennis I was curled up on a sofa at the Penguin Random House stand, catching up on some reading. Another highlight was seeing the Universal screening, where they showed the first ever footage of Jurassic World. Very excited to see it next year.

PRH stand

PRH stand

 

 

Puffin 'Dennis' books on display

Puffin ‘Dennis’ books on display

 

Dreamworks stand

Dreamworks stand

Ubisoft stand

Ubisoft stand

TABLE DENNIS

TABLE DENNIS

Comfy Penguin cushions at the stand

Comfy Penguin cushions at the stand

BLE

BLE

Mind Candy stand

Mind Candy stand

After the fair we went for a drink and then to dinner at Yas, a Persian restaurant on Kensington High Street, where I managed to find the one dish that didn’t feature lamb (ugh!), and thoroughly enjoyed it. We trekked further up the road to Kensington Roof Gardens, for the Mind Candy party! Mind Candy are regular collaborators of ours (the photo of me in bubble wrap on PopJam? It’s their app) and we have an exciting new project together, which I AM allowed to mention, as of four days ago. We’ve acquired rights to publish a range of books based on their new World of Warriors game, and I’ll be assisting on the fiction titles, written by the wonderful Curtis Jobling.

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/penguin-acquires-publishing-rights-world-warriors

photo 3 (1)

Roof Gardens

Roof Gardens

The party was great, and the venue pretty special – hadn’t been before. I gather there are flamingos there in the day time. We think we found where they keep them and tried to get in but couldn’t. Luckily it was a warm evening too, so we got to make good use of the promised gardens. The highlight of the evening was the spotting of Dick and Dom. What do you mean, ‘Who are Dick and Dom?’ Um, Dick and Dom IN DA BUNGALOW, the show that every child of the 90s remembers with fond memories, chiefly when our titular presenters had to shout ‘BOGIES’ in public places, obviously. Anyway, we got a photo with them, and it made certain members of our group very happy indeed. Photo achieved, drinks drunk, mingling complete, we piled high our bags of sweets from the snack table, and made our way home.

photo (1) (1)

 

 

Dick and Dom!

Dick and Dom!

Next time: visiting Zurich.

Tig

 

London Publishing Adventures

Hello!

I’ve been back at work for four weeks now (though it sort of feels like I never left), and it’s back to busy business as usual.

On my first day getting up at 6:30 again was a slight struggle. So much in fact that I opted to snooze a bit longer and catch a slighter later train. At the station I saw my usual commuting buddies (we are in fact not buddies and do not speak to each other or make eye contact) and thought how great it was to have had this amazing break from my routine.

It was a bright and sunny morning, so I took the slightly longer route out of Charing Cross station to walk past Trafalgar Square – taking a few snaps to send to my American friends, to prove that London has its charms too.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

 

Arriving at Penguin Towers

Arriving at Penguin Towers

 

I got up to the office to a lovely warm welcome from my fellow Puffins, and began unpacking my boxes. I was also greeted, much less warmly, by my inbox, which I’ve barely looked at in two months. I was confused because it said ‘2014’ in the top left which is not where the date should be. Cue sinking of heart when I realised that ‘2014’ was the amount of unread emails in my inbox.

OH HAAAAAYYY, INBOX

OH HAAAAAYYY, INBOX

The first few days I spent catching up on some of the above emails and getting up to speed with the latest news, particularly on the titles I help to look after.

clean desk

clean desk

I attend and minute a lot of meetings in the Children’s Division, which has been a good way to see what has changed – and what hasn’t! There are some exciting new acquisitions, and some more cool things in the pipeline.

Always promising to find danger signs on your desk. (This is for one of our awesome new books!)

Always promising to find danger signs on your desk. (This is for one of our awesome new books!)

My second week back was taken up with coordinating my first pitch. A book idea of mine for someone I wanted to approach became a possibility when we got in touch with the agent just before I went away. In those two months things have progressed, so it was pitch time. Doing a pitch is exciting and exhausting, as it involves lots of different teams having to drop everything at short notice. The end result looked fantastic, and it’s now with the agent.

To give you an idea of the very varied, and often totally random life of an assistant, I present to you the question of the box. I arranged a gift for one of our authors, and, feeling like being extra-organised, ordered it two weeks before we needed to send it. (I thought this would allow time for us to wrap it ourselves maybe, and for postage). The present in question was a lovely hamper from Fortnum & Mason and it arrived without hiccup on a Tuesday morning. Problem was, I hadn’t realised that the box contained fresh produce – most hampers don’t – which presented the mild conundrum of what to do with it. It was too big to fit in our fridges, I didn’t want to unpack the hamper to remove the fresh goods, and I couldn’t send it two weeks early. I ended up lugging it up to the 10th floor and begging the hospitality staff to store it in their industrial fridge for a couple of weeks. Luckily they agreed, only because August was a bit quieter for them and they had a bit of space. Phew!

My internet stardom

My internet stardom

Another highlight – if you can call it that – was the release of Mind Candy’s PopJam app. Mind Candy are regular collaborators of ours, and their new app is a creative community for kids. A few months ago my ‘esteemed colleagues’ wrapped me up in bubble wrap on the pub day of Phil Earle’s The Bubble Wrap Boy  – SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE – and it was documented by pesky photo apparatus. I hadn’t thought much more of it until the picture resurfaced…on PopJam. Most interactions involve kids drawing on the images that Puffin posts on there, so I’d envisaged cringing at some cheeky kids defiling my personage. They haven’t though, thus far, and I’ve got off lightly with a few ‘lols’ and ‘rofls.’ FOR NOW.

I have some really exciting new titles and projects to look after, which I’ll tell you more about soon. Hopefully I’ll also get into the swing of blogging more regularly again too!

What do you think about renaming my blog? I want to make it more publishing focused, so might make the change from ‘Tig in Real Life.’ How about something simple like ‘The Publishing Blog’? What do you think?

Until next time!

Tig

Canadian Adventures: Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Toronto

Sunday 3rd August

We got up early on Sunday and had breakfast at Pershing Square – where we often eat breakfast if we’re in New York as a family. It calls itself the ‘busiest breakfast in New York’ and I wouldn’t argue against that! The food is good, portions are generous, and turnaround is quick.

Having packed up the rest of our stuff, we went to pick up the hire car at the airport. Delays ensued but we finally got on the road at about 11:30, and began to leave the city behind us. Some of the views back at Manhattan from the north were beautiful, but I felt another pang of sadness when the last tips of skyscrapers and glimpses of bridge down the Hudson finally disappeared.

 

Where are we going?

Where are we going?

