Friday, June 7, 2013

SCBWI WINTER CONFERENCE CHRONICLES: Vol.i Interjection: Lunch At the Station!

    It kind of amuses me to call this post that, because there is a nice restaurant in Americus called The Station and my small group of humans have been known to go there for lunch and we always say "Lunch at the Station" on those particular days.  But we are not in Americus, Georgia at the moment.  We are back in NYC New York. It is the first Friday in February and it is also the day of the Illustrator's Intensive.  It is break time and I am headed out the door ravenously for lunch.

     As I am very unfamiliar with what is around the Station, I decide to head into Grand Central to see what I can find for food.  I son discover that there is an entire sub-level devoted to a food court.  Though this was much larger than most malls I have ever been in, the setup was familiar.  Food stations lined against the wall and some, an island of themselves, towards the center of the sub-level.

     As a vegetarian, I had to find a place that would offer veggie options plus actually be a satisfying lunch.  I am ironically picky about salad and most often really don't want to eat them, particularly when I'm someplace new in the world and you want to try good food that's different from what you could eat normally at home.  I walk around, well try to as the entire sub-level is completely crowded.  There are people everywhere, hustling and bustling to get their food or get to their next train on time. 
  There are lines out the ying-yang at most every single food station/vendor.  There were some fantastic options I found at several of the food stations, however, the lines were SO Long it could take hours just to get up to a counter to order, much less eat and get back to the conference in time.  I had to settle on this fresh sandwich and wrap area on the other side of the Station as the line was not as long as many of the others.  I ordered an egg salad croissant, a small bag of chips a drink of sorts (as I can't recall what I had to drink) and a lovely smelling cookie that seemed to be calling out to me from the side of the cash register.  No matter if your eating there or else where, you are ALWAYS given it TO GO.
 So, I took my TO GO brown bag of lunch (yes it was literally a plain brown bag) and left the food station and began to look for an available seat.  This is when I began to resent single people who decided to eat and multiple person tables.  It pretty much meant that they so rudely took up any additional places for others to sit at, making it almost impossible to find a place to sit and eat lunch.  I walked around the entire sitting area on the sub level, which included both sides of the vast station... there were NO places t sit and eat... MAXIMUM Seating Capacity. 

     I then noticed a standing table that had one or two spots available for me to go stand there and eat my lunch.   As I was going to be sitting in a chair for most of the day, I decided a little standing was probably a good thing. 
Also, I really wanted the experience of eating at Grand Central Station, not just ordering Take Out there.  I took a few shots of lunch and of my present surroundings there at Grand Central and posted them on FB.  I then put my phone away, stood at the table in my heavy winter coat, unwrapped my egg salad sandwich and began to eat lunch while I listened to the almost deafening din of people talking to their loved one's on cell phones, talking animatedly to each other about their day, good or bad, people yelling over other's heads because they lost each other in the ocean of hungry folks trying to get to their next train. 
I breathed in all the sounds with my ears and thought to myself," I' sure there are people here that complain how crowded and chaotic Grand Central Station is, but people that live somewhere never really treasure where they are, nor understand how magical it can be.  I think that Americus could never be as noisy as this place.  I truly was in a foreign space and I'm going to remember as much about it as I can. THIS is Grand Central Station: the chaos, the good food you wait forever to get then run at light speed and try to catch a train, standing up at a tall table for lunch."

     I'm glad I had the experience of eating  and being at Grand Central Station.  I did go look at the Grand Foyer on the main level, the space you most often see int films.  It is a vast space, but not as large as movies make it out to be, plus all the movies shoot it facing one angle.  You never see the 2 main hallways that lead to all the shops that line the entrance hallways to Grand Central... You never see that in a movie.  NY certainly gives you something to remember it by.  Perhaps, this is the reason everyone wants their own I Hear NY shirt when they leave; not to be cliche or predictably touristy, but because you really do end up falling in love with NY.

until next time...
Keep sketching, keep thinking, keep laughing and most important of all, keep making art. 

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