It’s been too long, I know! I’ve missed my literary dates but am glad to be back with one that was inspired by the beautiful book Everywhere, Always by Jennifer Ann Shore. Like most of my literary dates, Everywhere, Always is set in New York City and it inspired a fabulous tour of the city, if I do say so myself. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about this tour just as much as I enjoyed going on it. Thank you Jennifer for sending me your book and for listing out all of the literary date tour stops for me.
To learn more about the book, check out my Everywhere, Always book review but to give you a brief synopsis, Avery’s world is turned upside down when her mom tragically dies in a car accident and Avery is left to start a new life in New York City with a brand new family. Avery meets her father for the first time along with her stepmom and brother. Her new family and friends instantly take her in as she pieces her life back together and goes through the grieving process. And there’s romance!
If this is your first time here, I read books set in New York City and then take you along on a tour of the city taking inspiration from the book. Most of these spots will be where the characters have been but the book also inspires me to go my own way.
*I feel like I do a good job at keeping spoilers out but sometimes the places the characters go to could unintentionally be a spoiler, but I don’t think that happened in this book. And in general, I’m very careful about that. Or I’ll sometimes intentionally leave out which characters go to certain spots.
Let’s get started!
Coney Island, known for hot-dog eating contests, The Mermaid Parade, and a terrifying roller coaster known as the Cyclone. Avery and her friends take the Q train over to Coney Island and Avery admires the amazing views of the city while riding over the Manhattan Bridge. I agree, the views on that ride are pretty spectacular. While on the way back into the city, Avery also would have noticed one of the coolest and almost hidden art installations in the city called Masstransiscope. “As the train moves by at about 30mph, your eyes only see the art through the slits, making it appear as if it was animated.”
It’s like one of those old-school flipbooks of moving images except even better because you’re on the subway, don’t blink or else you might miss it. Learn more about this cool artwork and artist, Bill Brand at viewing.nyc.
In Coney Island, Avery is most excited to see the ocean since she’s never been before, however, Benjamin is quick to rain on her parade a bit. First, he tells her that technically “it’s the Coney Island Channel.” Then, he tells Avery to watch her step with all the broken glass on the beach. What a killjoy!
Luckily for Avery, her romantic interest, Ethan, joins her on the beach. Ooh, la la! Avery wants to dip her toes in the water and I’m with Avery, I ignore her brother’s warnings about the glass and bravely make my way down the beach to feel the water all the while imagining a cute guy walking beside me. I look around on the beach for any possibilities but no, on my own. It’s okay, I can do it.
Coney Island Beach
“I to the world am like a drop of water that in the ocean seeks another drop,” Ethan, quoting Shakespeare as he is known to do throughout the book.
Okay, Benjamin, I did not have to dodge any glass. You made me all nervous!
Onward! Well-known to Coney Island is, of course, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, which the boys went to but this vegetarian did not. I did, however, enjoy some ice cream from William’s Candy Shop, which was close by. Funnily enough, I forgot the characters went there too. I just stumbled upon it near Nathan’s and later realized it is an actual location in the book. Silly me!
Candy apples entice you through the windows but you all know your girl is an ice cream fiend. I thoroughly enjoyed my scoops of cookies & cream and moose tracks. Double yum!
Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park
This is the part where I diverted from Everywhere, Always and decided to ride Deno’s Wonder Wheel while Avery and her friends rode the Cyclone.
Listen, I love a good roller coaster as much as the next person, but I’ve been on that ride and afterward, I said to myself, “Never again.”
My experience on it was much like Avery’s, “…although it regularly gets work done, it feels like I’m zooming around to my death. I don’t know if it’s the fact that it’s a wooden roller coaster or Benjamin’s casual mention of the fatalities, but I don’t relax during the entire ride.” I hear you, Avery. Same! She is not exaggerating.
The Wonder Wheel it is!
I actually love heights and rides, but I’ve never been on one by myself so I won’t lie, I was nervous while waiting online for this one. I also laughed to myself because I got on and off holding my Everywhere, Always book. People must have been confused watching me bring my book. Yup, the Wonder Wheel is a great reading spot. 😉
If you ride this ferris wheel, you’ll get to choose between riding in a stationary car or a swinging one. Which do you think I chose?
Follow me on Instagram @literary_dates and you’ll find out in my reels and in my Everywhere, Always highlight from my literary date. It includes more pics and videos too.