Rather than taking us straight north, through some of the scenic bits of upstate, our Satnav took us west through New Jersey. It was quick, but…scenic? Not so much. We even got as far as crossing into Pennsylvania, before we finally started heading back North. At least I can add two more states to my checklist, which now stands at, er, 7/50.

My almost namesake

My almost namesake

As we re-entered New York State, the heavens opened. It was the most prolonged, and worst, rain I’d seen since being in New York, and it lasted for ages. We bypassed Syracuse – not much point in stopping if we couldn’t leave the car without drowning – and carried on to Rochester, which was our earmarked destination for the night. We stopped briefly at a service station when the rain became too heavy to drive in, and watched people running, screaming from their cars.

We used the service station WiFi to find a place to stay in Rochester, and ended up at a lovely little hotel in a quiet, tree-lined street full of large detached houses with yawning front porches, and which generally felt like a million miles from NYC. A late dinner was followed by the best night’s sleep I’d had in months.

Cosy fire outside

Cosy fire outside. And a TV?!

Monday 4th August

My birthday!

We had a lie in, and then had a late breakfast. Sitting by the window, with the sun streaming in, Rochester innocently pretended that yesterday’s rain hadn’t happened. After all that’s happened in the last couple of months, it felt like a very odd place to be waking up to on my birthday, but not in a bad way. We packed up soon after, and hit the road again.

IMG_5643

Rochester to Buffalo was a drive of about 45 minutes. They call Buffalo the ‘architectural’ heart of New York, and this proved true by some of the impressive buildings we saw. More impressive however, were the famed Buffalo chicken wings I ate at lunchtime. I’m remembering them now, as I write, and can hear my stomach rumbling. Why don’t I have any right here?!

CHICKEN WINGS

CHICKEN WINGS

Next up was Niagara Falls which I was very excited about. We’d heard that the Canadian side was by far the better viewpoint, so instead of driving up through north-west Buffalo, we went south-west and crossed the Peace Bridge into Canada. The queues to get across the border were huge, and everyone seemed to be going from the US into Canada, rather than the other way (it felt a bit like we were fleeing a natural disaster or something). Eventually we got across, and I set foot on Canadian soil for the first time in my life. It was in a customs car park, but still.

CANADIA

CANADIA

 

 

We drove on to Niagara. It becomes clear when you’re nearing the Falls by the sudden increase in volume of cars, touristy shops, and big hotels. When we looped down another road, the roads were immediately full of people, and beyond them, our first glimpse of the Falls. We parked the car and then walked to join the crowds.

It’s easy to see what brought them there. Horseshoe Falls was directly in front of us, with American Falls to the left. Between them, a fifth of the world’s fresh water flows over a height of around 51 metres. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I was very impressed. I don’t think photos can really do it justice – it’s something you have to see in person. I did find it funny to see the boats way down below, which take tourists in waterproof ponchos up close to the Falls, where they get soaked through and scream. After walking up and down, taking it all in (and confirming that this side had the much better views than if we were in Buffalo), we set off for Toronto.

P1170461

 

P1170485

 

Would not want to be on that boat. Would you?

Would not want to be on that boat. Would you?

 

About 30 minutes after we set off, the rain began again. And got worse. And worse. And worse. By the time we’d reached Burlington on the Queen Elizabeth Highway, the traffic had slowed to crawling, and then stopped completely. We thought there must have been an accident ahead – it later turned out that they had to shut the highway because of flooding. In any case, plans for my birthday meal in Toronto quickly evaporated. Instead, we passed around a pack of Cheetos and some popcorn as we inched our way forwards over the course of three hours. By the time we got to Toronto it was midnight, and we had to drive around before we found a hotel that had space for us. All the roads seemed to be undergoing construction, which made it difficult to get around. We eventually found a hotel, and were just thankful to be off the road. It was certainly a birthday to remember!

Eaton shopping centre

Eaton shopping centre

Our time in Toronto was brilliant. The next night, I was treated to a great birthday dinner at Canoe restaurant, which is very high up with a great view over the city. We did some of the touristy musts – including the CN tower, Eaton shopping centre, Chinatown etc – as well as plenty of wandering around, seeing the Toronto University campus (beautiful), and I just enjoyed a switch off from the intensive months of the course. My mum and I also spent a day at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament, where we saw some great matches and players, from Djokovic and Dimitrov, to Berdych and home favourite, Raonic. We rushed to the practice courts to see Federer too, of course. On our way to the tennis we walked through York University campus, to be confronted by a sort of big, tailless beaver thing. It ran right up to us and got up on its hind legs, and up close I recognised it from my trip to the Natural History Museum as a groundhog! I was mildly concerned that touching it would result in rabies, but the people around us were encouraging, and said that it was the local neighbourhood groundhog, Len, so I petted his head. Realising we had no food, Len moved on a passing family, whose daughter shrieked and tried to hide in some bushes, as if she were being approached by a bear.

View from Canoe

View from Canoe

 

 

Night!

Night!

 

 

 

City Hall

City Hall

Campbell House

Campbell House

Chinatown

Chinatown

Justice building

Justice building

 

Len the groundhog

Len the groundhog

 

 

 

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Rogers Cup

Rogers Cup

 

ROGER!

ROGER!

Too soon, it was time to fly home, only to find our flight delayed. We eventually set off from Toronto at around 11:30pm on Friday – after enjoying the pretty snazzy airport, where every table comes with an iPad – and arrived back in London the following day. The sun was shining, which almost never happens when you come back from holiday!

Arriving home again felt a little surreal, especially because the last two months haven’t really sunk in yet. My task for the rest of the weekend was just to sleep, rest, recover before going back to work on Monday.

To be continued!

Hey, London

Hey, London

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Publishing Adventures: The End of the Columbia Publishing Course 2014

British/American Dictionary

Gnarly – I think we might use this word here too. It’s used to describe something as either difficult or unpleasant, but can also be used to mean good. E.g. ‘that vodka was gnarly’ = bad vodka.

Burglarized – this one makes me laugh. It sounds much funnier than ‘burgled’, because it makes it seem like the homeowner is the active participant in the verb. It also makes me think of burgers.

Monday 28th July

After the relaxed weekend, it was something of a shock to have to get up early, in time for the 9am career fair (how on earth am I going to get used to getting up at 6:30 again for work!?), and also to dress in a suit.

The career fair took place between our lecture theatre and Stabile, the ground floor common space, both of which had been filled with rows of tables. In fact, it looked a lot like a book fair layout, helped by the fact that every major publishing house and magazine had a stand there, from Penguin Random House and HarperCollins to New York Magazine and Condé Nast. The idea is that students go round to tables of interest, network like their life depends on it, and try to impress the company representatives enough that it might lead to something; from the publishers’ point of view it’s a meat market of promising potential employees.

