So Long New York - AN ARTSY JOURNEY #26
The next morning we stepped out of the hotel and into the bustle of NYC. We wanted to be at the Javits by seven for our first day of working the trade show booth at Galleria alongside Art Expo.
“There’s time for a cup of coffee,” I said to Val.
We scurried to the corner to cross the street with the traffic light. While waiting for the signal to change, hundreds of people whisked around us, hustling in and out of the nearby subway stairwell. When the light flashed green, the crowd carried us across and planted us on the other side.
Inside the deli a man scurried behind the counter. “Black coffee, please,” I said.
“Don’t ya want caw-fee regular?” he asked as his New York accent slurred the word coffee.
“No, thank you,” I said, knowing most New Yorkers drank their coffee with cream, otherwise known as regular. From the hotel courtesy coffee, I also knew they drank it strong and I preferred my coffee a bit weaker. “Could you add a little water to it?” I asked.
“Lady,” he gave me a squinty eye. “I make caw-fee with water.”
I was bumped from behind by the next person waiting in the shoulder-to-shoulder line. I nodded and took my coffee the way it came out of the urn.
We hustled to the Javits Center. At the booth, behind the front display tables, decked out in our dressed-to-the-nines business suits, panty hose, and heels – no artsy scarf for me – Val and I crawled around the concrete cement Javits floor and assembled the display bin. Luckily it was still early so most of the venders hadn’t arrived.
Shortly the trade show opened and a stream of patrons strolled by the booth. We talked non-stop through the entire day and into the night. Exhausted we caught the last shuttle to the hotel. We entered the room ready to crash. Upon swinging the door open, we found the room in the same disheveled mess we had left it trying to fly out the door before dawn.
“What happened to the maid service?” Val screeched.
“I don’t know, but I’m too tired to care,” I said, falling onto the bed still fully dressed.
“Well, I’m calling down for clean towels,” Val said, picking up the phone.
The towels arrived promptly. White, fresh, fluffy towels were all we really needed since it was late and we would be waking before dawn once again.
Early the next morning we hustled onto the street. “Coffee?” I asked Val.
“Sure,” she nodded.
We wormed our way through the maze of people to the corner deli.
Before I could order, the dark-haired man from yesterday said, “Black with water?”
My jaw dropped. In the heart of the city with eight million people he remembered me. Later I realized New Yorkers know their neighborhoods. Being an outsider, I couldn’t physically see the boundaries, but New Yorkers knew them.
The show was another dawn to dusk day. This time, when returning to the hotel room, it was spotless when we arrived.
The next morning at check-out, I studied the bill. I couldn’t believe it. The hotel had given us a complimentary night for the cleaning misunderstanding! That was hundreds of dollars of savings. I felt like I could tap-dance to the Javits.
But I didn’t dance for long. This was the last day to exhibit and as the show concluded, my dream to be waltzed away by a poster publisher never happened. Thousands of posters would not be printed of my artwork. I would not be rolling in the royalties.Yet, I gathered a pocketful of leads and sold a sizable amount of the limited editions with numerous galleries buying the entire three-piece set.
I also had interior designers requesting original samples. The results of the show would ripple in for months.
As for the nightmare, broom-shaped, easel box, we shipped it back with the rest of the containers. We gladly cabbed it to the airport with only carry-on luggage.