For those who would like to see the dreaded ride…here ya go…
So did you know that the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel are at separate parks? Well, I am a bad New Yorker because due to their proximity, I did not realize that.
At both parks, you can do a pay per ride or also at Luna Park you can get a 4-hour unlimited ride pass.
For more info on Luna Park go to lunaparknyc.com.
For more info on Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park head to denoswonderwheel.com.
Both parks would be a blast to hang out in and there’s no reason you can’t do both. I think I’ll plan my next actual date here. Whenever that may be.
I had so much fun in Coney Island. If you plan a trip to NYC, definitely check out what’s going on here. There are always special events, baseball games, fireworks, and more fun happening at this spot. I’ve been to the Mermaid Parade twice and that’s always a good time.
Next stop…more yummy treats!
Avery and the gang frequent Magnolia Bakery located in Bloomingdales on the Upper East Side. Of course, the original spot is in the West Village and made famous by Sex and the City. I’ve been to that location but this was my first time at the Bloomies spot. Omg, I don’t remember loving these cupcakes so much. I bought a box of mini cupcakes twice. In Everywhere, Always they get cupcakes, magic cookie bars, brownies, and banana pudding. I tried everything except the brownies (need an excuse to go back). This spot did not disappoint. So delicious! I’m not even much of a cupcake eater but I loved these and the banana pudding was so yummy too! I’m salivating thinking about it all.
After collecting my treats, I walked over to Central Park.
Don’t make my mistake and enter the park at 65th Street. Oh my god and I feel like I’ve made this mistake before. This is why I will not be able to be a literary dates tour guide. The entrance at 65th street is just how cars can drive across town. If you walk through to the other side as I did, it’s not a fun walk. You pray for your life as cars zoom by and dodge a lot of grit and grime you don’t want to deal with. Trust me, walk one more block up and enter at 66th street. I planned to explore the park on the east side like the characters but alas it wasn’t meant to be, my mistake forced me to walk all the way to the west side and so I hung out around that area. But I made it out alive, so that’s all that matters, right?
I took this picture during my New York, Actually Tour circa 2018 but I believe this is the spot that Avery and a friend went to.
Avery describes it perfectly, “We’re standing on top of a hill that’s not tall– especially given that I grew up driving around the mountains of Western Pennsylvania–but it’s at a perfect point in the middle of Central Park that the views are incredible. I turn in place, marveling at how the trees abruptly end and the massive buildings shoot up into the sky. It’s a stark contrast, and I’m awed by the beauty.”
I couldn’t have described it better, thank you Avery and, of course, author Jennifer Ann Shore for lovingly describing this beautiful city I get to live in.
Here’s more from my day at the park…
Yes, that is a Beatles cover band performing at John Lennon’s Imagine memorial. You’ll see this and more videos in my Instagram highlight titled Everywhere.
One of my favorite aspects of this literary date is that it had me venturing outside of Manhattan, not once but twice! I love showing you all that there is more to New York City than just Manhattan. My next spot is an area that I’ve never really explored much before and it turned out to be my favorite part of this literary date.
Next, we head to…
I took a very daring tram ride over the east river to Roosevelt Island, which is an island sandwiched between Manhattan and Queens. No seriously, I had some trepidation as I anticipated propelling myself through the sky in this thing…
I don’t know why I get nervous since I do enjoy heights but I can’t explain it. I started to google “Roosevelt Island tram accidents” right before going on but I shut that search down fast and took a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other, up the stairs, and to the tram.
It ended up being such a smooth ride! My fears instantly melted away as I rode it.
And wouldn’t you know it, but who would be on the ride with me to further ease my fears?
A cute, fluffy dog, of course, because every literary date MUST feature a dog or five hundred. I think the literary date gods knew I was missing some dogs and it planted one right in front of me in a cable car above the city, of all places. Magic! This pooch has no idea they are soaring through the air 250 feet above Manhattan.
Here are a couple of aerial shots that dog couldn’t give two licks about…
The tram is just the cost of a single ride metro card so very easy to ride. I rode it there and back and neither time was a long wait. Lots of people ride it but I didn’t feel cramped in there. Another option is you could take a ferry over to Roosevelt Island which I’m sure would be a lovely boat ride for the same cost as a subway ride or the F train also gets you there. If you prefer to drive, take a ride over the Roosevelt Island Bridge into the island. However, I believe there are parts of the island where cars are not allowed, so definitely do your research before driving. I’m not your girl for that since I don’t drive.
