Weekly Wrap: Penn Station

by Susan Henderson on January 25, 2008

I am deep into my second round of book edits, and I’ve been very busy helping to get things ready for THE LIAR’S DIARY Blog Day (which is Tuesday, January 29th), so I’m just going to give you a quick tour for the weekly wrap.

All of the public transportation I take funnels me through Penn Station.


I go through these doors all the time. Cars and cabs used to be able to pull up to the doors, but no more. Now there are enormous cement barriers to keep vehicles a good distance away.


Penn Station and Madison Square Garden are all in the same building, so if you time things just right, you can take a ride with a lot of drunken sports fans. This is not as bad as it sounds.


The thing you have to know about NY is that people are actually really friendly, but there are a lot of people and most are in a hurry, so if you walk slowly or stop to ask someone a question, you are going to make about 500 people late. You do not want to do that.


There are soldiers with automatic weapons everywhere in Penn Station. These guys are really nice and really bored so I always try to wave to them on my way to my favorite haunts.


My favorite stop inside Penn Station is Penn Books. Whenever I go there and browse the Literary Fiction and Staff Recommended shelves, I wonder if there’s enough time in my life to get through all the books I want to read.


I am not a health food nut, but I am totally addicted to the beet, celery and apple smoothie from this place. It stains your mouth a wicked red, so it’s something I’ll only get for the ride home.


I love the live music at Penn but rarely stop. Do you remember the story of Joshua Bell playing at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station? No one stopped for him either. (I’m told I quote this article too often, but it left such a big impression on me for a number of reasons. Read it if you get a chance.)

Okay, I should get back to my edits….



Green-Hand, me, Bach-Boy in Paris this summer.

Oh! Before I call it a week, I just want to mention a strange something that happened to my son, Bach-Boy, who many of you know is not just a phenomenal little piano player but also scary-smart in math. [OOPS, HAD TO EDIT OUT SOME IDENTIFYING INFORMATION, SORRY] and now he attends a college math course two hours a week. Anyway, he was sitting in class at his normal public school when a letter was delivered to him from a very prestigious college. The letter noted an article in a newspaper that had mentioned him and said, ‘While it’s (WAY WAY!) early to think about college, we want you to consider our school and want you to know you can call anytime, etc. etc.’ When my son handed me the letter, which was of course all crinkled at the bottom of his backpack, we both just busted up laughing. Every day after school, Bach-Boy and I go on a walk together. That day, we talked about his excitement about the release of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, 2 because, right now, that’s way cooler to him than going to college.


Thank you to this week’s guest, Dan Passamaneck, and to everyone who played here. And thanks to those of you who linked to LitPark this week: Imagination in Flight, Rioter’s Roost, the Sun Sentinel, Ovations, The Split Infinitive, The Chucklehut, The Book Pirate, and Backspace at Publishers Marketplace. I appreciate those links!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly January 25, 2008 at 8:38 am

I don’t think anyone can ever hear that Joshua Bell story enough! Brilliant example of noticing.

Thanks for the great week, and nice to meet you properly, Dan (aka ‘Chuckles’!)


Anne Glamore January 25, 2008 at 9:04 am

My boys loved Diary also, and I was thrilled to see a sequel at the store. i bought it and they’ve gobbled it up.


SusanHenderson January 25, 2008 at 12:52 pm

It’s probably my favorite newspaper article ever written. It’s embarrassing how often I bring it up, but until I’m sick of it, everyone else will just have to deal.

We’re in your neck of the words Sunday. Want to grab dinner?


SusanHenderson January 25, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Isn’t it a great book? Except it feels funny to buy a hardcover, and in a half hour, they’re done reading it.


Carolyn_Burns_Bass January 25, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I just love how kids have a way of putting things into perspective for us. And thanks for the inside glimpse of Penn Station. I’ve walked past it several times while in NY, but have never seen what goes on behind those doors.

(I can’t wait for Tuesday’s blog-a-thon for Patry.)


Kimberly January 25, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Absolutely! Maybe I’ll even have a little giftee for Mr. H (roughly 120 pages long, rhymes with The Giddy Pearl)

Just so I don’t make empty promises, I guess I better get back at it, eh? 🙂


chuckles January 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm

I keep coming up with new nicknames I wish everybody in the world called me. The new one is “smoothie king.” I’m ready to start knighting anyone who gets with the program.

