I’ll take any excuse for a trip to New York, and I couldn’t have found a more perfect one than the Pet Writing Conference this past Saturday. Since the conference was held at the Hotel Pennsylvania, a hotel I refuse to stay at since a bad experience several years ago (and if more current online reviews are anything to go by, not much has changed since then), I found myself searching for a place to stay.
I choose the Algonquin hotel – not because of its long history of as a haven for writers, not because it offered a writers’ discount, but because of Matilda, the resident cat. It was one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at in the city (it had a walk-in closet! In New York City!), and it was fun to pretend for two days that this is the style I live in all the time.
Friday afternoon was spent walking around the city, including a quick visit to Manhattan Cat Specialists, a feline practice on the Upper Westside, followed by a lovely coffee break at a cafe across the street from Lincoln Center. As I walked out of the cafe, I almost literally ran into a friend – what are the odds of that, in a city of 10 million people! Only in New York. After chatting for a bit, I walked through Central Park, one of my favorite parts of the city, and back to my hotel. I had some time before meeting friends for dinner, so I decided to spend it in the Algonquin’s lounge. Lovely atmosphere, great people watching, and, of course, Matilda.
My friends had suggested Bricco’s for dinner – a charming Italian restaurant that reminded me of the real Italian restaurants I’d been to in Italy – a far cry from the Maccaroni Grill’s and Bertucci’s of this country. Dinner and the company were both lovely, and the evening flew by.
The next day, I made my way to the conference hotel bright and early for a full day of seminars, meetings with agents and editors, and networking. This was one of the best writers’ conferences I’ve attended. It was well-organized, the speakers were excellent, and by the end of the day, my head was spinning with everything I had learned that day. Charlotte Reed, the organizer of the conference, deserves a huge big thank you for putting this one together.
But the best part about the conference were all the wonderful people I met. I reconnected with old friends such as Tamar of I Have Cat and Ann Dziemianowicz of Careers for Your Cat. I met new ones like Stephanie of Catsparella, and I met online friends I’d never met in person, such as Jason Merrihew of the American Animal Hospital Association and Yvonne DeVita and Tom Collins of BlogPaws.
The day went by much too quickly, and it was time to say good-bye to New York. Until next time.