This year I am going to Book Expo America in NYC. BEA is one of the biggest and best conventions for all things book related. Tons of authors, publishers, agents and bloggers gather together to check out new books and meet and mingle with people in the industry. So, I’m excited to take part in it this year!
An added bonus is that is in NYC, one of my favorite places I’ve been. My previous trip to NYC includes one of my most memorable college adventures, but I’m not hoping for a repeat of that one, because I have no desire to see the inside of a New York jail cell.
My good friend Kelly (I’ve known her since I was 7), invited me to go to NYC with her because she had a job interview. Of course I jumped at the opportunity and we had a blast. Her aunt came along with us because she was familiar with NYC.
One day while we were there we ended up in Chinatown, because someone had said you could get some great deals on purses (I know terrible). Walking into the neighborhood felt like walking into China. The streets were crowded with vendors selling everything from food to trinkets, and all the storefront’s signs were in Chinese and English. There were lots of storefronts that were open to street (kind of like stalls you would see at a flea market), that you stepped into with merchandise hanging on the walls covered in pegboard. We stopped into one that had hundreds of purses lining its walls, and browsed for a minute.
Suddenly the back wall opened up and a small Chinese woman motioned for us to come in. That should have been our first sign that something was amiss, because when have you ever seen a wall open up into another room and it ended well?
Anyway, we go back there and it is another small room filled with purses. The woman shuts the wall behind us and reveals another wall covered in purses. I pick up a couple that I like and look in the bags. I picked up a Chanel purse and looked for the telltale tag sewn on the inside which tells you whether it is real or a knockoff. I found the genuine tag for a Chanel purse they were selling for $25.00, a purse that normally retails anywhere from $500.00 to over $1,000.00+. That’s when I realized these were knockoffs and/or possibly stolen real designer bags.
By the time I realized what was going on, I turned around and we were all ready to leave empty handed. But then the woman started talking fast into a walkie talkie in Chinese and moved in front of the door so we couldn’t leave. She shouted something in Chinese and we looked at her puzzled. She said “Cops are here!”. I felt like my stomach had just landed on the floor, and my heart started beating wildly. If the cops came back here and found us, there was a good chance we were going to get arrested along with the store owners.
The woman was so frightened she had grabbed onto my arm. She told us to be quiet and you could hear the cop walking back and forth in front of the wall. I was terrified to even breathe too loudly so I just held my breath and said a silent prayer.
“Dear God, please don’t let me get arrested in New York. I’ve never been arrested in my life and I really don’t want to start now, when I’m so far from home. I promise to stay away from here the rest of the trip. Amen.”
After what felt like several minutes (probably was more like seconds), she talked fast into the walkie talkie again and turned to us and nodded. I finally could breathe again, the air whooshing out of my lungs so fast that I felt a little dizzy. She opened the wall up and we ran out of there, and promised to never do that again.
Later out of curiosity we asked a cop on the street what would have happened to us if the policeman would have found us. He laughed and said “You would have been arrested.” Awesome.
Kelly and I have some great memories together, and this one is no exception. I’m not at liberty to speak about some of the others 😉
So watch out New York City…who knows what I’ll get into this time!