Grand Central Terminal: A Postcard for John

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here).

I returned from NYC a little while ago and, as promised in my last post, from here on I will be blogging about some of the postcards that I scattered around the Big Apple on behalf of other people – a mission of remembrance that I feel so honoured to be a part of.

Here is Jo’s story…..

The Postcard

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“Great! You found me!

My name is Jo, I live in Dorset, England. I’ve written this card in memory of my brother John who sadly lost his battle with cancer 7 years ago, age 56. During his life John loved to travel so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to join the ’60 Postcards’ Project and let his memory do some traveling.

Now you have found this, please do get in touch. I’d love to know about you and were/when you found my card. 

Here’s hoping, Jo xx’

Jo has followed the 60 Postcards blog for a while now and I was excited to see her at the Wimborne Literary Festival talk last week, which prompted me to begin with the story of her postcard in memory of her brother. Jo’s letter was so honest and heartfelt, explaining about her brother’s wonderful character and love for living life to the full. I really wanted to find the perfect spot for his tribute.

As I mentioned briefly in, The One Where 60 Postcards Hits NYC, I had contacted NYC blogger, Ashley, before the trip. Ashley and Sara are two friends that set up a lifestyle site called Wanderlust in the City (WebsiteFacebookTwitter) and I came across it as I was searching for tips about the city. I decided to reach out and get in touch as I thought that with their knowledge of NYC, they may be able to lend a helping hand.

Ashley and I met near her office and headed straight for the nearest Starbucks so that we could have a chat and make a scattering plan. We picked out Jo’s postcard and, with her words about John’s love for travel, Ashley suggested we head for Grand Central Terminal. It was the perfect place – such a transient hub – full of history and buzzing with travellers and tourists.

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We stopped for a couple of photos outside the front of the station. There was a lady close by who was curious as to why we were doing that – assuming that we must be tourists. I explained that I was from London, Ashley explained that she lives in NYC and when the lady then asked how we knew each other – Ashley and I glanced at each other and laughed as we realised that unless she had a spare hour, it would be difficult to explain the whole story. Photos done – it was time to head in to the station.

We stood looking over the main concourse, scouring the area for the perfect postcard spot. There was a row of ticket booths and some of them were not open for business at the time. I had attached a piece of ribbon to the card so we were able to tie it to the railing underneath one of the booth windows.

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Just as Ashley explains in her blog post about our day (60 Postcards in New York City), the hardest part for us was to walk away without looking back. Our scattering had been seamless, however, my goodbye with Ashley was not as I managed to spill coffee on her as we hugged goodbye (sorry again, Ashley!).

I feel honoured that with John’s love of travel, the memory of him could travel with me across the pond and was left in a place perfect for him. I have no doubt that Jo’s words on that postcard have been read – by one or by many. I haven’t had a response from a finder, but you just never know.

Jo and family – thank you so much for being part of this.

With love,

Rachael x

Paperbacks, Postcards & The 2 Cents Collective

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here).

Yet another apology from me for another spectacular disappearing act. Might start calling myself Houdini? I am most definitely back to blogging now and have decided to reduce my posting down to one a week (in order to lower my blood pressure levels and give you a little less waffle to wade through)!

What is going on behind the scenes? I am developing a framework and a creative business model for the future plans of the 60 Postcards project. The very personal tribute I began remains as a wonderful starting point but now heads towards becoming more of a concept – a support service – offering help to those who have lost, exploring the creative angle towards dealing with grief and creating a safe and open environment for people to share stories and to connect.

Almost all of the 60 Postcards Stateside (NYC) postcard info sheets have now been sent to the tribute writers and I am delighted to announce that we have had a few finders! Exciting stuff.

Another part of my 60 Postcards work that is about to kick off is preparation for the release of the paperback for February 2015. As book lovers and fellow writers will know, there is a fresh market out there in the paperback world and Simon & Schuster UK designer Anneka has created a brand new cover to reflect that. And here it is…….

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Needless to say, when I nervously opened up the design from my inbox, I was blown away once more. Tears of joy trickled down my cheeks. It is pretty, Parisian and perfectly captures the narrative. I’m in love.

Other lovely recent news is that 60 Postcards is going to be published in China! Totally random and wonderful. Can’t wait to see what it looks like! (And wonder if they will understand the Made in Chelsea reference amongst others!)

The 2 Cents Collective

Now for a flashback to my New York trip. When I was hanging out in a coffee shop in Manhattan, I came across a postcard. (Of course I did). It was the last one of its kind. It took me 2 seconds to read and by then I was totally invested in the 2 Cents Collective.

The 2 Cents Collective is the brainchild of Brooklyn based, Maple. Maple has a close bond with her 14-year-old sister, Allison, but the distance between them is 800 miles. Her love for her sister and desire to give her as much advice as possible led her to think about how she could help other young people, too. On September 16th Maple launched her campaign which asks people, “What advice would you give to someone turning 16 years old?”. People can get as creative as they like with it (details below). And although this will help so many young people, Maple’s aim is to have this made in to a coffee-table-style book to present to her sister for her 16th Birthday. What a beautiful gift.

 FOLLOW 2CENTSC - WEBSITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER

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Give your Advice! 