I wasn’t sure how to manage it myself, not actually looking for a job. I decided to just go to the companies that interested me, to strike up conversations. Cue a few HR people to glaze over the instant they realised I was a) employed and b) British.

Nevertheless, I did have some fun discussions. Jordan Hamessley from Egmont USA compared notes with me on our favourite books set at sea, and I cooed about The Fault in Our Stars with the Penguin Random House table. At Condé Nast, I used my internship in the London office to start a conversation, which was in large part a ruse to grab a branded lip balm from their table. The amount I use lip balm, this should last me the best of a decade. There were two awkward conversations. One, with New York Magazine, when I realised halfway through that I’d been referring to it as The New Yorker (I smiled and excused myself); the other was with Scholastic, whose HR person told me they weren’t accepting resumés to look at, and that I should go into IT if I wanted to get hired (I gleefully told her this wouldn’t be necessary).

Later in the day, Jon and I went to get a few bits that we needed, and headed to the top of 5th Avenue, not a long journey from the dorms. A fruitless trip for me, but good to get a break from campus. We got back, got dinner, and joined Ryan, Carolyn, Gaia and Melissa to eat it. It was then time to get ready, because the evening was Carolyn and my joint birthday celebration!

My birthday (4th August) and Carolyn’s (5th August) would be after we’d left the city, so we thought it would be fun to do something to celebrate with our new friends while we could.  I’d booked the rooftop of Pera (the place in Soho we ate at a couple of weeks previously, where we inspected the roof), which, much to my surprise was free, on condition of a minimum spend. I was a bit nervous about this until I realised that 50 thirsty students would get past the limit no problem!

A bunch of us set off together from the dorms, and arrived bang-on 9pm, where some of the others were already waiting for us. We went up to the roof where the night-time view was absolutely stunning: the imposing Freedom Tower to the south; the bright lights and skyscrapers of midtown to the north; some rich people in their swanky apartments just across the road (bet they regret floor-to-ceiling glass windows now!). We had a fantastic night. Gaia and Melissa bought a flashing pink crown for Carolyn, and a disco, Brit-ish, tophat for me, as well as a cake with Jon and Ryan. I gave Julianna my camera and tasked her with taking photographs. The ones that would prevent my friends from finding employment are not included here. The cocktails were great – and they made a few of them ‘extra special’ when they knew it was my birthday – and it felt very New York!

Uptown view from Pera

Uptown view from Pera

 

Downtown view

Downtown view

 

 

Birthday hat! With Melissa and Alyssa

Birthday hat! With Melissa and Alyssa

 

A healthy table of drinks!

A healthy table of drinks!

 

Olivia, Ashley, birthday girl Carolyn, Laura, Xian, and Alyssa

Olivia, Ashley, birthday girl Carolyn, Laura, Xian, and Alyssa

The rooftop closed at 12. We briefly stopped in at SOBs, which was closing, but also probably wasn’t our best choice of club. Instead, we went back to campus and continued celebrations on the 3rd floor until the early hours, and until some of my friends accidentally locked themselves out of their apartment. Sitting in the corridor waiting for the warden person to come to the rescue, we were suddenly sleepy, and the night drew to a close.

Tuesday 29th

After a sleepy morning, I had to get over to the Upper East Side for 2:30, to help move furniture. That evening, the class of 2014 was invited to Christopher Cerf’s house for dinner, the very final CPC event, and another tradition for the course. His house, in a beautiful spot in the 60s, was apparently full of things that would need clearing to make space for the party.

Alyssa, Sam, J.D. and I got there, with Shaye, Stephanie and other helpers, to find an amazing house which did indeed have boxes and things everywhere. We cleared space in the main room downstairs and in the amazing library room upstairs. The process was fun, mostly because we kept uncovering Emmy awards that Christopher has won, scattered about the place (as you do), and rare and beautiful books, including some first editions. I wish I could include pictures here, but I don’t think I should!

Once finished, there was an awkward amount of time left to get back to campus and change etc, so I decided to stay out, and had brought a change of clothes with me. Alyssa and I wandered up to the Park, and sat by the zoo for a little while, before walking past the Conservatory Water with the tiny sail boats, where jazz was playing, up to the 80s. Alyssa went off to get ready and I looped back, further in the Park, and sat down to read.

Conservatory Water

Conservatory Water

I read for too long, and had to hustle to get back to the house in time. I realised I was all sweaty and still in my shorts and t-shirt, so dashed into Bloomies to get changed in their fancy restrooms. More appropriately attired, I headed back, bumping into Alyssa again on the way.

The party itself was great, with a crowd comprised of this year’s class, some alumni, speakers from the course, resource people, and some other guests. It was a great mix, and a really fun occasion. I made several trips to the snack tables, where treats included mini-chicken skewers, and chips and dip, ably assisted in the snacking by Julianna. The outside patio was particularly popular, as there was more space to mingle, which I tried to do as I realised it might be the last time I see some people for a very long time. After what felt like far too soon, it was time to leave, and the 140(?) strong group began filtering to the sidewalk, after thanking our host profusely. People began splitting off to go different ways. A bunch of us (Marc, Kira, Ryan, Erin, J.D, Andrew, Xian, Claire, Nicholas, Concepcion, Mackenzie, Sam, Nicola, Mary) walked to a nearish bar where we spent an hour or two, around long tables and a glass of wine. Again, too soon, it was time to head home, and begin the awful process of goodbyes 😦

Okay, one photo of the Cerf party. I can't claim credit for this one!

Okay, one photo of the Cerf party. I can’t claim credit for this one!

People were still up back at the dorms, so I joined the living room of 5B for a while, though some more goodbyes beckoned.

Wednesday 30th

Wednesday was a strange day, as people started to leave the dorms in earnest. Melissa had to leave at 7am, and I’d gone to bed before she’d done her farewells, so I missed getting to say goodbye to her. In a way I think this is the way to do it, so it’s less like a goodbye at all!

I escaped all this by going to the Natural History Museum with Marc, his friend Jamie, and Jon. We met at the small mammals exhibit, and they scoffed at my lack of knowledge about North American wildlife (who knew that groundhogs are real things?). We saw the large mammals, though we were just as interested in the scenery as the animals, and it struck me how little of America I’ve actually seen, having never been to those sprawling landscapes that the museum was showing.

