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  1. #1

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    The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    Day One- Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    As we boarded the plane, the flight attendant invited Pixie Kid up to the cockpit. I thought they weren’t doing that anymore…Cool!


    We arrived at JFK and Pixie Kid got to take his first cab ride!


    We checked into our hotel, The Wellington, and saw that Terrence Howard was filming a movie right outside the entire time we were staying. It ended up being a bit of an inconvenience, but not too bad.


    The view from our room:


    I was surprised by how close things were. On the map it looked so far away. It was only a 5 minute walk to Times Square.




    We had dinner at Sofia’s right across the street from the Richard Rogers Theatre. It was AWESOME! The best meal we had the entire trip! I highly recommend it!

    I then saw “Cyrano de Bergerac” while the boys went to the big Toys R Us. The play was still in previews. I went because I love Jennifer Garner, but Kevin Kline was by far the best part of the show. Jennifer Garner was struggling with her stage acting & her accent, but the play hadn’t technically opened, yet, so hopefully it will all get worked out. I still love her, though! Kevin Kline was spectacular!




    <o>

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan

    Day Two- Thursday, October 18, 2007

    We woke up, had brunch, and walked over to Carnegie Hall to pick up our tickets for the J.K. Rowling event Friday night.


    We walked to Central Park and met RonNYC at the zoo. It was so hot and muggy, but the zoo was small and relaxing.












    We also went to the Children’s Zoo just across the way.




    Just some adult humor at the Children’s Zoo. Nuts anyone?






    Ron fed the goats.




    We came across some street performers in the park.


    After saying goodbye to Ron, we went over to FAO Schwarz.




    I loved the little Harry Potter section!


    PK got sorted.




    And, of course, the piano from “Big”


    We stopped by the NYC World of Disney for my only shopping spree of the trip.






    Then we walked down 5th Ave and saw all the famous shops. We went all the way to Grand Central Terminal to catch the train to White Plains. Our friends moved there a couple of years ago and we arranged to visit them.




    Mr. PXC’s friend works as a lead animator at Blue Sky Studios. He took us on a tour of the animation department. We got to see his work on the new movie they’re working on, “Horton Hears a Who.” We also got to see the new teaser trailer for “Ice Age 3” that they just finished that day! Very cool!

    No pictures that will get him in trouble. Here are a couple I’ll post…

    The Pixie Family with the “Horton Hears a Who” poster.


    Their game room




    Mr. PXC with his friend in front of a poster from “Robots.” It was the first movie he worked on and he did a lot with that character.


    One of the work stations. Some of the animators get really involved decorating their cubicles. A lot of them had Pixar characters up on their shelves.


    Look what was playing in the break room!


    We had dessert, got back on the train, and tried to get back to our hotel through the movie set.
    <o>

  3. #3

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan

    Day Three- Friday, October 19, 2007 (Part One)

    We woke up really early, hopped on the subway, and made our way down to Battery Park. (PK’s first subway ride!)


    We followed the advice of many online travelers and ordered tickets for the Statue of Liberty online for the first tour and arrived at the line at 8:00am. Good thing, too, because by the time the ticket office opened, the line was around the building.


    This is the sculpture that was in the World Trade Center courtyard. It’s now in Battery Park.


    After waiting in another line, going through security, and getting herded onto the ferry, we made it to Liberty Island! We headed straight to the line for the Statue. After more stringent security checks, we made in!

    The original torch:


    There was a wonderful little museum in the pedestal:


    You only get to go up into the pedestal, but they’ve put up a plexi-glass ceiling. Now you can look up Lady Liberty’s skirt.


    We met up with Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi himself!




    We got a couple of souvenirs from the gift shop.


    Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best for picture taking, but we enjoyed our time nonetheless.


    After 2 hours on Liberty Island, we caught the ferry to Ellis Island.


    The museum was crowded, but Mr. PXC found it to be one of his favorite stops on the vacation.


    It started raining, so the throngs started pushing their way into the museum. That was our cue to leave. We got back on the ferry and then took the subway back to the Wellington. We got ready for dinner at the Oyster Bar. It wasn’t the greatest seafood I’ve ever had, but Mr. PXC liked his surf-and-turf.

    Next was the event that brought us to New York…

    J.K. Rowling’s Open Book Tour at Carnegie Hall!!!
    <o>

  4. #4

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan

    Day Three- Friday, October 19, 2007 (Par t Two)

    We won tickets from a Scholastic Sweepstakes. As far as I know, she only made 4 stops on the U.S. tour. 3 stops were at elementary schools and the 4th was the Carnegie Hall event.