In the book, Avery just rides the tram there and immediately rides it back into the city. With my literary dates, I go where the characters go, but I also use the book to inspire my own path. Before heading out, I googled Roosevelt Island and knew exactly where I’d want to go.
*Fun fact, author Jennifer Ann Shore actually used to live on this island and while I was visiting it, I felt very envious she got to enjoy the relaxing vibes on a daily basis.
And just look at these views…
And this one…
Jennifer Ann Shore just captured into words how I feel every time I gaze at the city’s skyline. These feelings especially hit me when I’m in a taxi cab driving back into the city after being away. The beauty of it always takes me by surprise and captivates me.
I loved the peaceful feeling I felt while walking around Roosevelt Island, hordes of people don’t flock here at once, and there is a multitude of benches to relax on with the beautiful city’s skyline in view. A perfect reading spot! And there’s so much green space around. Picnicking options galore.
The next spot I’m heading to is one that I thought would be a great spot to go to during the Halloween season and for another fun reason, which I will save at the end as a cute, little surprise.
The Smallpox Memorial Hospital
Because Roosevelt Island once had two hospitals and a prison, it was known as Welfare Island and in 1856, The Smallpox Hospital opened. The same man who designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral, James Renwick Jr., also designed this hospital. In the 1950s, this hospital closed down but remains here as a designated New York City Landmark.
While there are no patients or healthcare workers here, it has become home to a feral cat community. Now you see the real reason I came? Yup, I needed to find those cats! They are taken care of by the Wildlife Freedom Foundation.
I did not see any cats up front but I did not come all this way not to find any furry kitties so I went searching. I walked around to the less populated area behind the hospital and…
Look at that beauty! This kitty looked so happy walking around and then relaxing on this rock. I thought all I would see is just one little kitty and I was happy if that was the case, but I kept looking and found…
My day was made! I could have gone to the cat sanctuary but I preferred searching them out on my own. Glad they look happy and well taken care of.
It’s a beautiful area, right? With the lush greenery, it looks like a purrfect spot for kitties. Keep in mind the hospital is fenced in. I took pictures through the spaces of the fence.
The next spot we head to is one that I just happily stumbled upon because it was right next to the hospital.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself…which paralyzes.” FDR.
This memorial is on the south end of Roosevelt Island and right before getting into Four Freedoms Park.
It’s free to go to this park but they do accept donations upfront. This artwork is on view until November 1st of this year. “Between Four Freedoms” is by artist Shaun Leonardo. The artwork encapsulates an address Roosevelt made in 1941 about the four freedoms that every individual should have a right to. To learn more about the artwork, go to seegreatart.com.
Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens and to learn a little bit about his work, I’ll share an excerpt from his bio:
“Shaun Leonardo’s multidisciplinary work negotiates societal expectations of manhood, namely definitions surrounding black and brown masculinities, along with its notions of achievement, collective identity, and experience of failure.”
Learn more about this artist at elcleonardo.com.
I’ll be on the lookout now to see more of his work.
Until then, more from the park…
FDR Four Freedoms Park is open 6 days per week from 9 to 5 pm, closed on Tuesdays.
Another beautiful spot. There’s plenty of green space here too so it’s a nice area to relax, enjoy the views, and think about treating all people with the respect and rights they deserve.
It is also a good spot for selfies. I did pass lots of selfie-takers and might have taken one myself but the pros brought selfie-sticks, which I did not so henceforth, I will not be sharing mine. Maybe I’ll share it on the ‘gram after I smooth out my fine lines and blemishes. 😉
Sadly, no dogs are allowed here. I wonder who I need to speak to about this?
Good things must come to an end…
Well, that is all from my Everywhere, Always literary date. I had a great time reading Everywhere, Always by Jennifer Ann Shore and a fabulous time during this tour of the city inspired by this awesome book. I hope you enjoyed coming along with me. This literary date reaffirmed my love of the city and going on my literary dates. Thank you Jennifer Ann Shore for writing a beautiful story that could inspire a magical day in the city. And let’s get real. Thank you for inspiring me to leave my apartment. No small feat.
I just love her books. This was the first of hers that I read but since reading this book, I’ve also read This is Your Life, which is also set in NYC and was SO much fun to read and I just finished Perfect Little Flaws and fell absolutely in love with those characters. Jennifer continues to impress me with her books.
Jennifer seems to be putting out a book every month, no joke! To keep up with her and learn about her many other books that have been released and will be released, find her site at JenniferAnnShore.com.
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