Penn Station sounds so cool… there are no good train stations in the SF area, incredibly. The old Transbay Terminal doesn’t even have train service; BART stations are all generic and dull and small; and the CalTrain terminal is just embarassing. Los Angeles has Union Station and that has a real cool old-school vibe to it…. thanks for this tour of a place with both a heart and a circulatory system!


SusanHenderson January 25, 2008 at 7:34 pm

Oh boy…. I’m coming here to announce this because I’m afraid to go directly to the source… Um, where’s my dear, extraordinarily talented friend, Brian McEntee?

Because, see… Brian, who is not only a lovely person that makes me laugh or smile every day, is also so talented that he art directed the only animated feature to ever be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. And also he drew some of the most memorable animated film characters. And also, he made way cool art for my office. And… okay, I should just say it. Because (Brian are you reading this? Because before you go any further, just know two things: (1) I’m sorry, and (2) it was not my fault!)

There’s this new book coming out and I just got an early copy of it, and Brian drew me for it, and it’s lovely and I even got an entire page in the book, BUT…. they spelled his name Brian McEnTREE. Tree! I’m so so sorry. I guess an Oscar nomination is not enough to get one’s name spelled right. Oy. I’m so sorry. I would never spell your name with a tree in it.


Ted January 26, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Loved your description of Penn Station. Looks like a really cool bookstore. The picture reminded me of our visits to Elliot Bay in Seattle and Powell’s in Portland.


Brian McEntee January 26, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Don’t fret. In the grand scheme of things, worse has happened. I’ve had MacIntee, Mackentree, MacKentee, Mcentire, MacAvee and “hey you.” I even had a teacher once who insisted I was mispronouncing my last name, and that I should, “Check with my parents.” I was a teenager at the time, BTW. Sheesh. (It’s properly pronounced similar to McEnroe: Mac-En-Tee.)

I would only ask that they please correct my name in any future printings – they should be able to manage that, no??? Isn’t all this pretty much digital now?


Aurelio January 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm

At least you don’t get called “Areola.”


Kimberly January 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm

Should probably nip that right in the bud, eh?


ErikaRae January 26, 2008 at 6:08 pm

Ah, beet juice! Fabulous in a smoothie…however I’m getting a little creeped out. Everywhere I look for the last couple of weeks, it’s beets beets beets. Beets in recipes. Beets in stories. As a matter of fact, I just broke a jar of pickled beets (don’t ask…a little gift from grandma a few years ago) ALL over myself and my refrigerator the other day. Oh, yes – wicked red indeed… Is it fate? Is it zeitgeist? Is it some sort of message from beyond that I have an iron issue that I need to deal with?

Penn Station looks amazing – thanks for the insight into your world. Much different than the pine trees and aspens I look at every day. ( :

Sorry for being absent from the park for so long. Was sick, traveling, blah blah blah. Good to be back.

Tell Bach Boy that I think he’s cool.

Anyway, thank you, Susan, for reminding me that I need to take my iron supplement! Ha!


How Not to Write January 26, 2008 at 8:36 pm

We just picked up Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 (kid1 was a Christmas present). Oh, I am the hero today!!!!

Actually, I love this little saga. I read it online and my older boy (age 9) thinks I’m cool – or so he says. 🙂


SusanHenderson January 27, 2008 at 4:37 pm

They are seriously well-done books! Who knew stick figures would be so entertaining?


SusanHenderson January 27, 2008 at 4:38 pm

I didn’t know it had iron in it. I think he already knows he’s cool, but I’ll tell him again.


SusanHenderson January 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Penn Books is a fabulous bookstore. I haven’t made it to Portland yet, but Powell’s will be my second stop – right after I go pester Lance!


SusanHenderson January 27, 2008 at 4:42 pm

You can never tell me not to fret, but I did contact Harper Collins today to have that corrected. I’m glad you’re not mad at me.


SusanHenderson January 27, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Ha! (P.S. I’m so awfully happy about Obama, too! Thank you for your note.)


SusanHenderson January 27, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Sorry no lunch today. I was feeling completely rotten.


SusanHenderson January 27, 2008 at 4:47 pm

One of my closest friends in college went by Smoothie… (see the guy on the bench in the blue fishing hat).

It was great having you here this week, Dan!


SusanHenderson January 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm

I’m looking forward to the blogathon, too! (And then I have about 4 weeks of work to catch up on…)


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