All the fish

All the fish

 

 

Rather large whale

Rather large whale

We saw the marine exhibit and, of course, the dinosaurs, where we got up close to the T-Rex. I asked a man standing there to take a picture of all of us. His badge said that his role was ‘fossil advisor’ and he seemed a bit miffed that I’m asked him for something as trivial as a photo. He was even less happy when I asked him to take it again (he had cut off the T-Rex in his first attempt. Photographer, he ain’t). After that, we took a break outside and ate hot dogs in the sun.

Friends and a T-Rex

Friends and a T-Rex

My parents called to say they had arrived in the city, so I headed back to the dorms briefly before setting off to see them at their hotel in midtown. We stayed in the room for a while, catching up on the last two months (it seems like it has been much longer but also like it has flown by without me noticing.

I went most of the way back up to campus to have dinner with Ryan, Jon, Carolyn, and Gaia at a pizza place. Later, Gaia, Ryan, Jon and I went for a wander round campus, and sat by the Alma Mater statue until much later than we’d intended to, but everyone wanting to spend time together before Gaia and Carolyn’s departure the next day.

Thursday 31st

To thank us for helping to move things at the Cerf house, Shaye took J.D. and me to lunch across the road. Shaye’s holiday was the next day, and you could see the visible relief etched on her face – if anyone’s due a holiday, it’s her! We talked about the course, but also about New York more generally, a little about Shaye’s career, the future, and upstate New York, which I’m about to see for the first time. Lunch – a steak sandwich and some watermelon-lemonade – was fantastic. We walked with Shaye back to her office, then it was time to say goodbye to her and to Stephanie. Shaye made me promise to come back to New York soon, and to visit when I do, so I guess that’s one of my trips for next year sorted!

My parents came up to visit campus after that, giving me just enough time to clean my bedroom. After inspecting my digs, we had a walk round campus, which meant I could introduce them to Carolyn, Jon, and Ryan, before they headed back to the hotel.

Gaia and Carolyn were busy packing up their last things. We surveyed the scene in their flat, with Cara, Leora, Jess, Olivia, and Alexis. I went to get Chipotle with Gaia and Alexis just before Gaia and Carolyn had to leave. Goodbyes were bad – big group, a taxi waiting, people crying. It was different for me, knowing I’ll see Gaia and Carolyn soon in London, but still hard. We stayed in the road, waving, until the car was out of sight.

Jon, Ryan, Alexis and I went to sit by the statue – becoming a regular spot in the last few days – where we found the owl hidden in the Alma Mater’s robes (it’s a thing)

Friday 1st August

I went to see my parents again on Friday morning, and take some of my stuff over to their hotel. Jon was moving things into his flat, so we shared a taxi. After dropping off my stuff, stealing some of my parents’ food, and buying a questionable chicken sandwich, I helped Jon take his bags over the Brooklyn.

The journey didn’t take too long, through traipsing through the streets with suitcases wasn’t ideal. We spent some time on the roof of Jon’s apartment block, enjoying the views back over Manhattan, and had time for a quick sample of the ping pong table before we set off back to the island, stopping at Grand Central Market for food on the way.

Manhattan in the distance

Manhattan in the distance

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

That evening, we had our final rooftop gathering on Hogan Halls. It was fun to have most of the remaining group together, but I was also sad at the prospect of not seeing them again for a while, and at the course being over. Between leaving the rooftop and going on our night out, there were plenty of individual goodbyes to be said, which didn’t help the sadness factor. Actually, some supervisor lady came out and shouted at us and told us to get down from the roof – turns out we were never meant to go up there, whoops. Do we care?

Goodbye, Hogan rooftop!

Goodbye, Hogan rooftop!

Our final group heading out – me, Ryan, Julianna, Jon, Cara, and Alexis – had to walk twenty blocks, as the 1 train wasn’t stopping from 103rd to 116th. We went to midtown, to Beer Authority, directly opposite the New York Times building. The rooftop had just closed, but we still got a peek at the view, before bagging a big table downstairs, where we were joined by Maggie, and later by Dmitriy.

Julianna, Ryan, Alexis, Dmitriy, Jon and me. Maggie the photographer?

Julianna, Ryan, Alexis, Dmitriy, Jon and me. Maggie the photographer?

We had a good time, and I was tutored in perfecting the New York accent by Maggie and Julianna, though I still need some work, I think. After goodbyes to Maggie, Cara, and Dmitriy, the rest of us headed back, in a fairly sombre mood. Julianna, already moved out of halls, had the unenviable pleasure of staying on our couch.

Saturday 2nd

I left very early on Saturday morning. We had to be out of the dorms by 11, but I was going to have breakfast with my parents, and I was also keen to avoid the trauma of more goodbyes. A slight crimp in the plan was the intense stomach pain I woke up to at about 4am (having gone to bed at 3), which kept me awake on and off until I got up at 6:30.

Jon was leaving at the same time, so we carted our luggage down to the reception area. We gave Maria, the night shift security lady, big hugs because she was the nicest person you could hope to meet. She said that it if we’re ever in trouble in New York, we should come back to her here. Mild concern that she thinks we might be homeless, but a really sweet offer.

After two months of sun, New York chose that moment to reproach me for leaving, and unleashed the rain clouds. We found Marc and Jamie by the door to the street, and we all just stood there, slightly numb from sleep, without an umbrella between us, wondering how to do this. Summoning energy, we shuffle-ran down the street and across the road to shelter under the awning of Book Culture, then Jon and Jamie went to hail a taxi – both going to LaGuardia. Mercifully, there were lots of taxis, so they got one quickly, and we had time for a brief goodbye before they were off. Marc and I returned to Book Culture to regroup, before venturing to the curb again. Another cab followed suit, I said goodbye to Marc, all of us soaked through by this time, and left Columbia.

By the time I got to my parents, I was feeling much worse, with a full on cold descending. I promptly fell asleep and woke up again at 11. We had a slow rest of the day, venturing to the Boathouse at Central Park when the weather got better. In the evening, Ryan and I met up at Bryant Park, before having dinner with my parents there – quite fitting it was the first and last place I visited on this trip to New York. After my last goodbye of the course, to Ryan, we went back to the hotel for the final sleep in NYC.

The Wallaces and Ryan

The Wallaces and Ryan

 

So that’s it! I had the most incredible seven weeks, and an experience I’ll never forget. To anyone thinking of taking the course in 2015…do it! I’ve come away with incredible contacts, and got to meet some amazing people in the industry. Most importantly of all, I’ve come away knowing over 100 people who will be going into publishing, with whose careers my own will certainly cross many times, and I’ve made some brilliant friends.

