Here we go again! As you know, I read the super creepy book You, which is set in New York City and written by Caroline Kepnes. That was quite a book! If you missed out on my book review and sneak peek into my tour, you can definitely still check it out here. As always, since You is set in New York City, it took me on a cool tour of the city.
I was feeling a bit nervous, hesitant, and sleepy before this tour. Sleepy after working four 10 hour days at my job and hesitant about heading out into the city for another solo day with myself. You’d think after all the times I’ve done it now, that I’d be past this by now. Especially since I always end up having such a nice time. However, I guess since I know my tour will generally start with brunch on a Saturday afternoon in the city by myself, it feels a bit awkward.
Before this tour, I thought about inviting a friend to join me for at least part of it, but since I’m bad at judging timing, I don’t know what time to give them. I don’t want to miss out on important book tour stops because I have to be at a restaurant at a certain time, ya know? Someday I’ll get my act together but until then, I have to get more comfortable with my awkwardness.
That was real talk by Lauren Elena. Let’s get to it though, didn’t I say You is set in New York City? Let’s go!
The main man Joe lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. Since I’m hip (don’t you know?), I’ll refer to it as Bed-Stuy. I started my tour late because of my hesitation, but the important thing is that I made it out!
I really liked this mural even more so with the random door propped up against it. That’s so Brooklyn!
As you know, the first thing I need to do is grab some grub. While You is set in New York City and more specifically, Bed-Stuy, this restaurant is not a location in the book. I imagine though, that Joe probably had some brunch here while romancing Beck.
They sat me at the bar right in front of a pastry where ALL the single women are placed.
No, no no…that was a lie…I could have sat in the general dining area if I wanted to, but I chose this spot because of the wait time. Food in my mouth faster is always the better decision! In fact, the wait staff couldn’t have been nicer to me. They were so sweet and attentive.
Also, speaking of sweet…
This food was yummy! I got eggs Florentine with a tasty side of avocado as you can see. Let me take a moment to remember those hash browns………They. Were. Delicious.
I miss them! I can’t look at this picture anymore. Let’s get out of here!
And take a look around Bed-Stuy…
Took a walk around the historic district, Stuyvesant Heights…
This looks like Joe’s apartment…I have no proof (and he’s a fictional character), but what do you think? I need to call up Caroline Kepnes. 😉
Am I right? Shabby chic! Or should I say Stalker chic?
Do you feel like something is missing in this tour? Me too! Dogs! Well, I happen to know there’s a park nearby and where there are parks…there are dogs! Fulton Park…here we come!
Where are the dogs?
WHAT THE MOTHERF#$%ingloadofsh&tmotherf&$#er is this HORSESH&T???!!!!! WTF!?!
This is my cue! I booked it outta there! Luckily the train was close by.
GET ME OUT OF BED-STUY!!
Thank God we’ve left The Land of No Dogs. I knew this tour would be terrifying! Bed-Stuy, I kid, I still like you, but seriously, you need to rethink your “No Pets” rule. However, I still think author Caroline Kepnes picked the perfect neighborhood for Joe to live in. I hope this will bring the rent down, so I can afford to move there.
Next up, you’ll be happy to know that You is also set in other parts of New York City. I head to the Lower East Side in search of the fictional bookstore, Mooney Rare and Used, Joe works at.
Lower East Side
Sorry, this vegetarian didn’t go into the famous Katz Deli. It’s not food I’m after right now. Gotta find the books!
I just happened to stumble upon these beautiful murals. A video of this mural walk is on one of my Instagram highlights- @literary_dates.
I look so awkward in this picture! This was the first time I asked randoms to take a picture of me. I approached a couple of girls who were taking pictures of themselves. I waited until they were done and made my request. One girl gave me a weird look, but the other one was nice and happily snapped my pic. She probably thought, “Aww…sweet, this girl is traveling on her own in NYC.” Yup! I’m a solo NYC tourist on my book tours! I should have said, “I’m here because I read the coolest book You, which is set in New York City, so I’m out on my You-inspired tour of the city.” Then they would have thought I was cool! Anyway…
I continued on my journey to find the bookstore, but not without snapping a couple of more photos.
