Field Trip #1: Passager Goes to New York!

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We’ve had a lot of adventures in the last week and a half! Starting with last Wednesday, the Passager team traveled to New York City’s Fishs Eddy for the book-warming of Finding Mr. Rightstein, Nancy Davidoff Kelton’s new memoir. It was also Managing Editor Christine’s first time in the city! How do you give a tour of New York in six hours? Let us walk you through it:

First, you arrive at the bus station an hour early so you can wait for the bus that will come 30 minutes late. Then, 20 minutes past your scheduled departure time when someone asks, “Is this the line to New York?” you interrupt your own growing uncertainty with an enthusiastic “Yes!” and silently pray you haven’t misled the nice stranger astray with you.

Once on the bus, Pantea’s hand will descend from over the top of your seat with snacks, in regular intervals. She doesn’t want to hear about your large breakfast, so you nibble on a Costco-sized bag of mixed nuts to appease her. Lost in your crossword with Kendra (written in a language you can’t read), you start sipping your water with reckless abandon, three+ hours from the next stationary restroom. Forty-five minutes into the trip, you perform the walk of shame, and shuffle your way to the back of the bus. Mary warns you, “it’s like riding a horse on a boat,” and when you return, you don’t disagree. You vow not to touch your water for the rest of the trip.

Just outside New York now, you catch glimpses of the Statue of Liberty between overpasses and semi-truck trailers (or at least what looks like it, it’s cloudy, you don’t really know.) The bus drops you off in a dungeon where you spend 15 minutes trying to find the bathroom on the wrong floor, wondering if it would have been easier to use the bathroom on the horse on the boat.

You get to the street, and it promptly begins to rain. So you squeeze into a taxi and catch a glimpse of a few of the New York landmarks, like Times Square, the New York Times building, and the one tree between Port Authority and 19th. When you get downtown, you ask a stranger in one shop who recommends the restaurant across the street, where they recommend the restaurant across the other street, and by this point you’re wet and walking in circles. But you find a restaurant that makes cheese, and everything they make that isn’t cheese is made with cheese, and who isn’t happy having to choose between eight different types of mac and cheese?

It’s still raining after lunch, so you go across the street to a bar. You wonder why the bar is empty, until you realize that it’s 3:00 on a Wednesday (which makes you wonder if instead the bartender is judging you for being there at 3:00 on a Wednesday.) While there, you get lost trying to find the bathroom that was only twelve feet away. Just another hard-won trip to the toilet today!

When it’s time for the reading, the rain stops, the sun comes out, and all kinds of people start pouring into Fishs Eddy on Broadway for the event. You walk in, and see the book there on display, Pantea’s hand-drawn purple, green and red cover at once at home in lively New York, there among Fishs Eddy’s colorful displays of plates, cups, and cloths. Nancy greets you warmly on both cheeks, and a bright swatch of her red lipstick leaves an unnoticed souvenir on Mary’s cheek! Soon, the little shop is standing room only. The reading elicits lots of laughter, mixing with the little snaps of Mr. Righstein’s attentive camera, and the gentle ambience of tickling ceramics. Nancy’s smiles are warm and come easily, and you are pleased to see that she can’t hold back her laughter at her own stories. You are glad you made the trip. And you don’t drink any water on the way home!



Nancy Davidoff Kelton at Fishs Eddy, Wednesday June 8, 2016