    We joined the queue outside the theatre. Seats were assigned and ours were most decidedly sucktastic. Oh well. Better crappy seats than no seats at all!




    Notice that little wall in front of the stage? Those are all the books she would be signing that evening!


    Keith Olberman gave the introduction via a live feed which was shown on the big screen. Don’t ask me why he was chosen to present JKR. I’m not sure what the connection was.

    She walked out and sat in her “throne.” (This same set has been used in other events previously.)



    After graciously accepting her standing ovation, she began the reading. She said she had never read this section at an event before. She began reading from “The Deathly Hallows” at the bottom of page 378 when Ron comes back. She read through the end of the chapter, finishing on page 387.


    There must have been some other contest because the people who were to ask questions during the Q&A portion were seated at the front. Because the session went a little quicker than planned, the director from Scholastic randomly pulled the last 3 questions from people that were winners in the sweepstakes we won.

    I took notes, but please don’t take J.K. Rowling’s answers as direct quotes. We weren’t allowed any recording devices, so I just did the best I could. Here are the questions and answers:

    • In the course of the series, what one question did you not get asked that you wished you would have?

    No one asked me about Dumbledore’s wand. People asked me about Malfoy’s wand, Snape’s wand. But no one asked what Dumbledore’s wand was made of or the significance of it. It was probably a good thing because I would have had to play it off due to it’s role in the last book.

    • Did Neville ever find love?

    Yes. You know he became a professor at Hogwarts. He married Hannah Abbott who ended up working in the pub. They lived above the pub.

    • Why did you choose Molly to defeat Bellatrix?

    There are two reasons. First, is that Molly is a very good witch, but her talents are hidden throughout the books. She is like many moms who have very special abilities, but once they are married with children those abilities take a backseat to the household duties. Also, it was a meeting of contrasts. It was obsession vs. mother’s love. Bellatrix loved Voldemort, but it was not real love. She was obsessed with him. Molly’s love for her children was a pure, mother’s love.

    • How would the last 3 books have been different if Arthur had been killed?

    I know I said that I almost killed Arthur’s character. I thought I needed to keep Ron intact for Harry. The Weasley’s were a refuge for Harry. However, I did want to come full-circle in dealing with Harry being an orphan and showing the effects of war on the children left behind. That is why I ended up having Teddy be left as an orphan. It was not easy to kill Lupin and Tonks, but I knew Teddy would have a family with Harry, very unlike what Harry had growing up.

    • Why did Dumbledore’s brother have the goats? And why was that important?

    (Giggles) How old are you? (The girl who asked the question replied, “Eight.”) (Laughing) OK, well my answer to you is that I think he liked to keep the goats clean. (More laughing) I think he liked their curly horns. (Aside) I think the rest of you will understand what I mean by that.

    • Did Dumbledore ever fall in love? (*The now famous question)

    (Laughter, but gets serious quickly) And how old are you? (The girl replies, “10.”) Well, I think you are old enough to know. I always thought of Dumbledore as gay. (Audience gasps, then bursts into applause) Well, if I had known it would make you so happy, I would have announced it years ago. I think Dumbledore had his weaknesses and when the situation with Grindewald happened, you can really see how it affected his judgment. So, yes, he did fall in love.

    During a script reading for the 6th movie, there was a flashback where it shows Dumbledore giggling and flirting with a girl in his youth. I had to write a little note to the director. I had to tell him, “Dumbledore’s gay!” They had to take that part out.

    • (The boy who got up to ask this question mentioned how he and his father love the books. She asked if his mom likes them, too. He said that she was busy and didn’t have time to read them. JKR replied, “You tell her that if I have time to write them, she has time to read them.” The audience laughed and applauded at that!)
    Are there a lot of wizards who speak Parseltongue? Can any wizard learn it? For example, at the end of the last book Ron speaks it.

    Parseltongue is not a language that many wizards can speak. It is not an easy language to learn and it is generally passed down in the Slytherin line. As such, there aren’t many wizards alive who would even be available to teach it. Ron only knows one word and to him it was more of just repeating a sound. He doesn’t actually know the word and basically got lucky trying to recreate what he heard Harry say.


    • What did Lily, James, Sirius, and Remus do after finishing school at Hogwarts?

    At the time they were finishing school, the Death Eaters were starting the war and so, like Harry and his friends, they had to leave school early. They joined the Order and were involved with that full-time. James had enough gold to support them, so they didn’t have to worry about that. As we know, Remus was unemployable due to his condition, so he lived an impoverished life until Dumbledore hired him at Hogwarts.

    • Did Hagrid ever get married and have kids?