Since Mooney’s bookstore was all about used and rare books, I actually found a bookstore in the Lower East Side that has that exact description.
I went inside. It was not what I was picturing at all. I imagined rows of books that one could easily stalk someone if they so desire, but who knows if this is the place that inspired the fictional Mooney’s? Maybe I should have just gone to the Strand Bookstore, but that isn’t in the Lower East Side where Joe works.
A door? Where does that go to? Hmm…? Something sinister is down there, I know it! Time to leave before I’m trapped! I know I’m so dramatic but if you’ve read You, you’d be nervous too.
I discovered that Mast Books actually used to be in an old location a couple steps away from here.
Here’s its old spot:
Now this place is a stalker’s dream!
Side note: I had to get out of there before the store owner grew too suspicious of the girl snapping photos.
The next stop is over in the West Village to find Beck’s apartment. Beck is the woman that Joe is obsessed with. I was so excited that Caroline Kepnes put in an exact address for Beck’s apartment. I love it when I have a precise location to go to. You is set in New York City but right now we are getting more specific, so 51 Bank Street is where I head next!
The West Village
It’s a bit of a walk to her place, but finally, I make it.
Beck’s apartment and a dog! Double score!
I was trying to figure out where might Joe’s stalking spot be? I think probably across from this vantage point. There’s a bench in this spot. I don’t have a picture because a sweet, older couple was sitting on it. Should I have asked them to get up and take a picture of me on the bench? Nahhh.
Who wants to rent out Beck’s apartment? Go for it!
I captured a couple other pictures on my way to the next destination:
One day maybe I’ll write these tours for people who have read the book, but since I know many of you haven’t, I don’t want to give away too much.
The rest of my tour I feel like Cinderella because it’s getting late, I start googling closing times of the spots I want to go and rearranging things based on that. I should have woken up earlier! Also, Joe stalks someone by an Urban Outfitters on the Upper West Side, so I planned a little shopping trip. I thought, “Perfect! Shopping spree! I need new clothes!” As I’m googling, I learned that location closed down. My planning skills suck. When did that close down? I thought it was there. Oh well, the universe probably saved me from buying overly priced, cheaply made “trendy” clothes. Thank you universe!
The Upper West Side
The next spot in New York City that You is set in is the Upper West Side. I’ve come to the UWS because our beloved Joe does some stalking here and because another character lives in this neighborhood, Peach Salinger. Peach is Beck’s best friend. She’s related to J.D. Salinger, but Beck doesn’t know how she’s related to him.
This bugs Joe:
“I just don’t get it. You’re such good friends and she doesn’t tell you how she’s related to one of the most famous writers in the world?”
“It’s a boundaries thing.”
Peach also has a bladder condition that requires many dietary restrictions. According to Beck, Peach can only drink Evian water, no fast food, and if she drinks alcohol, it can only be high pH like Grey Goose.
Joe is good at pointing out the discrepancies is Peach’s fluctuating diet.
So naturally I head to a spot that Peach probably goes to in secret.
Levain Bakery is a very popular spot on the Upper West Side. The line always stretches outside the door. For good reason! The cookies here are so yummy! I forgot that they don’t have a chocolate chip option. Their signature cookie is chocolate chip walnut. I’m not a fan of walnuts so it’s not my favorite but even with the walnuts, it’s still so good. The cookies come out, hot & gooey, so for full enjoyment, eat them right away. Besides their signature one, I also got the dark chocolate chocolate chip and dark chocolate peanut butter chip.
