Fifteen Miles of Research in NYC ~ Outside the Margins with Anna Zabo

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This Labor Day weekend, I decided to go visit a friend in New York City. So far, it’s been a blast (I’m writing this on Sunday, and I still have Monday to go). While I did come up to spend time hanging out, I also had an additional motivation:

Research for a book.

My first novel, Close Quarter, ended with our intrepid heroes about to dock in New York City. Part of the reason it’s taken me so long to write the sequel is that I knew I didn’t have enough experience with the ambiance and flavor of New York. It’s such a unique and diverse and wonderful city, full of buildings and subways and nooks and crannies—perfect for setting a paranormal romance where fae will fight fae and a son will try to find his father.

I’m lucky enough that Pittsburgh is reasonably close to New York and I can get there by train. This is my second trip this year, but the first one where I’ve tromped all over the city.

So here’s a glimpse at my Sunday of research!

We started off by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. I didn’t even know you could, but yes, you can! It’s a cool walk and a great way, if you have the time and the stamina, to enter Manhattan.

Here I am on the bridge. No, I won’t try to sell you it.


We headed down into Wall Street to visit Trinity Church, which is where Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Hamilton are buried. (I’d managed to see Hamilton, the musical, so it was nice to pay respect to the Hamiltons.)

After that, we walked down to Battery Park. When I was little, I thought they meant battery as in energy, and figured this was where the power plant for all of New York is. Yeah…not so much! It’s where the artillery batteries were to protect New York. Now contains (among many things) a lovely park, Castile Clinton (a fort), a memorial to WWII, and some awesome views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Here’s a shot of the WWII memorial with the Statue of Liberty in the distance.


We also ran into a dedication of a statue of Mother Teresa, who’d just been made a saint by the Catholic Church. There’s always something going on everywhere, it seems.

Then we hopped the subway up to 14th, stopped in Greenwich Village to have lunch (at Tue Thai Food, a lovely restaurant across from the Jefferson Market library), then headed over to the High Line. The High Line is a park that’s been built on the remnants of a disused elevated freight line. So it’s a linear part built up in the air. It’s beautiful, and if you visit NYC, I really recommend walking the park. It’s an utterly unique experience and a nice stroll.

Here’s people on the High Line.


Here’s plant life growing amongst the rails.


We walked the High line from near 12th, where one end is, to West 34th, where the other is. Then we walked up along the piers, past the USS Intrepid, to the New York City passenger ship terminal (which will come into play in my novel), and then headed up 54th on our way to Central Park.

Here’s the Columbus Circle corner of Central Park.


We went into the park, sat on the giant rocks and realized our legs were about to fall off. So we sat a little longer…then hopped a train back to Brooklyn.

But no great adventure is complete without dinner. So we walked some more to get to The Great Georgiana and had the most grand mac and cheese with bacon. I also had a cocktail called The Essential, and yes, it was essential to my recovery.


So was walking down to Daly Pie for…well…pie.

And that’s how I did research in New York. And walk 15 miles in the process!

Walking that much and all over was an amazing way to see parts of New York. All the sights and sounds. The buildings and construction. The rooftop gardens. The crowds. You’ll see these all again in the pages of the next Close Quarter book.

~Anna Zabo


Title: Close Quarter
Author: Anna Zabo
Publisher: Loose Id
Publication Date: 11/13/2012
Cover Artist: April Martinez
Genre: Erotica, Gay Romance, Paranormal


On a transatlantic cruise to New York, sculptor Rhys Matherton struggles to piece his life back together after losing his mother, inheriting a fortune, and finding out his father isn’t his father after all. He spills a tray of drinks on a handsome stranger, then he finds himself up against a wall getting the best hand-job he’s ever had. And for the first time in his life, he feels whole.

Rhys enjoys the company of Silas Quint, but for the eerie way no one pays attention to them even while they kiss in a crowded bar. Silas explains he’s a forest fae able to glamor the room around them—and more importantly, that he’s on the cruise to hunt vampires. Rhys thinks Silas is full of it, until he discovers vampires are real, and he’s part of their main course.

Silas Quint can’t be distracted by a human lover, even one as lovely as Rhys. Stuck in the middle of the ocean, he has barely enough of energy to hunt the vampires he’s been sent to destroy. Rhys is full of the one thing Silas needs needs most—the element of living plants. Only sucking energy from Rhys would make Silas as soulless as the creatures he hunts. How can he keep Rhys safe, without becoming like the very monsters he hunts?


Close Quarter on Goodreads
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About Anna Zabo

Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think. You can find her online at or more often on Twitter as @amergina.

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