Maple would really like this to kick off in her hometown of Charleston but welcomes advice from all over the world. if you do one thing this week amongst your work and play, please make it this! It is such a fantastic idea and a lot of fun to do as we think back to our younger years. I am sending mine off tomorrow! Here is what to do:

1. Think of advice you would give to someone turning 16 years old.

2. Write, draw, paint, collage, sculpt, highlight, record it – whatever.

3. Send it in via snail mail (134 Franklin St. #4Brooklyn, NY 11222) or online.

4. Influence somebody.

(Your advice will be anonymous unless you state otherwise.)

Postcards, words of advice – all inspired by a family bond. It is no wonder I love this collective so much. Maple – wishing you all the success in the world and I hope that I may be able to meet you when I visit NYC again in the future!

So there we have it – paperbacks, postcards and a heartfelt collective.

What is coming next? Well it is about time I start sharing the incredible stories of the postcards I took with me to New York!

Speak to you next week.

Love as always,

Rachael x

Ps Message for any Dorset readers….

I am speaking at the Wimborne Literary Festival this Friday 3-4pm at Allendale House. Tickets are £6 if you would like to come along! Let me know if you book as would love to meet people afterwards.

The One Where 60 Postcards Hits NYC

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here).

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I hoped that this trip would be special. It really has knocked my expectations out of the park, though, and continues to be more magical than I imagined. It has been non-stop exploring, eating, drinking, laughing, wandering and postcard dropping. I am not quite sure how I am going to document absolutely everything on here at the moment - just so much has happened! Until I make a game plan, here is a little summary…..

Location, Location, Location

After a frantic and disorganised start to my accommodation, it has ended up working out wonderfully.

On my first night I headed to Stephanie‘s place in west Midtown. As she was in rehearsal until later, I dropped in to a local café for some much-needed coffee fuel as the jet lag was wearing me down. It was amazing to see her and to meet her best friend, Uthman, who was dancing around the lounge (naturally). It made me feel so grateful for those handwritten postcards in Paris which have resulted in a beautiful friendship across the pond.

Beccy arrived the next day and off we went to our Airbnb pad in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  We were a little apprehensive as the taxi pulled up into a deserted industrial estate, but once we walked around the corner we saw just how cool it was. Street art, galleries, vintage stores and coffee shops galore – this place has a real East London vibe. It’s New York’s Dalston (except it’s even more hipster). Vogue rates it as one of the top 15 coolest neighbourhoods in the world and that was judged in September – if they knew I was going to visit, I may have ruined it for them. I’ll never be ‘cool’.

Next up I stayed with lovely James (brother of my great friend, Emma) on the Upper East Side and given the fact that James and his girlfriend had never met me before, they couldn’t have made me feel more welcome! They gave me a set of keys and told me to drop in and out as I pleased and I loved hanging out with them for beers and chats (and educating me on baseball).

I swung up to the Upper West Side a couple of days later to stay in Rachel’s room while she was off for a weekend in the Hamptons. I lived with Rachel when I first moved to London and I have loved being able to hang out with her as she settles into New York life as a masters student at Columbia.

A few blocks away was my next abode where I hit my next Airbnb, hosted by John, Marcus and Randy. Owner of the flat, John, also owns a bar just moments away where I listened to some great (and horrifying) karaoke.

Planned and Surprise Meetings

 

1077813_10152694164825873_7461421021505324876_o-2Before I left for NYC I had been in touch with some people about meeting up. Most of them are friends but two were people I have never met. Ashley is one of the girls who runs a NY & LA blog called, Wanderlust in the City and we got on fabulously as we chatted about the project while we searched for a spot to leave a postcard together.

Meghan Markle is mostly known for her part as Rachel Zane in the USA TV series, Suits. She also runs a successful lifestyle blog called, The Tig. I emailed her blog team about my NYC mission (if you don’t know about that, read more here!), as I wanted to spread the word about the project in the hope that perhaps they could put a tweet out. Never, ever did I imagine that Meghan would get back to me personally saying that she would love to be involved. She was so lovely and so supportive of 60 Postcards. It is great to have her as part of #Team60Postcards.

I have met many new people along the way but the two most surprising have been at book events. Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham – utter legends – were two people I never thought I’d meet in life, let alone in NYC on this trip. Both with new books out, I was lucky enough to get in to hear them speak at their separate events, get a book signed and even chat to them briefly in person. AND Lena has one of the 60 postcards. Wow. Now, lets all tell her to read it! (Look out for a tweet tomorrow. Retweet away!)

60 Postcards Stateside  

Postcards have been scattered left, right and centre and I still have a few more planned for over the weekend. It has been terrifying but fun, emotional but an honour and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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To everyone who wrote a postcard, you can expect the following when I return:

  • A map marking the postcard’s location
  • Information about the hiding spot
  • A few snaps of the area and the postcard where it is left
  • A description of what happened when I left it

What else has happened? I saw Adam Driver from Girls on my flight (must have been a sign), listened to the most wonderful gay man trying to calm down some angry youths on the subway by throwing imaginary glitter on them, I’ve bought shoes the wrong size by mistake, experienced my first bike ride for years on the treacherous roads of New York, danced at a drag bar, got sunburnt in Central Park, drenched in the rain outside the Lincoln Centre this morning and left many bars feeling tipsy and totally in love with this city.

I may only have a few days left here but I don’t intend to waste one minute of it. The fun isn’t over yet. I still have work to do, events to attend and one more meeting with an inspirational man.

Sending love from NYC.

Speak soon,

Rachael  x