Live blogging this year's Surtex is going to present a challenge. What I'd normally do is walk over to 42nd Street to Starwich, a nice cafe with free wireless, cheap food, big comfy chairs, even electrical outlets, but this year: butcher paper in the windows. The Starbucks on the corner is also closed, as is the Crunch gym that was in the same building, not that I'd ever use the gym. The little deli under the Travel Inn is still there, but they have no wireless. This whole part of town has become blighted since last year.
This year it's cheap-ass Manhattan for me. I'm not using any of their #%&@ union cherry pickers or box handlers. After they move a couple boxes for you they send you a bill for $400. Then after you pay it, they find some way to send you another bill for $180. Last year I had them handle one box for me. They charged me for two, so I called to find out why. Two-box minimum. The customer service representatives are surly and take great pleasure at giving you a hard time. Not this year, mutherfuckers.
Carrie told me that mercury is in retrograde which means all sorts of shit is supposed to go haywire. The Air Train was out of service so I took a Super Shuttle from JFK. The way they deliver passengers in New York is funny. They start at the highest number streets and work their way down without variation. We stopped at 106th and Amsterdam, then shot over to 97th and East End, then 80th and Broadway, then 3rd Avenue. It was a crosstown nightmare, and of course I was dead last to be dropped at Javits. There are Italian sausage festivals happening on 6th and 9th Avenues today adding to the cabbie nightmare. Mercury retrograde!
So then I found a Dunkin Donuts on 10th Avenue across from a Shwarma Felafel place with a giant chicken Wonder Wheel in the window. I've eaten there. Dunkin claimed free wireless. Great, this year I'll gain ten pounds live-blogging, I thought, ordering a large cake-size donut. It was one of those complicated code deals to break into their internet service, and each code the cashier gave me failed. I gave up. I have a new hotel this year, since I was too late to book a room at my favorite Travel Inn, just up the street from the Sodium Light Palace. Looking forward to see what the internet access will cost me there. Ideally, I'd have a little internet cafe within a couple blocks of Javits I could run over to occasionally and scan and post my sketches. While I was sitting at the Dunkin trying to hack into the free wi-fi, the sky opened up and dropped a ton of rain, and me without an umbrella. But then just as quickly it stopped and I walked out without being hit by a drop.