Ashleigh and I went to one of those midnight Harry Potter release parties down in SoHo on Friday night. We wanted to avoid the huge crowds at Barnes and Noble and Borders, so we chose an independent bookstore called McNally-Robinson instead. They had fortune tellers, and a costume contest (no, we were not in costume), and “magic punch for grownups.” Ashleigh got her book just ten minutes after midnight, and then we headed home.

The eerie part of the evening was the visual on the subway platform. It’s very strange to see hundreds of people waiting for an N train after midnight (it also happened to be the subway station closest to the Scholastic store and Harry Potter Place), all of them very quiet, and all clutching the exact same book in their hands, as though they were all part of a creepy cult of children’s-book-worshipers. Oh wait…

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