My excellent New York adventure

Or the story of Vogue Knitting Live 2012.

Wow. Just wow. That’s the short version.

The long version is much longer. With lots of pictures. Ok, let’s get started.

We left Wednesday morning with Rob’s van loaded full of all of my yarn, fiber, wearable art, booth fixtures, our clothes, and so on and so forth. Rob drove while I alternated between knitting and sleeping. (I was exhausted from all the preparation for the show I’d been doing, and being in a moving vehicle just rocks me to sleep. I can’t stay away for longer than about 1.5 hours.)

The first part of the trip was uneventful. (See what I did there? That’s called foreshadowing.) Then I woke up as we were crossing from Pennsylvania into New York, and wondered how long had I been asleep? Rob said we had only been in Pennsylvania for about 70 miles.

It turns out that if your GPS asks if you want to avoid toll roads and you say yes, it just might send you so far out of the way that you’ll end up paying more in extra gas than you’re saving on tolls. Not to mention extra hours of driving and wear and tear on your vehicle. Lesson learned. So now when it asks if we want to avoid toll roads, we let it calculate the route both ways and see what the difference is.

Anyway, it was getting to be bed time when we started seeing signs for Corning, which I hadn’t anticipated being anywhere near on this trip, but I’d always wanted to visit the Corning Museum of Glass, so I proposed stopping there for the night, visiting the museum in the morning, and then continuing to NYC.

Just as we were on our way to a local hotel, the van started making a Very Loud Noise. From the vicinity of the engine. Uh oh.

We checked into the hotel and asked for a recommendation for a local mechanic.

In the morning we drove the van with the Very Loud Noise to the mechanic, where they determined a spark plug needed to be replaced. That always sounds like such a simple thing to me, I guess because of the word “plug” — it conjures up an image of  just unplugging one thing and plugging in another. Unfortunately with this particular model of van, they designed the spark plugs to be a major pain in the ass.

Someone from the garage was kind enough to drive us to the glass museum so we could spend time there while they worked on the van, and the museum was awesome. There were fun demonstrations, cool science stuff, and amazing glass art. And I was excited to find a piece by Joyce Scott, whose beadwork is incredible. (I met her at a party once years ago, when I used to work in a bead store. She told me I had a “preet, sweety face,” realized that wasn’t quite right, tried again and the same words came out, and then figured screw it, I knew what she meant.)

After a few hours, we were kind of museumed out, so we walked into town (Corning is really cute!), had lunch, and then took a bus back to the garage, thinking they’d probably be mostly done with the van by then.

No. It was still a couple more hours. We didn’t get out of there until after 5pm.

But the van was happy. We drove to NYC, found the room I had booked through Airbnb, and went to bed. The place was a dump, but the mattress was comfortable.

We got up at early o’clock, drove into Manhattan, arrived at the loading dock at the Hilton 10 minutes early for our appointment, and waited an hour. I had them take one cartload of the heaviest stuff to my booth, and we took the rest in through the front door (they charge $150 per cartload, so you do the math. They stored all my empty bins for the weekend and brought them to me at the end of the show though since I had used them at all).

Once everything was inside we parked the van in a nearby structure that could actually accommodate large vehicles, and went back to set up the booth. It was a new arrangement, so it took longer. We finished just shortly before the marketplace preview started at 5pm.

People came in droves. It was fantastic.

Saturday we took the subway in. I’d forgotten how much I love subways. Subways rock.

Saturday was so busy! It was exhausting and intoxicating at the same time. It was a lot of work, but people were telling me how gorgeous my stuff was and giving me money for it all day long. How could I not love that? One woman said my dyed yarn rivals Wollmeise’s. Another woman said it was so gorgeous she was drooling.

Sunday was just as busy. Most of the shows I do are quite a bit slower on Sunday, but sales were still steady all day long.

Overall it was a great show. Really nice people, I sold a lot of stuff, I got to hang out with my friends Esther, Kimberly, Adele, Ashley, Pam, and Franklin, and I picked up a new wholesale customer. Soon you’ll be able to buy my handspun yarns at Knit Stop in Indianapolis.

After the show was over and everything was all packed up, we took Monday to play!

We took the subway into town, walked around a bit, and went to the MoMA. We only saw a small fraction of it since it’s huge — I think it would take a week to see the entire thing. But look! They had wool there!

I took a photo of the accompanying text too, but it came out really blurry. But it’s a large felted piece called “Cries and Whispers” by Hill Jephson Robb. You can read more about it here.

After the MoMA we had lunch and took the subway to a vegan bakery and got there just as they were closing. We managed to buy some carrot cupcakes and cookies, expecting to be wowed, and frankly, we weren’t. Ann Arbor spoils us. Which is good, I guess.

In one of the subway stations somewhere (no idea where), there was this mosaic on one of the walls.

This is just a small part of it. It’s huge and awesome.

Tuesday we went to B&H Photo so Rob could get some video equipment, and then started the long trip home. We spent the night somewhere in eastern Pennsylvania, then headed out in the morning for Pittsburgh to go to the Andy Warhol Museum. About an hour before Pittsburgh the check engine light came on.

We called about ten repair places before we found one that could actually look at it that day. We drove directly there, encountering the hilliest streets I have ever seen. I think all the other mechanics were busy fixing people’s brakes. The streets were practically vertical.

The mechanic who wasn’t fixing someone’s brakes plugged a little computer into a port under the steering wheel and determined that two of the spark plugs were misfiring, including the one we had just had replaced. You know that can’t be good. He said it was safe to drive back to Ann Arbor though, so we proceeded to the museum.

Andy Warhol did way more than I had realized. This was my favorite painting.

The cat resembled my Uncle Pierre. I love it. Sorry about the glare — it was over my head, so I was holding my iphone at a weird angle.

We left the museum just before closing and drove home. Yep, the check engine light came on again. The van is now in the shop for a Very Expensive Repair.

And Rob and I are both coming down with colds.

So. Overall thoughts.

I have never seen so many cabs in my life.

Subways are awesome.

New York was cleaner than I thought it would be.

New York was mostly outrageously expensive, which I had expected. The restaurants we ate at weren’t that much more expensive than in Ann Arbor though. I’m sure you could find very expensive restaurants. But the food we eat (vegan Chinese and Indian mostly) just isn’t that expensive, and we LOVE it. We ate a lot of really good food.

I’m looking forward to going again next year.

I’m glad the van got us there and back.

I’m glad our immune systems held out till now.

I’m going back to bed.


1 ping

  1. Robert

    One of my favorite moments in New York was outside of the B & H store, where a man took a photo of Riin and I. It was with a Polaroid camera, a relic from an age gone by; and what a camera it was too – almost 90 years old. If you’re wondering, by very expensive repair; Riin means that the van needs a new engine to be safe to travel in. Yikes!

  2. meg

    As a former New Yorker I am always happy when people have a good time in the city. Yes, there are some super expensive places, but with all the competition, most food is cheaper in NY than in other cities in relation to rent!

    I hope you sold tons! And I am sorry about the van. That is a real downer.

  3. Marcy

    I lived in Pittsburgh for 5 years and I never saw the Andy Warhol museum. I drove past it several times. But I did go to the Carnegie Museum of National History and saw the T Rex skeleton, which was fab.

    Yes, Pittsburgh is hilly. Very much so. In the wintertime, it is pure evil. But I do miss it. Lots of cool places to eat, especially in Oakland.

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