Tuesday, July 06, 2021

On the road again

by Rick Blechta

Grand Central Station
Having been double-vaccinated, my wife and I are busily planning a trip home to the NYC area for the first time since Christmas of 2019.

I must say it feels a bit strange to be making these plans. Normally we make this trip at least twice a year, oftentimes more. Since it’s been so long — and also because we haven’t gone anywhere since the pandemic began in late January 2020 — it feels like we’re going somewhere we’ve never been before.

The time since our last trip has been tough because my wife’s mom is 91 and in frail health. She has live-in, 24-hour-a-day help and my wife and her sister (who lives in LA) have to take care of all the business things, pay bills, sort out problems, etc., etc., something that’s difficult and frustrating from such distances.

On my side, only my brother still lives in the area but he is recovering from a major illness, and even though I’ve spoken to him a lot since he became ill over a year ago, it was only by phone. However, I also have lots of friends down there too.

So it will be good for both my wife and me to be “on site” if only for a week.

But I have even more reason to be excited. You see, my WIP is set (mostly) in the New York City area and I can expend some shoe leather chasing down locations I need, asking questions, doing general research, in other words, the stuff I really enjoy when working on a novel.

First will come a train ride down the Hudson to Grand Central Station in Manhattan. I’m not all that familiar with that route into The City because unlike my main character, I grew up on the Long Island Sound so I took a different train route into Grand Central — and believe me, I know that route very well indeed, having used it every day for my first two years in university (NYU), not to mention numerous other trips.

Then I want to visit several places in Manhattan that I’m thinking might suit my needs for other locations. Some of these I’ve seen before (as in walking by them), but others I’ve only seen through Google street view, and believe me, that’s not enough informationon which to base a scene in a book.

If I had more time, I would also travel to Washington, DC for a few more days of feet-on-the-ground research. Now is just not the time for that. Better to start small in our first “big” trip in 19 months.

Anyone else planning to travel? And where are you going?

No comments: