Harry Potter Place on Mercer Street
Obviously there were launch parties for The Deathly Hallows all over Manhattan (and the country... and the world...), but Co and I decided to hit Harry Potter ground zero: Scholastic headquarters in Soho, at which J.K. Rowling's U.S. publisher shut down Mercer Street and fans by the thousands flocked to be a part of what most were calling, in all sincerity, an historic event. Including us.
Co and I arrived at Harry Potter Place at 7:30, and inadvertantly snuck in through the back way on Spring Street, thereby avoiding a block-long line just to get in to the festivities. After goofing around for a bit with the Whomping Willow and the Muggle Board and such, we were still plenty early enough to got a beautiful spot on the actual book-buying line, just around the corner of Spring on Broadway, right in front of Lucky Jeans and its wide windowsill/bench (see below). This was around 8:30, three-and-a-half hours to go. Thank god for that bench.
Honestly, though, time flew by, with gelato breaks and Boggle competitions and happy chit chat with my line mates and Co and her friends being interviewed by the Times. At 11:30 I did a line check: all the way up Broadway to Houston, around the corner and over again to Mercer. Two short blocks-, two long blocks-long. And then it happened. The final chapter of the ten-year Harry Potter story became a 759-page reality, and the explosive giddiness, the shrieks of joy, the huge smiles (much of all this from adults, mind you) made for a truly memorable moment. Here are some more pictures of our night...
The Whomping Willow really whomped!
Dobby was on line!
The Pensieve: signed first editions of all seven volumes.
The face painting—"Aparecium!"—was ridiculously popular, with six artists working eight hours covering a new face every three minutes or so. And, really, they did an amazing job: there were some freaky-looking folks walking around.
Co putting her message up on the Muggle Board...
...and what it looked like in the end. No one, it seemed, could pass up the chance to say "I [heart] Harry!" or somesuch.
The Knight Bus, used as a video studio for fan messages earlier in the day, returned to the party after dark.
The final countdown...
...to total bedlam!
Savoring the sweet reward. Maybe the cutest part of the night was the subway ride home, because at every stop people got on clutching their prize, looked around the car, smiled to see so many other Potter-ites, and then began reading.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows will be available everywhere forever.