I want to go back to one lecture briefly, the one with Joanna Rakoff, the author of My Salinger Year. The book documents her first year in publishing, as an assistant, and how she responded to J.D. Salinger’s fanmail. I started my blog before I got into publishing, and stopped after I got my job at Penguin, which wasn’t so much a decision, more that I didn’t make the time. Listening to Joanna, I wish that I’d documented my first year in publishing, and while I can’t go back and do that, I can promise to keep up my blog and document my second year in publishing. So among everything else it’s done for me, thanks for that too, Columbia Publishing Course.

Tig

p.s. here is a link to CPC Super-Grad. Every year the USA’s main publishing news website, Publishing Trends, compiles the best parts of the students’ biographies into one ‘super’ biography. Enjoy! http://www.publishingtrends.com/2014/08/columbia-publishing-course-2014-super-grad/

We'll always have Columbia

We’ll always have Columbia

 

 

New York Publishing Adventures: Summer in the City

British/American Dictionary

Cover – When we’d go on nights out, people started talking about where had ‘cover.’ I thought they were talking about physical shelter from the elements (as opposed to rooftop, I guess?), but no. Cover = entrance fee.

Gormless – This is one of my favourite words, but turns out it means nothing over here. Which is sort of ironic. For you Americans, gormless means something between ‘stupid’ and ‘blank,’ often used to describe a facial expression.

Monday 

On Monday morning we had a class trip to Time Inc, whose offices are in the frantic centre of midtown. We all looked SHARP, in shirts/suits/nice shoes, and as we walked down the street we hoped that passing people might think us to be high-earning Manhattanites, off to our important power-jobs in the city. After passing security and getting our badges, (and going in two wrong entrances), we had to navigate three separate elevator banks to get to the 8th floor. A big sort-of ballroom had been laid out for us, and we claimed some tables, where we found Time goodie bags waiting for us. Free things = happy CPC students.

Jon and Melissa inspect their swag

Jon and Melissa inspect their swag

The editor of InStyle, Ariel Foxman, took to the stage with our classmate Lia, to be interviewed. He talked about making the move from Random House to magazines, and was passionate when he talked about his job. At the end, he took a selfie with all of us:

Ariel Foxman selfie!

Ariel Foxman selfie!

After that, we were split into groups and began a tour of various magazines/departments in the building, which was akin to a trip through Wonka’s chocolate factory with the complexity of corridors and lifts. The offices are beautiful though, and it was great to snoop around and get insights from the employees who talked to us. Below are some sneaky photos that I’m 100% sure I was allowed to take. At one point we were shown the samples room for InStyle, where the junior editors work. The majority of the room was heaving with shoes, bags, accessories, clothes – all thrown together in piles of chaos. The assistant casually introduced the interns who were sitting to the side, and explained that their job was to list the stock of the samples that come in. The interns turned to face us with harried looks, fear and pain upon their faces. We left.

What even.

What even. I mean, how?

 

Time filming studios

Time filming studios

Other highlights of the day included a tour of some of the Time archives – including milestone moments like the JFK assassination and coverage of Princess Diana’s death – and seeing some of Time’s most famous photographs, and, of course, an Oscar. We then had a speed networking event in our original room, then it was time to head back to campus.

Time's Academy Award for the documentary 'The March of Time' in 1937

Time’s Academy Award for the documentary ‘The March of Time’ in 1937

That afternoon, our speaker was Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year which we all got a copy of from Knopf. She was alongside her editor, Jordan Pavlin, who opened the course what felt like months ago. I’ll talk a bit more about this in my next post.

In the evening we the publishing director of Bloomsbury USA, George Gibson. He said that you learn more as an assistant if you start at a small publishing house, and don’t get much exposure to other departments if you start at a big company. As an assistant today, I totally disagree!

Tuesday

I’d been looking forward to Tuesday for a while, because it was time for me to say hi to friends at Penguin! I arrived at 345 Hudson, got my pass and made my way upstairs, where I talked to the receptionist, Tito (“Hey, Tig is kind of like Tito”) until the lovely Julia came to get me. Julia is the editorial assistant for Puffin US, so she is pretty much my closest equivalent over here. She introduced me to Eileen Kreit, the publisher of Puffin, and I set up camp in her AMAZING OFFICE WITH THE BEST VIEW WHAT.

Eileen's view. She claims it is possible to do work in here

Eileen’s view. She claims it is possible to do work in here

With the straight on view of the Freedom Tower, I couldn’t help thinking about 9/11. As if she read my mind, Eileen told me about how she was here when it happened, and saw the whole thing through the window. It still gives me goosebumps.

Eileen introduced me to loads of people in her department, including Dana, the assistant editor who I email all the time, and designers, and the MD of the Children’s Division. I then got to sit in a fun Covers meeting, where I got a sneak at lots of upcoming titles and also saw some new Classics covers – Classics being the project that I work on with the US team. I wandered around (guided dutifully by Julia) to see other people I knew in the Viking team, and got to say hi to Jill Santopolo, who was one of our wonderful resource people during book workshop.

I spent most of the rest of the day with Julia and Dana, comparing notes, chatting and generally preventing them from doing their work. We may have arranged some book swapping… It was great to meet them!

Wednesday

In the morning we had more talks from HR people, then our website/magazine evaluations. Ours went well, but there wasn’t a whole lot for me to say, as they didn’t go into much detail about the story ideas. After that was Sherry Hour, before a fun panel in the evening, comprising of last year’s alumni.

The plan was that after the panel we would all head to the bar, with the course organisers and the alumni. As the talk finished though, the skies opened with torrential rain, lightning, and the loudest thunder I have ever heard. It sounded like bombs going off, and I could feel it reverberating in my chest. People screamed and ran down the streets. Jon and I, soaked through, arrived at the bar eventually, which was too packed and noisy to hear much, stayed for one drink and left with some of the others.

THUNDER RAIN LIGHTNING

THUNDER RAIN LIGHTNING

Thursday

Another day of fun! This time I got to spent my morning at the Random House offices on Broadway. Their offices are right in the heart of midtown, a stone’s throw from the hell of Times Square. I spent the day with Beverly Horowitz, publisher of Delacorte Books, and her team. Beverly is amazing, and is a fountain of knowledge. She’s also tough – I don’t think you last at Random House as long as she has without that quality. She’d laid out some cornbread (yes!) for me and spent ages answering my questions and showing me what she has on her list, before introducing me to the rest of her team. I met the designer, Ray, who is working on Stone Rider with our designers in the UK, so I got to see the first concept of the cover, which I’d just missed by leaving home when I did.

