Adventures in Soho: The Sweet and the Vicious (Part Two)
(CONTINUED FROM PART ONE)
But that was just the beginning. Because as you will note, I had a Kidlit Drink Night to attend to. Ho ho!
Fun Fact: When dressing up like Rita Skeeter there are certain dos and don’ts to bear in mind.
DO: Wear high-heeled shoes to the party.
DON’T: Wear high-heeled shoes all day, especially when you know you’re going to be partying hearty later on in the evening.
DO: Wear long green fingernails.
DON’T: Be surprised when you find yourself bodily ripping them off three-quarters of a way through the Harry Potter party in a fit of pique.
My husband stopped by with the news that he had just won the Sloan Award from Columbia University for a screenplay he wrote not too long ago. WOO-HOO!!! Copious dancing about and grabbing patrons to yell, "MY HUSBAND WON AN AWARD!!!" in their ears ensued. We celebrated by jaunting down to Soho to eat at a very nice pizza place called Lombardi’s. *kisses fingertips and releases*
Next stop: To hop on over to Sweet & Vicious 15 or so minutes early. Here’s where our heroes run into trouble. We go walking down the street and I turn to my husband.
Betsy: Is that a bouncer?
Betsy: Up there. In front of Sweet & Vicious.
Matt: It certainly looks like a bouncer.
Betsy: They’ve never had a bouncer before. Uh-oh.
And uh-oh was the right sentiment to have. Because, dear sweet people, I have never had an event at Sweet & Vicious on a Friday night before. If you had asked me "What’s the Worst That Can Happen?", I would have answered, "It will be crowded". This is what a lack of imagination will get you. I had forgotten that sometimes whole bars can be rented out for private parties. Whole bars like, you guessed it, Sweet & Vicious.
I would like to stop everything right now and solemnly swear that from here on in, I promise to never ever plan a Kidlit Drink Night without calling the establishment I am going to hold it at first.
So we approach the aforementioned bouncer. To the side are some Queens librarians/denizens/friends of librarians who couldn’t get in. What to do? What to do? Will the whole night be ruined? We, which is to say Matt, asks the bouncer if there’s another bar nearby. It’s Soho so we’re fairly certain that there might be, but the guy seems pretty baffled by the question. Fortunately there’s a different fellow next to him who points across the street to The Vig Bar. The Vig turns out to be a cocktail bar where only a few people are milling about. We have to be carded to get in (a slight problem since my 32-year-old husband didn’t get his new driver’s license in the mail yet) and waiting inside is….
A big empty room we can have our party in. Joy.
So we inform old bouncer where to direct people. We occupy the new room, after being told that half of it is reserved for a birthday party. Bummer. "How many people are you bringing?," asks the barman. We say 30. We doubt it’ll be that low, but he likes the number 30 and we are disinclined to inform him that many of these people will be Harry Potter fanatics. The funny thing is, the bar is totally cool with all the Harry Potter people who come in. In fact, the bouncer really gets into it. He starts chatting up people about the newest book. He’s pleased as punch when my crew create an honest-to-goodness line while he’s checking IDs. The barman is cool with it. The waitress once in a while comes in to talk to me about the second group but she’s cool with it too. In fact, the bar is hopping because we decided to hang out in it. Jenny Han comes as Cho Chang, which was fairly awesome, and she’s not the only person dressed up. Of course there’s an awkward moment when the birthday party does come, but by that time we’re ready to head on over to the Adults Only Harry Potter party at the McNally Bookstore.
I’d been told that going to McNally early would be silly because they don’t even open their doors until 10. What I did not anticipate was the line around the block. Suddenly McNally looks like the hottest club in town. Its line is full of well-dress Soho Manhattanites. In front of us are two party girls, each wearing some rather stylized, pure white Harry Potter glasses. It’s that kind of scene. We hang out and have a good time, but it’s very odd. A one-of-a-kind experience. Any reporter worth their salt would have had a great time taking pictures of this amazing example of how Harry Potter really isn’t for just kids.
At the last minute my friends Dan and Sarah arrive. Sarah’s mom, I have been informed, reads this blog and may become a children’s librarian soon. HI, SARAH’S MOM!!!! We go in, after having our IDs checked again (my husband has, I should point out, never had to show an ID once in this town until this week), our hands stamped, and in we go. They project the movies against walls. They have palm readers and magicians and all kinds of little booths. In the basement is the "magic punch" (hence the hand stamp) which is free and very tasty. So we camped out against the travel section and had a great view of the variety of costumes. There was a woman dressed as Harry Potter who I really hope won the costume contest. She was absolutely perfect in every respect. So much so that I had a long debate with my husband over whether or not she even was a woman.
(CONTINUED IN PART THREE)
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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