This time last year, we almost had the key to the store . . .

The morning of June 12 last year, a few of us got up way too early on a Sunday morning then drove through the Harriman fog to Pine Bush, New York.

Some people think 20 feet is not that long, but some of us are just not that tall.

There we picked up a 20-foot U-Haul and emptied out a garage that had been doubling as a warehouse. After arranging hundreds of boxes at the back of the truck, we brushed the dust off our bruised arms and began the trek back to NYC at dusk.

View from the garage emptied out in Pine Bush NY

The return trip was fraught with minor complications: we entered the GWB on the wrong level . . . we had to remember the details from our crash course on truck routes now that we were back in the city and needed to park in Lower Manhattan . . . we were forced to get a better handle on the width of our vehicle once those yellow taxis started swarming around Madison Square Garden . . . we had to find a lot that would take a 20-foot truck after hours . . . without going too much into detail on the numerous ways we almost ended up with various tickets and violations throughout the evening, we report that every single altercation ended in the most charmed way possible—as if the city wanted us to make sure we got this truck of books to the new, then-temporary home of Word Up the next day.

We were so hungry, Gabe ran out to get a hot dog, and I got behind some horses so that I’d have to drive slowly till he returned with two cooked dogs.

Then, the next morning on June 13, after unloading some of the boxes at one location in Lower Manhattan, we began the slow trip back uptown to stock Word Up. Of course it was right around rush hour.

We sat in a lot of traffic on the drive back uptown.

Because we wouldn’t be arriving uptown in the truck till well after business hours were up, we had to figure out how to obtain the key—so that we’d have somewhere to unload this truck full of books. Thus the first of the kind of tag-teaming that goes on at Word Up: Harol had the key and gave it to Diana, who met up with Robin, who passed it onto Gabe and Jacob and Vern, after we did a quick detour picking up furniture from Alison. That truck traveled the city before it got to 176 St. and Broadway; that key traveled the Heights before it got to 4157. But there we all finally were, at the same time, now with Will rolling in to help unload. In the dark. Because we didn’t yet have electricity. That late, late hour of June 13, we finally had a place we could enter; we just couldn’t see it, really. Didn’t stop Dj Boy from showing up that night with a camera. But no matter what, a grand opening date change was in order: originally set to open Word Up on June 14, that evening we pushed the opening till 3 days later—to June 17. Plenty of time to obtain electricity, furniture, more books, and more volunteers, right??


The events we have had so far during our Birthday Fund Drive have been a lot of fun, and full of a lot of love, so thank you for coming out. We had a great day of readings on Sunday and got a lot of folks outfitted in our new T-shirts. On Monday, The Cheese Guy and the Truck Farm gave us a lot to reflect on, and to be inspired by. Tuesday night, at No Name, the Eric Vetter-hosted comedic and storytelling series that has been running at Word Up since September 2011, the crowd got some respite from the rain and enjoyed stories from Tom Shillue, Leighann Lord, Marilyn Torres, Lee Alan Barrett, and Armando Batista, and more.

And: THERE ARE ANOTHER 4 DAYS OF BIRTHDAY EVENTS! We’ve almost been here for a full year, which was the last thing we thought would happen when we dragged ourselves out of bed the morning of that Pine Bush trip. So please come celebrate with us—and launch us all into Year 2 with the knowledge that you’ve made it real clear that you love books, that you want books, that you need books to spread through our community. Show up to our Birthday Fund Drive this week and help ensure that Word Up remains here, in our neighborhood, and built by you.


3 responses to “This time last year, we almost had the key to the store . . .

  1. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself or did you
    hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thanks a lot

  2. Pingback: Word Up’s Third Birthday | Word Up Books

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