Why should you take the time and spend the money to attend the NYC SCBWI Midwinter conference? Because it’s worth it!
Reports from the NYC – SCBWI Midwinter 2009 Conference
The conference changed venues to the Grand Hyatt, which is literally next door to Grand Central terminal. This made transportation simple: a shuttle bus for $12 from La Guardia right to the Grand Central terminal made arrival a snap.
I got there on Wednesday afternoon, because I had set up appointments with a couple editors on Thursday.
Meeting Editors in NYC
One of the best things to do is set up either pre or post conference meetings with editors.
Philomel/Penguin Putnam offices are at 345 Hudson, just a couple blocks off the Hudson River, on the west side of lower Manhattan. For those of you like me, who don’t know NYC, the area is called Tribeca, or TRIangle BElow CAnal street.
I met with my editor and went over a mss for a while, discussed other things she’d like to see and generally got to know each other a bit. This was possible because I have one picture book out with Philomel, but I’ve been assigned to work with a new editor there. This type of meeting is the biggest reason for me to visit NYC.
Visit Ground Zero & Experience the Urban Canyon
Another reason to visit — though, not the main one in deciding to spend the money — was to see NYC. After the meeting at Philomel, I went across the street for fabulous hot chocolate, then walked. And I mean walked. I walked about ten blocks south to Ground Zero, which is now a construction site. Since I didn’t see the World Trade Center in person before, I didn’t miss the skyline. Instead, it was interesting to see the hustle and bustle of construction workers coming and going for lunch.
I ate at the Amish Market, one of the many delis in NYC that make lunch times affordable. I did think it ironic that the deli was named “Amish,” yet it was two blocks from the former world trade center!
After that, I just walked. Over to Wall Street, to St. Patrick’s cathedral, and then north on Broadway, which is also known as the Canyon of Heroes, where ticker tape parades used to take place.
In fact, I walked up Broadway for a couple hours, just looking around. Past the French Culinary Institute where a friend’s son graduated from (it’s right on the edge of Chinatown) and through the SoHo area (the area SOuth of HOuston street). Then, past the Scholastic offices at 555 Broadway, and on up to Union Square, where Park Avenue intersects and the new Harcourt offices are just half a block off the square.
It was interesting to walk through NYC like that. When I came to places where the skyscrapers were replaced by just ten story buildings and I could see sky — I realized that I didn’t like the hemmed in feeling of the urban canyon; I wanted to see the sky. Of course, I don’t exactly like the wide open skies of the Kansas prairie, either, but found that I like something in between.
Surviving Changes in Publishing with Another Editor Visit
Finally, I went to visit a Harcourt editor. Harcourt Children’s Books was bought last year by Houghton Mifflin and their new offices are on the same floor with Houghton Mifflin and Clarion imprints. Big changes. Which meant I needed another time of connecting with a new editor — and it was another great visit.
After all that walking, though, I took the lazy way back to the hotel, a cab.