RAD times in NYC!
Miriam and I have been wanting to get to the East Coast for some book events for a while, and finally managed to coordinate travel with our own families (Miriam’s sister-in-law’s wedding, a visit to my sister’s farm outside of Ithaca) that allowed us to be in NYC at the same time. While in Central New York I did a great reading in Ithaca, at Buffalo St Books, and I also made my feminist pilgrimage to Seneca Falls, to visit the Women’s Rights National Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. I was delighted to see our book on prominent display at the latter, and got to meet many of the rad women behind the Hall of Fame. I signed their books, including one for a family who was visiting from New Hampshire. I then visited the Wesleyan Chapel, where the very first Convention on Women’s Rights was held. It’s where the Declaration of Sentiments was drafted and signed by people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Frederick Douglass.
After a week on the farm my 6-yr old daughter and I headed down to NYC. We took hot showers (finally!) met up with Miriam and fam in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for a storytime at Greenlight Books. There were kiddos of all ages—at 4 months, my friend Gabriel’s niece Estelle was the youngest!—and they were a delightful audience. After reading about Flo Jo, Queen Bessie, and Temple, we handed out coloring pages of some of the book’s images, and they went nuts. Thanks to Greenlight for having us!
Then we went way uptown to Bank Street Books, a lovely store on the Upper West Side that caters to kids and teachers. I signed a huge stack of books, and they wrote a nice little blog post about the visit.
From there we made a necessary Ben & Jerry’s stop to satisfy my 6-yr old (did I mention she was with me this whole time?! What a trooper!) before heading downtown to The Strand, possibly New York’s coolest and definitely busiest bookstore. We found our way to the (rad) children’s section and signed basically one million books. Thanks to Maya and Mary and the rest of the Strand crew for hanging out with us while we signed.
And then! Bluestockings, the legendary feminist bookstore, cafe + activist center in the Lower East Side. We were happy to learn that their lease was just extended for 5 years—but of course their rent’s gone up, so please support them by buying awesome books! We had a special surprise guest reader at this event: Akemi and Leilani Kochiyama, the granddaughter and great-greatdaughter of Yuri Kochiyama joined us! I put Akemi on the spot by asking if she’d like to read about her gradnmother, and she said yes. It was so cool to watch her read the words that I’d written, and it was such an immense relief to hear that we’d done her grandmother’s amazing story justice. We gave her one of Miriam’s limited-edition Yuri prints. Another rad woman in the audience that evening was Sandra Elkin, the mother of the incredible artist/educator/activist (and my good pal) Todd Elkin. Sandra had a PBS show called in the 80s and has interviewed Bella Abzug. She’s a treasure trove of histories (ok, HERstories) and I look forward to chatting with her more.
The following day we headed to Jersey City, which is surprisingly cool (no offense, Jersey—it’s just that I’m impressed!). WORD is a great bookstore and we had a nice audience of kids, parents, and cool grown-ups.
I also signed books at Spoonbill + Sugartown in Williamsburg (a neighborhood that looks, um, different than it did when I lived there 12 years ago). So: if you’re in search of a signed copy in NYC, go to any of the aforementioned spots and see if you can snag one!
The trip concluded with a visit to the Ms. Foundation—but that’s a whole separate blog post!