Writing in New York

I’m writing in New York, my first international stop on my Write Around the World journey. Today is my day to explore on my own and I found my way to Bryant Park and lingered there for a few hours.

The city is noisy around the edges of Bryant Park, but in its tulip, daffodil, and spring tree-lined goodness, it’s quieter where I sit. Somehow the sound of sirens and traffic–the helter-skelter of big city life is muted here.

Tables and chairs are placed around the edge of the lawn on terraces, alongside paths, under trees, on decks. People read, play chess, talk, drink and eat as they bask in this oasis in one of the busiest cities in the world.

There’s a statue of Gloria Stein, the trailblazing American author and arts patron, umbrellas, a carousel, and a reading library.

Bryant Park is reminiscent of Paris, the Jardin de Tuileries, but it’s not as grand. This is New York and skyscrapers dwarf the park instead of palaces and art galleries.

There aren’t any couples entwined in yoga-like poses kissing as if the other were gelato. America is a little more chaste and British in that sense–the public display of passion is too uncomfortable perhaps.


Bryant Park in Spring

New York has its own flavour, its own taste, touch and feel. Soft pretzels and doughnuts rather than snails and wine. There’s nobody smoking that I can see and that’s not Parisian either.

I’m free writing. I’m tapping into my writer self, but the beeping of reversing trucks on a nearby work site is grating on my nerves. The sound is an anathema to my writer’s brain. Ah! It’s stopped. How beautiful it is to bask in the sunshine and read my book.

I’m writing around America for the next seven weeks. From New York to Boston to Denver to LA to Sacramento to Seattle and then into Canada and a few days in Vancouver. It’ll be a feast of experiences as I write and think and this first stop has been amazing so far.

The book I’m reading as I sit in the park is by Mary Oliver and she writes:

You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone the else the responsibility for your life.

These words were my inspiration today as I headed to the New York Public Library on 42nd St and Fifth Avenue. The park was lovely, but the gravity of the Rose Main Reading Room is more conducive to the serious work of novel writing.

It may seem more nerdy or geeky than whimsical, but libraries have always been special places to me. Libraries are where the world opened up for me and took me to places I could only imagine.


Rose Main Reading Room New York Public Library

Travel, reading and writing are three of my passions and they are being indulged as I visit New York. It’s my fourth time in this city, the first time in spring, and it won’t be the last.

I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.

Nora Ephron


Rose Main Reading Room New York Public Library

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  1. Posted April 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Elaine, this is so exciting! I can’t wait to follow you around the world, and hear of your writing journey!

    • Posted April 28, 2017 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Helen. I’m thinking about you and your workshop. I’m sure it will be amazing!Can’t wait to hear all about it and see what comes out of it. 😄

  2. monica watson-peck
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    You had me right there with you Elaine, seeeing those tables and charis around the edge of lawn, and hearing those beeps – oh no! I can’t wait to see that Rose Main Library except I might be looking at that ceiling instead of writing! I look forward to following the rest of your trip until you find your way to Dorset x

    • Posted May 4, 2017 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      Hi, Monica, it was lovely. The ceiling was very church-like and yes, it was stare-worthy! It’s set the standard for libraries for me now. xxx

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