Back to normal


Sunday, July 4th, will be remembered for more than just the celebration of America’s 245th birthday. After a long wait, my childhood best friend and collecting buddy and I returned to New York City, where a year ago we each said to the other how perfect was that day and trip to the Big Apple. It seemed too good to be true; and it was. Before we could plan another trip, the COVID-19 pandemic had other ideas and put our lives on hold. And like that day more than a year ago, Sunday was just as great! It was day that was so hard to imagine for so long. With the development of vaccines and the distribution of vaccinations here in the U.S., our lives are starting to get back to normal. And nothing says normal for us than a trip to New York. That’s what made Sunday even more special.

Eric and I have been taking road trips for more than 30 years. One of our first trips took us to the Philadelphia Zoo as children in the early 70s. Our longest voyage was to Tokyo in 1999. We’ve visited shops near and fear, from east coast to west coast, along the northeast corridor and beyond across the Pacific ocean. We’ve gone to G-Con to G-Fest to CES in Chicago, Chiller Theatre Expo in NJ to Dragon in Atlanta to Zolocon and more. We’ve never set a limit on where we willing to travel for a collectible. Our journeys are the stuff of legends. Over the years, our mutual friends, Henry, Jonathan, Hubukai and others, have joined us from time to time. Now, Eric brings his precious daughter Aria along with us to teach the ways of collecting and to pass the tradition down to the next generation.

Saturday night, Eric called and asked if I wanted to make the run to New York. And I was all in and ready to jump in the car at any time. Saturday’s weather was miserable but Sunday brought perfect gorgeous weather, the stuff summer is made of. We got out early, knowing shops open late and close early on Sunday and even more so on a national holiday. It was a perfect travel and driving day with little to no traffic that made our ride up smooth, safe and without any complications. We set the course along our usually list of stores: Image Anime, Toy Tokyo, Forbidden Planet, Strand Books, Kinokuniya, Little Japan, and Mitsuwa Marketplace. Unfortunately, first two were closed due to the holiday. But there was plenty enough to see, to do, and to buy.

Photos courtesy of Eric

Eric usually is hunting for Star Wars collectibles. I’m always looking for Godzilla stuff as expected. When we entered Kinokuniya, there was a wonderful surprise. We spotted the Yuji Sakai Best Collection Godzilla (2004) Poster Version “Goodbye, Godzilla” with my box art. The New Jersey Kinokuniya has a Godzilla Store section with a large selection of the TOHO SFX Movies Authentic Visual Books, X-Plus and Bandai figures, t-shirts, postcards and other collateral items. I picked up the cool little book Japan Showa Unexpected Dinosaur Encyclopedia (日本昭和トンデモ恐竜大全 published by Tatsumi Publishing), Pen Plus Godzilla 2019 Mook, and Godzilla Store postcards with Godzilla art by Yuji Murakami. And to top it off, I signed up for the Kinkokuni Godzilla Membership Card.

Although things are close to normal life before the pandemic, we kept our masks on as we walked inside and outside. Wearing masks are still required inside. It was a great day for us both. After food shopping and enjoying great meals at Mitsuwa, we got back on the Jersey turnpike heading back to Philly. I’m grateful for another road trip to New York City. We don’t take this privilege for granted but we appreciate every journey. Next stop Zolocon later this month! I hope you are documenting your collectible life.