March 30th, 2007

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Things to Do in New York City

I just wrote an email to a co-worker who is planning a vacation in New York City and was looking for advice on things to do. Since the letter might be of interest to others, I thought I'd post it here.

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Dear Co-Worker,

Since we didn’t get a chance to talk about things to do in New York City, and since I think you’ll be going there before I get back, here’s a few websites that might be of interest.

First of all, I already sent you the links to Big Onion Walking Tours and the Circle Line. Big Onion does historic walking tours of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the tour guides are graduate students in history; Nomi and I have always learned something fascinating about the city on their tours. As for Circle Line, this is a cruise that goes around the entire island of Manhattan, and you get to see the city from a vantage point that most people don’t.

If you’re staying at the Marriott Marquis, two restaurants nearby we highly recommend are the steak house Le Marais and the first and dairy restaurant My Most Favorite Food Company. They both happen to be kosher, which is why I know them well. They’re also somewhat expensive, but the food tends to be excellent.

If you want to see museums, Nomi and I have enjoyed the New-York Historical Society and the American Museum of Natural History which has the Rose Center for Earth and Space and Hayden Planetarium attached to it. There’s also a plethora of art museums, such as the Metropolitan and the MoMA.

For theatre tickets, you can go to a TKTS discount booth and see what shows are available that day. Also, you can go to a lot of theatres around 5:30 pm and enter a lottery to win inexpensive tickets to the front row. Or you can just go to the box office and see what’s available, but those will usually be more expensive.

If you want to see the city from a high vantage point, the place to go is the Empire State Building and if you want to learn about the immigrant experience, there’s a very nice museum on Ellis Island. To get there, you take a ferry past the Statue of Liberty.

Nomi and I always like to check out The Strand bookstore, a huge used bookstore with a lot of good deals on new books as well.

Anyway, these are just some ideas. Let me know if there’s something specific you’re looking to do.
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Story Sale: Moving Day

Yesterday I posted a link to the painting: Masters of the Earth by Joe Tucciarone, and I asked people what it made you think of. I only got three responses so far, but they were cute responses.

The reason I asked is because I just made a sale based on that painting to an upcoming anthology, VISUAL JOURNEYS. Visual Journeys is being published by Hadley Rille Books, and it's a riff on an old pulp era practice. Years ago, many pulp magazines would buy a bunch of cover paintings all at once, and then assign writers to write stories that would match the covers. Eric T. Reynolds (LJ: ericreynolds) had the idea of asking various writers to write stories based on paintings, the difference being that we could select the painting that sparked an idea for a story.

I was looking through paintings at various websites, expecting that I'd be drawn to something by Bob Eggleton (as I often am), when I came across Tucciarone's image of a ghostly large dinosaur menacing the Earth-Moon system. I paused in my web surfing and drank in the image. I did take a look at a few other paintings, but I kept coming back to this one, wondering what it meant for that dinosaur to loom over our home planet. Could it be the ghost of dinosaurs past? Could it be some sort of time travel? What did that painting mean?

Well, I figured out what that painting meant to me, and the result, "Moving Day," will be in the book when it is published this summer. I started writing it before Mom died, but her death interrupted the writing, and has ended up influencing the story much more than I ever expected. Since Toby Buckell posted a snippet of his story, I figure I can do the same. Here's the beginning of "Moving Day" for those who are interested:

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I am very much looking forward to this book. First of all, a picture of each painting will be included with each story. Secondly, there's an impressive line-up in the book; Reynolds got stories from Mike Resnick, Tobias S. Buckell, Jay Lake, Lawrence M. Schoen, James Van Pelt and many other good writers. I'm proud to be associated with this anthology, and I hope others will find the book as intriguing as I did.

Copyright © Michael A. Burstein