I had a moment when I saw this message written on a building I passed during my Annie Van tour. I feel like I’ve been more of a dreamer since blogging and starting my book tours. It’s exciting because I haven’t felt this way since my teenage years when I had lofty dreams about being the next Natalie Portman. Towards my young adult years, I lost that aspiration, but I know that I felt something lacking. I still had creative juices in me but I didn’t know how to utilize them anymore. I focused more on my altruistic side for my career, which has been very rewarding, but I know I’ve wanted to do more to access my creativity. Now I am.
I visited the East and West Village and The Bowery.
If you didn’t read my review of Katherine Howe’s The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen, you can read it here.
This book gave me great inspiration for a book tour of the city. Young love, youthful aspirations, mystery, and a ghost?
The first thing I had to do of course was eat because a girl has to eat! The character Wes goes to NYU for the summer and his dorm is on Waverly Place. He brought Annie to a diner “down the street” that he likes. I found a diner down the street from Waverly Place.
I walked in the wrong direction for longer than I’d care to admit. However, happy accidents happen when one gets lost.
I got to get in some quality squirrel stalking time.
I got to hear this guy play Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano…
I was starving so I said, “adíos” to this Piano Man.
Wes didn’t steer me or Annie wrong because this food was pretty decent.
After satisfying my tummy, I head to the nearby Washington Square Park where Wes and Annie spent some time.
I walk down Wes’ street to get there.
Here’s a shot of NYU
The money shot!
The Hare Krishna Festival of India was taking place at the time of my visit. It was a cool atmosphere to be a part of.
This funhouse mirror represents our changing body. Our body changes throughout our lifetime, “but we also can see that the conscious self within the changing body remains the same.” I think the point is that our real self is within so that’s where our focus should be and what we should work on. Do you agree?
I enjoyed the vibe of Washington Square Park. I took some time to relax by the fountain that had kids and some adults splashing around in. I definitely recommend a visit here when you come to NYC.
Katherine Howe herself told me (on Twitter) that I had to start off my tour at The Merchant’s House. She was so nice to tell me that this is where she got the inspiration for Annie’s home.
I arrived on time to join a tour that had just begun. I learned this house has been around since 1832 and occupied by the wealthy Tredwell family. The tour guide talked about how the Tredwells had 8 kids including 6 daughters and four of them didn’t get married. He said he’s unsure of why that was and maybe there was some sort of dysfunction? Well, I can tell you that, without a doubt, dating in NYC is tough! I guess back in the 1830s or 40s was tough too. And maybe they were independent women who didn’t need a man to survive? Hmm?
I included this picture of the Tredwell family because Wes refers to Annie’s hair as “hipster hair curled over her ears.” Do the Tredwell women look like Williamsburg hipsters?
I think this might be similar to Annie’s and her sister’s room since the Tredwell children’s rooms weren’t on display and a tub is in this room just like Annie’s. Can you see the small tub in between the bride mannequin and the small bed?
What a lovely backyard!
So apparently people have some ghost stories from this house. The Tredwells lived here for 100 years and some believe they haven’t left. They even do ghost tours here. I might have to come back before Halloween!
Did I run into any ghosts, you ask? You be the judge…
Oh my god! Scary! I think it’s the ghost of Annie Van and she’s excited to see an iPhone for the first time.
On a more serious note, I have to mention that plans exist to build an eight-story hotel next to The Merchant’s House. The tour guide explained that this could severely damage or even destroy the house. Back in the 1830s there were many townhouses next to each other and they kind of held each other up. As the last standing home from back then, it is not so stable. I saw the evidence of this in the cracks in the walls. They have contraptions in the walls to reinforce them. Since I enjoyed visiting this historical landmark, I signed their petition against the construction of the hotel. You can learn more here and sign the petition yourself if you’d like.
After leaving, I head over to walk along the streets that Wes and Annie walked.
I found gelato! You better believe I got some!
I got the pistachio flavor. It was so delicious! I want more!
I imagine Annie walking these streets being confused by all the sights, tall buildings, and frenetic energy of the city.
Next on the agenda is a trip to a psychic. If you remember from my review, Wes and his friend Tyler film a séance at the beginning of the book. Since the woman who leads the séance in the book is often referred to as a palm reader, I figured getting a reading from a psychic is the next best thing to a séance. Besides, of course, I want to know about my love life!
