A Mystery Writer’s Manhattan: Part Two
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This week as we continue to celebrate the relase of Manhattan Mayhem, a new mystery anthology from the Mystery Writers of America, we've got even more authors and their favorite places in New York City. Is danger lurking? Perhaps, or it could just be a suspense author plotting their next thriller in a crowded Manhattan resturant.
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Author of the "Manor House Mysteries" series
Manhattan Mayhem Story: "White Rabbit"
I’ve had the good fortune to be able to introduce each of my three daughters to New York, one at a time. They love the city as much as I do and are always eager for a return trip. Mostly, however, we spend our time eating—or deciding where to eat next. But my kids know that a trip to New York isn’t complete without grabbing a bite in the food court of Grand Central Terminal.
You’re probably wondering why. On my first visit to New York by myself I took the opportunity to explore Grand Central Terminal. The station’s tiled arches—and all that beautiful marble—drew me in. I followed a ramp down, deep into the terminal, expecting to encounter rows of dirty train tracks. Instead, I discovered beauty. From the moment I spied the bustling food court (and then, moments later, caught my first glimpse of Grand Central Oyster Bar’s swoon-worthy ceilings), I realized I’d stumbled upon a stunning secret place, a hidden gem.
And thus the food court beneath Grand Central Terminal became my own underground lair. Maybe I love it because I can grab a bagel and coffee, channel my inner arch-villain, and surreptitiously study the commuters around me. What better place to people-watch and plot than a train station, really? My husband hasn’t yet had a chance to visit. Hey, honey, guess where we’re going for breakfast!
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Author of "The Shanghai Moon: A Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novel"
Manhattan Mayhem Story: "Chin Yong-Yun Makes A Siddach"
Chinatown has almost too many wonderful places to name, but I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite. There’s the Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the oldest tea parlor in Chinatown. The Chinese tea tradition is savory, not sweet, and at Nom Wah tea and dim sum are available all day. My favorite dessert has to be their delectable turnip cake. The New Kam Man market has everything: dishes, cookware, chopsticks, beautiful rice bowls, and even altars and altar supplies.
Nearby Columbus Park has games of xiangqi, early-morning tai chi and sword practice on the lawn, as well as musicians. I’ve been lucky enough to see the Beijing opera troupe come and perform there. For a little more culture I sometimes like to check out the Museum of Chinese in America, which gives the whole town context, and ties the entire experience together. I especially love their walking tours!
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Author of "Blood Foam: A Lewis Cole Mystery"
Manhattan Mayhem Story: "The Day After Victory"
For decades, Times Square in Manhattan has been known as the “crossroads of the world,” and with a history like that, it was a great place as a setting for my short story, “The Day After Victory Day.” For more than a hundred years, Times Square has been a place of parties, intrigue, public celebrations and other events.
Even though I’m a resident of New Hampshire, I’ve visited Times Square dozens of times. I traveled there through the gritty days of the early 1980’s, when the place was known for hustlers, porn shops and theaters, and then after the renewal, with bright shops and brighter lights, and now nearly 330,000 people pass through those clean and attractive places every day. But it’s the history of the place that has always intrigued me. The history of those days when a global war finally ended drew me to that time, where hundreds of thousands joined together to celebrate. But what of now?
There is one worthy place to visit, just north of Times Square, at a location called Duffy Square, named after Francis P. Duffy, a chaplain in the famed New York’s “Fighting 69th” Army Regiment during the First World War. A statue of Father Duffy has stood there since 1937, and whenever I re-visit Times Square, I make sure to take a walk to see this famed statue, and to think of what he and so many others have done in service to our country. There’s no bright signs or neon lights at this part of Times Square, and that’s just fine by me.
Julie Leung is the social media and marketing manager at Quirk Books—tweeting up storms and surfing the blog waves. She is also the author of a forthcoming trilogy, Mice of the Round Table (Fall '16), and Mother of FictionToFashion.com. You can follow her at @jleungbooks or simply at @QuirkBooks, where she drops pithy word nuggets on the daily.