Don began work on Al Gore’s latest book, Our Choice, in May and wrapped it up in September. In early November Don and Melora went up to New York to celebrate the book’s publication with the team that helped produce it, and of course, the author, the honorable Al Gore.
Hotel 17 on East 17th St.
We checked into Hotel 17 around 2:00 p.m. on a chilly Friday (in the 40’s, Don still in shorts) and then began our pilgrimage to Mecca. Mecca, in this case, was the Carnegie Deli, about 2 miles straight up Broadway. Don had been looking forward to this part of the trip, possibly more than the book party. We hiked from the Gramercy Park area, skirted Chelsea, went through the Garment District (where we did quite a bit of shopping) onto Times Square and then to Midtown, where the deli is located a couple blocks from Central Park.
Huge corned beef and pastrami
The size of the sandwich is, well, just plain silly. Don had the corned beef and pastrami and Melora had the pastrami sandwich. We didn’t come close to finishing it. After dinner we strolled down by Central Park, but it was getting VERY cold, so we grabbed a cab back to the hotel and passed out in a pastrami-induced slumber.
On Saturday, we had breakfast at a cafe in Greenwich Village next to the square. We hit the farmer’s market in Union Square and did a little more shopping. Don had a work session on a new project with a publisher Saturday afternoon, and then we dressed up and hit the party. Charlie Melcher, owner of Melcher Media, hosted the festivities in his beautiful brownstone in the village.
Don and Melora at the party
Al was very gracious in his comments about Don’s work on the book, recalling in humor some of the abuse Don had to go through in terms of the number of revisions, holding up the book on one image, he noted how the image went through over twenty alterations as it evolved and new elements were added, one-at-a-time, and remarking how Don managed to throw a perma-frost highlight into the mix…somehow.
Al talking about one of Don’s illustrations
We ate, drank wine and talked with others on the book team as well as some folks from Rodale, the publishing house. We also hung out with the talented Liz Lomax, who did the cover illustration for the children’s edition, she shot the picture of Melora and Don at the top of this post.
Don with his boss, Al
Don’s not crazy about small spaces and loud noise, so on occasion he escaped to Charlie’s patio in the back yard to enjoy the cool air and relative quite before diving back into the mix. It was nice to find an oasis from the street traffic and the excitement of the evening just a few feet away.
To familiarize ourselves with the “Village” and Gramercy, we walked extensively in the area the previous day and by the time we hit the party Greenwich Village was familiar territory. Anyone that knows us, knows one thing…we walk a lot.
Don, Melora and Al enjoying a laugh
Thanks to Charlie for hosting the party, and to his photographer, who took most of the party shots. It was a perfect evening shared with sharp minds and creative souls. A nice combination.
We ended the night by going to an Italian restaurant next door, enjoying a great meal, visiting with the gang involved with the book and watching the Gators beat Vandy on Don’s iPhone.
On Sunday we strolled around Gramercy before packing up and heading back to our quite little spot on earth next to our uncrowded beach on FoleyIsland. We had a great trip, but it was nice to be back home.
Two days of non-stop horn honking and sirens is enough fun.
Don continues to work with Al and the Melcher team on a new venture, which, when published, will certainly show up on this blog sometime in the next year.
Below are some sample illustrations Don did for the book.