I didn’t take my own advice. I grabbed my bag and brought it along with me to my next stop. Before starting a stalking adventure, Joe hangs out at the American Museum of Natural History. Because of my last tour, NY Actually Tour, where I enjoyed sitting on the steps of the Met listening to music from that cool sax man, I envisioned that sitting on the steps of this museum might be nice too. As I’m heading there is when it clicks in my brain- “Wait, the museum will be closed by the time I get there…and it’s a little cooler out…no one will be there.”
Well, not exactly no one. This bride and groom was there! Oh yeah…that’s what happens when museums close, people get married in them! In classic Joe style, I stalked them for a bit before they soon went inside. Though, I did not get their names so that I could look up their registry and find out where they’ll be honeymooning. I have boundaries.
I sat down on a bench by the Park across from the museum to nibble on a cookie…
until I realized that nothing good happens to a woman sitting alone at night on a park bench across from a closed museum in NYC nibbling on a dark chocolate chocolate chip cookie.
I’m no fool! I quickly got up but felt a bit disheartened that my tour was ending in such a lackluster way until I stumbled upon my salvation.
I give you…
This is probably another spot that Peach goes to in secret.
I thought of Peach as I was sitting alone on a Saturday night in NYC eating fried food and cheese fries but nevermind that, just look at this-
Food porn I know! If you wonder what a vegetarian would have to eat at Shake Shack…sit down, I will gladly tell you! You’re looking at the ‘Shroom burger, which is a fried portobello mushroom stuffed with Jack Cheese. Thank you, I will cover myself in this burger and survive the zombie apocalypse, I know it! I love it so much! For meat eaters, you could also get one of their regular burgers combined with the ‘shroom burger. To hell with your arteries! You only live once and if you die after eating the burger, you will die happy, guaranteed!
If you’re coming to NYC, you have to experience the original Shake Shack location In Madison Square Park. That’s the spot! I believe you can even go online to see the real-time length of the line. Don’t let the line scare you because it goes relatively fast. If you’re just going for custard or other cold desserts, they have a B line for that purpose (but don’t go just for custard). I usually always get a shake with my order because go big or go home, right? This time I didn’t because of the cookies I had in hand. When did I develop such willpower?
After devouring my meal, I head home. During a transfer at the 42nd train station, I discovered the beautiful sounds of Toshi.
As if he knew I was coming, he was singing Perfect by Ed Sheeran. I loooove Ed Sheeran and Toshi sounded SO good. It’s like the Universe knew that a little romance was missing from my tour so I got my fav Ed Sheeran in the form of beautiful Toshi. Videos from this beautiful moment will be in my Instagram highlights. Make sure you are following me @literary_dates.
I should have stayed all night to listen, but in true New Yorker fashion, I had to pretend like I had more important places to be. Stupid New Yorker! The moment I had with Toshi though was perfect. Pun not intended. Since I enjoyed my time and took pics and video, I did support in the form of $$ just to let you know. I’m also definitely going to look into purchasing his music!
Just FYI, the pillow in the background was made by my talented designer friend Kerri Anne. She’s the one who gave me the great Bed-Stuy brunch suggestion and in my first ever tour post, my Breakfast at Tiffany’s tour, she gave me the recommendation to go to Angel Street Thrift Shop where I got that awesome little black dress! Check out her Instagram @kannestudios to see her great designs!
You may get to meet Kerri Anne during one of my future book tours. 😉
Thank you Caroline Kepnes for writing an awesome book! I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Hidden Bodies. Maybe it’ll inspire another cool tour in the city? Next time, I’ll wake up earlier! To learn more about Caroline Kepnes and her books, you can check out Caroline Kepnes’ website here. To purchase You by Caroline Kepnes, you can try Bookshop.
Or your local bookstore or library.
Thank you all for reading my post! It means so much to me that people actually are following along on my little book adventures. Thank you SO much!
Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for more behind the scenes tidbits and other random NYC good times. @literary_dates.
Might as well find me on Twitter too! @LiteraryDates.
Stay tuned for my next tour! A little dash of NYC Christmas and perhaps some special guests too?!