Beverly took me to Hot Titles, a sales-led meeting which goes over how front-list and backlist titles are faring. This was fascinating to see, and some of the numbers were incredible. Later, I got to go to another Covers meeting, in a gorgeous boardroom, which meant some more sneak-peeks of upcoming titles. Set up at my own desk I had a look at some TI sheets, snooped around more books, and chatted with the Delacorte team. I had a good wander round the building too; some more pictures below! When it was time to leave – and finally let Beverly get on with some work – I found that there was a box of 15 or so books that they had put together for me. Eyes wide, they asked if they should ship it to me or give to me to carry. I chose the former. Thanks, Delacorte!

Room with a view

Room with a view

I went exploring at Knopf

I went exploring at Knopf

Breakout areas

Breakout areas

RH Children's

RH Children’s

The reception, full of books!

The reception, full of books!

My desk!

My desk!

I was back at Columbia in time for the editor of Lucky magazine, and then after dinner it was time for our final lecture. According to CPC tradition, it was given by Christopher Cerf, an all-round man of the media, one-time senior editor at Random House, and son of the founder of Random House. He was very entertaining, both with his stories of old-world publishing and his memories of the company, through to the videos he showed us of his work on Sesame Street and Between the Lions – an endeavour to teach literacy to kids. I couldn’t believe it was the final lecture, and it was just as well that we were so entertained, or it might have been more melancholy.

IMG_5373

The main part of the course being over meant time for celebrations, naturally. I went to the well-trusted ‘Amigos’ with Alyssa, Andrew, Roxanne, Leora, Sam, Nicola, Erin, Alex, Elizabeth, Julie, and Julianna, where we partook in bloody marys and margaritas, and shared some entertaining and vaguely worrying childhood stories. After Amigos, a bunch of us went back to the dorms to review our high and lows of the course, over some wine. Our conversation attracted a revolving door of cameo visitors: Cara, Jon, Melissa, Carolyn, and Alex. Someone wisely suggested taking the party to the roof, where we stayed until much later than anticipated, sitting around on the gravel and talking.

Sunset on Hogan Halls

Sunset on Hogan Halls

Friday

Friday morning was free, the day instead focused around our ‘Disorientation’ lecture. Shaye gave an overview of her thoughts on the course, and told us that we were a wonderful class. She got teary, to a chorus of awwws from the audience. The disorientation then became our graduation ceremony, as Shaye called us up to the stage, one by one, to receive our certificates. It was so great to see everyone going up and getting a big hug from Shaye, and it was a really fun celebration.

When it was my turn (at the end, as usual – Wallace), I got to the steps to the stage and looked up at Shaye, opening my arms as I worked out how to hug her (which arm is going where? Over or under? Do I grab the certificate first? Please don’t let this be an awkward hug), and tripped on the top step, falling flat on my ass on the stage in front of her. I wasn’t really aware of much in those microseconds, which felt like an eternity, other than the fact that the applause had died away to a stunned silence, and I looked up at the front row of people who all had frozen ‘o’s of surprise on their lips. I got up, brushed myself off (face burning I’m sure) and got a massive hug from Shaye, which made it all worth it. Someone – I think Ian? – started up a second round of applause, and there were some whoops with the laughters, so that felt pretty good. My friends, of course, were falling out of their chairs with laughter, because they are good, supportive people!

The ceremony was followed later by our final sherry hour. It was a very jolly one, with everyone taking lots of photos. We managed to get a selfie Shayfie with Shaye, which is pretty much the best photo ever.

Shayfie! With Ashley, Jon, Shaye, Gaia, and Melissa

Shayfie! With Ashley, Jon, Shaye, Gaia, and Melissa

There was one more treat to come: a banquet! Now, understand that the cafeteria has been our dear friend throughout the course, but sometimes a friend that we have wanted to punch in the face. Great meals (and regular pizza) have sometime been followed with suspicious concoctions and dubious chicken, so we were a touch sceptical about the banquet being in there. We were wrong to be. We arrived to find round tables, bedecked in white tablecloths and silverware (real cutlery for the first time – woohoo!), and some delicious smells coming from the kitchen. Carolyn and I bagged a table, and to our delight we found that Shaye was joining us too. Ashley, Francesca, Jon, Ryan, and Melissa rounded out our happy table, and Shaye’s presence meant that bottles of wine found their way to us in abundance.

Final banquet

Final banquet

The meal was delicious. Our table was hilarious, as we told Shaye about some of the things we’d discussed and done during the course, while she spilled on some of the behind-the-scenes gossip. There were speeches galore, with people standing on tables and chairs; many toasts were made to Shaye and Stephanie; people spoke about how much the experience of the course meant to them; flowers were presented; tears were shed…The whole thing was such a fitting and wonderful celebration of our time together, and though it was bittersweet to be ending the course, the mood was jubilant, anticipating the future. 3C hosted another great party, where there was some cheesy music, dancing, talking, and some more use of our lovely rooftop. Julianna, Alexis and I took a walk around campus afterwards, enjoying the peace and quiet, and the serene view from the Alma Mater statue, free for once of all tourists and students.

Saturday

A lazy day of catching up with things. Carolyn, Jon, and Melissa went to queue for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park, and got them this time! This is involved them getting up at about 4:30, while I didn’t have to lift a finger, so they are pretty awesome for doing that.

I sat around, reading and working, with Marc and Jon in their apartment, then Marc and I went to sit outside on campus to actually enjoy some fresh air. It was brightly sunny, but also raining pretty heavily at the same time, but somehow where we were sitting under some trees we were untouched by it. Carolyn and Kira joined us, but soon we had to get ready (and get snacks!) for Shakespeare in the Park.

I set off with Carolyn, Jon, and Carolyn’s friend Mike, and made it to our seats in the Delacorte theater in plenty of time for the start of the show. Gaia and Melissa were sitting further away from us so we spent some time trying to spot them. The theatre is beautiful, with a view of Belvedere Castle straight ahead, and a balmy New York evening above. It was a production of King Lear, starring John Lithgow and Annette Bening (and also Jessica Hecht – Susan from Friends). It was good, and worth seeing for the whole experience, but not outstanding. Bening fudged her lines several times which was a bit awkward.

Sunday

On Sunday morning I went for a walk in the Park, then got the subway to Herald Square. There was an amazing food market, with a variety of stalls stretching for a whole block. I did a spot of shopping, then met with Carolyn and her friend Geena. We got crepes from the market, then wandered around Macy’s, mostly for the air conditioning.

Herald Square market

Herald Square market

We got the subway down to Christopher Street to meet with Jon and Melissa for ice cream at this tiny place which served the most amazing  toppings. The others all had sundaes and I was pretty jealous. We then walked to Golden Unicorn in Chinatown where we met with Gaia and Ryan for a massive dinner, then rolled ourselves home.

