Welcome to the blog tour for Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew – an Evie Brooks novel. Read on for some tips from Sheila on her Manhattan recommendations!
Guest Post from Sheila Agnew
A Shout-Out from a New York Based Writer to her Favourite City Spots
There is lots of fantastic stuff to do, see and eat in New York. But for those of us that live there, life typically revolves around work. Everyone in New York seems to be obsessed with their career, or, with getting a career. It’s not all bad. There is seamlessweb.com, the online food-service site that eliminated the pain of discovering that the lunch delivered to your work pod consisted of two number elevens instead of a number seven. Work stations became pods in the recession. There is no cool, egg-shaped furniture or any resemblance to outer space except, of course, for the absence of oxygen. Pods just mean jamming more people on less pay, into a cramped, windowless space. But sometimes, we all just need a break to appreciate what we have. Returning to New York six months ago after a hiatus, I found a renewed enthusiasm for all that is GREAT about the city. Here are some of my favourite haunts:
Ticket hawkers pounce on tourists and send them to expensive, mainstream comedy clubs with a two-vile-drinks-minimum and a series of acts pitched to appeal equally to the lowest common denominator from Sweden and South Dakota. Even the comedians look uncomfortable to be there. Bypass the hawks and head to the United Citizens Brigade in the East Village where the comedians are hilarious and creative. Even if you are super picky about your comedy, the tickets run for about five dollars so you can afford to take that kind of risk. Plus, you can drink reasonably priced beer during the performance.
I’ve never tasted better fish tacos than the ones at Mexican Radio. If you are trawling through Soho or Nolita and in need of a pick-me-up in the form of a tasty lunch accompanied by a fabulous margarita, check this place out. For dinner, Odeon in Tribeca is a reliable stand-by. It is decades since it was a hang-out for celebrities and those that pursue them. Thank God. There’s a reason that Odeon didn’t fold when it stopped being a place to be seen. The food, service and atmosphere are consistently excellent. For Sunday brunch, try the fried catfish and cornbread at Red Rooster in Harlem while enjoying the live Gospel music.
Hang Out With the Hipsters
I don’t share the general prejudice against hipsters. I’ve never met a hipster with bad manners. But the pretentious ones are super dull so visit Floyd’s on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It draws a super friendly crowd of hipsters without the attitude. Floyd’s is a dive bar with a bocce court running down the middle. There’s also decent music, comfortable couches; and the drinks are all priced at around six dollars. To clear my head the next morning, I avoid the crowds in Central Park and head for Prospect Park.
They don’t actually have the advertised eighteen miles of books in The Strand. It just feels that way. It’s a great place for finding all kinds of interesting bargains. The staff has a reputation for being surly but I can sympathize. If I had to stand on my feet all day and heave stacks of books around for minimum wage, I probably wouldn’t jump up and down with excitement when yet another customer asked me for directions to the toilets. I’d probably just point and move on. Since I am fanatical about travel literature, I love the specialist travel book store, Idlewild. Finally, if I have a few hours to kill, I like to hang out in the Rose Reading Room in the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. During the Great Depression, the reading room was packed with the long-term unemployed. These days, it is yet again filled with desperate job-seekers taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi to send out multiple resumes. Strangely, there is no atmosphere of despair. Such elegant surroundings seem to inspire hope in the job-seekers, and in the many writers who seek refuge there.
More information about the venues listed in this article can be found here:
About Marooned in Manhattan
Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan. All she wants to do is to decide her own future… is that too much to ask?
When her mother dies, 12 year-old Evie is shocked to discover that she has to go and live with her Uncle Scott in New York City. She wants to stay in her home city of Dublin with Janet, her godmother. Scott and Evie enter a reluctant compromise: Evie will spend the summer in New York and can return to live in Ireland in September if she chooses.
Scott runs a vet’s practice in the city and having never owned more than a goldfish before, Evie is delighted to step in to become his assistant. Over the course of summer, she meets some strange pets and some even stranger owners. She makes friends Kylie and Greg, while she develops a more complex relationship with Finn, Greg’s older brother. But he just sees her as a kid.
Despite these friendships, Evie seems determined to return to Ireland. And Scott’s girlfriend, Leela, a ruthless divorce attorney, is planning to make sure that Evie returns home too. Then a totally unexpected development throws Evie’s plan into turmoil and she has to make the biggest decision of her life.
For age 9 upwards, Marooned in Manahattan captures both the uncertainty and excitement of a summer spent in New York City.
About Sheila Agnew
Sheila Agnew was born in New York and grew up in Dublin with her sister and two brothers. After graduating, she practiced as a lawyer in London, Sydney and New York and worked in such far-flung places as Accra, Cairo and Bratislava.
Sheila had wanted to be a writer since she was seven and fell in love with Danny, the Champion of the World. In 2002, she took a break from her legal career to write and to travel around Asia. In 2011, she moved to Argentina to learn Spanish and work on a horse farm. The following year, she relocated to Dingle in County Kerry where she wrote Marooned in Manhattan. Sheila based the character of Ben in the book on her own black-and-white spaniel of dubious lineage.
Sheila now lives and writes in New York City.
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