My dating life has been going through a dry spell lately, okay, it’s a drought. Maybe the psychic can give me hope or help me accept my independent, single life? Maybe she’ll help me name my future dog?
The first psychic I called charges $180-$300 for a 1-2hr session! She said she was the #1 astrologer, not some bullsh$t place you can walk up to on the street. I promptly hung up the phone so I could find a bullsh$t psychic on the street.
I was buzzed in by Natasha who gave me her prices. A $25.00 palm reading sounded good to me! I sat down on her couch, eyes closed, palms up, her little daughter playing on the floor…and thought of two questions I needed answers to- love and career. I know, so predictable.
Natasha told me that I had two guys in my life. One is not the guy for me and one is my soulmate. I sort of lied before because I recently went on one date with a guy who I wasn’t too sure about. He’s currently finding himself whilst in Spain hiking the El Camino. There was also a guy I was potentially going to go out with but he was also out of town. Natasha was adamant that I’ve already met my soulmate so going out with that stranger would be pointless. She asked if there was someone from my past that I still think about? I admitted there was but that I probably shouldn’t go out with him again. I asked, “What should I do?” She tells me, “Nothing…he will come to you.” Well, that’s easy! I don’t have to waste my time with online dating or do anything at all! Takes the pressure off.
Next up she tells me, “You are an honest person, a good-hearted person, you help people, but when you need help, you don’t reach out, you stand on your own two feet. You’re all these things but you’re not fulfilled in what you’re doing. You’re not happy. You’re searching for something.”
Wow. Hard to hear, but I think there is some truth to it.
However, since I’ve started my blog, I think I’ve been feeling more fulfilled. Maybe she’s seeing how I felt pre-blog days? Although those thoughts are still present since I’m still growing here and not totally sure where blogging will lead me. It’s been a fun adventure so far though!
The psychic also told me that soon I will have financial success, a bigger position. All I need to do is wait for it all to come to me. I already did get a new job but I don’t know if that’s what she’s referring to or something else? We shall see!
Of course, I take it all with a hefty grain of salt.
I texted my brother-
Next I head to the water because according to Annie, back in her days, no parks existed so they hung out by the water for leisure. A major focal point of the story is The Grand Aquatic Display, so I had to picture that scene by the water too.
On the way, I passed by a community garden that I relaxed in for a bit. I couldn’t resist its charming appeal.
As I was leaving, I spotted something magnificent.
With his mom’s permission, I was able to snap a closer pic. He was a bit camera shy, but he’s a beauty!
Now to the water!
I had some ulterior motives in coming here. I had been looking forward to spying some good looking runners, but now that the psychic told me I’ve met my soulmate, that purpose seems pretty fruitless now! I guess I can still enjoy the eye candy just a little bit? Maybe not my soulmate but no harm in looking, right?
Lots of couples passed in front of me, but this couple was my favorite. They seemed at ease and in tune with each other. Relationship goals!
The psychic was wrong! Now I’ve met my soulmate! Look at the way he’s looking at me! That face!
Don’t run away!
We’ll always have our moment. Time to go.
I head to another spot from the book. I believe the New York City Marble Cemetery was the inspiration for Annie’s final resting place. It was closed but I could snap some pictures through the gate.
Cemeteries make me hungry so I head out to search for a favorite spot among the characters of the book- a pizza place!
As satisfying as this is, I think an evening in the East Village isn’t complete until you go to a dive bar. It ties in nicely with the book since the characters often hung out in dive bars too.
I discovered this outdoor area on a trip the restroom so I wanted another beer to enjoy the atmosphere outside. Trouble is I didn’t open a tab and realized that I didn’t have enough cash. I only wanted one more, which didn’t meet the minimum for using a credit card. What does the bartender do? He gave me the second one for free! What a cool guy!
What is it that people say about New Yorkers? How awesome we are?
Thank you so much for coming along with me on my tour. Come back for my next one! I will reveal what I’m reading and where I’m going in my next post.
Special thanks to Katherine Howe for the awesome inspiration with her book and for supporting my tour along the way. I loved Annie Van!