For the moment, the club has only one activity, outside of the meetings and discussions on the mailing list. That is a near-quarterly trip, as a group, to Manhattan and Edgewater, New Jersey, to shop for anime related materials, and to find things of Asian cultural significance. Typical itinerary for a trip would be:
08:00 Leave Collingswood Library or home
09:45 Arrive at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater
10:45 Take the shuttle bus to NY Port Authority Terminal
11:15 Shop and have lunch in Manhattan
05:45 Take the return shuttle bus to Mitsuwa
06:30 Shopping and dinner at Mitsuwa
09:00 Leave from Mitsuwa for home
11:00 Drop off at Collingswood Library or arrive home
April 1, 2012
No, this is not an April Fools joke.
Kris (one of our newest members), his friend, and I, returned from an interesting day doing a little frenetic recon of NYC, using the MAG as a basis. Since it wasn't meant to be a full recon... that would have probably taken at least two days, we mainly covered Mitsuwa and half of the NYU/Village map.
The day was fun and interesting, but a little depressing in what we saw.
For the Mitsuwa Ramen competition, it apparently wasn't the internal shops, where we normally order food, that were competing. There were three groups in connected booths in the temporary area, next to where the squid-balls are normally served. We tried some of the ramen while there, but I have no idea who the winner is... since it ran until Sunday.
Outside, we found that Matsushima (the upscale Japanese restaurant), actually closed permanently, just after the last time we went up as a group.
The spiritual gifts and goods shop (Feng Shui Kaiun Chushin New York) that moved in next to Sanseido, is gone. It didn't even last a year.
Sanseido did a little shuffling around... the stationery section has moved to the back left corner, with some sort of bright red and white service counter, replacing it (NTT Docomo, a mobile service). This completely removed a large amount of stuff in that area. I couldn't find any English manga or any artbooks any more. They may have just moved them, but the only stuff not altered by this addition were the free standing shelves in the middle of the store. All the books along the left and back wall have moved, been reduced in size, or eliminated.
MARS and Utsuwa no Yakata have changed their layout. Utsuwa (the store with all the ceramic goods and housewares) is now only half as wide as it used to be, with the obvious reduction in stock. MARS gained that floorspace, but has not added any stock or fixtures. The space was used mainly to make wider aisles and open space (this must have been to either make if more friendly, or as a demand by fire marshals).
In the next mall over, JBC Books is about to go away. Their last day is April 30th, and then they are gone for good. Don't know if this affects JBC Video, or JBC-N (or even if that's still there). Because of this we found some great manga deals. However, half their shelves are already empty.
For those of us that a couple times wandered over to the mall in the other direction to pick up food at the grocery and then wander around the giant bookstore over there 'til 11pm... the Barnes & Noble, too, is gone for good.
In and around NYU, we came across numerous small Japanese restaurants (one which was so small, if we had another full group of 12 going, we'd occupy the whole place). These are not the restaurants that appeared at the back of the MAG... I'm not certain if I could compile or even keep up with the hundreds of smaller restaurants... unless they became favorites (like the coffee house that supplies the pork buns). Several stores have moved, disappeared, or are undergoing renovation (maybe).
Love Saves the Day, is gone, replaced with a rather small but very nice looking restaurant.
Toy Tokyo, a place that sells a lot of miniatures and models, Japanese and American, moved several blocks away.
JAS, a small Japanese grocery store, had papered-up windows, and renovation permits displayed, but it couldn't be determined if it's actually still a JAS Mart.
The storefront for AnimeCrash is still empty and unused.
The Strand and Forbidden Planet are still going strong. However, The Strand has now relegated manga to a small "library cart" and raised their prices about 50% on that stock. The wall where it used to be located (4 shelves worth), is now completely full of American mainstream comic works. So that's great news for Marvel and DC fans... not so much for manga fans.
As far as new places (this is a hard thing to do unless you live in the city), we really only found one, and it's not anime related. We found a Games Workshop store at 54 East 8th Street. So that's good news for those who like miniature battles and WarHammer.
Just for the information, at the Penn Plaza, while we were hoofing it around, a major event went on... Mike Carbonaro threw his final one-day comic book convention, with Stan Lee as the guest. There's always something awesome going on in NYC when we go... we're just never attending...
If you are aware of any new and interesting places in Manhattan, please let us know via the mailing list, or by e-mailing other members, so we can check it out.
Previous activity information can be found here.
Trippin' on January 19, 2008