In writing THE SHAMBLING GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY (US | UK | AUS), a book about a travel book for monsters, there was, sadly, a lot I had to leave out. Originally I wanted to write a full travel guide to go with the novel, but ambition beat me down with a club. Or is that hubris? Anyway, there was a painful encounter with a metaphorical club, and I had to settle for writing little excerpts from the book to put at the end of each chapter.
But there is so much more to think about for the travel-savvy monster (“coterie” please, let’s not be rude.) So I thought I would take this opportunity to provide a bit more advice on traveling in New York City. (Please note that we may not be able to cover all coterie here, and if you find yourself left out, please send an email to our webmaster to add to the errata on the website.)
Vampires: You already know the most important things, your own coffin, your hometown soil (if you’re from Eastern Europe), and plenty of sunscreen. The City that Never Sleeps is very friendly to vampires, considering very little shuts down by the time you wake up, and often it’s so bright that you can get a fleeting feeling of daylight. But you must make sure your thrall has everything he or she needs, especially credit cards, cash, and possibly weapons. They will need to hire a car that specializes in coffin-transport (unless you like to live on the edge and arrive at night and hope you find a hotel room – your chances are good, but there’s always a risk!) Also remember hell notes and blood tokens, they’re the best way to barter with the Red Cross.
Zombies: You know what they say; travel to Arizona, carry a humidifier, travel to NYC, carry a dehumidifier! Well, if they don’t say that, they should. The problem, of course, with forgetting your dehumidifier is you get rather rotten in the time you forgot you brought yours. New York summers are murder on zombie skin. They are drier in the winter, so bring lotion. You’ll want to carry our convenient map to the coterie-friendly morgues to do some shopping, but sometimes hitting the restaurants is actually cheaper than the morgues! You will want hats for camouflage but you already have the bonus of the fact that no one meets your eye in the city, so no one will look at your directly to notice your dead gaze (although we’re sure your eyes are lovely.)
Fae: Let’s face it. The city isn’t a friendly place if you’re delicate-looking, and fae do not, as a rule, enjoy covering up, even in winter. So purchase a coat so you won’t stand out in the winter months, and just make sure you either travel in numbers, or have your running shoes on if someone threatens you. The explaining you will have to do when Public Works discovers the eviscerated corpse of someone who tried to cross a fairy will be uncomfortable. Best to avoid the confrontation entirely. (We would love to tell the humans not to attack visiting coterie, but that would require public relations work on a level that currently does not exist.)
Demons: We know there are many of you, but much of the basics apply to you all. Hats and coats, folks. We don’t care what season it is, or what you wore back home. In the city you must cover up your spines, scales, and horns. If you’re an elemental, it’s best to have a non-elemental companion with you to help you get from place to place without attracting attention, unless you’re skilled enough to ride the power lines as a fire elemental or avoid getting lost in the rain as a water elemental. (or can stand the sewers, which is possible, but not for everyone.)
Deities: If you’re a traveling deity, it’s likely you’re not really needed at home (to be fair, you could be in such high demand that you need a vacation, we understand this.) In that case, your powers could be weakened in a strange city, and it would be best to find someone to worship you. If you can’t bring someone from home, then you will have to find worshippers here, which shouldn’t be hard so long as you’re able to be spectacularly beautiful, or very talented. So remember to come prepared to work if you don’t bring a follower with you. And if you do, the same goes for you as for the vampires; make sure your human is cared for!
Succubi and Incubi: If we had a dollar for every visiting ‘bus that we had to bail out on obscenity charges, we wouldn’t be writing this, we’d be retired on a beach. (Except for our publisher, who’s not that fond of the sun.) You must bring clothes when you visit the town. You must remain clothed the whole time. The police aren’t going to care that you’re on vacation, and the Public Works are wise to your tricks. It may be best to eat before you come, that way you won’t be distracting- or distracted- while settling into the city.
That’s it for this part, thanks for reading, and have a great trip!
[– UPDATE –]
Alas, we have been taken to task for including elementals with demons. The hate mail was swift and inflammatory (in one case, literally) and we would like to apologize completely to everyone. Demons and elementals are clearly different races and have different needs. Instead of covering up our mistake by editing the page, we’re going to own it, apologize, and write an update for the elementals next week. Our only excuse is our editor is… new.