The blogs aren’t over just yet – a couple more to go!

Tig x

New York Publishing Adventures: Digital and Magazine Workshop

British/American Dictionary

Jelly/Jell-o – I thought Americans just said ‘jello’ instead of ‘jelly,’ but this isn’t quite right. ‘Jello’ is the wobbly stuff, and ‘jelly’ is like jam.

Doritos Cool Ranch – This is the US equivalent to our Cool Original, but ours have more of the powdery stuff on them. American friends also outraged that we have Doritos with dips in the UK; they are not ‘dipping chips’ over here. Hunh.

Sunday 13th – Friday 18th July

After the football ended, we were put into our magazine workshop groups, which were put up on the big screen in the lecture hall. Cue lots of oohs, ahhhs, and some complaints as everyone tried to find their name, and then scrambled to assemble in their assigned room. I was pleased to be in the Arts website group, and joined my new team in our 6th floor lair.

The honeymoon period was brief, as we quickly realised that a) Arts is a very broad topic and coming up with a website idea was difficult and b) no one wanted to be the Publisher (and I couldn’t do it because I took that role in book workshop.)

Eventually we had our roles sorted, and began in earnest. We had even less time than book workshop, and the process was very energy sapping, so I’ll just give an overview, and some high (and low) lights. We all went a little Snapchat crazy, some of which I’ve put here, to give a flavour of the atmosphere.

Important gossip

Important gossip

The task was similar – to put together a prospectus of a website launch, with at least 50 article ideas, homepage content and design, advertising, social media and audience development strategies, and business numbers to back it all up. As editor I had to come up with story ideas, writing a summary of each article, with titles, search engine optimized titles, and deks – like a mini description. Coming up with search friendly titles was actually quite useful; I think it’s something I can take home and use for when I’m writing book metadata, really trying to capture what the customer is going to be searching for.

Feedback from the resource people was always clear

Feedback from the resource people was always clear

The promise of freedom

The promise of freedom

Our website centers around artists that have used digital platforms to carve out their success, where we review, preview, comment and break news, with a section for users to upload their own art. It took us a while to get there, but we were very happy with it in the end. The resource people (magazine and digital media professionals) were amazed at our progress, but kept reminding us how terrible we were at the start, with ever increasingly outlandish metaphors – I think ‘You were like babies, stranded in the scorching desert without food or water’ was my (least) favourite. The website was eventually called ArtUpload. It went through so many different names I can’t even…There was ‘Teleport,’ ‘AmAuteur,’ ‘Arteur,’ ‘Eyefull,’ and a bunch of others. One resource person named us ‘ArtUpload’ then managed to convince herself that it was our idea and that we loved it. We turned faces of thunder upon her, and then left, but kept the name because we needed one.

Wine was needed

Wine was needed

There was an ever increasing sense of hysteria as the days went on, not so much from our group, but because of some other groups’ dramas. We were all relieved when the week ended, though there were some last minute printing nightmares for us to overcome before we could flee the building and sink our heads into buckets of margaritas.

Friday night

I wasn’t kidding about the margaritas. After we’d all had some peace and quiet to ourselves, Ryan, Jon, Gaia, Melissa, Carolyn, Jess, Alexis, Katie, Martin, J.D., Ashley, Britta, Andrew and I went to Amigos just down the road. The margarita man kept them coming, and threw in a couple of free jugs…I think. Then, after another week of late nights, it was time for some great sleep.

Me, Jon, Gaia, Ashley at Amigos

Me, Jon, Gaia, Ashley at Amigos

Saturday

zzzzzzz

zz

z

Got up late and went to Starbucks with Gaia, then planned our next move. The next move turned out to be one of the best decisions ever…

Gaia, Ryan and Jon joined me in heading to the East Village, where we joined the thronging crowds in line at Katz’s deli – the famous ‘I’ll have what she’s having,’ restaurant from When Harry Met Sally. I’ve never made it there in my five previous trips to the city, so I was excited to finally get there. Our waiter told us about the long history of Katz’s, and told us we’d be stupid not to order one of the sandwiches. When my pastrami sandwich arrived I nearly died of happiness. The picture doesn’t quite do it justice – an endless stack of perfectly tender and steaming hot New York pastrami. It doesn’t get much better. After taking touristy photos, we staggered back outside.

Katz's

Katz’s

PASTRAMI SANDWICH

PASTRAMI SANDWICH

We wandered around for a while, trying to work off the food, taking in bustling weekend New York, before heading up to Columbus Circle and lying around on one of the high rocks in the Park.

We were going to go out again that evening, but we got too comfortable. Melissa, Jon, Marc, Christine, Andrew and I ventured out for ice cream at 9ish (couldn’t face any more food until then). After that we lay around on the sofas in my apartments, chatting and eating snacks until the early hours.

Sunday

I got up early on Sunday and went down to Greenwich Village for a stroll. I went across to the river and walked down quite far, up to a wide pier which had a skate park, mini golf, playgrounds, and kayaking. Lots of families enjoying another hot Sunday.

Another sunny Sunday

Another sunny Sunday

I next went to Three Lives, which is my favourite bookstore in the city. It’s a tiny oasis amongst the craziness, and I lingered for a long time, had a good chat with the bookseller, and bought & Sons by David Gilbert, which has a gorgeous cover.
Three Lives

Three Lives

IMG_5209

Gaia, Ryan, and Melissa met me at Washington Square Park before heading down to Pera in Soho, for a late lunch.It’s this great Mediterranean place with a big, almost Moorish outside area with loungers and draped gazebos. Gaia made the waiter’s day by speaking to him in his native Italian, so we got good service! I’d started thinking about organising something for my birthday before the end of the course, so asked if we could look at the rooftop. We went up in a huge elevator, which looked  like it should transport cattle rather than humans. The view from the roof was amazing – it would make a great party venue.
View from Pera

View from Pera

After that we went to the Public Library, but it had just closed, so did some 5th Avenue shopping instead. The train we caught back ran express, so we ended up at 125th instead of 116th, and too many blocks east. I’d planned to have dinner up there so stayed while the others headed back. We’ve been talking about going to Dinosaur BBQ since the course started, and it was finally happening. I sat in the glorious sunset with my new book until my dinner friends arrived.

Outside NY Public Library with Melissa, Gaia, and Ryan. Evidently a poor choice of photographer.

Outside NY Public Library with Melissa, Gaia, and Ryan. Evidently a poor choice of photographer.

