Favorite Places – 📖 The Strand Book Store 📚

strand

Even before I lived in NYC, The Strand was a mandatory stop on every trip. Now I’m lucky enough to live and work close enough to make this place and its 18 miles of books a regular hangout. When work is slow, I like to walk the single avenue that separates us and spend an hour surrounded by the smell of books, flipping through poems and letting the winding aisles draw me further into the paperback fantasyland.

Aside from any book you can imagine, The Strand carries tons of badass little tchotchkes. I love perusing the wall of pins, stickers and socks (I got my famous velociraptor socks there!). When I need a birthday card or thank you note, I’ve stopped going the generic Hallmark route because the selection of adorable indie-made greeting cards makes for a much more unique and thoughtful sentiment. My bullet journal is full of funky stickers. And you’re not a New Yorker unless you have at least one of their iconic tote bags.

Unfortunately, I can’t go in without spending at least $50. There are Moleskines as far as the eye can see! New poetry! I almost always end up picking up a staff recommendation. There’s a center cube of shelves full of staff picks, each with a photo of the employee and a handwritten reason why they love the book. They’re always an irresistible sell.

IMG_9110

It’s a great spot for celebrity sightings. They almost always have brilliant speakers, signings and events. Since April is National Poetry Month, they created the Poet-a-day Project. They build a little booth and have a new poet, every day of April in a “micro-residency” to get inspiration from the stacks and maybe write poems for passersby. This is one of my life goals!

IMG_9114

Fortunately, you can also sell your books back for some lunch money. Since my love of books is huge and my physical space is limited, I have a rule that for every book I buy, I have to sell or give one away. AND since I live and work so close, this cycle is endless.

If you want a random book from my collection sent to you, leave a comment or shoot me a DM.

 

 

Advertisements

Favorite Places: The Neon Boneyard

IMG_8389
Vegas is a crazy place and not my choice of destinations, honestly. To me, it’s a city that tries so hard to be other places (New York, Paris, Egypt, Italy) that it ends up being its own unique thing that lacks any authenticity.

I was wrong.

Several days around tens of thousands of colleagues drove me to seek solace off the beaten path of The Strip. After the conference ended Thursday, I bee-lined to Downtown Las Vegas to hit up a brewery until the sun went down. Then the magic happened.

IMG_0254

IMG_3341

The Neon Museum sits just across the highway from downtown in a drastically more peaceful part of Vegas. They collect and preserve some of the most iconic vintage Las Vegas signs, saving relics from the 50s and 60s “doo wop era” so close to my heart. My hometown of Wildwood, NJ is (or… was) home to the largest concentration of mid-century architecture famous its atomic and space-age themes, including lots and LOTS of neon. My childhood was bathed in a neon glow. The Neon Museum in Vegas actually sells a book about Wildwood in its gift shop. We are somewhat sisters, I suppose.

And while we have a small tribute to the demolished past in our Doo Wop Museum and tiny neon garden, it’s nothing compared to the amazing work the Neon Museum is doing in the desert..

The visitors’ center is the rescued lobby of the former La Concha Motel and now it serves as a gateway to the past.

IMG_3533

IMG_1724

Inside the lobby you’ll find a pretty great gift shop and the meeting area for the tour. My guide was super fun and knowledgeable. She told us stories of Las Vegas history and signage over the course of an hour as we walked a long slow loop through broken glass and buzzing electricity.

There’s a second part of the experience – The Neon Boneyard. If you add the Brilliant Experience to our tour, you can access this place and I highly recommend going after dark. In this yard, most of the signs no longer work, but they’re brought back to life through projection mapping in a 40 minute show set to music that transports you back in time to Elvis’ Las Vegas.

IMG_4993

IMG_3822

Elton John even made an appearance! For me, seeing and hearing these signs come back to life was an especially emotional moment. I can’t believe I didn’t discover this place two years ago when I took my sister to Vegas for her birthday. She would have loved it.

So if you’re in Vegas, please PLEASE seek this place out and support them. I know you’ll appreciate it and you’ll be helping to preserve something so special.

What’s one of your favorite places?