    No. (Lots of “Awwwws” from the audience) Hagrid had a limited pool of giantesses for dating. Giants have a tendency to kill each other when they’re together, so there aren’t many left. As for Madame Maxime, she was a bit too sophisticated for Hagrid and they did not continue to date. Hagrid stayed on at Hogwarts for many years.

    • Is Snape’s portrait in the Headmaster’s Office? And if so, did Harry go visit to talk to him?

    Harry insisted that it be hung beside Dumbledore’s portrait. I’m not sure if Harry would go to talk to it or not, but he wanted to make sure that Snape was recognized and that it held a place of honor.


    At this point JKR had been on stage for an hour. She left the stage for 10 minutes to take a short break. The procedure was given to us regarding the signing (Absolutely no pictures, don’t tell her your life story, keep it moving, only those people that won the contest would be getting their books signed, etc.). Each person was allowed to bring one book or receive a free copy of Book 7 to be signed. The people from Scholastic had quite the assembly line set up and kept it moving. They dismissed people row by row, section by section. We were one of the last sections to go, so it took 2 hours more waiting until we got our turn. JKR only stopped signing once during that entire time. Only long enough to sip a cup of tea. She was fabulous!


    JKR was warm and friendly and tried to engage my son in a quick conversation. He was completely overwhelmed and didn’t know what to say. All I could say was “Thank you” and I got teary-eyed. It was over so quickly, but that moment somehow froze in time. What an experience!

    PK with his signed copy!


    We made it back just before a New York rainstorm hit. What a night!
    <o>

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    Day Four- Saturday, October 20, 2007
    On our final morning, we slept in and woke up to a crisp, cool day after the rain. We headed to the Empire State Building. When we arrived, the wait for the elevators was 120 minutes…and that was if you already had tickets (which we did). Mr. PXC was not up for that & decided to upgrade to “Express.” They immediately whisked us to the front of every line, we purchased our upgrade, and went straight to the elevators. The ultimate fastpass! (Or the most expensive elevator ride ever! )



    PK & Mr. PXC were over it after 10 minutes. It was cold, windy, and crowded. I spent a few more minutes taking pictures.


    The view:


    I had to get a shot (or 10) of the Chrysler Building!


    These are the bars around the deck:




    When we left, we made sure to show our Express Tickets because the wait to get down was long as well. Once again, they took us right to the front of the line. Nice!

    We then headed over to Rockefeller Center to do Top of the Rock.



    It’s right by Radio City Music Hall.


    They were getting ready for the Christmas Show.




    The NBC Studios are right by the entrance to the Top.



    The difference between the ESB & Top of the Rock was night-and-day. We once again had bought tickets in advance, but these had a specific time. We walked right up, no waiting, no crowds. The lobby was gorgeous, the area before the elevators was well done, and the view was spectacular. Unlike the ESB, Top of the Rock had no bars to interfere with the view. The only building where the view was obstructed was that of the Chrysler Building.

    The waiting area (which was more of a look-around-if-you-feel-like-it area since there were no lines at all):





    The ceiling in the elevator:


    The weird Target room:


    PK takes a closer look:


    The view of Central Park:


    ESB in the background:


    We then walked around Rockefeller Plaza.






    Then it was time to say goodbye to New York. The hotel called a car to take us back to the airport. A white, stretched limo showed up! PK thought he had died and gone to heaven, though!

    Time to go home! Bye-bye NYC!
    <o>

  6. #6

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    Again, I am so jealous!

    I love all the pictures and I'm happy you had such a great trip.


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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    Wonderful trip report, pictures, and family. I'm sure you will treasure that autograph from J.K. Rowling.

    What an awesome experience and vacation.

    Thank you for sharing your photos.

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    Terrific! I'm glad that you and your family had such a great trip to the City.

    (And I'm glad I got to spend some time with you all at the zoo!)

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    What a great trip report. Your son sure looks incredibly happy.

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    Spectacular pics PC! What a fun trip.

  11. #11

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    Awesome TR. I just got back from NYC and can't get enough of that city.
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    I only care for Disney bling!

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    That was a GREAT TR!!! Loved all the picts. And so glad you got to see Ron too!!

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    What a fantabulous TR!! Your pictures are fantastic and PXkid looks like he spent the entire trip grinning I'm glad you guys had such a wonderful trip



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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    Thanks for posting the report. I heard you got to go to the Rowling event and I was waiting to hear more about it.

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    Re: The Pixies Take Manhattan (and JK Rowling's Book Tour)!

    Amazing trip report PC!!!!! PK had grown up so much since the last time I saw him. I am so glad you got to experience an opportunity of a lifetime.
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