We had a lonnnnnng wait for a table because it’s a popular spot and there were so many of us. I went in and pleaded, saying that I’d come all the way from England just to eat here, which cut our waiting time from 45 to 10 minutes. Sadly this didn’t quite materialize on time, but we got there eventually. Ian, Jon, Sam, Francesca, Olivia, Britta, Xian, Rosemary and I had a meal that could only be described as epic – ‘Dinosaur’ I think referring to the size of the portions. We were so happily full by the end, I can’t even describe.

Friends with food

Friends with food

DINOSAUR

DINOSAUR

 

 

On the way home I saw what I thought was a small monkey in the park, but was actually a raccoon. I got close to take a picture but it hissed and I feared it might claw my face off with its tiny hands, so backed away.

Another week over!

Tig

 

New York Publishing Adventures: Vogue in Manhattan

American/British Dictionary

Chuffed – There doesn’t seem to be an American equivalent to this. They find it very funny.

Creasing Up – Us Brits know it as laughing really hard, but this gets you bemused looks over here.

Cotton Socks – As in ‘bless your cotton socks.’ Again, no one gets it here.

Monday 7th – Thursday 10th July

After a relaxing weekend, Monday morning heralded the start of class again. We’re now onto the digital and magazine part of the course, with a new host of industry professionals coming to speak to us.

David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief of The New Yorker, gave the keynote speech. He shared a great stat with us, that there have only been five different Editors of The New Yorker despite its long history, meaning that we’ve now met two out of the three living ones (Bob Gottlieb a few weeks ago). It was also a reminder of the power of the Columbia bubble, where we get to listen to, chat to, and email correspond with CEOs and Editors-in-Chief of the world’s biggest and most famous publishing houses and magazines.

Shani Hilton, Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Buzzfeed, gave the digital address. Really interesting to hear her place and define Buzzfeed in the media, as well as getting some top tips about how articles gain traction online.

Some other highlights from the week: Howard Mittman (Publisher, Wired); Doug Stumpf (Vanity Fair); Mike Nizza (Esquire Digital); Adam Rapoport (Editor-in-Chief, Bon Appetit) and Mangesh Hattikudur (Chief Creative Officer, Mental Floss). On Thursday night, I went for drinks with Ken Wright and some of the editors in the Viking Children’s team, who I work with closely from home on several titles. We went to a restaurant off Grove street and made our way through some great rose wine – paid for by the Penguin 😉

Lupita Nyong'o on the cover of the latest issue of Vogue, given to us on Friday

Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of the latest issue of Vogue, given to us on Friday

On Friday, the Beauty Editor of Vogue, Sarah Brown, spoke to us about her experience on the Columbia Publishing Course back when she was a student here, and about her life at Vogue. Lots of eager girls had crowded to the front in their best dresses; I stayed back in my shorts and t-shirt. There was a great moment when she was talking about style, and said ‘What looks good on me won’t look good on you’ and pointed at some girl in the front girl, who probably withered and died on the spot.

The evening went over our assignment ideas with Sara Nelson (Editorial Director, Amazon) and Michael Solomon. We were desperate to leave by the end and get to the bar.

The Heights

The Heights

A big group of us went straight to The Heights, the nearest rooftop bar, where we slowly took over every bit of seating space. There were nachos. There were frozen margaritas. They were needed. I remembered to tip the bar staff this time, so no one spat in my drink or looked at me with murder and disgust in their eyes. It was good.

We stayed there until midnight or so, then a group of us – Alyssa, Zainab, Gaia, Ian, Melissa, Rosemary, Andrew, Leora, Ashley and I –  went downtown to Meatpacking, where the lights were bright and the cobbled streets teeming with nocturnal Manhattanites. We were aiming for Brass Monkey, but the queue line was around the block. We went to Revel instead, where the music was loud and the drinks pricey. G&Ts in hand we claimed a corner table in the ‘garden’ (just more of the bar, where the roof just seemed to be ominously missing) and danced in our seats until 2am.

Undeterred by the queue, we found our way into Brass Monkey, and made it past the three levels of rope barriers until we got to the roof, where we sat until it felt like time to go home – which is usually never, in New York.

Brass Monkey

Brass Monkey

Saturday

Saturday morning felt like the right time to take on my cronut challenge. My colleagues at home instructed me to have ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’ by getting a cronut and eating it outside the flagship store on 5th. Melissa was my accomplice in this mission, and accompanied me on cronut hunt. The hardest part was resisting the urge to wolf down the cronut before getting to 5th Avenue. We made it though, and here’s the photo evidence. And the cronuts were great!

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Next up, Union Square. We did a spot of shopping, but saved our energy for the serious task of book shopping at The Strand – probably the most famous book store in the city. We spent about two hours in there, and had to restrain ourselves from buying everything. We only left with three books each, which is very commendable I think.

Awesome Murakami cover in The Strand

Awesome Murakami cover in The Strand

Food from Whole Foods, then I went on a quick wander down to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty, before heading back home. I’d forgotten that it was ‘Manhattanhenge’ that day – where the sun lines up perfectly with the city blocks. I raced back down to Columbus Circle to get some photos but didn’t make it in time. Here’s what it looked like though:

Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge

140527-coslog-manhattanhenge_ccf9b502a2c1a58c0cb48e87de6532c5   I sat on the wall by Central Park having a sandwich, when a man in a mobile scooter, blaring out drum & bass, came up to me and asked me, quite seriously, if I was a storm-trooper. I said yes which was apparently the right answer – he beamed and drove off.

Later that evening, I headed down to Fat Black Pussycat with Kate, Jess, and Zainab, for our course-mate Katie’s birthday. It’s a bar/club off Washington Square Park, where we’d taken over some plush seats in an eclectic room full of red velvet thrones, gramophones stuck to the ceiling, and a sarcophagus in the back. We stayed for a couple of hours, then branched off from the main group to get pizza before heading home. In the pizza place we saw the police try to remove a sleeping drunk man, who was being protected by an angry transvestite. The pizza was cheap and did the job.

A supermoon had replaced the epic sunset, which went a little something like this:

Supermoon over Manhattan

Supermoon over Manhattan

Sunday

Sunday was a day of two halves. The first was very lazy (and much-needed). I went to find somewhere to watch the World Cup final with Sam and Nicholas, but everywhere was full. Since when is soccer so popular here? We ended up at Brad’s, the cafe next to the Journalism school, and watched the first half there. We moved into our lecture theatre for the second half, where it was being shown on the massive projector screen! I had Argentina in a sweep-stake with my friends at home, but Germany deserved to win. I think I still get some second place money… Then, at 5:30 pm, the second workshop began. Stay tuned…