Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The road less traveled

Happy Wednesday! I’m back from New York and wow – what a trip. My favorite part was a tour of the city that I took with life-long New Yorker, Charles Schwartz. He offers one-on-one walking tours, anywhere you’d like to go. And since I’d only seen the more touristy parts of the city, I told him to show me what else I was missing.

I had a side motive as well. You see, I have a short story due at the end of the summer and a bit of inspiration is always welcome. I mentioned that to Charles and also told him I write paranormal fiction.

So he shows up like this.

Talk about a treat – my very own vampire tour guide. And that was only the start of the fun.

We walked all over the city – I saw the Algonquin, gathering place of great writers. We saw the “literary walk” leading up to the New York City Library. We ate at the famous Katz’s Deli. Charles even showed me an old church, built by the Dutch when they owned the island. It’s supposed to be haunted by one of the first Dutch governors, and it had a heck of a cemetery. You all know how much I love old cemeteries.

Then we found the inspiration for my next story, just as I’d hoped. We walked into McSorley’s Old Ale house, built in 1854. Abe Lincoln hung out here. Teddy Roosevelt. John Lennon too. You could smell the history. You could see it on the walls. In fact, they claim that no piece of memorabilia has been removed from the walls since 1910.

Houdini’s handcuffs are cuffed to the bar rail. Wishbones hang above the bar, left there by soldiers going off to fight in World War I. They’d re-claim them when they returned. I could literally feel the weight of the generations.

I knew right away, I’d found a home for my story. I’m not quite sure what will happen yet, or who will walk through the doors of my version of this bar, but I can’t wait to find out. In the mean time, I’m grateful to see this hidden gem, a place I never would have known existed. Thanks to Charles for taking me off the beaten path, and showing me the possibilities around every corner.

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